Today we’d like to introduce you to Andy Sussman.
Andy, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I got started 23 years ago but I promise I am not as old as that sounds! I am actually only 36 years young! So right – if you do the math – I was 13 when I started DJing and working in the private events industry. Actually, back then and for the first 17 years of my career, I was mainly a Bar & Bat Mitzvah DJ.
In high school, I obviously had a strong love for music, production, and technology. I did whatever I could to learn about the art of DJing as well as other things like lighting. When I was 16 years old, I DJ’d in under 21 nightclubs, and I also spent a summer working for a theatrical lighting company.
When I was finally old enough for the “big kid” clubs, I was lucky enough to get a job both DJing and being a Light Jockey in those places too.
During my younger teen years, I met a lot of great people. At 15 years old, through mutual friends, I met a guy named Roy Barboza. At the time, Roy was the mix show DJ at Jam’s 94.5. He was awesome. I looked up to him a lot and remember recording and studying his radio mix shows after school in my bedroom (remember cassette recorders?!)
He and I became close friends, and we always joked that I could be his intern one day. Fast forward (excuse the pun) to college! I was accepted into an undergrad program at Brandeis University in Waltham (the same city 94.5 was in) and I think one of the first things I did was visit Roy and fill out an internship application!! You guessed it.
During my first year of college, Roy and I got to work together every day and I can not even begin to tell you how much I learned about the art of DJing & music programming. There were even times when Roy would go away or take time off, and they let me fill in and take care of the on-air mix shows. It was pretty awesome.
I got to make a lot of friends at the radio station and they eventually put me on the payroll as their official street team DJ. We would go out to community events, and I would DJ and represent the station and the brand.
Eventually, a position opened up in the production department and I also got a part-time job working under Doug MacAskill & Marc Clark (two radio legends) who taught me even more skills that I still use today.
Ok, I got a little sidetracked. Let’s bounce back to my adult years! Working for someone else in the private events industry was a great stepping stone, but there came a time – roughly around 2008 – when I decided I didn’t want to do Bar & Bat Mitzvahs forever, AND I had a much different game plan for my future than the owner of the company I used to work for did.
I made the decision to reinvent myself in an entirely new industry – WEDDINGS! I had done a few weddings here and there – and to be totally honest – having experience as a Mitzvah and Club DJ ended up being a huge advantage when it came to performing at weddings.
In 2009 I officially started my company – TSG Weddings – and it was one of the best life decisions I’ve made.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I have yet to hear a story about someone’s life or career that didn’t involve challenges! I know I certainly had some. First – I was terrified at how saturated the wedding market was. There is a TON of competition.
So how the heck would a guy like me – start a business from scratch – market it – get people to hire me – and make a name in a very crowded space? I was also worried that other people in the industry wouldn’t take a 27-year-old “kid” seriously.
I did what I knew how to do best. I started to market my company every possible way I could think of. I started to focus on building an image, and a brand. Then I started to meet people, make friends, and build relationships.
Relationship building ended up being one of the most important things in the infant years of TSG. I never went to school for business but I did get an education in networking from my grandfather. My grandfather was a salesman.
During his retirement years, he literally sold things out of the trunk of his car. Whatever someone needed, he had and whatever someone wanted, he got. He was great at it. EVERYONE loved him. EVERYONE knew him. Even though he was in sales, he was never pushy.
He never tried to hard sell, anyone. I like to think of him as a social seller! He had a way of bringing people together and capturing them. People WANTED to do business with him. I took a lot away from how he made a living, and how he networked with people.
I maintain strong relationships and respect for my industry peers, and I can only hope the feeling is mutual!
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about TSG Weddings – what should we know?
TSG Weddings is primarily a DJ company that focuses and caters to couples that want an elegant and classy wedding reception. In-house, we also offer things like lighting, photo booths, and basic videography services – but I would say we are best known for packing dance floors all night long.
I was actually joking with someone the other day that we should offer band-aids at the end of the night – because I know there are people going home with blisters on their feet from dancing so much! lol
I think there are a few things that set us apart from other companies. First has to do with how couples book us. We don’t have a sales staff. We are old fashioned and more boutique like.
If a couple is interested in our services, they email or chat with me and the first thing I do is set them up to meet with one of the available DJs. The personal connection is extremely important to us. I want the couple to start building a relationship with the DJ from day one.
It’s super important for the couple to be comfortable and confident in their DJ and I find that this process is the only way to ensure that right from the start. We also believe in making the process (At least related to our stuff) as simple and stress-free as possible.
At the end of our meetings we never take out a contract, ask for a check, or say we need a decision in the next 24 hours. Instead, we spend time getting to know them on a personal level, as well as their wants, wishes, and needs for their wedding day. After the meeting, we keep in touch and help them with any additional questions to help in their decision making.
At the wedding, our DJs are also a bit different than some of the other companies out there. Our DJs are real DJs. We all mix music. There are no awkward music transitions and because we know how to mix songs, and know how to read a crowd, we have a very high rate of success creating a fantastic amount of energy on the dance floor.
Oh! I almost forgot. We DO NOT do games, gimmicks, corny things, or line dances. The weddings we are part of are all very elegant. We stay true to that theme while making sure it’s still one of the best parties the guests will ever attend. We give people a night out that they will remember for weeks, months, and years to come.
I am most proud of the company we built. Notice that I didn’t say “I Built”. TSG Would never have found the success that we have without the great people that made it what it is today. I have a group of people that are unbelievably talented at what they do and also care about the company like it’s their own.
Together we’ve built a company that people love. We have over 500, five star, perfect online reviews across multiple platforms. That speaks a lot to the quality and value we provide to our couples.
Another thing that is pretty awesome is that I look at all of the inquiries and events that we do – and over 80% of them are referrals from past clients, guests at past weddings, and other industry professionals. That in itself is the ultimate compliment.
Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Jeez. This is a hard question. I almost feel like someone else should answer it for me! lol. But I wake up each day and keep two main business thoughts in my mind. First is – stay humble.
Second is – never stop learning. I can honestly say that I love what I do. I can also honestly say that I really enjoy everyone in my industry, including my competitors – or as I call them, my friends.
I am even the guy that will go out of his way to help another company solve a problem, or share an idea. I believe in good karma and that we can all learn from and benefit from one another.
- Address: 400 TradeCenter Suite 5900 Woburn, MA 01801
- Website: www.tsgweddings.com
- Phone: 888-406-6778
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: instagram.com/tsgweddings
- Facebook: facebook.com/tsgweddings
- Other: weddingwire.com/tsgweddings
Bharat Parmar Photography