Pictures and Words

Last weekend as you may have read here I was at The Autism Show in London.
It was a big deal; my first trade show as a Snumpreneur (Special needs Mum Entrepreneur) and I paid for it all out of my savings. I also schlepped 2 suitcases of display gear across London from Heathrow to the ExCel Exhibition Centre in Docklands on The Tube and DLR. which meant 3 changes from West to East.

 And when I got to the Exhibition Centre my stand looked like this:

That is the two suitcases that I dragged on and off the tubes and up and down lifts as I changed from the Piccadilly to Jubilee line and then on to the DLR.


Thanks to some wonderful help from my friends on Twitter, like @nmcgivney @GreenClouds4 @ian_kenefick of Millitech Digital - I had a very professional looking "roll up" poster with photo provided by The Ireland Funds photographer Aengus McMahon.

Having spent every spare cent on the Stand hire, accommodation and transport costs it made a huge difference to have professional copy written, a commercial standard art layout and great value on-time printing. I also got the screen shot graphics from my developer wizard Steve Troughton-Smith 

And a lovely quote from My friend Petunia

When it was time to leave the building I had made it look like this. You can see my giant iFoam there from the wonderful - who specialise in giant props that look real.

Next morning I arrived bright and early and added a few more personal touches. A little stack of business cards, some A4 flyers of my poster art for people to take with them.
I even had a little book of pictures on the desk for people to look at "while waiting" with some flyers from my fellow Special Moms with Apps

We have a pact to "Banish Velcro" from the lives of people with Autism (and their parents)
Good Karma Apps do a wonderful App for making visual schedules and Grembe have several good ones for Social Stories, Choice Boards and Reward Charts (token boards)

I added some treats for demonstrating the App in Action and set up a VDU screen connected to my iPad2. I hoped that people would see it when passing and be encouraged to stop.

Then I snuck out for an iced latte. I had barely slept the night before; worried that no one would come to my stand...

where I could see there was a nice little queue forming at the entrance to the show...

Doors opened at 10 am

So I rushed back and got ready and then...


I seriously did not stop from shortly after 10 am until Jane Asher arrived to give a key-note in the afternoon in the auditorium area.  My business cards were gone by 11 am. My sweet little pile of colored Grace App flyers had gone by lunchtime. I had to put up a "back in 10 minutes" to rush down to the loo, then the business centre and make more copies!

I decorated the stand with A4 sized glossy prints of Gracie using the App in different situations. Absolutely gorgeous prints that I did myself using the HP Photosmart eStation printer I am testing at the moment. 

You can connect it and print normally from a computer with USB cable. Or use "the cloud" to email to the printer itself directly. Very handy when most of your stuff is on an iPad. 

The beautiful A4 sized prints told the story to anyone listening - Grace App is discreet, age appropriate and enables this little 11 year old girl to be out in her community asking for chicken nuggets or a crunchie bar like any other kid - with an iPhone.

I was also able to tell the story of how I came to be such a fan of the Otterbox Defender Cases - as each photo included a case that had failed and cost me a lot in repairs. I had some samples of Otterboxes on the stand that I could have sold 50 of by the end of the day. People were writing down the make and taking photos of it to order when they got home. (Amazon or Ebay are the best value I find)

(something to do with my flinging my iPhone 3G on the ground trick* )

Next day was just as busy but I had my lovely friend Katy from Limehouse there to help me - she even helped people search for and download the App while there. So thanks to everyone who helped me with this huge step in my business development. It has taken me about a week to recover (remember I had to clean all the double sided sticky-tape off the stand and schlepp all the stuff BACK to Heathrow
afterwards!) but it was an excellent experience and is going to be invaluable at helping me to plan out the next step - becoming one of Ireland's newest Social Entrepreneurs - so stay tuned. xx

*Disclosure - it is my choice to demonstrate how Grace drops her own iPhone everyday. If you choose to buy one it is up to you how you use it.

** pinched some photos from ABA Ireland Facebook Page and the Lovely Casdok - Mother of Shrek


Nick McGivney said…
Phew is right! Well done though. Soon need iMployees, I think. :)
sharon Morris said…
Well done, great to see how popular the stand was. I recall the days my hubby and I did trade shows like this with our former business. Lots of work, and long days of non stop taking (ironic in your case) but very satisfying.
pamela said…
great post and wow looks like you played a blinder well done xx
Gab said…
Made me wish I was there to help! I would have expected a free T shirt though.

Well done! Brilliant. Well done!
Casdok said…
Was really great to meet you :) So pleased to see you so busy as hopefully means you are reaching a lot of people. Communication is the key.
Jen said…
Go you, the stand looked brilliant and so happy it went well for you :) Jen
Damien McKenna said…
Your stand looked amazing, am so happy that you received lots of interest.

I've been using the Ballistic 4 HC case ( with my iPhone4 - I'm a klutz and have two young boys who have occasional bouts of butterfingers (not the chocolate variety); it has served me well so far and has saved my phone from numerous drops. The Otterbox Defender looks pretty darned sturdy too, will have to look it up.