|Reinvention, Resilience and Resurrection
This is the spirit of The Demo Diva Demolition Company. It is the energy and enthusiasm Simone Bruni brings to the world of demolition.
Simone, a Lakeview resident, was a corporate meeting planner selling the city of New Orleans to high end convention planners prior to Hurricane Katrina. She led her customers through the bayous and plantations, as well as the best restaurants in the Crescent City. She showcased the city with a passion and flair of southern hospitality.
Yet, life in New Orleans changed one fateful day.
The convention industry suffered massive cancellations. Simone was laid off. Her home in Lakeview was flooded. Her family members also were flooded. And as a single woman with no construciton experience, rebuilding was a daunting consideration.
Simone was offered to relocate to other cities but chose to stay. “Sometimes a disaster can open some of the greatest opportunities in one’s life. The Katrina disaster opened that door for me and I walked straight through it,” says Simone. “I couldn’t see it at first. I knew that I had to put one foot in front of the other day by day and rebuild my little house. I was so overwhelmed with grief. As I began to see that my neighbors’ needs were greater than mine…that’s when I caught the vision. The Demo Diva was born. This was my new niche. And I thank God every day for such rewarding, wonderful work.”
“The first question people ask me is 'What do event planning and demolition have in common?' The answer is people."
Simone was quick to recognize that although the equipment is different, you are only as good as your team whether organizing parties or construction work. Simone scrambled to find qualified subcontractors in demolition. She brought a pink flamboyance to her marketing and then hit the streets of Lakeview door to door. Her first big breakthrough came the night she heard that Little League baseball would be holding their first game back in the neighborhood. With business cards printed at Office Depot, Simone went throughout the parking lot putting cards on windshields. “It was humbling and I must admit that I did cry. I remember seeing friends with their husbands and children playing ball and I’m putting cards on windshields to survive! Oh God! I think I felt so alone and vulnerable at that moment. This is not how life was supposed to turn out.”
Simone recalls clinging to the words spoken to her by the Brazilian immigrants helping her rebuild her house. “You are an American! You have every opportunity to own your own business and make a life for yourself. Go for it!."
The Demo Diva Demolition Company has been in business for four years. While Demo Diva had started in residential demolition in Louisiana, the business has now expanded to the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Demo Diva has now grown into commercial demolition and selective interior demolition.
"Don't under estimate the potential opportunities in a disaster. If you harness that energy, it just could be like a kite to launch you into a new stratosphere," says Simone.
Having trademarked the Demo Diva Demolition name, Simone has dreams of taking her business to the world.