The little swimsuit company at the biggest Pride event: San Francisco
It's one of the largest Pride events in North America: San Francisco. So, we wondered: Could the little company from the Canadian prairies make a name for itself at a massive festival that apparently sees 1 million visitors? The answer: It would be damn hard, but... kinda.
There was discussion about what inventory should make the trip across the border. Of course, it's easy to ship swimsuits since they’re small and don't weigh much, but what kind of a crowd would it be in San Fran? Would it be a colourful flamboyant group? Would it be a community that appreciates sarcastic T-shirts that make a statement? Both? Neither? We had no idea.
Ultimately, we took everything. Everything. Two boxes shipped to the hotel and a carry-on bag, plus a checked bag on the plane. We were there to play in the big leagues.
Unfortunately, the Pride organizers were nowhere to be seen upon our arrival to the festival grounds. In fact, nobody was willing to help us locate where we were supposed to go (and even the designated entrance was changed when we got there). For about an hour we wandered around lost, unable to get help from people with walkie talkies or those zipping around on golf carts. When we finally did locate our "booth" -- which was a table laying flat on the ground with two chairs folded on top of it -- people were already coming by.
The first hour was a writeoff. It was difficult to get things set up in the windy street. Swimsuits regularly blew off the table when gusts of wind would come. Anybody set up without a shelter -- which was most of the exhibitors in our section -- had to throw themselves on their displays to keep things from blowing away throughout the two days of the event.
The people were friendly. Once again, our Happy Bulge character made people smile. The company name made them laugh. Lots of people took pictures of the store banner as it flapped uncontrollably in the wind.
The festival goers showed us lots of love. They bought lots of stuff. They changed into their purchases and came back to pose for photos. It was a really good time. We even had a porn star stop by who was interested in checking out our products. (And maybe we got him into a photoshoot back at the hotel! See our Facebook page for that.)
Overall, it was a great experience visiting San Francisco. Again, we learned a lot about the kinds of product to take. It seems like each city will have different interests. San Fran was a little bit of everything. (Though you can't go wrong with the skimpy swimwear selection!)
We take a bit of a break and then head to Calgary at the beginning of September for our next Pride booth. See you there!