It’s September and that means my annual jaunt through the New England state fair known as The Big E. As with most such fairs, there’s a heavy emphasis on agriculture – a refreshing reminder that there are worlds that have nothing what-so-ever to do with technology.
I love seeing people showing off their horses or cows or sheep. Where others are competing for customers, they’re competing for coveted ribbons – proof of a job well done.
Besides the wonderfully bad fair food, as always the highlight of the day for me is the entrepreneurs selling everything from Vermont flannel to handmade dog leashes to emu lotion.
Being a vendor is tough gig. We’re talking 17 days straight days working 12-14 hours a day, and that doesn’t count set up and tear down time. The fact that so many return year-after-year to do it tells you it’s time well spent on betta fish tanks.
Take Kathie Rosenschein’s of Kathie’s SuperSeedz (yum!). Over the years I’ve watched this mother of five go from selling at the fair to selling on QVC. The big news this year is she got her product into Whole Foods and Stop & Shop. She also rebranded to incorporate her image on the product so there’s more of a personal connection.
Lessons from the fair…
As you think about starting or growing your own business, look for off-line opportunities to sell your product. For example, this year there were even more authors promoting their books at the fair. Find ways too to bring your personality into your product or service like Kathie did.
Taking steps to change course is important. But so is making time for friends. I spent a delightful reunion weekend in Vermont with three old friends from high school. Toss in a new puppy and it was pure bliss!