Last night was the Cherry Pie networking event for Ottawa businesswomen, so I dressed all pretty, loaded up with business cards, and prepared to get my small talk on. Heck, small talk aside, I had questions to ask and contacts to make! I was an Ottawa businesswoman on a mission!
We arrived to find something I was worried about; vendors. The upper floor was covered with booths of people selling their stuff. OK, no big deal, Vanessa and I start to wander. We check out the downstairs; same thing. Booths and booths and products and wares. Have we just paid $10 to enter a bar/market?
That was exactly what we did. All I could get from vendors was a sales pitch. If I attempted to engage them in business discussion, they would edge away from me and tackle the next prospective consumer. In fact, some of the booths didn't even appear to be local businesses! A salon tried to sell me Bumble hair products, and had absolutely zero interest in my business card.
Evidently, there were others who were under the same impression as Vanessa and I. A nice lady walked up to us and said "Hi! Want my card?", to which we replied "Sure, want ours?" Obviously it was a contrived effort to shmingle and shmooze, but that lady was one of 3 people who I was able to chat with that night.
Don't get me wrong; the evening wasn't bad. It just wasn't exactly what I expected, or wanted. That's not their fault. The setup was lovely, and there were delicious hors d'oeuvres. I also did meet 2 noteworthy local businesswomen:
Angelina Wrona - artist. This lady is so hot. And I don't mean physically (although she wasn't hard on the eyes). Her art has a Mark Ryden/Tim Burton feel to it that I absolutely adore. Her paintings were huge, but not outrageously expensive. She was friendly and amenable; we had some nice conversation about art and all things dark, and I didn't get the feeling like she was trying to sell me her stuff. Her website.
Lana @ Paper Skirt - invitations, cards, paper goods. Vanessa and I wandered up to this little lady who eagerly answered all our crafy business questions (and there were a LOT of em!) She herself is doing her crafty business part-time, she is doing numerous xmas craft fairs including Glebe, Sandy Hill and Ladyfest, and she only started up in May! Impressive. If Cherry Pie was an event to inspire us business newbies, the event has Lana to thank. Her website.
So that's my review of Cherry Pie. I hope it didn't come out totally negative- that woulnn't be accurate. It just wasn't exactly what I was expecting. Vanessa described what we were looking for - a forum of businesspeople gathering solely for the purpose of supporting one another and answering questions and stuff. It's really not a bad idea... maybe a certain event-planner friend can get on that! *nudge nudge*
Yes J, I mean you! You're the only one who reads this anyway! But really, perhaps such a forum style meet and greet could be co-opted to the show and tell you've been thinking about. Kinda like a workshop, but not exactly?