On November 6th I participated in my very first bridal fair and while it did not turn out the way I had projected it to turn out, I learned a lot at this show. Here are the top 5 lessons I learned from my first bridal fair
Lesson #1 | Brides at Bridal Fairs Do Not Want to Spend Money
I absolutely LOVED my booth set up for the Forever Bride Market at the Radisson Blu at Mall of America. I spent nearly a week constructing the display and countless nights creating inventory for this AMAZING opportunity. Yes, the booth was expensive, but I was told the brides were ready to buy and I had a good range of prices for my items – so I knew I would have no problem making back my investment. This is where I learned my first lesson, brides do not want to spend money at bridal fairs. They are coming to these fairs to get ideas – possibly book wedding planners or photographers or florists. Brides are not coming to these fairs to buy hangers for their bridesmaids or signs for their wedding that isn’t completely planned yet.
Lesson #2 | Do Not Put Your Inventory Out
Which leads me to my second lesson I learned, do not put out your inventory. I cannot tell you the number of people I saw coming up, saying they LOVED my work and then taking out their phone to snap a photo (all while not taking a business card). If I were to re-do this again, I would not have invested in the inventory but rather put that money towards marketing and created a portfolio with the work I have done and then a set of bridal hangers and then 1 or 2 generic wedding chalkboards.
Lesson #3 | Make Sure You Are Prepped The Night Before
I thought I was completely ready the night before. I was SO wrong. Sunday morning rolled around and I was scrambling to put pieces together, make sure that I had everything and even then I forgot my laptop and my Square card reader. One of the services that I offer is envelope addressing – but there was no sign stating that it was something that I offered. Luckily, I have a marketing savvy cousin who pointed this out and I was able to quickly create one – but it would have been better to have one already done.
Lesson #4 | Have a Price List & a Lead List
Make sure you have a handy list of how much your services and items cost. It looks a lot better to refer to a piece of paper than to have to pull up your cell phone to look at a photo or not know. Also, make sure you have a system to grab leads to follow up with them.
Lesson #5 | Have Fun
At the end of the day, it is what it is. You’ve already paid for the event and you’ve already prepped as much as you can. There is nothing you can do about it now. Take a deep breath and just have fun.
There you have it. The top 5 lessons I learned from my first bridal fair.
Back in August/September I responded to a local photographer for vendors to do a North Shore styled photo shoot. If you have not been to the North Shore to see the fall colors, I highly recommend it. The foliage is breathtaking when you go at the peak time. As I am just starting out, I knew this would be an amazing opportunity to get my name as well as my work out there.
This styled shoot definitely taught me a lot. The number one thing I will start doing is to ALWAYS get what the planner (bride/shoot coordinator) has in mind at the very beginning. You never know what life may throw at you. Since starting Danika by Design, I have been brought out of my comfort zone in more ways I can imagine. Networking and collaborating with other artists and vendors is something I never thought I would be doing. It takes awhile for me to warm up to people and because of this I am always afraid that what my vision is will not match the other visions. I never dreamed I would be volunteering to do styled shoots or even doing calligraphy & hand-lettering for people other than my own friends and family, but I am excited for more opportunities like this and cannot wait to see where they take me!
Just as an introduction, I am not going to write a whole other blog post, but rather connect you to the blog I wrote for Forever Bride. If you are not familiar with Forever Bride, they are a wedding planning website and blog based out of the Twin Cities. I took the plunge and became a vendor with them in September.