Event Recap: Lady! A Woman's Expo
Welcome to another fun Tuesday on the Dog Blog! Today, we're looking back at an event we did last weekend...a Tinley Park shopping expo! This was a fun event for us, because it was our first convention/expo type situation. In the past, we've done lots of school visits, where we share our books with kids and talk to them about reading and writing, and we've held book signings at various Chicago stores, but we haven't held a table at a convention until now. It was really exciting!
We did pretty well at this expo. We completely sold out of Chewie's paperbacks, and ended with only about 3 of Allee's paperbacks left. We also spread our message to hundreds of people. There were over 1,000 people in attendance at this expo, and almost everyone who stopped at our table took a bookmark or business card. We also got tons of new signups for our mailing list!
At the same time, we noticed a few issues that could have made the event run smoother. We used the same display we use when we're signing at a bookstore or visiting a school. However, this setup doesn't translate that well to conventions. For one thing, this event had over 90 vendors, and our small-scale setup didn't stand out. To solve this, I'm in the process of designing a standee to go behind our table and create some visual interest higher up. Many vendors had clothing racks or risers filled with product, and the added height really helped draw interest.
The other issue I noticed is that our product is not immediately clear to the average passerby. When I'm visiting a school, I'm the Visiting Author. When I'm signing books at a store, I'm obviously the author doing a book signing. However, it wasn't immediately clear to everyone passing our table that I was the author. When I'd get in a conversation with someone, and mention that I was the author, they'd immediately go, "OOHHHH! That's so cool!" They were all surprised. I hadn't realized I'd run into this problem, but I guess it makes sense--we could be any representatives from a startup, not necessarily the author and stuffed animal designer. So I'm figuring out how to best convey that information on our standee and our display.
Along with people not noticing I was the author, some people thought we were from an animal shelter. I had never run into this problem before. In Chicago, many shelters know that we work with them--ALIVE Rescue, the Anti-Cruelty Society, and One Tail at a Time are all working with us in some capacity. However, in the south suburbs, people seemed to think we were our own shelter, and didn't realize until we got in a conversation that we were actually representing a book and stuffed animal series. I think to solve this, I'm going to put the phrase "BOOKS AND DOGS" really huge on the standee. Because honestly, what's better than books and dogs?! I think that will draw a lot of people in! We'll see!
If anyone else has suggestions for a year-old entrepreneur who's new to selling at conventions, feel free to leave them in the comments! We'll be going to our second convention on May 6, when we sell at Naperville's "Mom and Mini Day Out." See our Events page for more information!
Hope everyone had a great weekend!
Savy & Chewie