Ok, so the saga of opening with two competitors on the block continues... This week, I decided to check out our local Chamber of Commerce to see what they offered--It was on my list.
OY. It's $30 a month or $350 a year. When you're counting pennies, it seems awful expensive!! My sister, the marketing guru was telling me to join, and I was resisting (FOR A YEAR!) finally, this week, I decided, what the heck!? May as well join... I need to get the word out as much and as fast as possible!
So, Tuesday I called to inquire about joining, and they called back and said, if you join this week, you'll be published in our new directory, but this is the last day... it gets printed next week.... so if you want to join, call us back and then we will set you up. Cool. I ran down to their office in the afternoon to drop off my app, and as I'm leaving the lobby, the membership rep calls me back to set up an appointment to go over the benefits of joining.. I said, I'll be there in a minute!
The benefits-- NETWORKING and a lot of it... free counseling, free seminars, many events... health insurance programs for the self employed, FREE Radio advertising offer -12 mentions in a week, FREE newspaper - 10" of column space! same offer for the small local newletters, complimentary ribbon cutting ceremony that gets photographed for the Chamber newsletter, and they send rep's to attend as well. 10% discount in the local magazine, Awesoome... but i'm double parked, so I took off in a hurry!
5pm Tuesday, their events coordinator calls... she wants to know if I would like to be a vendor a what???? in their Wednesday night 70's theme winter picnic event, at a location a block from my shop!! I was thinking of attending.. but I know me-- I'm happier to be behind a table of treats!! Countdown starts... ran for groceries, then home-- 20 hours to make samples, display cakes, get ready etc..
3 pm Wednesday, I pull up with 400 decorated mini cupcakes, 100 decorated favor cookies, one display cake and a handful of plates and things. 70's was a easy theme... peace signs, smiley faces, daisy flowers, tie dye, etc My sister dropped off a few new biz cards, and I set up. Phew!
4pm table looks too plain!!! I ran a block over to the paper place to get some napkins and balloons... perfect!
5-8 pm---Blurry Smile and Talk .... talk and smile..... give out lots of samples... RAN OUT of biz cards, magnets, postcards... everything but cupcakes and cookies, LOL What a great night!! It was a 'winter picnic' where the food people in the chamber get to come and hand out samples and talk up their businesses.. and the people come to taste and check it out... I was one of about 30 businesses handing out samples, so no wonder I had leftovers!
Excellent event... worth the hour of sleep I got in those two days!!
the hotels that cater weddings and events talked to me...
The caterers that book weddings came to talk to me......
The hairdressers came to talk to me (women always want baked goods)
The DJ talked to me about putting a display in his office...
A bank officer talked to me about a biz loan.....
the borough managers talked to me about my shop.....
The local shops talked to me about their shops and my shop....
a few of the restaurants talked to me about desserts for their shops....
the March of Dimes is thinkin about my cookies for 'Blue jeans for Babies' time (I made bell bottom cookies)
And those leftovers? The local women's shelter came around at the end of the night and collected everything, and gave out receipts too!!
I swear-- I think my jaws were more tired than any other part of me!
So-- There you have it!! JOIN YOUR CHAMBER!!
Congrats - all the work of trying to network all in one evening - WOW! Sounds like everyone was there you needed to network with. That should give you the big boost all businesses need!
Sounds like a very productive few days!
Excellent! Love the networking groups...
WOWZA! I just got excited reading your post! And got tired too - I just kept reading faster and faster as if I were at the event!!
Good for you!! I am happy to hear that joining this group went to well for you. And all of those contacts!!
Keep us posted on what is going on with your store - your posts are always very interesting!!!
That's AWESOME!!!!! Best Wishes to you.
LOL! me too. When I finished her description I was all out of breath! And tired!
Awww thanks guys... I am tired, but I don't want to complain yet!! This is the path that I choose, and If it means that there are many days like that coming up-- well, bring it on!! Honestly, when I'm in the zone, time just flies by... I have pictures up on Facebook... pictures of my table and the 2 hour display cake. TOTALLY not original, but I loved the design and knew I could pull it off.. and hey, it went over well! Thanks everyone... I love to share the joy!
in the zone...
Wow!! Wherever you are, you have a GREAT Chamber!!!
They are not all created equal. My city's Chamber dues are $400, payable all at once. They don't have any of the events that you listed. They do have a magazine. They have one Vendor's event that is held once a year at our almost empty shopping mall...and it's $300 for a 6 ft. table.
So, check to see what the Chamber actually DOES before you sign up.
Again, yours is GREAT!!
I guess I am not at all sure why you are excited. What it looks like to me, is that you PAID to have the opportunity to GIVE away a lot of cupcakes.
We used to be members of our local Chamber, but in the year we were members the chamber bought one $25 cake from us and requested over $1100 dollars in donations at various times.( They didn't get them - They got cupcakes ONCE) And, our chamber charges by the employee, making our contribution something in the neighborhood of $600 a year.
Glad you had a good time, and I hope you get some business from the event.
That is FREAKING AWESOME!!!!!!!
Sounds very promising
Please keep us updated on how the business goes now that you have all the new contacts!!
Thats is so great! I love when I hear people having success!
Way to go!!!! Congratulations and best of luck!
I guess that there are two ways of looking at it--yeah I spent money to make and decorate the stuff I gave away, so yeah, I lose money that way... but I met 200+ people I never would have any other way, so if it takes $50 in baked good to put me in front of 200+ people, it's worth it! Had I attended the event instead of participating... I would have been in and out of there in about 20 minutes... instead of making all the connections that I did!! You have to pick your poison... I am very happy with the decision I made to participate. Will I make as much next time? Probably not... I'll do more displays and less sampling and take twice as many marketing materials as I think I might need!!
I would encourage you to STAY involved in the Chamber and any other committees or organizations that might suit your interests.
Getting involved in both my chamber and my community has paid off immensely.
And about "paying to give away your stuff"...What you spent was probably less than one print ad would cost and nothing can sell you like the delicious taste of your product attached to a smiling face.
Sounds like less money than one would spend on one bridal fair(maybe two depending on the size) which is a one time advertisement arrangement...
Cakenicing4u, it does sound like ya'll's chamber has a lot to offer for the money. I'm glad it turned out well for you and hope it only multiplies your business.
That's a great idea, I'm going to look into mine and see if it looks worthwhile...
So excited for you! Sad my chamber doesn't do things like that They try but fail miserably
Awesome for you.. sounds like a hectic but rewarding time.