Owner: Arosh Fernando
Location: Braeside, Vic
Industry: Arts and media, events
Get daily business news.
The latest stories, funding information, and expert advice. Free to sign up.
Woohah Productions is another business in the events sector that saw its 2020 calendar suddenly and abruptly empty from March onwards.
But, within less than a week, the 19-year-old business repurposed its storage warehouse, turning it into a ready-to-use broadcast studio — one founder Arosh Fernando says is now one of the largest in Melbourne.
“We took a leadership position in hybrid and virtual events,” Fernando says.
Melbourne’s second, stricter lockdown, scuppered his plans again, however, and ultimately led to a fully virtual events offering — the Kasō platform — which allows clients to dress virtual spaces in their own branding.
For Fernando, finding a way to survive was a point of necessity. Early on, even before the JobKeeper package was announced, he promised all his 10 staff members he would continue to support them, he says.
“That meant we had to find a way to make revenue.”
But, it became clear there was an important need for virtual event services. The business has made much of its income from live-streaming funerals.
“We knew we were helping families celebrate a loved one’s life during a time when everyone couldn’t be together,” the founder explains.
But, the team has also been able to take corporate events that would otherwise have been cancelled, and transform them into online experiences.
The service has almost marketed itself, Fernando says, with referrals being a key source of growth.
“When we run clients through a demonstration, jaws drop and minds start working overtime,” he says.
And, when one business has run a successful event, they tell others, and share images on social media.
“Being able to rise above the grumbling and create positive energy for large groups, feels like a triumph, and people share these experiences.”
While Fernando is hoping for the swift return of live events, he also sees both the studio and virtual offering remaining key parts of the business into next year, and beyond.
The pandemic has shown that people don’t necessarily need to travel to attend a conference, for example, so he anticipates event organisers continuing to incorporate virtual experience into their events.
Once the pandemic has passed, technology will be “woven into our daily lives”, Fernando says.
“We will continue to invest in the latest technology to always keep ahead of the curve.”