Joe O’Connell and Elliott Grant have joined forces to launch a new boutique events agency, Black Book.
Based in Shoreditch, Black Book will provide a full range of event services including incentives, conferences, hybrid events, venue sourcing, creative communications and production.
“We don’t see ourselves as an events agency in the traditional sense and what we don’t want to do is approach clients with a pre-defined set of services,” said O’Connell and Grant.
“Our clients will have goals and objectives and we want to help them meet those through the best medium possible. We will be agile and adapt to whatever our clients need."
Grant added: “We want to slightly redefine the industry in terms of relationships by working with clients and suppliers who are our friends and hopefully build a better product and service as a result. It will be less of a transactional business and more of a collaborative one.”
Grant is currently president of the SITE (Society for Incentive Travel Excellence) GB Chapter and has previously held roles at Black Tomato and Top Banana, while O’Connell has worked for agencies including First Event, Reed & Mackay and Orange Door, and is a former C&IT A-Lister.
“We have both always wanted to do our own thing at some point and COVID-19 actually provided the opportunity because we were both at a point in time where it was the right path to take,” said O’Connell.
Black Book officially launched on 15 June and is already working on three proposals, a small product launch at the end of this year, and an overseas incentive and London conference next year. The agency plans to expand its people and services over the next few months.
“We feel that travel and events are slowly starting to come out the other side now – borders are beginning to open up, airlines are starting to fly again, hotels are reopening, and most importantly clients are starting to put plans in place,” said Grant.
“We genuinely feel that we’ve launched at an exciting time for the industry. After the pandemic, clients will need to communicate with and engage their employees in more creative and innovative ways. As people work from home more, it’ll be more important than ever to offer incredible experiences and event solutions that bring companies together and nourish culture and values.”
The partnership was created thanks to a mutual industry contact who introduced the pair, and the agency’s name comes from their collective ‘Black Book’ of contacts, built up over their years of working in the events industry.
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