Anika Meza of New Beginnings Fair

 

This month, I'm off to my first event as a vendor! I'm not really into 'traditional' business networking events - and nor are my ideal clients. So when I first heard of New Beginnings Fair, I was excited!

New Beginnings Fair is all about developing relationships with people in a relaxed and collaborative environment - not the old 'how many business cards can I get rid of' type thing.

There are workshops throughout the day and guest talks from people 'doing the do' in the start up industry: think Susannah George from The Urban List, Michael Ellis from Vinomofo and Justine Flynn from one of my all-time favourite brands, Thankyou).

The Fair's co founder Anika Meza (who started it up with her husband Marcos) first contacted me early this year to ask if I'd be interested in attending with a stand. I thought - 'my business is way too tiny to be interesting to anyone else' and to be honest, I was a little scared thinking about putting myself out there so publicly.

But as time went on I thought, 'hang on - this is my ideal client group, it's my dream type of event AND I'm ready for a new challenge' - so I said a big yes!

Anika and Marcos ran their first New Beginnings Fair in Sydney this year, and they are now coming to Melbourne on August 19th. I spoke with Anika about the challenges, rewards and learnings of her incredible business.

***You can get $10 off your ticket with the code 'goodmedia' or by using this link!***

Where did the idea for NBF come from? What was the need that you saw?

My husband, Marcos and I came up with the NBF concept while we were on holidays last year. We've always wanted to work on a project together and NBF seemed like the perfect opportunity to combine our skills.

We wanted to create an event that was not only affordable for small business owners but also super interactive and inspiring. 

NBF isn't an event where you sit down all day. Its the kind of event where you have access to a number of different things like workshops, speakers, food/drink pop-ups and vendors.

There's also unlimited opportunity to meet like-minded individuals throughout the day with plenty of giveaways and competitions so you definitely won't leave empty handed. 

What gave you the push to actually get it started? (It's not an easy thing to pull off!)

It all happened pretty quickly to be honest - we were both so passionate about the idea and after testing it with a few people we just went with it. I guess thats one of the benefits of running your own business - you can have an idea one day and execute it the next.

What is your background? is running events a totally new area for you?

My background is in HR mainly in large corporates so events are quite a new area for me (unless you count planning my wedding).

In Sydney you had Lisa Messenger and the Frank Body girls as guest speakers and in Melbourne you have Justine Flynn (among others). How do you go about getting big name entrepreneurs on board?

It's been a mix of being introduced via mutual friends and reaching out to them directly.  

We've been lucky to  have some amazing entrepreneurs believe in our vision from quite early on and wanting to be part of it. 

What's the most challenging thing about running NBF?

Switching off - Marcos has actually banned me from talking about NBF after 9pm  (I've broken this rule a number of times).

I think it's important to have boundaries especially when working with your partner - I'm slowly learning this and definitely still a work in progress. 

And what's the most rewarding? 

Definitely hearing about how much the Fair has helped individuals start/grow their own business. 

Since our Sydney Fair, I've had so many individuals reach out to me saying how helpful they found our Fair and how it enabled them to launch their idea or grow their existing business. 

At the end of the day that's all we are trying to do - create a community where people have the tools and resources to be their own boss. 

What have been some results/experiences for vendors from attending NBF that make it all worthwhile?

Our Fair gives established business the opportunity to meet hundreds of small business owners all under one roof. It's all about developing relationships with people in a relaxed and collaborative environment. 

What marketing has worked really well for you?

Social media has proven to be hugely successful for us as well as word of mouth. 

And what marketing have you found not to be so effective?

In terms of our Sydney event we probably saw the lowest ROI on radio ads. 

What's next for NBF?

After a successful launch in Sydney earlier this year we are super excited to be bringing our Fair to Melbourne on the 19th August. The plan is to make this an annual Fair, run in several locations.

We are also working on another exciting project which will be ready to launch early next year and is also focused on the small business community so stay tuned. 

Follow New Beginnings Fair on Instagram and Facebook and head over to their website here.

***You can get $10 off your ticket with the code 'goodmedia' or by using this link!***

 
Emily OsmondComment