Lessons from our “For the Love of Ramadan: Pre-Ramadan Shopping Party”

This past weekend, I had the great pleasure and opportunity to collaborate with a young creative mind. We planned (okay, I lied…she did MOST of the planning) and put together an afternoon of pretty jewels, Ramadan décor and paper goods as well as some really cute looking and DELICIOUS snacks.
One of the many goals I set for myself going into year two of my business was connecting with my clientele on a face-to-face basis. Call me old school, but I’m still a staunch believer in native forms of marketing such as word of mouth, EXCEPTIONAL customer service and an overall satisfying customer experience. While I agree that social media plays a HUGE role in growing a brand…that too, an online accessories company, I feel limited in being able to convey the quality of my products as well as defining my target market more specifically in such a saturated market. That being said, I decided to vend at as many events as possible (that interest me, off course) attend seminars/conferences and collaborate with other brands.
Conveniently, Shenaz from Made with Hab Creatives approached me about some info and before we knew it, we hosted For The Love of Ramadan: A Pre-Ramadan Shopping Party
Aside from having pictures to share that are totally blog worthy, I learned a great deal that I wanted to share for those of you that want to set goals for your business this year or even want to work with other brands but don’t know how.

Below are my top lessons learned from working with Shenaz and doing a collaborative event:
1. Chemistry is everything. Small businesses thrive off relationships much more than larger retailers and building those relationships is 101 % dependent on your chemistry. Shenaz REALLY impressed me! She’s a confident, creative and very SKILLED 22 year old…yes, she’s ONLY 22!
2. Build with a partner, not just a friend. Shenaz and I never really interacted before and we aren’t from the same social circle. Us not being friends (in the beginning, we’re besties now duhh) helped us in keeping things professional, expressing our differences of opinions without taking anything to heart and stay focused on what needed to be done rather than getting lost in emotional drama. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t work with a friend. All I mean to say is that there is great benefit in working with someone with whom you do not share a personal relationship.
3. Realize, accept and grow with your different skills. This is a big one for me! I say this because Shenaz and I both have a completely different skill set. She’s professional, organized, lives off task lists, google docs and the whole 9 yards. I’m more of a pen and paper kinda girl. While Shenaz helped us in tracking our progress and planning, I was marketing our event and making personal calls and invitations to friends and family to our event.
4. Gratitude, expression + more gratitude. I am very grateful to have worked with someone so bright. In planning an event, we can easily get caught up on things that are not so important and dwelling on that can make you seem unappreciative of the other person. Whether you host an event with a friend, your partner or another entrepreneur, say thank you and say it often. Hosting a collaborative event is just one blessing on top of another. I get to have my business, grow my business, sell products I LOVE, and have the opportunity to work with others who share the same vision…double brownie points! Shenaz..if you’re reading this (You better!) THANK YOU!
5. Set measurable goals that are not JUST founded on profit. Don’t get me wrong, none of us throw events JUST for marketing. We all hope to make some extra money because…well we need it to grow! The problem with JUST being focused on $ is that it EASILY affects your motivation level. In fact, most of the time, it has a direct impact on your decisions such as hosting another event or not altogether. While I don’t think that’s bad thing per say, I think your success should not ONLY be measured by it. Shenaz and I had “the talk” earlier in our planning. We discussed that we want to set a goal for ourselves in terms of money AS WELL as in terms of marketing, client interaction and once again, gratitude. I like to measure myself on gratitude levels because one thing I’ve learned from being in business is HOW EASY it is to become UNGRATEFUL and many times it’s a result of a poor sales month or a not-so-profitable event. Measuring your gratitude levels means thinking about where you stood when you started and where you stand after your event. Your goal should be to either have the same level of gratitude or more. Never less.
6. Last but not least, have fun! Every single one of you reading who has done events is probably nodding their head. When I did my first event over a year ago, I was stressed. I couldn’t sleep, I had anxiety…it was awful. It took away from the joy of being with others, speaking to my clients and meeting so many great people. As I’ve done more events, I’ve learned to become less attached to ideas and the pursuit of perfection and more driven to have fun and focus on what really matters! Stressing over the different shades of table cloths and making sure your table looks Pinterest worthy is NOT WORTH losing sleep and having anxiety over. I’ve been there, I’ve done it..and I’m still where I belong today. The table cloth didn’t help my approachability factor, it just made me lose sleep and not allow me to interact with my clients as best as I could. Above all, make sure you get sleep the night before, your mind is rested and you are READY to meet cool people, talk to people about your brand and SHOW them why they should rock YOUR product.

Now on to the fun stuff…our pictures!
& off course, Shenaz! You can find her drool worthy products online & at many retailers. Check out http://www.madewithhab.com and buy me something okay?!

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