Blue Aran was established in 1995 to fill a niche in sound and lighting equipment hire in the local area. The business soon boomed, with numerous local rental installations and regular hire customers.
The Company Director:
During my time at University I developed a PA Hire business, whilst also working as a party DJ for numerous student balls and events. On the PA side of things, ‘boat parties’ aboard the Ocean Scene from Ocean Village were a regular occurance. At the time many clubs lacked quality sound systems, and were focusing on commercial pop music, the underground dance scene demanded extremely high power and high quality sound, with events being staged in any available venue. This was a prime opportunity for the PA Hire business, and I was one of several entrepreneurs in the South who capitalised on this and built up succesful sound hire businesses. By the time I’d left university in 1995, my passion for the sound and lighting industry was burning, so with a degree in Electronics & Computer Science under my belt I decided to set up business out in the ‘real world’, and with a substantial contract on the horizon, time was of the essence, so I needed to to set up a business as quickly as possible.
…and so, Blue Aran was born – why the name Blue Aran? is the first question everyone asks. Simple answer, like so many other businesses in a hurry to start in the 90’s (before the internet became what it is today) the easiest way to get a Limited Company was to visit a solicitor in London pick a company that’s already been incorporated and is lying dormant, and after 2-3 hours, with your wallet about £200 lighter, you’re a company director and you have yourself a Limited Company. ‘Blue Aran’ was simply the best name on offer at the time – it certainly sounded better than Green Grass Limited (another company name on offer at the time) for a business in this industry!!
I always meant to change the name, but after 4 or 5 years the name had stuck, and with an expanding client base that knew the name, it was decided it wasn’t worth changing. By this time we’d built up a substantial stock of hire equipment, and were not only providing sound equipment for hire, but also lighting and power distribution. By December 31st 1999 we’d built up a PA System of over 20,000 Watts, which was used at a Millenium Party Dance Event at Poole Racetrack.
The company grew steadily during this time, specialising in PA and Lighting Hire and Rentals, supplying high quality sound and lighting equipment to countless venues across the south of England. In many instances we provided custom built speakers designed to suit an individual venue’s requirements. Our clients included: The Rhino Club, Southampton – The Escape Club, Brighton – Southampton University – Southampton Solent University – Chicago Rock Cafe – Lennons – Los Marinos – The Bier Kellar – Friscos, Portsmouth among others.
Until now, the sales side of the business had always come second to the hire business, it was something to fill in the time when hires were thin on the ground. Having decided to get married this year, the ‘real world’ was looming ever closer, and I began experimenting with the ‘World Wide Web’ as a means of expanding the business, at this stage the possibilities of commerce on the Internet had not been fully realised, and we began developing our website to promote the sales side of our business. Having studied Electronics and Computer Science at University, and having had a interest in software programming since the age of 12, I decided developing my own website was a worthy challenge. This proved to be more succesful than I’d ever imagined, and allowed my business to grow, and take me places I never thought I’d be.
Being early onto the internet opened a door to a significant lighting installation. We provided a large number of moving heads and lighting equipment to Buena Vista Productions, who were launching ‘Studio Disney’ from a location in London. Studio Disney was featured on Disney Channel.
Our website gained us a valuable contact in the hire industry, and this year this took us to the Purple Festival, The Reading Festival and The Glastonbury Festival, finishing off the year at the Ministry of Sound New Years Eve Party at the Millenium Dome (before it was renamed the O2), where we provided lighting and sound. The following year we were also involved in the Leeds Festival and the V Festival. Having done our ‘tour of duty’ we settled back into the sales scene, which was growing rapidly.
Our tenth anniversary year, and our must succesful year to date, persistent hard work over the years paid off, and this year we became one of the largest UK dealers for Behringer, achieving a level of sales that even surprised us.. The business has grown considerably from a ‘one man band’ ten years earlier to an efficient hire and retail business with numerous full time and part time staff.
Our growth in online sales continued, and the decision was made to scale back the hire and rental department in order to focus resources on promoting our online sales. Our hire department is still in operation, but primarily focused on smaller ‘party’ hires and ‘dry-hires’.