The debut of my Go OM Yourself pop up store is also my first Yoga Expo exhibitor experience. I am nervous and excited to finally unveil my brand IRL…into the world, outside of the safe confines of my office and computer screen.
Be prepared to be prepared
I am up before the sun on my way to to the Expo with two hours of sleep. My goal is to get there by 6am, set up my pop-up store and roll in the money. Because this is my first ever pop up event, I have a brand new untested structure. Also, I still need to package some of the merchandise. Although I am going on two hours of sleep, I know I’m pressed for time. But, I figure four hours will be enough time to get everything done. All I know, is the doors open at 10am, and I need my Go OM Yourself pop up to shine.
What not to do
I arrive to the venue, back into the loading dock and run into the Expo to check in, get my credentials and borrow a dolly. Then I race back to the van in the loading dock and pull on the back door handle to begin unloading. It’s locked. Next, I walk around to the driver’s side pull the door handle, it’s locked. On cue, my stomach rises into my throat, as I peer in the window and see the keys on the driver’s seat.
After a three-hour setback, and hiring a locksmith, I am weirdly calm, as I unload and start set up. There is only one hour for me to set up. Before I know it, it’s 10am. I begin to perspire and am the “opposite of calm” when the doors open. Then people start to wander into the venue. When my corner booth, right up front by the entry, is the first thing they see. It’s a complete disaster.
To really make it special, the Expo producer finds his way to my space and lectures me on set up protocol. “This needs to be cleared away, set up started at 6am…this is not..” I block out his voice. I want to cry. But there are no crybabies in business. So I push on, with my messy clump of a pop up. At this point I am ready to quit my yoga expo vendor experience…as it is turning out to be a nightmare.
When all else fails refer to yoga tools
I dig deep into my psyche and remember my yogi tools. I start with deep long inhales and slow exhales. Then I repeat my “go to” mantra “I can do this” and set my intention to simply just get the booth together. I manage to help a few customers while I assemble my space. By 11:30 my booth looked amazing! Better than I could have imagined!
Go OM Yourself shines. People love the look and feel of my store and adore the merchandise. I am exhausted, but adrenaline has me running on high. Oh Man, as the day progresses I am have a blast, make new friends, share my work and make a some sales.
The vibe on the Expo floor
The yogis at the Expo are amazing. Which makes the energy on the floor supportive and just overall bright. As the day progresses, I meet lots of really interesting people. As the new girl on the scene, I feel welcomed when some business savvy women share the “what” and “how” with me…thank you ladies.
There are lots of creatives: photographers, yoga teachers, writers, artisans and clothing designers. The thing that all of them have in common is their energy. There is a sense of “mutual support” that permeates the space. There is no competitiveness or judgey noses. It is quite a beautiful vibe…a total safe space.
The crowd’s willingness to spend…
We experience a lot of traffic in the store, and give away a bunch of promotional Go OM Yourself temporary tattoos. Sales are okay, but the overall feel of the crowd is that they don’t have money to spend. And if I’m being absolutely honest, I didn’t come close to breaking even. The 10×10 booth was about $1100, and I sold about $600. After accounting for the costs of renting a van, and the cost of my tent, racks, rug, photos, tattoos…I am beyond deficit for this venture. Not to mention the freaking expense of the locksmith.
I expected a much better turn out. Vendors were told there would be 10,000 attendees. Actually, there were only about 2000 maximum. Perhaps the Miami Yoga Expo has a bigger turnout. Because I am very proud to announce that, Go OM Yourself was INVITED to set up space in Miami for their show in March. I am honored Miami, and I sincerely hope I can make it happen. More on that front later.
Is Yoga Expo 2020 on the agenda?
Would I come back to Yoga Expo LA?…I’m not sure. Am I considering Miami Yoga Expo…more to revealed after I do some major research. For now I need to focus on markets that cap out at $150 for the day for the booth space. There are many factors that need to be examined to determine where the problem was with this event. For example: Are my prices too high? Lack of attendees?
Was it a bad idea to pay out $1100 for my first time out…most definitely.
The good news is I made some excellent contacts. Also, landed an interview with a Yoga influencer. Another thing is that I know the best way to put my booth together. And, that I absolutely love my setup. The experience allowed me to test how my brand is received by other yogis, and I learned I definitely like being “in the mix” selling my shirts. Talking to people and connecting with like-minded business women and yogis was the real takeaway here.