Sunset Affair: Mitch McIlwain, Justin Kong and Trent Jones
A solicitor, a salesman and a marketing guy walk into a bar… and throw the hottest soiree of summer for the fashion-forward young professionals of Brisbane! Trent Jones, Mitch McIlwan and Justin Kong are three mates who’ve travelled the world in search of the perfect party formula, and have brought it home in the form of The Winter Social and Sunset Affair.
Q What inspired you to start these events?
We've all done a fair bit of travel, having seen and been to the parties overseas and having been particularly influenced by the secret society parties they have in London and New York. With the massive trendy, cultural shift in Brisbane over the past few years we saw the opportunity to bring these events to the Brisbane social scene.
We all wanted events that offered more than just a package deal, we wanted to create an actual unique event that attendees would remember. Our key priority was to ooze professionalism. Plus, we thought it would be a great networking event for young professionals of Brisbane and surrounds outside the constraints of the workplace environment.
Q You all come from fairly different backgrounds. Can you tell us about your day jobs?
With a degree in Property Economics and Diploma in Project Management, I've spent the past nine years working for my family’s civil engineering firm, however I've recently started a new role in sales with a different company. Outside of work hours, I work on property developments with my father.
I operate Disco Entertainment, a hospitality marketing/promotions/event management company. I’m involved in running race day events, events at the Boundary Hotel and Capri Sundays and of course Sunset Affair and The Winter Social. I am also one of the directors of Our Place Bar and Miss Kay’s Burger Bar.
I'm a solicitor for an Australia-wide law firm called McInnes Wilson Lawyers. I work mainly in litigation and some commercial matters. I’m also a registered pharmacist and head up a number of professional associations.
Q What was involved between the idea and the first event coming to life?
A lot of research! Justin worked in the entertainment industry so logistically we had an advantage, but we spent countless hours researching every little detail and brainstorming ideas to set our events apart. This included what entertainment we should have and if we could organise it in Australia, what food and drinks matched our theme and then, of course, there is staging, lighting, security, ticket sales and the venue!
Q What can we expect from Sunset Affair 2015?
At each event we try and outdo our last - from entertainment that has never been tried before, to new cocktails and food stations. We pride ourselves on keeping our finger on the pulse to push boundaries and do a lot of overseas research to make each event unique.
Q Talk us through the fashion element of Sunset Affair.
Fashion is such a huge part of our events. In the past we’ve had fashion shows and catwalk runaways going on during the event. We’ve showcased Brisbane boutiques and young fashion designers ranges. We love the fact that our events provide a platform to showcase these outfits. We are currently in talks with some major Brisbane boutiques who will design and tailor outfits for both the males and females attending Sunset Affair 2015.
Q What’s your advice for aspiring entrepreneurs wanting to get into the events industry?
Firstly you have to recognise your strengths and weaknesses! A great event does not come about because of one element. Marketing, sponsorship, music, lighting, event ideas, attendees etc… all of these things together make a great event.
But at the end of the day, you miss one hundred per cent of the shots you don’t take, so we say have a crack.
Sunset Affair, November 28