independent

Tuesday 30 September 2014

Party central

Sligo brothers making headlines as exclusive event organisers for London's super wealthy

Paul Deering

Published 08/10/2013 | 05:40

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THEY'VE just organised a first birthday party for twins that cost £70,000.

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News of the lavish Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan-themed party in the UK hit the headlines there.

Another birthday bash, this time an 18th, set the parents back £250,000.

It's becoming very much the norm for London-based Sligo party organisers, Alan and Steven Duggan.

Alan says: "It's like there's no recession in London. People are spending their money here.

"Many of our clients are private people who don't want headlines but who don't mind splashing out. They just want the best.

"We always try to give it to them and so far we've had no complaints

"We get lots of repeat business."

The brothers took a gamble when heading for London in 2010. It was a big ask for two young Irishmen to try to break into the very competitive party events market.

However, they succeeded beyond their dreams. Alan says: "We now have CAN PR agency behind us.

"They look after Peter Andre and Amy Childs.

"They are getting Steven's name out there, particularly in the press.

"He's being pitched as the celebrity planner for the stars and it seems to be working."

All the reality TV shows are helping fuel the craving for extravagant parties.

"They spurn people on to do bigger and better things with their parties.

"That's the way it is in London.

"The next person wants his or her party to be bigger and better than that last one," says Alan.

The brothers, originally from the Strandhill Road, both have a background in architecture.

However, party planning is where they see their future.

Alan says: "It's a lot of hard work. It's ticking over nicely. There are a lot of overheads. We're not making major money but it is slowly growing and we're making a good living.

"There's so much competition in the London but we're standing out which is good."

The brothers have six full-time employees with Steven Duggan Events.

There could be another 20 to 25 engaged on a freelance basis on party days.

"For the 18th birthday party in Essex we had 60 to 80 staff," says Alan.

On that occasion Alan and Steven joined three marquees together to make 5,000 square feet of space.

There were four bars, three dancefloors with dozen of performers and circus acts.

Party with Steven is not only catching on in the UK.

They've had enquiries from as far away as Australia, China and India.

The Chinese query came after news of the first birthday bash went viral.

X-Factor judge Louis Walsh helped the Duggan boys find their feet in London.

Louis once managed a Sligo band called Brotherly Love made up of the brothers' late father Gerry and his brothers.

Steven and Alan are both past pupils of Sligo Grammar School.

"It looks like we'll be in the business for a while to come yet. We're building a good team and we want to become the main party planners in London," says Alan.

They've some high profile clients, including Adele, Elton John, Leona Lewis and Simon Cowell.

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