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Sunday, 25 July 2021 20:00

Jenny & The City Exclusive interview with Debbie Durkin

Written by Jenny Leeser
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Exclusive interview


Debbie Durkin   

Interview by Jenny Leeser

How and when did you begin with the gifting suites?

I launched our Main Event Lounge at Sundance Film Festival in January 2007. I have been attending & supporting the film festival since 1987 as a celebrity talent agent bringing my clients to the festival each year attending film premieres and the private lounges.

The brand sponsors at the majority of these events were unhappy being overcharged for sponsorship fees with little ROI. I was discouraged by the greed of some of the event producers and lackluster event productions.

I purposely created my lounge to provide affordable solutions with honor and integrity to benefit the brands. We love creating events with amazing food, music, people, fun brand activations and a media event wrap report delivered to our main sponsors 1-2 months post-event, all the right ingredients for a great party and successful event follow up.

Fast forward to present times and proud to say we have accomplished amazing results for our brand sponsors, adding authenticity and accountability to our mantra, securing 12.9 (almost 13!) BILLION media impressions across all platforms in our ECOLUXE Park City/ABC4 Media Lounge in January 2020. It's taken 15 years to assemble like-minded individuals who share these passions. I am blessed to have an amazing team!

What is ECO-LUXE?

I changed the name of our event to ECOLUXE in 2014 because it's a seamless fit with our platform to highlight brands that are good for the Planet, environment, home, family, even the pets since ECOLUXE means eco-friendly luxury re-defined in our modern world, based in environmental sustainability with 'Luxe' meaning luxury. The new 'luxury' are products of quality that provide a unique experience of embracing the natural environment and heart and soul of each creator, that promote social consciousness.

What do you enjoy mostly about the gifting suite event? Since I am a story-teller, the networking one-on-one with everyone in our entertainment industry is what I enjoy the most, introducing brands to some of the most creative minds on our planet. These convos are priceless!

What has been the ultimate gift ever given at your suite?? Luxury resort destinations.

2021 06 09 00 08 41.513 0700

How did the pandemic affect you & how did you keep the Covid-friendly events going? 

Our company as a sustainable business committed to being online years ago so I wasn't adversely affected working at home. However, I was determined to keep the LIVE EVENT model alive during the throes of the pandemic. I pioneered the 1st "Drive-Thru" celebrity concept in our nation back in June 2020 in the throes of the pandemic with no vaccine in sight, working with the Beverly Hilton Hotel (who graciously offered us their front driveway as our drive-thru venue) and their partner Lysol to execute the CDC health mandates at our event to keep everyone safe. I registered the hashtag #EventResponsibly and worked with my amazing team (over 30 people!) to make it happen in time for our Pre-Emmys in September 2020.

It was so successful (2 Billion media impressions-not including social media!) that the Beverly Hills Hilton offered their driveway to us again for our April 23rd ECOLUXE Awards Season COVID-safe Drive-Thru Luxury Experience. We secured over 6 Billion media impressions (not including all social media) in this 1-day 6-hour LIVE EVENT. Not one person became ill at either of our Drive-Thru events!

What inspires you?

My father RJ Durkin (RIP).

He taught me about business, who always supported me, encouraging me to build a more purposeful life.

He would say: "Debbie, if you love what you do, it's called PASSION, not stress!" and to "never, Ever Give up, keep moving!" As a result I am further inspired by people and their good causes: to be in service helping people level up the presence of the products and lifestyle services that they create to secure the wide recognition they deserve so we can bring back the economy of our nation and be in a stronger position to help the less fortunate. We uplift small business, women-owned businesses, black-owned businesses, socially conscious businesses, corporate brands launching sustainable products, and spotlight non-profit causes.

How is a day in your life?

Getting outside with my two white Labradors, catching up with the news, responding to hundreds of daily emails, pitching TV segment & Film producers and media for brand placements, client conference calls, researching brands for my ECOLUXE "Must-Haves" ABC4 TV segment and the TV shows with whom we work, evening playtime with pups, dinner, then either out with friends, self-care down time, watch a film/TV show/ read a good book, and meditating before retiring.

What charities do you support & why?

SPCLA ( I am a longtime Animal Advocate-theirformer official Animal-Assist Therapy Team with my 1st white labrador, Cruiser), Humane Society, Hope For Paws, AWC ( American Wild Horse Campaign), Wagmor Pets, In Defense of Animals, Huntington Dog Beach , Bethanny Frankel's #BeStrong, Shriners Hospitals for Children, Prevent Child Abuse Utah, Toys for Tots Utah, Carry The Load (in support of our fallen military) and lots of individual causes like Cancer, etc. We donate a portion of all our Amazon Smile and Ralph's purchases to a few of the above-mentioned non-profits. For years we have been donating ongoing Celebrity Gift Bags to one USA lucky follower on both our Twitter and Instagram accounts (@producerdeb) and also one to their favorite Charity.

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