2017 started off great. We had our food truck, we had our team, we had a little bit of money, so we decided to go hard! The first big event we decided to participate in was the Seattle Wedding Show. We were able to get the very last booth a couple weeks before the show. This was our big coming out party!
It was a weekend show so my brother and I got off early from work that Friday to take our equipment to the Convention Center. I have participated in many tradeshows in the past with my full time job so one would imagine I would be an expert with trade show planning by now… well I’m not. I failed to order the electrical needed for our machine (which is shitload of power) and so I had to fill the order out onsite. Because of this stupid error, it costed us 3x what it would have cost if we would have ordered it beforehand. Mistakes like this seem minor and insignificant, but when you are a startup with very limited resources and next to zero cash flow, every dollar counts.
Saturday began with us waking up at 5 AM and stopping by our commissary to grab everything we needed. We showed up to the Convention center at 7 AM to prepare everything else we needed. We had sample cups ready to go and had about 6 flavors to sample. The final task was to create pricing for catering. That’s right, we had no idea what we would charge for catering. Sure, we had an idea for what we would charge for one off purchases since other companies on the East Coast were charging a certain price. But catering for large parties is another beast. Do we charge clients more for such a big order which means more prep and such? Or do they get a discount for ordering a large amount? We had no idea and we had until 9 AM to figure it out.
With about 10 minutes to spare, we came up with a sound plan. The first hour or so was pretty slow, but we were so excited that we talked to everyone that walked by. An hour later, we were the most crowded booth in the convention center! And it stayed like that for most of the day! We all lost our voices from talking to so many people. Our backs were soar from making ice cream. We gave out about 700 samples, 200 brochures, 100 business cards, and acquired a lead list of about 50 people. All in all, it was a damn successful day!
Sunday was a bit crazier since word got around about what we were doing! For the weekend, we came out with more than 100 leads and had more than 2000 impressions. It was such an exciting weekend!
You would think with all this success, we would have catering requests left and right, right? Yea, so did we. We even offered to serve at the rehearsal dinners for free if they booked with us. We offered discount after discount. But still, only one wedding party booked us over the following months. Yea, that part sucked.