Spitalfields Market

After our trade fair in the Kingston business school, we had another try before the fair at Kingston Market. In terms of size, Spitalfields was larger, there was going to be more teams but the location of the market was an opportunity for us to make some sells or at least get some feedbacks. We knew it could go either ways: people could either hate the product and not want anything to do with it or they could love it and would either purchase it or give their impressions.

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One of the many reasons why we wanted to go to spitafields was because we wanted to sell the remaining products from the first batch. We wanted to get feedbacks and mostly see how to prepare for our third trade fair. When it came to telling the story with our stand, we made some drastic changes and the décor was much, much simpler. We just wanted the focus to be on the products and nothing else. We made an advert that we were playing on a small iPad, we had flyers and business cards. Likely, we made some sales although not as much as anticipated, but what we appreciated the feedbacks.

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The highlight of the day was pitching in front of the chairman of Young Enterprise. We were not aware of who he was so there was no added pressure of knocking his socks off which allowed us to rather focus on telling him about our product and us as a team (how we came about the idea, how we were enjoying the experience, etc). His feedbacks were encouraging, we used the approach we took when pitching to him and adapted our pitching style.

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Some people could tell straight away that the product was for travellers and could guess its purpose, others thought wrong but that also allowed us to change a little for next time. Although no prize won, still left feeling more accomplished.

Social Media – Vegan Festival

As much as in today’s society there are still some people who are opposed or who do not fully grasp the concept of social media, more now than ever it is clear that it cannot be ignored. Whether or not you are a student, an entrepreneur, a singer you have a brand and you cannot overlook social media. Nowadays society make its judgement of a company from the information given on social media. More than ever customer reviews matter and social media is where companies need to be interacting in order to be successful.

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For our company, we originally created an account on Instagram, Facebook and twitter. We were finding hard to managed and updated all three accounts. When we were asked a very simple question yet hard to respond to, we took action and changed our strategy. This is a question that stuck in mind “why all these platforms? Why not just one and all 3?” On Facebook we wanted to create a community, we used our existing contacts to create awareness to our brand and also spread the word. We wanted to build trust and on there, we shared information about where the next fair was taking place, how to get in touch for any information that is not clear and specific things as such the price, the range of colours offered, etc. On twitter we wanted to induce the desire of travel, share links to articles about travellers, share picture of getaway destinations one might not think of etc.

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What is life without fun right? Well, we though it was a good idea to have a look at how professionals who have been doing this for years, study their attitude the way they interact, present their products, etc. If you have not guessed it we went to a vegan festival, no no N-O-T BORRING! I can hear you thinking, the word you are looking for is F-U-N!

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London Vegan Festival (2017) By M.Boni-Kaya

Not to our surprise, everything we had been taught or seen was clear as water. Not every companies where on social media, they chose the ones that worked for them. Some only had Facebook, other neither and just an email address. When it came to their stands, the focus was on their products, not everyone had flyers or big posters in front or next to their stands. In closing, I will say that it does not hurt to be on social media, we just need to ask ourselves why are we there and what do we want to achieve on there?

Kingston Business School Trade Fair

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After our Dragon’s Den we knew that we only had a few weeks to prepare for our first trade fair and the stakes were high. As one could only imagine when taking part in a trade fair for the first time, there is certainly a lot of pressure from the do’s and don’ts. Call it human nature or just ambition regardless of whether someone is doing something for the first time we always want to do well. No member of my team nor myself had ever taken part in a trade fair before, we had been to many, knew what they were but there were still many things we did not know. Likely we individually read and watched a lot to familiarise ourselves with the concept. We started drafting earlier on what we wanted our stand to look like, what the focus should be put on etc. It is not an easy process trying to find the direction the brand should take because a dew weeks ago in December after the first Dragon’s Den everything sounded easy (manufacturing, developing brand awareness, etc) it was not until we had to get our hands dirty that we realised that there’s too much that has and will go into everything. Perhaps not everyone will experience this but working with a team where each member if a bit of a perfectionist is certainly overbearing at times.

Now, did we get the product ready for the trade fair? YES WE DID!! We only made 8 to sell at the first fair and see how people would react. We made them in a waterproof fabric and offered in either “navy bleu or black”. It is worth mentioning that we tried to make a few units ourselves but did not like the finish considering the price we were planning on asking we thought that the quality had to be good. As a result we embarked on a mission to find a tailor that was both affordable and was able to work within the time frame we would give him. After a few frogs, we finally found someone who was not quite our prince but who could do for the time.  We were still not please with the end result and decided that for the next fair we will go back on the hunt for our prince.

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Thankfully, we were told not to buy banners because I can see why it is easier to just put your money into banners hopping that it will help you stand out. We were instead encouraged to use our imagination to come up with something which was hard. We settled on the suitcase, as if it was not hard enough we kept thinking until the day of the first trade fair of how we could improve. My advice is stick to what you’ve agreed and wait for the first people who approach you , get them talking to see how they like it and people as surprised as I was are not afraid to tell you what they think. When we were told that it was confusing to find or know what the product was, that the stand looked like a boutique we quickly took down the packaging, the bin in what the product was and the end result looked like this:

Before:

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After:

Although there is no picture of the after but as mentioned above the following were removed:

  • The bags
  • The suitcase
  • The small white bin
  • The treats

Did our stand help tell a story? We thought at first that our stand was communicating a story but our product was drowning to say the least, it was not easy to spot.  We got a lot of “So what are you selling?” or “where is your product?” “Are you selling suitcases?” Yes, we had suitcases as part of our décor to sort of guide or hint the people that our product was related to travel. We had pictures clipped onto those suitcases as the pictures show.

Thankfully we were allowed to struggle first and were given guidance the day after to know the do’s and don’ts for the fairs to come. Something that was a bit hard to comprehend at first because it sounded like a doctor telling a patient, yes I want you to get sicker first before I can operate on you. We had to trust in them and allow ourselves to make mistakes before we could understand what they were trying to tell also I think that by allowing us to that first it will stick and will surely not be forgotten.