What a day! I’m not sure I can write this up and give the event as much justice as it deserves but I’m going to go ahead and type it up anyway. A little idea that felt worlds away came together in the most amazing way this Sunday just gone, and I could not have anticipated its success to this extent. For me the event had many purposes, a creative itch that I just couldn’t reach, a chance to further support the brands that have been so amazing to work with over the years, to bring mums from across the UK together and if I made a little money to pop into my piggy bank then that would be a bonus. I always knew the first event would not be money maker, I had to put my own money into it and just hope I got it back which luckily I did. I want to be honest about that because of course without wanting to sound selfish this is potentially a career path that I want to explore.
It took some planning, but it was this part I loved the most. Pinterest board crazy with a mind full of ideas and when you pair that with some talented women in Marketing and Events you get yourself the best team. I worked closely with Lisa who runs Lisa King Consultancy and Tara the creator of Tickety Boo Events, with their expertise they were able to advice and guide me with my planning and ideas. Plus there was a lot of what you may call ‘boring’ but very imporartant sides of the planning to also consider, some of which were completely new to me. It wasn’t as simple as planning a child’s birthday party, let’s put it that way. Finding a venue wasn’t a difficult part, the choice available in Derbyshire is so vast and it was simply a case of availability. Makeney Hall and Hotel was a beautiful choice, beautiful surroundings with a good deal of space. The layout worked well for what I wanted to achieve, there was separate space for the play area, a lovely big blank space for the exhibiters to set up, a bar with lots of room for seating and an entrance area too with ramps for pushchair access. All of the obstructions that get in the way when you have children I wanted to eliminate, making it a accessible event for families. Finding exhibitors was not a problem, in fact the list of brands I wanted there was too long in reality and not all could take part, It took a lot of confidence on my part to approach them as I had doubts about my ability to make it worth their while. I was pleasantly surprised when they snapped my hand off immediately, from that point on I had all the confidence I needed to keep planning and create what I had dreamed of.
For some time now I have forged friendships with so many women/mums that have bought nothing but light into my parenting life. Some I have shred pregnancies with, we have been there for rough times and the amazing milestones etc I wanted an excuse to make it all feel more of a reality rather than a virtual one. Being located in the East Midland’s meant that I had the advantage of making a meeting point fair for all that of which was another reason to spur me on.
Slowly but surely the event began to come together, and I planned a ‘hot air balloon’ theme as I have always been a little fascinated by them especially as a child. I imagined other children would love that aspect too and I wanted to make sure there were fun decorations for the children attending to enjoy. You can see from the pictures that the children were considered as much as possible. I have to give a HUGE thanks to the wonderful Allie from Polly & Me for her amazing calligraphy that she came to complete on the morning of the event, literally rocked up and made the most beautiful signage in just minutes. Brilliant! The biggest thank you to Tara of Ticketyboo Party Style for working so hard at making the space look fit for an insta market, her styling is so perfect and its as if we share the same creative mind as she just simply gets it right.
The goodie bags were a little idea to help include brands that couldn't attend the market itself, plus it was a little gift to the first lot of children through the door. I loved designing the goodie bags and would love to do it again however it may have been what caused some serious queues before the event had even begun. I sourced the cutest childrens tote bags and had them printed with a logo from my flyer and I love how they turned out. I wanted to make sure there was a variety in the bags, gifts for both mum and little ones can enjoy together. So here is what you found in them:
- The Busy Bakery - Cookie mix. Taking the stress out of baking with children.
- Rubylous Treat Co - Rainbow cookie.
- Bensons The Juicers - Joosed Bottle in 1 of 3 flavours.
- My Little Piccolo - Fruit & Vegetable pouch.
- Little Paperie - Mum message pencil.
- Lucy Rose Party - Happy Birthday Cake topper.
- The Best Years - A5 animal foil print.
- Lots of discount codes for online shops.
The stall holders were incredible, so supportive and understanding that this was in fact my first event, having worked with many already it felt so easy to communicate with them. I arranged an informal meet before I announced the event on social media, it was a good change to get to know one another, for brands to collide and support one another too. We brain stormed and came up with fabulous ideas that covered so many different areas, it was actually the stall holders that cam up with the idea to giveaway vouchers to a lucky winner. They helped with the goodie bags and filled me with confidence that I could indeed do this and that it WOULD be a huge success, having that push in the right direction was just what I needed.
I know so many people have asked to see a list of the stall holders, I couldn't of picked a better bunch and I cant wait to see what the next line up looks like. Tap to discover these brands for yourself.
- Hello Cake.
- Sweet Charity Cookie.
- Pumpkin and Violet.
- Books and Pieces.
- Parker and Me.
- Little Paperie.
- Rose and Guy.
- The Nursery Edit.
- Letterbox lane.
- Ticketyboo Party Style.
- Jacqueline Sheiff Photography.
- The Daisy Foundation.
- Attik Home.
- Bluebell Dairy.
- Bow Beaus.
- Trees, Bees and Marshmallows.
- Toby & George.
- The Little House of Shu.
- Katie Jane Studio.
- Mom Pom.
- Little Herbert.
- Darwin & Gray.
- BD and Max.
- Toddler Sense.
- Florence and Bow.
Like all projects there are things to be learned, all of which will help me and any future events to grow, I feel its important I mention this because the event did receive a small amount of negative feedback on Facebook. All comments made were about things out of my control, parking, traffic and some products pricing. I know its impossible to please everyone but I defiantly think addressing those comments and trying to find a way to differ opinion for the next time is worth a go. The event was for your pleasure as well as mine so getting it right is something I will always strive for, any feedback is welcome.
There were so many positives surrounding the day, watching all the mums local and far socializing over afternoon tea, watching so many new friends play with Oakley in the sensory play was heart warming and I have loved hearing from mums that watched Oakley play with their children. Simple pleasures, that's what the day was about. Shopping, playing, exploring, meeting, socializing and eating (always eating) that's what it was about. I had the pleasure of catching up with some insta friends I have already met aswell as catching up with some in real life instead of reality which was so surreal but felt natural.
The 4 hours flew by, I wish I could of socialized more, spent more time with the children or hosted for the few that had traveled hours but with the weight of the event on my shoulders there was far too much for me to keep control off, including the crazy queues that caught me off guard. My heart was so full at the unbelievable turn out, I am so thankful for all that took the time to attend the Mama meet & Market and I'm so excited to announce the next one. Keep your eyes peeled.
Are you a business wanting to take part in the next Mama meet and Market' ? I would love to hear from you, there is currently a growing reserve list so contact me sooner rather than later to discuss options on how to get involved.