A Small Brand Making a Big Impact: MAAREE at the National Running Show
Wow! Now that the craziness of the National Running Show has finally passed, I can talk you through our experience of our third year doing this amazing show!
From the Boob-Costumes to the mistakes made to the massive difference a small business like ours can make!
From the moment the National Running Show was on the horizon for us once again, the excitement within our team was palpable and the Whatsapp group was buzzing like a bee. As a small but passionate team, we prepared to showcase our innovative sports bras for the third time, little knowing that the weekend would turn into an exhilarating rollercoaster of emotions, connections, and unforgettable experiences.
Friday: The Pre-Show Hustle
The day before the show, my heart was racing with anticipation. We had a bust day ahead, but on top of this I had the ill-times graduation in Oxford for a business course I'd recently completed. We were on a tight schedule!
Racing against time, we dropped me off in Oxford to meet my mum and the rest of the team gathered our stock from Milton Keynes and headed to Birmingham. Every minute was precious, and as we set up our (generously-sized) booth, the blend of excitement and nerves was electric.
When I eventually joined them later that day we had some trouble getting our changing rooms up as we couldn't get the screws to work, but at 8:45pm we managed to crack it, 15 minutes before we were kicked out of the hall. Always going down to the wire.
Saturday Morning: The Boob Costumes Debut
The first day kicked off with a bang. Our amazing fitters, Katie and Amy joined us and my mum and I zipped into our boob costumes ready to distributing flyers as people entered. However, after having handed out every single flyer I held, we returned to our overrun booth at 9:05am and realised I'd walked away with the payment point! The team had mix of amusement and mild panic in their eyes and I was very much embarrassed. But that was quickly forgotten as the booth was absolutely buzzing with activity and I had to just straight into fittings too as I needed to try and quickly get through our ever-growing queue.
Fitting Frenzy and Overwhelming Response
As you can imagine, being a sports bra company that sells 52 sizes, it's vital that you keep your sizes organised and easy to access. Well, it's safe to say that this pre-organisation that we did, and had worked well the previous two years at the show, went out the door at 9:05 also.
The fitting rooms were never free the whole day. With Katie, Amy, and me in constant motion. As a result, this meant we never got a chance to re-organise the fitting stock and so it was quite the frenzy to find the size needed each time. However, I'm thankful and surprised to say that is never took more than 30 seconds to find each time. We may have felt like we had spinning plates the whole day, but we never let one smash!
The energy was high, and the demand for fittings was overwhelming. The queue snaked away from our booth, a testament to the attention and interest we were garnering. We weren't able to take any breaks until at least 4pm!
The sight of our two mums, gloriously dressed as giant boobs, weaving through the crowds, drew laughter and smiles, perfectly capturing the spirit of MAAREE. They were also doing a great job of bringing even more people to our stand. It's safe to say we were hard to miss this weekend!
PhotoBoob and Community Engagement
Our PhotoBoob competition was a delight. It wasn't just about taking photos in a funny costume; it was about engaging with you and everyone in our community, sharing laughs, and creating a sense of belonging. The giant boob balloons and 'Team Boobs' stickers were incredibly popular and added to the fun, drawing more and more people to our little universe of support and empowerment.
Sunday: No Rest for the Energetic
The second day was no less hectic. With only two of our three fitters available for the Sunday, and knowing what Saturday was like, I'd be lying if I wasn't a little worried. Therefore we had a little team talk at dinner that evening and came up with an action plan for Sunday to keep on top of things. I'm happy to report that it worked great this time and Amy and I took turns to fit two people at a time when we could.
My mum, in her costume, continued being a hit, even managing a plank challenge at one of the stands. Her social media fame in the following days was a sweet reminder of the impact we had made.
As the day drew to a close, our small team, tired but exhilarated, packed up. It was the best show we'd ever had! I was so happy and relieved. You can sometimes dwell on the difficult times of the businesses for longer than you celebrate the successes. So we're doing our best to revel in this while we can, for sure. The sense of accomplishment was immense. We had connected, fitted, and laughed with so many incredible individuals.
Reflecting on the Power of Small
As I look back on the whirlwind that was the National Running Show, my heart swells with pride and gratitude. MAAREE, though small, proved to be mighty. Our presence was felt, our message heard, and our products loved. My own personal highlight of the weekend was the number of fittings I had (whether they'd already heard of us before or not) where they put the bra on for the first time and the amazement on their faces when they bounced and realised how great the bra was. Some even got emotional abut how they had gone in their lives without having such level of support, they'd given up looking. It honestly made me so happy! This experience reaffirmed my belief in the power of small brands - we're nimble, we're passionate, and we can make a significant impact.
To everyone who stopped by, who shared a laugh with us, who supported our mission: thank you. Your enthusiasm and encouragement fuel our journey. Remember, MAAREE is more than just a brand; it's a community, a movement, a force of empowerment.
If you weren't able to make it to the National Running Show but would like a fitting with us, why not book on for a quick and convenient online fitting with us? It's so much fun.
Thank you again and as we continue to grow, we carry with us the memories, connections, and lessons from this incredible event. Here's to many more!
With heartfelt thanks,
Mari and the MAAREE Team 🌟