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Henk Somers: 'We used to be a lonely wolf in the industry…'

From wedding to corporate event; no party is too crazy for it Henk Somers. In 1990, the entrepreneur founded the company together with Henk Focke Moose where you can go for the complete organization and construction of a party. Fascinated by sets, Henk once started at art academy, but is now, thirty years later, called the grandfather of the event industry. How did Henk Somers start his successful career and who was his proverbial figure? wheelbarrow?

Image: Moose

What was your very first job?

''I started making sets for discos at an early age. That's how I started with small sets, especially in the club sector. This soon developed into organizing parties yourself, for example in hotels. People soon asked: 'If you can organize parties in hotels, can you also do this at our home?' And so it happened: from hotels I now organized parties at people's homes, such as communion parties, wedding parties or theme parties."

What do you enjoy organizing most?

''I don't have a certain type of party that I enjoy organizing the most. The best thing is if you can surprise the customer with a complete story. Whether it is a wedding or a theme party, as long as we can ultimately create a fun and coherent story."

Do you come from an entrepreneurial family?

''I actually don't come from an entrepreneurial family at all. My father was math teacher and my mother was a servant.”

Who was your wheelbarrow?

''I think I've been my own wheelbarrow. I was fascinated by sets from a very early age, which is why I went to the art Academy went to Belgium. Thirty years ago, the sector in which I now operate did not exist at all. At one point I started working with a marketing agency, which gave me a big boost. It started with a party in an industrial building for 150 people, three years later these were parties for 9000 people. During this time I got to know many different facets of this world, both musically and organizationally, but also on the design side. The parties I organized were the first major parties to take place in Belgium. For example, the concept of parties with one umbrella name, but in different rooms, with different music styles and different decors, was not at all familiar at that time. We are actually considered the grandfathers of the event sector.”

What is your greatest passion in your profession?

''In general we have a fascinating party culture in Belgium if you compare it with other countries, we can really deliver gems. With our company, for example, we also organize parties for Jewish or Indian families, who really want to organize very exceptional large parties. But no matter how big or small a party is, it's all about the content. My passion is to... experience to create through a party. In my opinion, a party should be an experience where you as a guest continue to discover new things all evening and remain fascinated throughout the evening."

What was the biggest turning point in your career?

''There are a number of them. The first turning point was when I exchanged the small studio for an industrial building. I had to pump every cent into the building to keep it. But this choice also enabled us to organize larger events. The second turning point was when we managed to buy a larger property thirteen years ago. We can store a lot of material here, for example, we currently have more than 13000 chairs in stock. Everything is now located in one building, including the production of sets, for example. This allows us to offer everything together. We arrive on site as one construction team. There are not twenty suppliers who come and plow people's entire domain down. There is one team and one point of contact: that means easy communication internally, but also towards the customer."

What advice would you give to your 18 year old self?

 ''I would especially like to tell my eighteen-year-old self that you should look for a creative solution and above all not go along with yet another mainstream story. This way you quickly disappear into something where there is a lot of competition. I think the worst thing is when people copy our decor pieces, concepts or furniture. Then I think: 'keep thinking creatively for yourself'. I would also say that you should choose something that you really enjoy. This work demands a lot from you. It certainly isn't nine-to-five job. You have to focus your whole life on it. Your social life and your profession are actually one in this profession.”

Have you been a wheelbarrow for someone?

''We used to be one lonely wolf in the industry. We lived in an ivory tower. I am very happy that competition was added at some point. I think I have inspired and continue to inspire many of these people. Many of our fellow competitors come to rent equipment from us, but we often also come up with concepts together. I am not afraid of competitors. There is more than enough work, if there is no Corona...''

If you throw a party yourself, what does it look like?

''Then that is actually a nuns' party. I don't want anything to do with the organization at my own party. Just put me on a spit with a wild boar with a bottle of vodka and I'll be happy."