Let’s go back to the beginning where it all began!
Your Ultimate Product Party hosts, Catherine Hildner and Allison Carter, met at a creative conference back in 2019. We randomly were eating breakfast next to each other in the hotel lobby, struck up a conversation and continued to stay in touch.
Fast forward to 2020, Cat joined Allison’s PR mastermind and the group went on a retreat to Nashville August of 2021. At the last dinner of the trip, we were discussing what we’d love to do in our businesses and what we see for the future of scaling and as we chatted, the idea of events popped up.
At the time, Cat obviously was killing it with Kitty Meow Boutique and Allison owned her subscription box business, Memories in Moments Unwrapped, and felt there was a very large gap in the market for product based businesses.
WHY were there no in person events catered specifically to physical products?
Bloggers, influencers, general women in business- sure. Physical products, nada.
So what does any entrepreneur do when they see a gap in the market? They fill it.
At the table we immediately started brainstorming all the details for the event. What it would look like, size of the group, session topics, etc. The seed was planted and then we went on our merry way to get lost in Music City.
As product based business owners, we knew women who owned product based businesses needed lots of support. They are a different beast! Inventory, wholesale, marketing, social media, getting products in gift guides, print on demand, SEO for products, adding your products to Etsy and your own website, branding, bookkeeping, and more. All essential to running a product based business.
But at the heart of this, we knew they needed community.
A group of people that 100% GET their life.
Not other friends in business that can just decide to spend an hour coming up with an offer and can turn around and have a $20,000 launch. No, people that also are buying containers full of product from overseas and understand the insane investment that is. That understand your shipping pains and nasty Etsy reviews.
Their physical product biz besties.
Black Friday rolls around and bam- let’s start talking about that event, Cat!
Cat thought I would forget about it- wrong. It was a brilliant idea and it needed to be brought the life. If we didn’t do it, someone else would, and there’s zero chance I was going to stick around to watch that happen!
We got our shit together- blind leading the blind when it came to planning a major in person creative conference.
We landed on the name Ultimate Product Party, secured a venue in Scottsdale, AZ opened a bank account, Cat threw together a logo and we slapped a website together in time to jump on a Black Friday UPP ticket sale early bird special.
We were freaking PUMPED. People are going to be so freaking stoked! This is what they need! This is what these businesses have been looking for!! We were going to open the doors to ticket sales and the floodgates would open and our amazing idea for this conference would be validated.
PSYCH. We had one sale.
One VIP ticket sold to our first customer, Nicole with F Bombs and Booze. Thank you for believing in us, friend!
Devastation is an understatement. What the hell. We are legit. This event is legit- what are we missing? WHERE were our guests? If you’ve ever launched something and it fell insanely flat, we get it. Been there, never want to do that again!
Proof of concept, credibility, social proof to name a few, but whatever.
We were committed and wouldn’t give up because we believed in this event SO MUCH. We got to work. We went live on Instagram every week. We partnered with our speakers to promote to their audiences. We engaged with SO MANY small businesses local to our event in Scottsdale. And little by little it started to work! More ticket sales were slowly trickling in and an actual event was shaking up.
We clawed our way to every single freaking ticket sale. With every sale came a text message between us “OMG A TICKET!!!! IT’S HAPPENING. WE’RE DOING IT!!!” and with every day that passed with nothing…”WHY DON’T PEOPLE LIKE US?! WHAT CAN WE BE DOING DIFFERENTLY?”
(insert screenshot of texts)
The week before Ultimate Product Party, we hit our goal.
100 tickets sold.
100 women putting their faith in us and investing in themselves (and us!) and trusting us with this next step in building their business. We knew every one of their names and businesses.
We texted each other after every one of those sales, we wrote their names on sticky notes to add to our guest wall to ooze gratitude at, and we love them each so so much.
We will never stop being thankful for every guest and speaker who came to the event and were part of the experience of bringing it to life.
Neither of us had ever experienced as big a rollercoaster of emotions as we did planning Ultimate Product Party. We’ve never worked so hard at something and we’ve never felt more proud about anything we’ve created in our business.
It was insanely hard and it was messy, but we did it.
And being transparent about all the behind the scenes and dirty details is crazy important to us because building a business is hard and messy! It’s not easy and it doesn’t happen overnight.
Let’s normalize normal launches, and recognize that 9 times out of 10, we don’t knock it out of the park right out the gate and are overnight successes.
We had a big dream and even bigger guts for making that a reality. We believed in the power of this event for small businesses owning physical product companies and that drove us to get to work. And it was pure magic. The most special and impactful two days we’ve both ever had in our careers to date.