By Moses Leos III
Ever since their middle school days, Hays High seniors Austin Uresti and Xavier Flores have been drawn to the world of audio and stage production.
Their passion for the industry is the primary reason why the duo chose to start their own business, Nu Sound Audio, Video and Lighting.
For the pair, their ability to build a business from scratch at a young age has now taken them to new heights.
“It’s been a ride from start to finish. It’s fantastic,” Uresti said. “It’s a crazy feeling that (the business) has expanded into what it’s grown into.”
Life in audio and stage production began at an early age for the two. Uresti said they both assisted in setting up and working sound and lighting equipment at their respective churches in the 5th grade.
But their idea for creating a business started when they entered the 8th grade at Dahlstrom Middle School.
At the time, the two became involved in the theater department. Both Flores and Uresti were responsible for setting up audio and lighting equipment for various shows.
It was then both realized they could possibly monetize on their passion. They soon talked with Hays CISD in their 8th grade year about offering a DJ or sound service to the district for events.
“It was one of those things where we knew we could make money off of it,” Flores said. “It was the how, when and where of it all that was the question.”
But the two hit a roadblock when Hays CISD couldn’t pay for services unless they were an official vendor.
It was at that point the idea of starting their own business began. According to Flores, his father offered to help the two apply for a doing business as (DBA). He ultimately wanted the two to conduct the research necessary for their business plan.
Over the next six months, Flores and Uresti researched what it took to run their business. Uresti called the experience “intense” as they talked with department officials on the best way to approach the start of the business.
For Flores, research included reading online articles that dealt with learning how to start and plan businesses. They also gained insight into the necessary forms needed to begin working.
Uresti said it was a “liberating feeling” when the two gained their DBA in 2012 and became a vendor with Hays CISD.
“It was an amazing feeling, knowing this was grown from the ground up and that we started this,” Uresti said. “Getting this (business) started in our lives and to start our own business.”
The two soon began to meet their goal of working events with Hays CISD. The two helped provide audio and lighting elements for talent shows and other events.
From there, the two gained connections to help provide DJ services at birthday parties, PTA meetings, Dance Unlimited, Sweet 16s and other gatherings.
The experience has led to a variety of interaction both didn’t expect. As vendors, Uresti said working with school administrators was different, as they approached them as vendors, and not just as students.
Both Uresti and Flores also realized the importance of producing a quality product to their customers.
“It was almost a different world. Going in there and getting paid for it,” Uresti said. “The motivation is increased ten fold. You’re there representing your company. People are seeing you as a company and not as a student helping out.”
As the business has grown, the two have also expanded the scope of their enterprise. It now takes two vehicles for the two to transport their entire sound and lighting system.
But Flores said the level of work they put into an event goes beyond just working with a laptop. He said the behind the scenes work includes a vast amount of planning.
“People hear the music and they see the lights. That’s all they think goes into it,” Flores said. “We spend a couple of hours before, even days, finding out what type of music they want and how many people are going to be there.”
The ultimate goal for the two is to expand beyond providing DJ services. They hope to grow their business to provide sound and lighting production at major events such as South by Southwest and Austin City Limits music festivals.
For the two, doing something most high school students don’t attempt is a unique accomplishment.
“It’s one of those things where we like it so much, we haven’t worked a day in our lives,” Flores said. “We enjoy it so much, it’s not really working for us. I think that’s one of the key things.”