Here at Poptop, our suppliers make your events magical and in some cases, literally so.
We love celebrating with our most successful suppliers on their bookings and ability to make countless clients incredibly happy. So, on that note, A HUGE congratulations is in order for Merlin for reaching 111 bookings!
As our most booked magician and indeed most booked supplier across ALL categories, we caught up with him to get an insight into his career & success.
How did you get into the entertainment industry?
I started off as a DJ. I bought a small music equipment system when I left school and then progressed from there doing different things.
In the early days, I advertised in Thomson Local and The Yellow Pages and I got loads of work from it. Then I decided to become an entertainment agent as I realised there were gaps in the market for certain requirements that people in my area had but weren’t available. So, then I became a magician and a clown incorporating circus skills into my act. I also did big screen race nights and it all just branched out from there.
I stopped doing the entertainment agency around 15 years ago and took some time to concentrate on my own act. The Yellow Pages isn’t what it used to be so I stopped advertising until I came across Poptop about 12 months ago. As you have generated so much work for me, (thanks!) I don’t need to advertise my services anywhere else.
The digital age and the internet have changed the old school way of advertising so any entertainers who have worked for over 25 years, like myself, who used to rely on The Yellow Pages would really benefit from using Poptop – It’s the way forward.
“Absolutely delighted with Merlin’s magic show!!! He entertained the children at the party and had them all screaming and laughing in no time. It really made such a fantastic atmosphere and was the highlight of the children’s day. He mingled with all the children there – even the ones who were a bit shy and made them all feel included. Greatly recommended”
What are the most important skills and/or attributes to have to be successful?
Be diverse. Don’t limit your service to one skill and keep yourself busy – that’s if you perform full-time. If you perform part-time and you’ve got another job alongside your bookings, that’s great. But myself, as a full-time performer, I try to keep my skill set diverse and give myself different channels of work within the industry. This means that each week I could be doing different types of work, which is great! For example, recently I performed as a compare at a national football tournament. Next week, I’ll be travelling to South Wales to perform at a horse racing event and on the following day, I’ll be doing a magic show for one of my Poptop clients.
Keeping yourself diverse and really trying to do different things has been my key to success and opening more booking opportunities for me.
“Brilliant ! Thank you for sorting the event show, went down a dream. Everyone was thrilled with it ! Would definitely book again.”
What are some of the challenges that you face?
Personally, my challenges arise when I have too much work. The workflows so constantly that I sometimes have to take a small step back in order to concentrate on my family – my lovely wife and five great kids – Poptop also helps to manage bookings as it’s all organised in one place.
Which age group do you find the most fun to work with?
I’m not sure if I can think of one specific age group as I work across a huge spectrum of events;
I can be booked for the first birthday, then receive a Poptop enquiry for a 100th birthday party – it’s great! Magic shows and clown shows specifically tend to involve more events with kids aged 4-7, and a lot of my work involves this age group – but I enjoy performing for every generation.
I’ve found through experience that within Asian culture, 1st birthdays can be a big event, almost like a wedding! It’s bringing them into the world. So in that respect, 1st birthdays can be just as important as a traditional 4-7 birthday party but family parties can be just as enjoyable. It’s nice to perform to a diverse age group at one party because you can include something for everybody, instead of channeling it all at one age group.
“Merlin was amazing! Super friendly, professional & an amazing entertainer! The kids loved him! I would definitely book him again without a second thought!”
So if I had to choose my favorite type of event, I’d probably pick; Christenings, Holy Communions, 1st birthdays and Sunday afternoon events lasting 3-4 hours because then I can show them all of my different skills.
I had a party recently that was supposed to be 4-hour booking and I ended up doing 10 hours. There was something happening all day and it was great! Don’t underestimate the games and competitions that I do, because they’re just as good as the clown or magic show. When I do the games and competitions at a Holy Communion, the adults will be volunteering to do it and I love to see that.
“Fantastic entertainment provided for our party. Every child of all ages enjoyed themselves, the live animals were fab. Thanks again for your hard work and providing everything for our daughter.”
What role has Poptop played in your career?
Over the last 12 months, it’s regenerated a lot of work for me and it’s filled up all of my available dates. So, apart from what I’ve already touched on, before Poptop, I’d probably do work in within a 10-15 mile radius but now all of a sudden the whole country is made available. I do pick up some further afield work myself, like park resorts in the summer, but Poptop sends regular enquiries through for jobs a bit further away. Basically, instead of me having a reach of 1 million customers, all of a sudden it’s like 40-60 million.
I always try to keep the price reasonable where I can. You know when you go to the garage with your car and come away thinking “oh, that was dear”, I want people to have me and come away and think “oh, that was a good price” that’s the feeling I like to give.
“He was everything and more then I expected. I needed his services to help me propose to my partner and he was there to help me at every stage, very professional and put on a great show. Highly recommended and thank you for making our day amazing.”
We <3 Merlin and so do our customers!