Journey

What I’ve Learned Hosting our First Major Custom Beauty & Networking Event

How to be Successful at Hosting Your Next Event

I'm so proud to say that our Custom Beauty Workshop was a HUGE success! All thanks to @petitewithbuns and @_cyncoco

After this workshop, I was so drained that I even took the day off from work just to relax because prior to this event, I was meeting up with at least one new person every day that week.

I often forget my limits and that in the end, I'm still an introvert. One that gets drained from too much social interaction.

This makes sense, because socializing expends energy: You have to talk, listen, and process what’s being said, among other things. I was so exhausted to the point where my brain had turned into mush by the time the event came by. That's probably why I wasn't able to remember anything during the workshop.

Thank Gawd I have such an amazing partner though, Ann was there as my support to carry out the presentation successfully and direct the workshop for the girls. What a true  boss babe for realz!

I also want to thank le boo for being my personal assistant and event photographer for the day and my wonderful mother always being my support for everything that I do. Truly feeling blessed for having amazing people like them in my life.

Planning for the Event

Here are some of the things I did to plan for the event:

#1. Created polls in our Boss Babe Imperial Facebook group for the girls to pick from the list of dates when most of them would be able to make it to the event. We decided to host two back to back workshops that day; one in the morning and another one in the afternoon. So we asked for people's opinion in order for us to view the demand for both workshops.

#2. Built anticipation for the event through social media at least 3-4 weeks ahead of time. I put up a status on my Facebook timeline, posted on IG, IG stories, direct messaged people and tried to talk to as many people as I could about the event. I even asked for referrals but that didn't work out too well because no one brought an extra guest.

#3. Brainstormed different marketing strategies & promotions for the event. Such as free goodie bags for people who prepaid their cover fee, free konjac sponges for those who prepaid their foundation or concealer, free gift certificates for people who filled up their hand-outs, $5 off their next foundation or concealer if they bring a friend to their next follow-up appointment, served free beauty blend virgin cocktails to market our OPC-3 Beauty Blend & Ultimate Aloe Juice, provided print-outs and sent out follow-up emails about the samples included in the goodie bags & products used during the event.

#4. Created a Google Form for guests to RSVP, collect emails, present price list, get more info and answer questions to get a better understanding of what to expect at the event. We decided to put a cover fee of $10 to help cover the cost of booking the venue but also offered a goodie bag as an incentive to everyone who prepaid in advance. We had about 40% of people prepay in advance so that wasn't so bad.

#5. Posted every day on IG stories for 3 days before event to build more anticipation and get more last minute guests to attend.

The Challenges

Want to hear some of the challenges we faced planning for our Custom Beauty Workshop?

Challenge #1: Getting people to attend.

Planning a big event is never easy. I can tell you that for sure! Even if you start planning ahead of time, there will always be something that will come up at the last second.

Props to all event planners out there (especially wedding planners I don’t know how you guys do it!)

Being on top of things is difficult because things will never go as planned. In our case, we had a huge demand for people who wanted to attend the workshop at the beginning. However, on the week of the event guests started bailing out and I began to panic. I started to feel completely discouraged.

But instead of crying about it, I decided I needed to take action. Luckily, it was still Monday at that point and I had about 6 days to invite last minute guests.

After all, we were able to fill up some spots. Can you imagine if a guest would come and they’d be the only person in the room? How awkward would that be?

Even by implementing a small cover fee as a way for people to reserve their spot, offering goodie bags as an incentive and creating hype & excitement before the event didn’t work as well as we had hoped in helping us prevent this issue.

What would you have done differently if you were in our situation?

Challenge #2: Senior partner got stuck in China, leaving us to conduct the workshop ourselves and completely winging it.

Our senior partner was in China for about 2-3 weeks and was due to come back on the Friday; 2 days before the event.

However, something unexpected came up and he ended up getting held back at the airport. He was supposed to come down and help us teach the workshop but told me he was refused admittance back into Canada because he needed a new VISA on top of his work permit.

So once again, I panicked. All these scenarios started playing in my head. There was no way I could postpone the workshop now I had already reserved it and it would have looked so bad on our part postponing the date at the last minute.

Luckily, Ann is a true boss babe! She trains and presents for a living at her regular day job so she was able to present everything like a pro! She’s a seriously quick learner and I admire that about her. She totally saved our workshop!

I also asked Cynde to come help us out that day because she was a way more experienced blender compared to us. She didn’t hesitate at all and actually took off work! Seriously, what a sweetheart !!

Teamwork really does make the dream work and because of these two, the workshop turned out to be a huge success.

What I've Learned

Hosting this workshop taught me a bunch of things:

#1. Things will never go as planned.

#2. Always have a plan B in case something comes up.

#3. It's always best to over-invite guests rather than under because people will always bail if there's nothing on the line for them. Even if you plan way ahead (a month in my case), things will never be set in stone. People have their own last minute plans, they get lazy, something in their life might unexpectedly happen, etc. It's life and human nature. Don't be shocked and don't take it personally if people cancel out on you.

#4. Never leave a guest leaving empty-handed. That was the advice one of my friends told me because I promised goodie bags for people who paid in advance but for those who didn't, they either got a gift certificate or left empty-handed.

#5. You may ask to get the opinion of others in helping you plan your event but in the end, YOU are the one hosting and you are in total control over how and what you want the event to be about. The moment you involve too many parties in the planning stages, things start to get a bit messy and out of hand. Keep the amount of people involved at a minimum to further avoid headaches.

#6. At least a week prior to the event, try to save your energy and minimize as many activities during the week as possible. As I previously mentioned, I'm an introvert so doing too many draining activities prior to the event exhausted me and as a result, made me blank out and forget a lot of things.

#7. Don't procrastinate. I often tend to put things off to the last second before doing anything. That's just the way I've been doing a lot of things throughout my life but definitely working on changing this bad habit. I ordered some empty foundation bottles off Aliexpress but it didn't arrive on time before the workshop. Therefore we had to ask our partners to sell us some bottles at the last second. We waited until the last week until we finally decided to order the missing products for our workshop and as a result, some of the products got mixed up or just never shipped out on time. We made our way around it and figured it out but this could have easily been avoided had we ordered everything way ahead of time.

#8. Go over the event itinerary and replay the workshop at least once or twice before the actual event date to avoid any potential mishaps and be better prepared. In our case, we went over it only the night before but we left with me still unclear by the end of the night who was going to be covering what topic during the actual workshop. So when the event happened, Ann and I were practically talking over each other a few times and I ended up pulling back; letting her carry out the rest of the workshop to avoid any confusion for the guests.

#9. Don't host two back to back workshops in one day unless you give yourself ample time to prepare for the next one and have two people presenting instead of one. Ann ended up presenting more than half the time and was so drained by the end of the day. I thought I'd be the one presenting most of the time but after all, I couldn't remember much and only ended up filling in the gaps wherever I could. I was running around a lot doing the behind the scenes work and realized that an hour in-between workshops was not enough time to prep for the next one.

#10. Engage, engage, engage! Hosting workshops, presentations and events are always best when you involve the guests in as much interaction as possible. Hence, why the Instagram accounts that are most successful are the ones who have the highest engagement with their followers! It goes both ways. Since the first custom beauty event we ever did was more of a presentation / demonstration type of event, we decided it might be better to make the event more hands-on; more of a workshop type of style. This would allow the guests to touch the products, learn and blend their own foundations and/or concealers. Allowing them to really get involved in the whole process of creating the actual product rather than simply sitting and watching us do it for them. As a result, I would say this worked much better for us because we were able to get a lot more follow-up appointments compared to last time and it really did a great job jump starting our business.

Conclusion

I'll definitely need to work on my presentation skills and my memory.. it really made me realize how badly I still had to learn my material, how better prepared I needed to be and how much more practice I desperately needed to be able to present the way Ann did!

Practice makes perfect right? I have a long way to go!

This was our first ever workshop that Ann and I hosted on our own unexpectedly for our business and it turned out to be such a huge success. We had already done a beauty presentation before but with the help of our senior partner there to give out the presentation for us.

This forced us to take leadership and do everything ourselves without the support of a senior partner who was all the way in Toronto. Seeing as to how Ann and I were the only ones building the business in the Montreal team, this unexpected occurrence actually turned out to be a blessing because now we can say with confidence that we are able to host an event on our own and take leadership for ourselves without depending on anyone else but ourselves!

We can only get better with time and practice. So when in doubt, just DO IT! The universe will work in your favor to help you to succeed, trust me!

Event Highlights

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