Bringing VR and AI into event planning! Kristy Castleton’s events business is exploring new ways to incorporate cutting edge technology into event management.
What’s your story?
I started my journey working for a UK group who ran bars and festivals. Being immersed in this world gave me the bug for creating events that put smiles on people’s faces. I trained in-house at Bacardi Global Brands, then I went agency side at TRO, the UK’s largest experiential agency managing events for Mercedes and the Diageo drinks brand portfolio. I then moved into freelancing so that I could gain as much experience as possible working for some of the best agencies and brands.
During my time I’ve worked on the London Olympics, two F1 Grand Prix’s and a host of festivals, sporting events and design weeks. I’ve built a drive through art gallery and coffee shop, a cocktail bar in an oversized suspended chandelier and electrocuted consumers into drinking vodka…
What excites you most about your industry?
The technology. Right now, for example, we’re creating 3D effects that don’t require consumers to wear 3D glasses, putting music gigs on the moon with Virtual Reality headsets and hovering performers over crowds with holographic technology. The possibilities are endless and finding ways to integrate the new technology into events to create lasting impressions is beyond exciting. New, unexpected and memorable experiences are what I live for and what I’m passionate about creating and producing them.
What’s your connection to Asia?
I was commissioned to do an events consultancy project in Singapore four years ago. Within three days of arriving I had decided that I was going to move here. I love the people, the food, the weather, the possibilities for business and the support for new business. There’s a pioneering spirit and optimism here that I don’t always see in other parts of the world. This willingness to try new things and to work together to create new exciting experiences make this a great place to work and live.
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
I really appreciate the smaller cities in Asia. We’ve recently activated events in Vientienne, Phnom Phen, Yangon, Medan and Ulannbatur. The willingness of the locals to help us has been overwhelming. It’s extremely satisfying to be able to give back to them. A location should always be more than a backdrop – and local culture should be an integral part of the experience. Magic happens when an event could only have taken place at that location, with those people at this time.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
That I am my business brand and not to hide who I am. For clients to buy into my business they need to understand why I do what I do and who I am. My DNA has to be visible throughout the entire company. It gets exciting when I hire or work with talent who add their own characteristics and talents. When the sum is more than the parts Rebel and Soul is at its best.
Who inspires you?
Ghandi for winning a war through power and not force. Henry Ford for his future vision. Mark Zuckerberg for inspiring us all to give back and for pointing out some decent tax loopholes in the process.
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
That the University of Delft have proven what Einstein termed spooky science or ‘entanglement’ – essentially where quantum mechanics shows that matter does not take form until it is observed and time runs backward as well as forward. In practice two particles that once met are forever entangled displaying the same behavior despite being opposite sides of the world. Quantum mechanics was the foundation for modern computers and lasers so this finding makes me believe that future possibilities are boundless. I’m still finding ways to bring the Large Hadron Collider from Switzerland to Singapore for an event. There’s some great plans for bespoke Higgs Boson cocktails brewing.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I wouldn’t go to University. It taught me risk, fear and how to drink excessively, all three of which I’ve had to spend every moment since learning to reverse.
How do you unwind?
I love to travel. It recharges my creative batteries and allows me to take a break from the daily detail. I do my best thinking wandering through markets, walking down beaches and being inspired by local food and culture. It also feeds my shopping bug and I’m regularly bringing back unusual table centerpieces and theming props for events. I also make my own ice-cream – but ever since I have caught the entrepreneurial bug I have the urge to turn everything into a business, so in stead of unwinding I end up writing business plans for ice-cream brands.
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Inle Lake in Myanmar. It’s a beautiful step back in time. The transport is mainly by longtail boats from village to village where you can take in golden monasteries, antique markets and silk and lotus trades people who are proud to share their primitive production techniques with you. After a day on the water, a sunset drink with views across the lake and a mountain backdrop are a perfect way to wind down at the end of the day.
Everyone in business should read this book:
Alain de Botton – Consolations on Philosophy. The author breaks down philosophy into bite-size pieces. It is an extremely readable book with brilliant examples of how we can learn from our incredible philosophic ancestors. Great tips from Socrates to Epicurus on life issues and a valuable business lesson in appreciating their determination to be true to themselves, their beliefs, their life work and disregard anyone who tries to stand in their way.
Shameless plug for your business:
Rebel & Soul work with clients such as Heineken, Dentsu, DBS and Chanel to deliver memorable events with an emphasis on cutting edge event technology. We’re working with some incredible suppliers at the moment on integrating the latest virtual reality and artificial intelligence technology into our events. We would love to talk to any brands wanting to explore this ground-breaking arena.
How can people connect with you?
You can drop me an email at [email protected] connect with me via Linked In: https://sg.linkedin.com/in/kristy-castleton-74a7371 and take a look at our website: www.rebelandsoul.com
This interview was part of the Callum Connect’s column found on The Asian Entrepreneur:
Callum Laing invests and buys small businesses in a range of industries around Asia. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is the founder & owner of Fitness-Buffet a company delivering employee wellness solutions in 12 countries. He is a Director of, amongst others, Key Person of Influence. A 40 week training program for business owners and executives.
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