Belleville, N.J.—Like many DJs, Jack Bermeo sharpened his mixing skills in clubs and at friend’s parties, occasionally going out with other mobile DJs and performing at showcases. “Those events,” says Bermeo, “helped transform me into a professional performer.”
As his company, LJ Productions, began to grow, his DJ mentor, Jorge Vincentty, exited the business and gave Bermeo all of his clients. “He knew a lot of guys in the business, but said that I was the only one who could treat his clients the way he did,” says Bermeo. “That was in 2001 and we still have many of those clients today.”
In 2009, Vincentty decided to return to DJing, and came on board with Jack full time. “We knew that the business was bound to grow,” says Bermeo. “But neither of us would have expected it to explode the way it did. The chemistry and long history we have helped propel us to the level we are at as entertainers and as a company.”
And the level of which Bermeo speaks is a company 18 members strong, booking an assortment of weddings, parties, corporates and mitzvahs. “We’ve trained a lot of our guys in house,” says Bermeo when asked how he maintains a consistent product. “Before we send out a veteran performer, who is just starting out with our company, they must work with us as an assistant to get a feel for how we do things. Also, many times, we will send out Jorge to look in on events that our guys are hosting to make sure they are performing well and that the client is happy.
“We have training seminars once a month where our company will come to the office and we will go over different topics, troubleshoot different scenarios and run games. Although we have a lot of people on our team, they all have their specific roles. Not all of them are MCs; Some guys are strictly our tech guys and run the multiple big shows we can have going on during a given weekend. We tell each of our performers, techs, and DJs, what we expect of them and how they are to be at the venue.”
One outgrowth of this attention to product is a referral network that has diminished the importance of bridal fairs and other lead-generating exercises. “Most of our referrals come from the very events we have performed at,” Bermeo says. “Our clients love to say that they had LJ Productions at their party and want to share the experience with their friends. The referrals we get from venues have come without our solicitation. We don’t ever go to a location and ask to be on their preferred vendors list. We have waited until they have seen our show and ask us to be a part of the list. By just doing your job and not worrying about getting on the vendor’s list, you show the venue respect. Countless guys come up to managers asking to get them these lists—with or without a little financial influence—and frankly, they are sick of hearing it.
“Do your job, and the banquet halls will come to you. Also, we are referred from a few facilities that do not even have us on their official vendors list, but we get the calls saying that so and so from this place or that place gave me your information. That is an even bigger boost because we know that there was nothing but respect that led to that referral.”
One of LJ Productions’ biggest referral sources, Trump Golf & Country Club in Bedminster, N.J., approached Bermeo after the banquet manager of Trump saw him perform a communion at a VFW Hall. “Some guys think this kind of gig would be a simple party, but I performed as if though it was a multi-thousand dollar Mitzvah,” Bermeo says. “By doing so, I actually have booked several multi-thousand dollar mitzvahs through that referral source. Just goes to show that you never know whose looking at your performance.”