25 years young
by Elaine Dellar, Founder and Chief Executive Officer
Dellar Davies is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. It doesn’t seem so long ago, but when I started the business in February 1992 (Everything I Do) I Do It For You had already come and gone after a record 16 weeks at the top of the charts, the Premier League was still the old First Division and Ed Sheeran, Emma ‘Hermione’ Watson and Jennifer Lawrence hadn’t even been born…
In business terms, things were also very different back then. When I took possession of our first office, it was without a mobile phone (the average handset would have set me back by a whopping £1,499), without voicemail, without email and without the internet (the WorldWideWeb had only gone online in mid-1991). And when working on a computer, the only Windows I might have found useful would be those I’d look out of to find creative inspiration!
Our initial investment in PCs simply offered one-colour text on a black background, yet in our first year we delivered several sophisticated business events ranging from a VOICE Conference and Exhibition at Olympia – developed by a Texas-based publication to educate the UK about voice and email technologies – to a three-day Amadeus CRM User’s Conference in Seville, attended by over 600 delegates.
I have to admit, at that time I didn’t believe email would catch on. It would take 10 minutes just to log onto our email account, installed by our American client – since we’d never heard of such a thing and still thought sending a fax was the way to deal with an urgent communication. All of us had to share a single business email account which was both time consuming and frustrating, not least because we would forget to log on to check whether our ‘you’ve got mail’ message was flashing!
Clearly the world of business and events has changed beyond recognition during our first 25 years. Whilst we would often work extremely long days and seven day weeks when setting up the business – most event and production tasks were dealt with manually – now we can work 24/7 ‘on the go’ with the aid of portable devices. Yes, it means we rarely switch off, but the freedom to work from home, from a hotel, while flying at 37,000 feet or on a train (oh yes, we pre-date the Channel Tunnel too!) is welcome liberation for an event organiser.
Since our first ambitious but tentative steps in 1992, Dellar Davies has organised events – large and small – all over the world, from London to Cairns, Ras Al Khaimah to The Azores. ‘Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition’, but if Michael Palin could have filmed ‘Around the World in 80 Events’, we’d have been able to provide footage for a series or two with the many unexpected challenges (we call them ‘opportunities’) that we’ve encountered and resolved along the way.