One of the positive things about being laid up in bed with an injury is that I can catch up on blog posts that I’ve been wanting to write! And here’s one that’s long overdue.
We were an exhibitor at the Southeast Homeschool Expo in Atlanta, GA on the 28th & 29th of July, and once again we had a really great experience. That makes 3 conventions for us so far and that was a lot to swallow for a brand new start-up company! This was our largest conference by far, with over 6,000 folks in attendance and traffic to our little booth was good, even though we were tucked away in the back.
First off, I’d like to compliment the Southeast Homeschool Expo event folks. Of the three conferences we’ve attended, this was the smoothest one from an exhibitor point of view. The venue at the Cobb Galleria Centre was very nice and the logistics seemed to us to go well. We got in and set up with no trouble and once the event was over (we like to stay until the very last minute) we were able to get packed & loaded easily.
We were pleased with our overall sales at the conference. We sold 80 shirts which is more than we’ve done in any of our other shows. If we measure sales as a percentage of attendees it was lower than our other events, but we’re really still in the stage of getting exposure for our brand so people know who we are. I don’t think a lot of folks come to homeschool conventions looking for t-shirts, so we consider it a success to have the sales that we did.
The surprise best-seller of the conference was our “I Think, Therefore I Homeschool” t-shirt, a play on the Latin phrase, Cogito Ergo Sum (I think, therefore I am). We almost didn’t print this design thinking it was too much of a niche design for classical model homeschoolers but decided to at the last minute. I’m glad we did, because we sold out at the conference! Not to worry though, we now have more in stock.
But the best part of the conference, as with the previous shows, was the great people we were able to meet. I’m always amazed by the many different folks who are home educating and so excited to see the kind of turnout that was at the event. We had some great conversations about homeschooling with some of the other vendors who hadn’t traditionally marketed to homeschoolers. It’s really neat to hear what they have to say about homeschoolers, particularly when this is their first homeschool conference. It’s like they’ve been transported to this new world that they didn’t know existed and they’re still trying to figure out if everyone’s really as nice as they seem!
We were particularly excited to meet Cozi Zuehlsdorff, one of the stars of the upcoming movie Dolphin Tale, when she, her sister and friend dropped by the booth. We were already looking forward to Dolphin Tale’s release in September, and now it will be even better having met one of the cast!
In addition to meeting Cozi, we also had a chance to meet internet blogger Alicia Stunkel. Alicia was gracious enough to let us write a guest post about Homeskoolie for her blog, ConfessionsOfASnowflake, so if you haven’t been to her site, take some time to drop by and check out her posts on healthy living, weight loss and encouragement.
However, the biggest encouragement of the conference were the many folks (hopefully some of you who are reading this post) who stopped by and supported us by purchasing shirts, sharing great ideas for new designs and letting us know that they believe in what we’re doing. Don’t let anyone fool you, starting up a business is tough work and particularly when you’re trying to get things off the ground floor, the support and encouragement of customers is appreciated more than you know. When we tell folks at the booth or through the mail that we appreciate their business, it’s 100% true. When we finally get this entrepreneurial experiment off the ground and to the point where we’re a mature business, it will be totally because people like you saw and embraced what we’re trying to do, liked a great product enough to buy and wear it, and took a chance on a little company with big ideas. And for that, we want to tell all our new friends from the Atlanta Convention, “Thank you very much!”