Part of the rebranding this year was to make myself known better among the local crowd. Mainly because I feel very strongly about community, such as hiring from within mine instead of outsourcing and being an active part of it myself…but also because they all seem to be pretty interested when they hear about Manic Trout. One way to do this has been to be involved in the few local shows which have been gaining popularity among local shoppers. I was part of the pop up Community Day show in Millbrook, I had a Trunk Show this fall and this past weekend, I was part of Le Shopping at The Stissing House in Pine Plains.
I have to admit that this past week end at Le Shopping may have changed my views on doing shows…which had been that I would participate in as few as possible. I now however think that shows once you are established are an entirely different ball game then when you are just starting out.
At this point, I finally figured out how I like to be set up, so its much less stressful to plan and execute. If I have a system and a plan, I feel much more comfortable doing something. I by now have a local customer and fan base, which means if nothing else, I will be visited by familiar and friendly faces. I also get to meet people who have read about me via press of heard of me word of mouth which is always nice. This past show I met a women who heard about the show but had no idea I would be there, as it turns out has been a website customer of mine for about 4 years and was so excited to see me there! It was really wonderful to meet her in person, how cool is that??
Besides meeting people, I get great feedback on what people do and don’t like…its an awesome way to see the interaction while shopping that you never see online! It also is a great way to push the website…”If you prefer to shop online, I have a large and easy to use website and shipping is only $3!” Many cards were taken after hearing this and you know what? After the second day, two of the shoppers from the show had already fanned the facebook page and I had a message from one!
My favorite part of this past show was however the vendors. I was in a cluster with a few other shops and we were all from such varied backgrounds! One sells almost exclusively wholesale (and also just started doing local shows!), one works for a designer and is starting out herself and one is becoming known on Etsy. I had such a wonderful time chatting with them! We shared experiences and advice and basically talked creative business all weekend during the lulls. That was Heaven. I will do more shows for that reason alone.
At the moment I have no other shows in the calendar, but I will be sure to keep you up to date as they will slowly ease their way into my life. In 2012, I am even starting to wrap my head around my first trade show as I was greatly encouraged by this group to do so. A whole new chapter is opening in the land of Manic Trout!