In Episode 7 of the Big Plans Podcast we spill the beans on our BEHIND THE SCENES experience with attending planner conferences as a sticker shop. We talk about planner conferences/conventions, which includes our own experiences attending as a sticker shop (both as an attendee and vendor). We’ve also donated swag to conferences, and we share whether or not we think it's worth doing.
First up, here are some things to consider based on our experience being a vendor at a planner conference:
There’s a difference in the event size and number of participants between planner meetups and conferences, so get an idea of the number of people that will be in attendance so that you can plan accordingly and know how much inventory to bring.
Usually as a vendor you’ll be given a table at the event, so we highly recommend checking to see if you can request a specific spot (for example near an electric outlet and close to optimal foot traffic).
Another thing to consider is how you will decorate your table. We recommend using display cases or stands to make sure you can display your stickers and stationery items; tiered stands are a great way to utilize vertical space. You may also want to invest in a banner, sign, or tablecloth with your company name and branding on it.
Be sure to bring enough inventory with you to sell at the event, and if you are not traveling by vehicle you may need to ship items in advance to the event location.
It’s important to be mindful of expenses such as travel, hotel, meals, cost of vending and tickets to the event itself (some conferences require the event registration ticket separate from your vendor fees), staffing for your table or someone to help you sell your items, and display items/decorations.
Offer incentives to get people to purchase - for example a free gift for the first 20 customers, give a scratch off card with discounts, or slash prices during the last few hours of the event to get rid of inventory, etc.
Being an attendee at a planner conference:
It is so much fun to be an attendee at a planner conference!
Workshops for shop owners are an opportunity to connect with other shop owners and share advice or experiences, but in our opinion it’s hard to target the whole audience with enough helpful information because everyone in attendance are at different parts of their shop journey.
Some people attend as a shop and don’t sell as a vendor, but instead they’ll just pass out small samplers to their tablemates and people they meet as a way to network and market their shop.
Questions from the Audience:
Q: Is it worth the ticket price to go to a planner conference?
A: For “Go Wild” – yes, because you get a lot of swag! It’s a great opportunity to make friends and connect with others in the planner community. You’re paying for an experience, so it is definitely what you make of it. If planning is your hobby and you enjoy being a part of the community, then it’s fun to go. If you’re not super big in being a part of the planner community and do planning on your own, then it may not be for you.
Q: Is it worth donating swag to these conferences?
We donate swag; however, don’t spend too much time making the actual items. Our first year of donating we did a TON of swag (1000 pieces of swag but each piece was 2 deco sheets and packaged in cello bags with our business card) and it took so long to put together. It was neither time nor cost effective to do this on our own. Our recommendation is to manufacture your items if you are going to donate, especially if it’s over 1000 pieces of swag.
Q: Do you find meetup/conference sponsorships to be effective?
It depends on the sponsorship and what you have in your marketing budget for the size of your business. There’s not a direct Return on Investment, rather it’s a marketing expense to build brand awareness. Also, don’t expect to make back the money you spend right away, but it helps with raising awareness for your brand that will hopefully lead to sales.
Be sure to listen to the full podcast episode for all the details!
Attending planner conferences can be a lot of fun and a great opportunity to network with other shops and connect with the planner community. It can also be a lot of work if you attend as a shop vendor. If you see us at a planner conference, please come up and say hello!
We have included a download link below for our free sticker shop owner workbook! It's filled with fun (well, we think they are) and thought-provoking activities to help you on your shop journey.
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Thank you SO much for being here. See you in the next episode!
xo, Lisa & Lucy