The Calgary Stampede is named the "greatest outdoor show on earth", so did it live up to its name as a vendor? 🤔
I'm getting into the nitty and gritty of being a vendor at this infamous event!
Warning: This is a long blog.
Grab a cup of HelloAmino Tea Latte and dig into all the details, no holding back. PLUS read to the end to find out if we will do it again next year.
Here's the deal, the Stampede should open up vendor application for the following year as soon as the current season ends.
As a small business it's a big event to not only plan/prep for but to invest in and having more than 2 1/2 months would've been appreciated.
OK now that I've got that out of the way....
Believe it or not, HelloAmino was originally waitlisted. We were gutted at first and then thought, "phew! We escaped that one!"
But then 2 months later we received a phone call offering us a spot in the Makers section for the first 5 days.
Normally you need to commit to all 10 days (plus sneak a peek) but for those vendors that make their own products you can go into the makers section and choose the front half, back half OR all ten days.
We thought this was a great compromise and signed up! 🤠
We get asked a lot "was it expensive?".
The cost to vend at the Stampede wasn't that expensive all considering. It's about the same price as a high end local market. What is expensive however is the investment that comes in inventory and the booth set up.
We spent 2 1//2 months prepping for 5 1/2 event days. We maxed every credit card, were denied a secured LOC from our bank (the most devastating news) and busted our butts to prepare. We went ALL IN.
Being an entrepreneur takes GRIT and I'm no stranger to it but prepping for this event took my stress to an entirely new level.
My health suffered, our marriage suffered, my nutrition suffered. I've never cried in Mclain's arms as much as I did leading up to this event.😭
WHY? Because we were risking it ALL. And that terrified me.😨
Once the day finally arrived the stress dissipated and now we were just there to get in front of hundreds of thousands of people and represent our brand.
The hours were LONG.
12-13 hours at the grounds but in reality it was 15-16 hour days as we were up at 6am getting samples and ourselves organized.🥱
As a chef of 16 years being on my feet is no big deal but nothing prepared me for 12 hours at the Stampede. Even with a mat to stand on my feet and ankles swelled up so much it looked as though I sprained my ankle!
The people came in HORDS! 😲
And I'm talking more people than I've ever seen! We had record attendance and took the Guinness book of world records for the most pancakes served in 8 hours!
Over 1.3 million people came through the grounds over 10 days which was HUGE exposure for our brand.
However, the amount we sold was LESS than our average local market.😲
Sales were a massive disappointment and this became evident on day two, to not only us, but our other market besties that were there as well.
Mclain and I had to immediately pivot our mindset. I broke down and sobbed, once again, in my husbands arms until I picked myself back up and changed the way I looked at things.⬇️
One of my favorite quotes; "change the way you look at things and the things you look at change".
And that's exactly what we did.
Instead of thinking sales, we started thinking in emails gained and connections made.
Community became my favorite outcome of the Stampede.💛
Our community SHOWED UP!
The BEST decision I made was to create my Stampede email series prior to the event at the advice of my Dad.
I took our followers along for the ride and showed the good, the bad and the ugly.
Each day it took everything in me to turn around another disappointment into a lesson to be learned. And you know what?
You came, you bought, you DM'd and you emailed.
You freaking RALLIED for us. (It's bringing tears to my eyes as I write reflecting upon the support you gave)🥰
I was blown away. I had no idea so many people cared so much.
Cared about us, our brand, our product and were willing to tell strangers just that.
When you showed up to buy, if a stranger was at our booth, you gushed to them about how good our products are. You were our cheerleaders and I can't tell you how grateful and honored we are for you.
Thankfully we ended on a high.
Our final day was our best sales day of the week and it had us asking the question....."Would we do it again?"
This answer changed several times but we've landed on a YES.
And here's why.⬇️
The aftermath has been UNREAL.
The traffic to our website is up 52%.
The engagement on my Instagram has soared.
And the number of "first time orders" is unbelievable!
We got brand recognition and reach like no other market has allowed.
And so for that reason, yes, we will do it again.
However, still only for 5 days. But who knows, keep following and maybe next year when the pain in my legs is but a long distance memory we might just sign up for all ten!
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts, I honestly cannot express enough how much your support means to us.
PS: Be sure to check out my other blog HERE about where to find us IRL and what makes us different.