1st Bridal Show of 2010 – Part 2
Cookies, Design Studio, Miscellaneous

This past weekend we exhibited for the first time at the Springfield Bridal Expo held at the Big E in West Springfield.  I thought I’d share my experience.  Overall, I think that the weekend was very successful and we left Sunday evening feeling positive thanks to all of the feedback we received from brides and vendors.  I really didn’t know what to expect as I’d only exhibited at small venue tasting parties in the past and I wasn’t sure what it would be like to have such a large crowd.  I felt comfortable once we got into the swing of things and found that the questions I was answering weren’t quite as specific (as at the tastings) as far as coming up with new ideas on the spot for clients.  For our table I displayed some of my favorite cookies as well as some new designs which I worked on last week.  We had also purchased a banner which I think came out quite nicely and stood out against the black and white backdrop.  I have to apologize for the pictures we took of the setup.  It seems that they ended up a bit overexposed and bright so everything looks washed out.   

One of the things that I was very nervous about was not having cookie samples to hand out to people as they went by.  Luckily, this didn’t seem to be too big of a deterrent.  I just explained that I would be happy to have people email or call me to set up private tastings at my design studio or if they were out of state I would be able to send them some cookies to try.  I think that this is actually better because we will be able to sit and discuss ideas without all the noise and crowds.  I already packaged some samples today to be shipped to a few brides out of state and have begun receiving inquiries about tastings.  It was very interesting to see if any trends emerged as far as which cookies were most popular.  The place card cookies seemed to be the winner as many people had never seen them before.  I plan on doing a post next week on the blog as well as on my Kate Parker Wedding with some tips and ideas for incorporating cookies into your guest seating arrangements.

We’re going to be exhibiting at a large expo again this coming weekend as we are attending the 25th Annual Connecticut Bridal Show.  I think that I have gained some much needed practice in talking to customers and also have some ideas for how to be more engaging thanks to the Springfield show.  Hopefully, we’ll have another positive weekend.  I really enjoy the excitement of continuing to book the upcoming wedding season and also meeting couples who I may get to know much better if they become clients.  I know that it can take a bit of time for people to contact me as their weddings may not be for over a year or more, but I’m staying positive as I’ve already seen an increase in website traffic since Saturday.  I’ll post a few pictures next week from the Connecticut show.

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1st Bridal Show of 2010 – Part 1
Cookies, Miscellaneous, Weddings

The time of year is here again to start preparing for Bridal Shows and Venue Tastings.  This year, for the first time ever, I am participating in a large Bridal Expo.  I chose to do the 20th Annual Springfield Bridal Show held at the Big E in West Springfield since my design studio is located in Western MA.  I’m hoping that it will prove to be a good opportunity to meet some local vendors and couples.  I’m also excited to see what a large expo is like because when Justin and I were wedding planning we never attended one.  I thought it might be fun to share a behind-the-scenes look at what goes into preparing an exhibit.  Hopefully next week I’ll be able to share my experiences as well as some insight into what I think went well and some things I might do differently in the future. 

Here’s a few pictures from my first Tasting Party of the 2009 season which was held at Tuckerman Hall in Worcester and was a very intimate event.  As you can see from the pictures I just displayed some of my favorite cookies on my table along with albums, business cards, and an apothecary jar filled with samples.  Because it was such an intimate space, couples were able to browse at their leisure as well as ask questions and discuss ideas with me.  I’m thinking that since the expo is so large I might need a more eye catching display with some height to it.

Tasting Table1

tasting Table2

tasting-table-3

In a nutshell my to-do list this week reads “figure out bridal show”.  Then I have about 25 bullet points with items like update albums, make and photograph new designs, and work on overall booth display.  Some of these items such as updating my albums and website are supposed to be a regular activity but when I get busy baking it is often hard to find the time to sit down and go through everything.  One of my main projects this week is to bake and decorate some of the new designs I’ve come up with in the last few months.  I have about 30 possibilities but in general I’ll be very lucky if I end up with 10 that I like enough to photograph and use in my display.  It’s often hard to translate an idea onto a cookie with frosting.  Another consideration for new designs is that I think it’s important not to get carried away making too many elaborate options (which is harder than it may seem!).  Since my cookies come in such a wide range of prices they can fit into many different wedding budgets and it’s important to have a range on display so that potential customers understand why each cookie is priced the way it is and that it is very likely that we can come up with a custom cookie design in their budget.  I have a few different problems I’m still looking for a solution for.  One of which is how to engage couples in a conversation which will continue after the event ends.  I am an extremely shy person so I really have to push myself to be outgoing and interact with such a large number of people at once.  I’m also thinking about holding a giveaway for couples who join a mailing list to receive updates about new products once or twice a year.  Another choice that we have made (and I’m really hoping that it doesn’t turn out to be a very bad choice) is to not serve samples at our table.  I was told that they are expecting about 4,000 people through the doors over the course of the show and it would have been very difficult to make & decorate that many cookies to hand out as samples.  In the past my clients almost always have had multiple opportunities to try the cookies at one point or another in the ordering process so I don’t think that it will be too much of a deterrent from at least making an appointment for a tasting/design consultation to learn more. 

Since I’ve never done a large expo before if anyone has any ideas or advice for me I’d really love to hear it!!

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