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Hidden Gems: Meet Kirk Houston of Memphis Bridal Show

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kirk Houston. Them and their team share their story with us below:

Kirk and Carol Houston are the owners of Mid-South Shows. Kirk has been entertaining mid-southerners for over 50 years (YES – he is that old!!! – LOL). His wit and enthusiasm has made many events the talk of the town in recent months. But he has been a Memphis staple for many years.

It began as far back as 1969, when he was performing as a young teen in local theater productions, at Memphis Little Theater, Theater Memphis, Front Street Theater, Circuit Playhouse and a number of others, including The Memphis Children’s Theater. In the 1970s, he worked as a radio DJ (as “Krazy K – The DJ”) with a number of local DJ celebrities like Rick Dees, Ron Jordon and George Kline. You could hear him on radio stations WQOX, WTGR, WVAM, to name a few. In the 1980’s he worked the local nightclub circuit in Memphis. Thousands saw him perform at Chevy’s Night Club, Temptations Night Club, Willie Moffatt’s, Coco Loco Night Club and the Mid-South Fair.

In recent years, he has become known as Kirk ‘The Wedding Guy” as he teaches all the dance moves you need to know, to have the perfect wedding reception. As president of the Mid-South DJ Association and Owner of Have Bible, Will Travel Wedding Ministers, he has kept his finger of the pulse of the local wedding industry for the last 15 years. “There has been a major change in the way mid-south brides plan their weddings in the last dozen years”, says Houston. “Brides use to go to one local bridal show, with checkbook in hand. They attended these shows to put deposits down on the various wedding services they need for their wedding day. But it’s not like that anymore.

Brides plan up to 2 years out or more from their wedding and attend numerous bridal and wedding events, shopping for the best deal available for their wedding dates. It’s not unusual to see the same bride over a period of months, at many and varied wedding and bridal events around the mid-south.” “The other thing that has changed in the local wedding industry”, says Houston, “is that brides want to have FUN while they are planning their wedding.

And the events I host do just that—HAVE FUN!

The days of the quite, parlor type bridal fairs have gone by the way-side. Today’s bride and groom are a new generation. A generation of FUN weddings. All you have to do is look at all the wedding reception videos on YouTube and you can see how the weddings of our parents are not the weddings of our children”!

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Covid has had an effect on us, as we did need to reschedule a couple of our events. However, we have since started offering free masks to those who need them, provided hand sanitizer stations and are practicing social distancing at the shows. So far, we have had some of the best attendance we have ever had. Brides and Grooms have spent the last year or so in quarantine and are just ready to get back to a normal life.

As you know, we’re big fans of Memphis Bridal Show. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about the brand?
Consumers love to make personal connections with businesses. Couples want their marriage to be special, and in order to do that they need to know that they have the right professionals on their side to make that happen. That’s why it’s critical for businesses looking to establish themselves in the industry to register for bridal shows. Bridal shows present a unique opportunity for businesses to make in-person connections with their target audience; shows such as the Memphis Bridal Show provide a number of benefits for businesses seeking new customers, When showcasing products at a bridal show, vendors are surrounded by potential customers.

There’s almost no other place where a vendor has access to so many leads in one place, as everyone at a bridal show is either actively planning, or getting ready to plan a wedding and married life together. These shows are often attended by couples, but typically vendors will get to meet brides that are with their mothers, sisters, or friends, all of who may be potential clients. In comparison to many other marketing channels, bridal shows are unmatched. Rather than doing outbound marketing and having to sift through a wide-ranging audience, bridal show vendors are able to communicate with a target audience that’s come directly to them.

Do you have any advice for those just starting out?
As a bridal show vendor, one of the largest benefits is the ability to interact with people face-to-face. That gives vendors a unique sales opportunity that’s not available via print or digital marketing. As most salespeople will tell you, it’s easier to make headway with a potential lead when you’re speaking to them in person, rather than via phone, the internet, or print.

Vendors are able to explain their brand’s mission, products, and position in the market—valuable differentiators in any competitive industry. Interacting with customers in person also does a lot for building trust. Nowadays, customers rarely purchase things without knowing they’re dealing with a credible business; they need to know that a brand understands their needs and values their time and money, so setting up a booth gives a vendor the perfect opportunity to connect with customers on a deeper level.

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