Part 2 of 3 – Our First Event!
We booked our first event! It was a fashion show at The University of Westren Ontario, being held by the MSA. The really cool thing was that this was also a charity event for female Somalian refugees living in camps in Kenya. We were determined to look like we knew what we were doing and be prepared, and prepared we were…. Maybe a little too prepared, I still have some of the shirts we made just for this event in the basement! One thing we have learned from doing a ton of events and pop ups this year is you can never guess what will be the “hit” at each place. We have gone into events thinking X,Y,and Z are what this crowd will love, made a ton of those designs only have have sold non and have tons of orders for a design we almost didn’t bother bringing! We can never guess what cause will touch the hearts or peak the curiosity of others. I have caught myself prejudging customers all the time and have been totally wrong ,and usually pleasantly surprised, by what stokes passion and empathy within them.
The MSA event started the ball rolling in such an amazing way (we just were asked to an event because someone from the fashion show recommended us, I still have people placing orders a year later because of that one event).
You never know where one decision will take you!
– speaking of that, brings me to another decision we made that had a huge impact on twiga this year. That was who we decided to support with each sale. We knew without a doubt we needed to support the indigenous community here in London, and my bestie suggested I get in touch with Robin from Rezonance, so thankful I did! We went down to meet Robin one night at The Baker’s Dozen to introduce ourselves and let him know we wanted to give 20% of all our sales of our indigenous shirts directly to Rezonance. That night we got to see some of the interns working (the very interns you support every time you buy an Indigenous Awareness shirt from Twiga), and got to meet Adam…. We were sold!
It was my quick friendship with Robin that also got us a space in B13 (The Baker’s Dozen) where we set up shop for the summer! It was here that we met many of you! We got to be a part of some amazing events, met other incredible business owners, and were able to grow our business in the community!
As amazing as our experience was at B13, it like many things had its end. New management came in and the space changed drastically almost overnight and it was very clear this was no longer the right home for Twiga.
So where were we to go from there? We didn’t want to just go “back to the basement” without any clear plan. We didn’t want to be “forgotten” in the grassroots small business community we had just started to feel at home in. Yes, we had been doing pop-up events the whole time (some amazing, and some terrible lol), but we needed to make sure we were still progressing forward and not losing the momentum that Twiga had started to build.
While all this was on our minds and we were weighing all our options (staying at B13 was NOT an option), I was scrolling through IG one day and saw that Unwrapped was moving into her own store and looking for vendors…. This would be the perfect place for all of our environmentally inspired shirts and totes! We are so grateful for Unwrapped taking a chance on us and having us to this day still available in her shop (located at 141 Wortley Rd, London ON).
As our time was coming to an end at B13, I sat down to a coffee at Juicy Tings to have a bit of a pity party for myself and anyone who wanted to listen… and thank God that day it was Jim from Stay Hungry & Humble who was listening! I’d known Jim as a breakdancer, and one for the friendliest people at B13, but I had no clue we would say what he did next – “Me and my team can help you build a website.” It was a statement he may come to regret once he received an email for every single thought that came into my head about what I wanted our website to look like! But it was the statement that changed the game for us and has us thinking that 2020 is going to be the best year it could be for Twiga.