To put it lightly, WIBC has kept busy & kept me busy these past months. In addition to supporting the shops & restaurants my products are carried in, most Thursday evenings and Saturday mid-days my company could be found at farmers markets. On special occasions WIBC had the pleasure of appearing at a convention and a few annual events.
Farmers Markets – There is a pleasant number of markets on Whidbey Island, and WIBC participated in the Oak Harbor and Coupeville markets. Similar to the product demos I’ve done at a couple of Island stores, it was great to connect with folks. I enjoyed getting to introduce my products publicly and to talk about the direction of my company and my ideas for products – and often people would give me ideas for products, which was a real gift! It was also through the farmers markets that I started giving a military discount. Through this I get to help support the military, meet a lot of great people, and I get to say “Thank you for your service.”
Special Events – Bringing WIBC to various events was a considerable amount of work and it paid off in even more enjoyment. The first experience was being both at the Coupeville Farmers Market while also being at a quilt show on the other side of town – I had a special tie-in because the show was hosted by one of my mom’s quilt groups. I spent a weekend with my fellow sci-fi fans at Galacticon IV (a Battlestar Galactica & Firefly/Serenity science-fiction convention). Soon following I was invited to bring WIBC to the Whidbey Island Highland Games – it was great to get to bring my products to one of my communities. Toward the end of the season – last minute – I got WIBC registered to be a vendor at the Oak Harbor Music Festival. Everyone came out for the great bands along with some sun & fun and more than enough rain. I got to hear Willie Nelson’s son headline with his band – look out for a new star!
Summer 2015 proved to be a lot of work, and I’m already working on my list for 2016 events.
Okay, back to work.
(January 10th & 24th 2015)
I got to do my first in-store demos of my product January 10th & 24th 2015 at Goose Grocery in Bayview on Whidbey Island.
The 10th preceded a professional football game. I’m not a game person but apparently this was an important one locally as the Seahawks were getting into the finals going toward the Super Bowl. I don’t know what the Super Bowl is, but by the name alone I suspect it is a very large bowl and people are very pleased about it. I on the other hand wonder if I can mix a lot of biscotti dough in it &/or fill it with biscotti and serve it to many people. I will set the official WIBC R&D Department on finding out the dimensions of this bowl right away – more will be revealed.
I sampled the January flavour array from WIBC – Double Chocolate, Almond, and Espresso. While I planned to be there for four hours I think I was there for five. It was great! Samples went out every minute. People talked with me about my company. A few even shared ideas they had – I love that! The Whidbey Island County Commissioner met me – COOL – saying that she is pleased to see new businesses on the island and enjoyed seeing mine. A few days later she started a very nice email dialogue and now I’m scheduled to meet with her on the 30th to talk about ways to further my company. All in all it was thrilling to get to this point – nearly two years in the making – getting to tell people about my product and seeing many people enjoy it for the first time. By the end of my time I was nearly out of samples and I had (basically) sold-out Goose’s stock.
January 24th I was back … this time having the nerve to do something in the way of marketing I’ve had in mind since early in the inception … I wore my kilt. I figure my biscotto is not like normal biscotti, so why should my advertising be … plain? Besides, it was the eve of Robert Burns Day (a Scottish poet from the 1700s who is still celebrated today … or, well, tomorrow as it was). My product seemed to get plenty of attention – which I saw as good since I really wanted to not get too much personal attention, kilt attention, or confuse the public. Again, samples flew off the table and much enjoyment was had (yea). By the end of my time I was nearly out of samples and I had (basically) sold-out Goose’s stock.
Here’s a few things with these in-store demos …
- For all the performing I’ve done, wearing my kilt or as with the first week wearing jeans and a fitted dress shirt, I found myself extremely nervous. I believe in my product, and my baking has already made many people very happy; now that I am doing it professionally I have become very critical and I want it to show well. I want people to give it a chance.
- When talking with people, while I had some speaking points, I wanted to not be scripted. I wanted to connect with people, and that’s what everyone gave back to me. We talked, we laughed, I told them about my biscotti, some told me some of their flavour ideas and baking tips, and I was flattered to hear many compliments on my biscotti.
- In my now two demo experiences I’ve found that there is an energy level that comes up as you meet many people and talk constantly about your product. A few hours into each demo I found myself about as dingy as I could possibly be. The experience cooks your brains. Although I was pleased with what went on each day, afterward I was tired. I felt like I had spent all day playing my (bag)pipes at a festival with my Celtic-rock band – high energy, hard work, put all of your passion out. As much as it lifts you up, it can also wear you out.
- In addition to samples I gave out small bags of my cookie crumbs. I’d look for kids, give these to them, and tell them to take them home and put the crumbs on their ice cream. The kids were pleased with this and so were their parents. No kid was more pleased than one little girl who I saw on the 24th. After I gave her a bag of crumbs she said thank you. Her and her mom came by my table about 3 more times as they did their shopping, and each time she said “THANK YOU FOR MY CRUMBS!” and the whole store knew it. As she passed by my table she did a skipping little dance holding up the bag of crumbs. I hope to never forget her – she was AWESOME!
Until the next one,