On October 28, 2015, I received an Instagram Direct Message that completely caught me off guard. The team from Bloggers United AU asked me to become a state rep for the bloggers event they were planning on holding in Adelaide in the new year. My first question was, “what do I have to do,” and as an afterthought, I asked who the other rep was. It turned out that my blogger friend, Kate Knapman, was the other rep and also the one who suggested they approach me. I didn’t even need to see the list of state rep responsibilities at that stage as I was so excited to work with Kate to bring the event to SA. It wouldn’t have mattered anyway as over the course of the next four months, Kate and I threw caution to the wind and dedicated almost every waking second to making the event the best Adelaide bloggers have ever seen.
The first thing on the agenda was to find a location and Kate and I discussed at length what types of venues we could source for little, or no fee. The cost to attend the day is minimal and so we really wanted to make sure we didn’t blow the budget. At first we were overwhelmed that Jasmine and Nikita from BUA wanted to have the event in February, but as it fit in with their plans for the year, we just had to dive right in. It’s hard for people from Melbourne or Sydney to understand the pace Adelaide moves at. We are truly are a big ol’ country town, and sometimes things happen more slowly than outsiders expect. Thankfully Kate had a brain wave and put a call out on Facebook which led us to the beautiful seaside apartments of Seawall, and their extremely generous owner, Rachael Osborne. Rachael donated the space and offered Jasmine and Nikita a free night of accommodation which blew Kate and I away. Having Seawall on board was a pivotal moment as it gave us our theme for the day.
I called on Adrian, who was working in the US at the time, to design (based on my specs) the amazing logo and invites! I wanted a retro style seaside feel. We ended up using the logo on everything from Instram pics to name tags. It was definitely worth the effort to give the event a personality of its own and tie everything together.
Once we had the date and venue locked in, it was time to find the brands who would attend the day, and companies who would donate products to the famous Bloggers United goodie bags. I have to admit that I was a bit slow off the mark here. I only realised as time went on, how many hours Kate put into monitoring the inbox: replying to queries, approaching brands, sourcing catering and following up with people. The venue presented us with a slight dilemma. We had more space than we knew what to do with and the usual sit down presentation style wasn’t going to work. We had an idea to fill the rooms with brand representatives and then cycle small groups through, but we needed more brands than BUA had ever had before. Once we had the format worked out for the day, Kate and I knew we had to pull out all the stops to bring brands to the event. Our hard work paid off. On the day we had twelve amazing brands join us to talk about their products and, of course, give everyone gifts!
The next thing on our minds was making sure the goodie bags were bursting. We wanted our guests to be blown away, and as most of them were beauty and lifestyle bloggers, Kate and I understand how important it is to have inspiration and material for blog posts. We wanted our bloggers to have posts panned for the rest of the year. After weeks of email contact with brands we were absolutely thrilled to have over $1,300 of products for our attendees. As my house was the base of operations for the event, I was swamped with deliveries and my garage turned into a production line of packing bags. I’m not going to lie, it was awesome. The following brands contributed to the pile of goodies.
- Furless Cosmetics
- L’Oreal Professional Haircare
- Urban Rituelle
- Slim Secrets
- NYX Australia
- Sofi Spritz
- Harvest Garden
- Real U
- PONi Cosmetics
- Nude by Nature
- Glam by Manicare
- Stem Organics Skincare
- Emma Organics
- Cobs Popcorn
- Keeko Oil
- Benefit Australia
- Andrea Hair Removal
- Sonni Lou
- Oh Deer Sugar
- Kmart Australia
- The Makeup Shop Box
- White Glo
- Valencia Bath Treats
- Williams Pro Makeup
- RoseHip Plus
- Premium Spa
- Boe Professional
- Barry M
So, that’s the venue, presenters and goodies organised. What else could we need? Let me tell you, Kate and I left nothing out. We wanted every aspect of the day to be perfect. Kate locked in Oporto for a delicious (and fully donated) Mexican inspired lunch, delivered by Delivery Boyz. I contacted Eva from Pressed Juices in Rundle Street who donated freshly pressed juice for our guests and Nikita arranged for OVI Hydration to send over some of their delicious iced teas. My proudest moment was managing to convince the AMAZING Heidi Who Photography to donate her time and skills to capture the day. She worked tirelessly and so generously gave everyone permission to use her photos, which I am grateful for as Kate and I didn’t have time to think on the day, let alone take any photos.
The final hurdle in bringing the day together, surprisingly, was selling the last few tickets. As I said earlier, Adelaide has never seen the likes of an event like this, and so once we had promoted to our usual networks, we had a few last tickets left that we didn’t want to go wasted. You might be wondering why I’m mentioning this, but the time I spent scouring Instagram and personally inviting people had a wonderful and unexpected outcome. Kate and I managed to have people on the invite list who we didn’t know, which is a feat for Adelaide. The Blogging community is quite close knit, so being able to meet and connect with new people was such a joy for Kate and I. Since the day we have kept in touch with everyone and it feels so good to be able to expand our network and offer support and a friendly face in what can be an isolated world.
The pièce de résistance of the day, and final thing to get organised before the weekend arrived, were our guest speakers: Jenni Eyles from Styling Curvy, and Lauren and Hayley from Adelady. I was honestly shocked when I contacted Adelady and they jumped at the chance to speak at the event. Lauren and Hayley are well known media personalities here in Adelaide, having worked in breakfast radio, so I was kind of starstruck. But they are all about supporting and promoting women in Adelaide so truly, they were a great fit for our guests. Jenni brought everyone to tears with her personal account of her cancer journey and how she’s made a living as a blogger. Truly an inspirational lady.
On the day before the event, I’m not sure Kate and I were that grateful for having signed up to be the SA reps. We worked our butts off all day. We ran all over town to pick up the last minute items, transported all the goodie bags and incidentals to Seawall, packed more bags once we got there and fielded phone calls from brands who were also locking in the final details. The spanner in the works was that the apartments we were using for the event were booked for the Saturday night (the event was Sunday), so we had to double handle everything and pack out a third apartment with our supplies. But, we got on with it and by the end of the day as I lugged the Pressed Juices home to my fridge, I wondered how I’d get through the actual event.
Luckily, because we had planned everything to the last detail, and I had printed the schedules, maps (for each group to navigate through the apartments) and name tags a few days before, I was able to get a good night sleep. Once the day arrived it was full steam ahead. Kate and I arrived just in time to direct the brand reps who diligently arrived in plenty of time, and then help move everything to its final resting place. Once our guests started arriving we popped the bubbly and let the day unfold as it would. Of course there were a few hiccups here and there, but the hospitality of Rachael and her staff meant that our expectations were surpassed. We had the surprise arrival of an extra pair of hands in Sarah Jensen, and together with Nikita, she made sure everyone left with an armful of gift bags.
Once Kate and I had helped pack up and had said goodbye to Jasmine and Nikita we went and had dinner. I think we were lost for words at first. The day had been a huge success, we had put in the hours for sure, but it really did blow our minds. What surprised us was how our guests had responded to the SA brands, even the smaller ones. Mark from Shanghai Lil and the Scarlet Fez had confessed he felt a bit overshadowed by the bigger brands who donated more expensive items, but on the day he was the star of the show. The girls loved his passion and dedication to his handmade items. It struck a chord with Kate and I. We wanted to do more for both brands and bloggers. We wanted to promote brands and bloggers, and we wanted to help bring the two together. So as we ate our dinner and sipped cocktails, we decided to do something with the momentum we had created, which is how Promote SA was born.
Over the next few weeks we put our ideas into action as the posts about the event rolled in. Every time someone wrote about how much they got out of the day, we beamed with pride. When people gave constructive feedback, we talked about we could do things better next time. Kate and I are so excited to continue our journey and we are proud to be the ones that SA bloggers look towards to bring everyone together. We are self appointed leaders, I know, but nobody has complained so far.
Kate and I made sure to send out all the brand information to our guests after the event, and also put everyone in contact with each other which has fostered some fantastic new friendships. Here are some posts from our guests about the Bloggers United AU Adelaide Event!
Kate’s round up here: Seducedbybeauty
How To Girl
Zoe’s Beauty Escape
Heart Insight Art
Ren Nay YouTube
We hope to see you at one of our events soon! Dont forget to sign up to our Blogger Register to keep up to date with all the Promote SA news.