Yesterday was my second vendor event.
In preparation for the event I neglected the online shop by focusing all my attention on having enough Cash and Carry product ready.
I always have this grand notion that there wont be enough sets. I'll sell out and have to direct people to buy online. Oh the horror!
Those pre-vendor thoughts couldn't be further from what actually happens.
The event yesterday was very similar to the first. I talked to A LOT of people. From each person I spoke with, I heard, "This is so clever! You came up with this? How cute! I love it!". Every. Person.
I know it's not lip service either. I have a pretty good bull crap meter. There is genuine enthusiasm when people tell me they like the product.
So. Lots of nice comments. No sales.
Well, I did sell 3 sets in the last half hour but it was to one of the volunteers working the event. And if I recall from when I volunteered at this same event 5 years ago, a designated volunteer was given monies to spend on some vendors to encourage them to come back. Not saying that's what happened, but it could have been.
At the first event I spoke with more people and gave out way more business cards, but had no sales. Towards the end of that vendor event, my business peer, Cherry, had to talk me off the entrepreneur ledge. I was discouraged to the max.
She said the clientele at the event didn't match up with my ideal customer. She also said I needed visuals.
She was right.
Cherry wasn't my only cheerleader that night. I also cheered myself up. I convinced myself as I was packing up my car that dark evening after a long and anxious day, that this is exactly how every good start up story begins.
That one day in the distant future when my company is a Fortune 500, I will be interviewed by a magazine (INC or Entrepreneur, obvi) and the interviewer will ask, "Marcia, what advice can you offer to entrepreneurs who are trying to introduce a brand new product in the market?".
And I will say,
"My first ever vendor event, I didn't sell anything. Nothing! But instead of bringing home cash, I brought home knowledge. That experience ended up being way more valuable than any amount of money. I was shown the importance of figuring out my market, and how to market my product. The same goes for the second vendor event, when I sold to just one person." and then I will drag on and on and on like I do in real life. hahah...anywho :o/
That night I also returned home to Ryan who, instead of being pissed that he cancelled guaranteed cash money lessons to come home early and watch the kids so I could attend something I lost money on, said, "Don't be discouraged. We just need to figure it out. Learn from this experience. Give product away. You got this."
The first vendor event was August 1. 3 weeks after launching.
At yesterday's event, 11 weeks after launching, people understood the product because of the new banner. I snuck up (not really, I was returning from the bathroom) on a mom explaining to her young son what the MagnifiCuffs were just by looking at the banner. Holler!
So, from the second vendor event I learned the true importance of just how valuable my time is. And to stop wasting it.
I'm so hungry, though! I want to sell, I want to hear what people have to say, I want to see their expressions when they see the poster, or demonstrate the product on them.
But, it's not time effective. The 2 events I vended at, weren't my target group. I don't regret doing the vendor events because I learned a lot, but I think mama's done learning for now.
After talking to one of Ryan and my close friends this morning, we are headed in a new direction. One I kind of new from the start, but wasn't sure how to tap. Now that Ryan and my initial thoughts have resurfaced through one of our brightest business minded friends, we are revamping our marketing strategy and focus. Again. Ha!
I'm going to do the damn thing.
Wish us luck!
The exhausted but extremely optimistic Marcian