We are into March already and this blog was intended for January – as usual time has run away and I find myself in the midst of the usual whirlwind of event preparation for the months ahead. Today, after the snow scenario of last week, I have escaped for a couple of hours to reflect on decisions that have been made for this year and assure myself they were the right ones.
The question I have had asked to me repeatedly this year is “Why are you not doing this/that event anymore?” You will notice if you are one of our regular event followers we have cut down our events diary by nearly half and have chosen 4 great venues to work with. We have also changed the format of the events we are running.
This decision has given me sleepless nights – trust me! However, as a small business in the 21st century, you cannot stand still and last year we acknowledged lots of indicators that led us to this decision.
We spoke to lots of our customers who said they enjoyed our events because they were a day out and a happy experience that made them smile. When I was given that feedback I got that nice warm fuzzy feeling you have when you know you have made someone’s day!
Suddenly all the stress in a run-up to an event (and believe me there are loads!) seemed worthwhile to just let our customers step out of their busy lives for one day and smile.” Do we do that as much as we should these days?” I ask myself.
We also realised as our high streets struggle, that we don’t spend time on those girly shopping trips anymore. I remember many years ago I used to love a day’s shopping, lunch and just chilling out with my friends. I want our events to be those occasions you met with your friends or family for a day out to catch up and just make memories!
So we had our first two decisions; we would only run events that make people smile, with the purpose of bringing them together with their friends and family for that catch up they never get! What great objectives to work towards …
Our next decision was to just use the venues which added the total ‘wow’ factor to the event experience and provided an amazing backdrop for the created event. You will see we are doing a lot of our events at the stunning Mount Edgcumbe (where I am lucky enough to be based now) and Kitley House – another beautiful venue.
We now have Vintage, Jazz and Gin events, our new Secret Garden Party at Mount Edgcumbe, Summer Garden Fetes, (for that nostalgic trip), The Magical Christmas Festival at Kitley House and of course our new arm of the business, ‘A Doggy Day Out’.
Our other decision this year was to help our very loyal exhibitors for whom 2017 was a very tough trading year.
Our thinking was: Let’s provide some guidance days where we get the experts in to advise on marketing, selling and business skills. Our first one in February was so well received, with over 50 attendees and the most amazing feedback. We now hope to run these regularly and also to set up a network for the exhibitors to connect and swap experiences. Another very warm fuzzy feeling moment in my business life …
‘A Doggy Day Out’ has been created after rescuing Max, my beautiful collie/lurcher. I can literally say he has changed my life professionally and personally. We have just set the business up as a new arm of Miss Ivy Events and I have a new business partner, Julie Champion, who is helping me with the operation side of the business. They are fun days out for you and your pooch with lots of activities, stalls, workshops and advice and are proving very popular. Not content with that we are also launching our own doggy magazine called ‘Paws for Tails’ in May and a business networking event called ‘Business Bark’ will be launched on March 28th at Kitley House.
It has been a 7-year journey to this point and most of it has been fun (albeit challenging). To those who are thinking of striking out in business yourself I would say do go for it, but be prepared to make lots of mistakes – just learn from them and prepare to end up on a path you never dreamed you would!
For my lovely customers I hope you enjoy our new events with the changes we have brought in and we look forward to what 2018 brings!!