“Love is Love” with an electric atmosphere at Nottinghamshire Pride…

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So as promised this blog comes hot on the heels of my last just a few days ago. I will talk about the preparations made and the experience of the day taking part in Nottinghamshire Pride.

A chance conversation with Matt at 200 Degrees months ago lead to us talking about how they had had a number of “pop-up shops” coming in to sell products within their establishments. I decided to write to Emma, the brand manager for 200 Degrees to ask if I could do a pop-up shop on the morning of the Pride celebrations in Nottingham. We met (along with Jen, the manager from the Flying Horse Walk branch just off Market Square) to discuss how we would work together in the week leading up to Pride.

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The meeting was a productive one. We checked out the space I could use and they kindly agreed a promotional offer of donating coffee vouchers to give away with book sales too (thanks Emma and Jen). Emma then started thinking about how to promote the event on social media and framed some photos using some of the furnishings around the coffee shop. During this photo shoot, a customer sitting close by the fireplace with the 200 Degrees signature flame logo in eagerly asked what we were doing. Never one to miss a trick, Emma and I explained what we were doing and offered to sell a copy of my book at the Pride special price. He snapped my hands off so this proved to be my first sale… Another thanks there to Emma!

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After the meeting, I went home to prepare. The stall had to be much more condensed than the Newark Book Festival as I had limited space with this event. I therefore reduced the amount of display space. I also needed to tailor some of the promotional materials to include the famous LGBT rainbow flag. I recreated artwork to include the offer and joint promotion with 200 Degrees too. I had to be organised as I needed to arrange to have everything dropped off at the store the night before (and being in the middle of the pedestrianised zone, I could only access the street to drop things off first thing in the morning too). It is these little details that you don’t think about that make all the difference.

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The morning of Pride came round pretty quickly. Unfortunately the weather was less kind to me than the book festival I participated in a couple of weeks ago. Although the rainfall during the night was much needed, I appreciated it clearing for the morning as I was setting up. The wind however was more of a distraction. Thankfully I had checked the weather forecast earlier in the week so was able to prepare (I not only brought a garden parasol but also used cable ties and clamps to hold the display boards in place too). Top tip, when you have staple-gunned posters onto display boards, it was a must to bring the staple gun and strong tape with you. Thankfully, I remembered these as the wind seemed determined to blow it away! The last job in setting the stall up was to give it a generous smattering of rainbow flags (bought earlier in the week from Luvyababes.

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While I wanted to make the most of being part of Pride, I also wanted to enjoy the fun and entertainment too, as did Emma who joined me with her Nitro game for the morning. We decided we would be outside the store for just a couple of hours before packing up to experience Pride in full force. It was great to reach out to people (and I am pleased to say I managed to get some sales in too) but it was lovely to talk to different people about the message behind the book. Towards the end of the event, a group of paramedics who had obviously enjoyed participating in the Pride March came over. One mentioned that she really liked the book but had no money or cards with her. She asked if I had a business card or details. I didn’t. What I did have though were the keyrings with all my details on. Although they were being sold on the stall for £1, I gave her one and asked her to follow me (I hope she now is). It was also great to hear some of the people who visited the stall asking if I could visit their school or making suggestions about how else I could get my message out there too.

So after signing off the stall for the morning, I thoroughly enjoyed what Nottinghamshire Pride had to offer. The atmosphere was electric. Live performances from Nicki French and Charity Shop Sue were awesome but it was lovely to spend quality time with my friends and let my hair down.

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I hope to be able to participate in some other Pride events later in the year or maybe next year, I just hope they are as well organised as the Nottinghamshire Pride was. It so happened that Nottingham wasn’t the only city with a Pride celebration happening on Saturday 28th July either; Norwich and Sheffield Pride also took place then too (and it was great to see the image of Felicity and Jane, the snails being promoted on 200 Degree’s Sheffield store’s Advertising Board too (thanks Jess, the image was beautifully done – I hope you had a wonderful Pride).

So it goes without saying that I need to say a huge thank you to everyone who supported me during the day, but mostly to Emma, Jen and the 200 Degrees team for being with me every step of the way. If you are interested in working with 200 Degrees contact them at info@200degs.com. As one visitor to my stall asked about school visits, I will focus on what I have learned from doing these in my next blog…

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