Greg Gilmour - Part Owner
Mardigras Event Hire

What is the nature of your business?
Mardigras Event Hire is a Family owned Event and Party hire business located in Hastings, in the heart of Hawke’s Bay. We supply marquees, furniture, tableware, and catering equipment to a majority of events, parties and weddings in the local area.

What is the market for Mardigras Event Hire?
Our market is predominantly local, as opposed to national.  Major Events, concerts, Mission, Church Road, Black Barn, Corporate dinners, Exhibitions, wine and Primary sector Awards, Field days, funerals, fundraisers, weddings, and just about any celebration.

How did you get involved in this business?
I had grown up in the hire industry starting work as a kid in the school holidays at Porirua Hire Centre in the late seventies and early 80’s. This lead to employment with TSL Rentals (Hiremaster Party and Event Wellington).

Having worked there for a few years, I left to travel through South East Asia with my now wife, Maxine in 1993. Her parents John and Anne Lane owned and operated Hiremaster Hastings and invited Maxine and I to work the summer season for them. During the six month period, we had introduced a few changes to the way things were done in the business and loved the lifestyle in Hawkes Bay.

Mark, my brother in law and myself, are owner-directors. Between us, we share similar values and approach to the running of the business. We employ ten full time and casuals with up to 16 altogether over the summer.

Mark, Maxine & Greg

How is the market innovating in Party & Events?
The market is primarily driven by corporate functions such as DHL, Rugby World Cup, and other significant events. More dynamic is the wedding and private party market which is more specific in look and requirements. With access to Pinterest and Facebook, fads and fashion change quickly. People are getting more discerning regarding tableware and glassware. Food trends have also moved to cocktail parties, and food trucks as opposed to formal sit down dinners.

What makes events special?
Being a bit of a social beast, I have always enjoyed the interaction with a wide variety of people, the challenge of working with a team putting an event together, and the comradery among suppliers and event managers. There is great satisfaction in delivering an event that is seamless, on time and goes to plan.

How does your experience with HIANZ help you professionally?
I’m always on the lookout for ideas and ways to improve and benchmark what we do. Networking within the industry is vital to building relationships with other businesses and suppliers.  For me, the association has also provided mentors like Tim Mikkelsen, Colin Taylor, and Greg Ward.

HIANZ has been instrumental in driving change by supporting professional development and providing training programmes such as EWP, marquee installer and electrical testing. They also help with tackling the of H&S compliance, marquee/building code, and provide legal advice.

As a newer member of the board, it’s given me an opportunity to give back to the industry. But it’s worth acknowledging the depth of knowledge, experience, and effort of the board members current and past.

How do you relax on the odd day off?
I love living in HB. I’m not one to sit still and take a while to unwind.  I joined a gym a few years back, and that has proved to be a great way to finish the day, work out the day’s stresses and relax together with noticeable health benefits.

I’m also often found out cycling on one of the local cycle ways, fishing or out hiking in the ranges, hitting the beach in summer or snow in winter. Attending outdoor concerts, sniffing out good local produce and wine, craft beer, stoking up the Weber and having a good old time. Every once in a while we get out of HB on a good old-fashioned roadie anywhere.

Where to in the future?
We’re the process or restructuring our showroom and retail side due to increasing internet shopping and discount stores. We have introduced an eco range of disposable ware and are scaling back on plastics we sell. We have also implemented a recycling process for our plastic packaging used on hire gear if the clients return it with the order, which we do free of charge.

We are acutely aware of trend changes, the increase of the Pinterest bride and party, and the growth of the small niche market businesses, so chasing trends is tough going. So we continue to grow and build on our hire range keeping it reasonably generic towards seasonal longevity.