I get this question alot and was going to do a video (still may) but I figured I would write all of my thoughts out.
So you want to have a meetup in your town! What do you do? These are the steps to take and some hints.
1. Figure out what type of event you want to do. Do you want it to be intimate and maybe at a local bookstore where everyone can chat or do you want to have a night event where people come fly? There are so many options. If you are trying to do product swaps or want some tutorials going on, you can’t do it at a restaurant or anyplace with food. So you have to think about all these things when it comes to selecting your location.
2. The hardest part will definitely be LOCATION! You need to find a space for FREE. Don’t put too much of your own money into a meetup because you aren’t receiving any money unless you charge. I would suggest location be the first thing on your mind while still making plans and marketing. Go to businesses that are new or struggling first. They will want your business and gladly appreciate you bringing people in–especially a food establishment. People will want to eat and drink. Even a nice salon on a day they don’t get many clients or on a day they are closed. Its a win for them. People that didn’t know about their salon now do and some people may be willing to make appointments. Even a clothing boutique—think outside the box. Everyone needs business so you never know who will be willing to let you have tons of ladies there. The last event we did, we tried to book at a VERY nice hotel and one of their swanky restaurants/rooftop patio …they wanted $10k for a 2 hour span that typically only 10 people show up in the time frame we wanted to have it. Now, I was promising them AT LEAST 80 people but most likely over 100 but they wanted to charge..10 people ordering food and drinks vs 100 people ordering food and drinks..You see how some places are…. Find something for free lol . We ended up finding a brand new establishment for free and it worked out great!
I’m going to throw Timing into the mix with location. Timing is everything . Is there a big stylist convention coming to your area, a hair show, anything of that nature? If so, you may want to plan around that. Vendors will already be in town and you never know who you could get to speak at your event or what type of samples you could get. 🙂
3. Marketing– Facebook and Twitter are your friends. Start a facebook group for your local area. That way you have a database right there of women in your area who are interested in natural hair. If you are on Twitter- use hashtags #naturalhair #beauty etc…with your town’s name. Word of mouth is of course always a great marketing tool. Tell all of your friends, and they will tell all of their friends, and so on. If you have a Youtube channel, blast it on there. If there is a “popular” youtuber in your area, see if they will do a youtube video about it.
4. Entertainment Reach out to local bloggers, natural hair stylists and salons. They can help you out alot. You want to invite these people out to your event. Make them feel special. Ask them to speak about a topic. When they speak, people will be intrigued and they can potentially get new clients out of this so they will probably say yes. Bring in local business vendors who have hair related products. They can speak about their businesses and would love the opportunity to get in front of their market.
Think of some type of contests or games. You can do a Hair Twin interactive game where you find your hair twin and discuss products, etc…Just making the game stuff up as I go lol. Have a product swap involved- with a swap people can bring their used/unused items and swap with someone else for another product.
Sometimes to these events, you have some ladies who come by themselves. Doing interactive things will make everyone feel more comfortable.
5. Gift Bags This is the tough one. Everyone always asks me how I get all the samples and gifts. I have different connections from Youtube and Blogging so I reach out to them to get samples or for them to donate full size products for the meetup. If you have an established relationship with a brand then go to them first. If you don’t, don’t have high expectations of getting tons of samples and products thrown at you-they may not feel comfortable sending samples or products because they don’t know how your turnout is going to be. But it never hurts to ask. If you are doing something small, I don’t see why a company wouldn’t send a small box of 30 samples, etc.. Be honest with them. Tell them how many people you expect to show, how many invites you sent out, etc… Don’t tell them 100 people will be there and you haven’t even marketing the event yet.
Also, some of the major companies may have local Brand Ambassadors or Reps for their company. This is a great opportunity for someone who is familiar with the brand to speak to your guests and they can pass out the samples. Most companies won’t mind sending out their local rep to your event. In Atlanta there are Kinky-Curly reps, and Curls has reps here too as well as other companies. Not even just reps, but local distributors as well they could send.
If you aren’t having luck on the brand level, go to your local beauty supply stores who cater to a natural hair clientele. They may be willing to come by and bring samples of some of those products in hopes of maybe making some sales.
Don’t forget about the small or brand new companies! Go to the local company who is trying to get their brand out there or to that salon that just started their own hair product line. They would probably be willing to bring samples.
Another gift idea is to reach out to a local salon about donating gift certificates. They can do a free hairstyle…or maybe 50% off, A free hair cut with purchase, a free steam treatment. This will be a GREAT incentive for people to come to your event when they know they have the opportunity to get their hair done for free/discounted.
6. Good Luck! Hopefully your event will go great and each event will get larger and larger
If you have any other questions, please leave them in the comment section and I will answer.