Business of Craft Season 3 Episode 5 Virtual Event Planning

WELCOME TO SEASON 3 OF BUSINESS OF CRAFT

Have you been thinking about how your fiber or fabric business can continue to adapt and thrive? Well, you’re listening to the right show because that’s our theme for Business of Craft season three…Resiliency!

Since 2006, my guest Benjamin Levisay has been the CEO & Director of Marketing and Sales for XRX also known as the Knitter’s Universe. Founded over 35 years ago by his uncle and father, XRX is the publisher of the now retired Knitter’s magazine as well as books and Stitches events. 

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#1 Benjamin, our theme for season 3 of Business of Craft is resiliency. Your Stitches at Home events–and we should mention you  have one coming up April 2,3 and 9, 10 is a great example of how you were quick in adapting to the limitations of in-person shows. Tell us how you came up with the plan for virtual events? [2:08]

#2 What are some of the benefits of virtual events? [7:43]

#3 Do you do on-demand content that’s available after the show? [9:23]

#4 What is the platform that you host events on? Do you recommend listeners can just begin by using Zoom or Google Meet or other tools? [12:15]

#5 Engagement is one of the more tricky aspects of virtual events. What are some of the tactics you implemented to keep people engaged? [14:54]

#6 I know you had some pushback on the class prices for virtual classes and workshops. What was your thinking around how you structured pricing? [19:34]

#7 What have been some of the unexpected benefits of hosting your events virtually that some listeners might not be aware of? [22:40]

#8 Did you have any issues with time zones and your international participants? [26:03]

#9 What are your thoughts on monetizing a virtual event? I know they are a lot of work, so how should someone think about the ROI on an event? [30:09]

#10 Your Stitches at Home website has a great tagline that says “Cottage, condo, cave, or castle, you can bring Stitches home”. Certainly, greater accessibility and the ability to attend the show from anywhere is one of the benefits of virtual events. Do you have advice for our listeners on how to ensure that people with accessibility needs are served? [35:09]

#11 I know you’ve also been active in ensuring that diversity and inclusion are a big part of your in-person events. How can hosts address that in a virtual environment? [37:44]

#12 What are your plans for the Stitches at Home virtual shows? Will you continue that after the pandemic is behind us? [41:35] 

#13 How can folks learn more about Stitches shows or participate in a virtual event with you? [44:15]

Key Takeaways:

There are a ton of great benefits to virtual events.

  • They reach a wider audience.
  • They save money and time. 
  • They can produce and broadcast high-quality content.
  • They can offer great opportunities to engage and network. 
  • They can allow for on-demand event viewing.
  • They offer overall event flexibility

Virtual events are more accessible for a variety of reasons. There aren’t prohibitive travel costs – you’re only paying the cost for the virtual event and potentially the supplies. This allows more people to attend who may not be able to for a variety of reasons: financial, locational, mobility issues.

People have gotten used to expanded accessibility during the pandemic, and you don’t want to lose these customers as you go forward. If you’ve built your online sales (outside of your geographic area) virtual events give those customers a chance to participate in the community you have built.

Finally, don’t be daunted by the technology behind virtual events. There are resources out there that can help (including us!) and if you take everything step by step it’s not as difficult or complex as it seems.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Connect with Benjamin:  XRX/Stitches Events | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram