In this installment of our weekly conversations with Great Cloth Diaper Change Hosts, we talk with Mary Rodio, of Fluff n’ Stuff Natural Parenting Store, and third time host of GCDC, Knoxville. Like many of our veteran Hosts, Mary’s event has grown exponentially since 2011 and she’s expecting 2013 to be their biggest year yet.
We are organizing the Knoxville Natural Parenting Expo along with the GCDC to generate more event traffic. The Expo helps us reach people who may be unfamiliar with cloth diapers and natural parenting. Our goal is 500 Expo attendees in addition to 150 GCDC participants.
How will you accommodate such a large number of participants this year?
We are renting the Knoxville Convention Center. Our sponsorship packages and vendor pricing offset our rental fees. Fluff n’ Stuff Natural Parenting Store sponsors the GCDC event and the Lisa Roth Birth & Women’s Center sponsors the Natural Parenting Expo. We recognize our sponsors in all media promotions and communications about the events, and we include them on all event signage, banners and flyers. Sponsorship also helps us keep our vendor pricing reasonable so that we can offer space to local vendors and WAHM businesses. This year we will have 30 different vendors.
You have a strong online presence for your event. What suggestions do you have for new hosts and those who are trying to strengthen their online promotions?
Keep your Facebook page active and engage with your audience! We have a few behind-the-scenes volunteers working on the event page. Someone is always able to respond to posts and keep our page fresh on the news feed. Also, talk about more than just the event. We share usage information, talk about our favorite diapers, and post pictures of our babies in cloth diapers. Cloth diaper advocacy is important. Our goal is to show parents who are new to cloth diapers that there are more options available than the “plastic pants and pins” they might imagine.
With all your vendors, sponsorships, and community outreach, you must have a full goody bag this year. What advice would you give new hosts regarding giveaways?
Honestly, I want new hosts to know that prizes, vendors and sponsorship backing aren’t critical to a successful event. You can offset a lack of giveaways by playing up the community connection. Pull on the heart strings of your local activists and concentrate on making personal connections.
Connections are definitely important, what tips can you share for business hosts wishing to maximize connections with their participants?
In this era of searching for the best online deal, it’s the personal connection that will bring people to you. Show your passion and maintain a connection with your participants throughout the year. Your enthusiasm is contagious. Your customers could go to Amazon, but they won’t get the advice and encouragement you can offer. Support their efforts and they’ll support you.
- Michelle Dominguez
Event Coordinator, Real Diaper Association
For more information on the Great Cloth Diaper Change, visit our website at http://greatclothdiaperchange.com