Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Design*Sponge Biz Lady Meet Up Portland - Recap!

Just got home from the "Biz Lady Meet Up," put on by Grace Bonney of Design*Sponge. Early in the evening I had a moment to talk with Grace - she said more people had RSVPd for the Portland event than for any of the other cities she'd been to with the Meet Up. Further evidence of how many indie business folk there are running around these parts! There were nearly 200 attendees - wow.

There were four presenters for the evening – Grace, Debbe Hamada of Tilde (my husband Ben worked with her at a community center for a while - fun to see her great success as a store owner/jewelry designer!), Amy Ruppel (finally I’m clear – it’s pronounced Roople!), and a woman whose name I didn’t catch, who was representing MercyCorps’ microenterprise services.

The notes from Grace's presentation on marketing & PR are availble for download here. A quick recap of some things I learned that I didn’t know:

- Grace: Don’t bother creating a press release to pitch your product to editors. Instead, craft a tight e-mail and attach four photos: a closeup, a full shot, a situational shot, and a shot that somehow shows why your product is unique. In other words, show don’t tell.

- Amy: She has found a lot of success while keeping everything about her business very first-person - personal. (No surprise then, that she is also unbelievably friendly, and loves meeting new people.)

- Debbe: Wholesalers should keep in touch more regularly and frequently with their retailers – maintaining the relationship benefits both.

I went with Christina and ended up seeing quite a few folks I knew from their work or online, which was fun. Among them:

- Alyson, from Sunali Design – I purchased her Wildflower Notecard set a while back and loved it.

- Alyson’s friend, photographer Elizabeth Soule, whose work I had recently seen and really enjoyed at Sydney’s CafĂ©.

- Precious Bugarin - we had tables next to each other at the last of the legendary EllaPosie Boutique holiday events waaaay back when – her designs are amazing.

- Jacie Kurkinen of Pink Rabbit Design - went to the same high school several years apart - met again through a mutual friend. She's doing beautiful custom stationary.

- Jess McCloskey of Paper Treasure - I’m lucky enough to have Jess taking care of my daughter Sophie twice a week – and I love her work!)

- Jena Coray, the force behind Modish who just moved to town a week ago. [Welcome, Jena!]

It was pretty amazing to see all these women in one place at the same time. Intimidating, but amazing. Thanks to all the presenters for providing such great, useful, and interesting information. (And thanks also to all the women who came all dressed up - it was so fun looking at what everyone was wearing!)

1 comment:

alyson. said...

it was nice to meet you last night! even though we got separated so quickly. lots of great information. wasn't Amy great? I was pleased at how humble she was about her business.