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  • Writer's pictureInge Hunter

Do's and Don'ts of a Launch Party.

Episode 14- Solo Episode Inge Hunter.

Podcast Links- Spotify and Apple

So today I am going to be talking about the do's and don'ts of launching a person having a launch party for business. So it's a couple of weeks past the launch party. My launch party for clue was the fifth of January 2023. And it was a phenomenal event. I've had so many questions about it since and I've had so many people asking about how it went because everyone's like, Oh my God, it looks so good online, it did look really good online. That was the reason why I had it because I knew it would look good online. But the reality is quite different. Now you might need podcast listeners, or people who are kind of really interested in what I'm doing. And so you can get an exclusive story into the insights of hosting a launch party. Spoiler alert, at 2:30am. I sat in the shower and threw up on myself. So I have a few things to say about the launch party. Let me tell you about it. So the reason why I had a launch party is because I've just formally launched my business Clue. There were big things in the pipeline for it. Clue is going to be like a really kind of tangible company like I don't have actual places where there are the Clue hubs and stuff around the country. But that's for another time.

A while back, I saw GymShark have a launch party online. And it made me really jealous. And you know how sometimes you pick up Instagram and you're scrolling? And you can't help it but you compare yourself and I know everybody and their two front teeth tells you like, Don't compare yourself to Instagram. And I have this whole insta podcast called Insta versus reality because I know that it's a show. But still you get hooked into the kind of the world of comparison and things that so Gym Shark who I have no affiliation with, I don't know anyone there, I think was Steven Bartlett shared that they had a launch party and I looked at the launch party ended up in his scroll hole watching the Gym Shark launch party it was looked really good. And I thought, they must have done something really amazing to have a launch party and then I was like wait a minute; they haven't. They've just launched a business. I don't actually know what they launched but it had been launched for a while, and they launched it onto the stock market or something. I'm not sure, I should have probably looked into it before I decided that I would have my own, I was ready anyway, wanted to stick with it. And I thought, screw it, I'm gonna have a launch party of my own. So I set about now handily, I used to be an event planner. So I know how to throw together a party, I know the right people to bring in, I know the right vibe to create. So it wasn't actually much of a strain, the biggest strain is getting people there. Now, if any of you have hosted a party, you know that you send out all the invites, and you wait for people to get back to you. Some people are really good back at getting back to you, some people aren't. I'm not good at getting back to people, so I shouldn't complain about it. But when you're hosting your own party, I'm gonna come home or hang about it. So I sat down and wrote a long list of people that I wanted to come to my launch party.

Now, launch parties shouldn't just be launch parties, they should be like this. They're not just a party, they're a marketing exercise. That's what it boils down to, is a way of making a lot of key people talk about you all at the same time and tell all their friends. So I knew I wanted to have a good vibe. And I knew that it needed to be quite strategic. So I sat and wrote a long list of people who I wanted to come with. I thought, I can't just invite random strangers, because I don't want that kind of vibe at the party. So everyone who I invited, I had to know them. So I did reach out to a whole bunch of journalists that I've connected with over the years, I reached out to clients, I reached out to people in my network, and I also invited my friends and family and people that have, like friends in particular that have supported me along the years when, you know, I've been breaking and melting down because I thought, hey I'll grow businesses as a time passing thing. Surprised all these bunch of people. Now the list has reached 200 people. I was like, this is gonna be the biggest launch party ever. Slowly people did not respond. And that's, you know, that's normal. But the launch party in the end ended up having a guest list of around about 80 people, which is actually I was really pleased with people that I wanted to come came like and despite the train strikes was a little random that they came the some of the people that I wanted to come not because I wanted them to be like, friends and family and PLF good vibe there. But like the journalists, for example, if you're going on a strategic route, not one of them ended up coming, which was kind of annoying. I suppose hosting a launch party like the fifth of January on Thursday in Cambridge, when everyone tends to live in London. probably wasn't a good idea in hindsight, but we went with it.

So I ended up with 70 people on the guest list. I was really pleased with it. And then I totally forgot about it. And kept telling people I had this launch party coming up but I completely forgot and I had this whole thing to organize. It was going to be in the bar where I had everything and where I started selling cocktails from the person that's before it had been taken over. It's just gone really Mankey and the toilets for rank. Like I don't know about you but if you're having a launch party shelf like you're brand new spanking like cool business, the toilets need to be good. So I changed it to this record venue actually, because I bumped into a guy that I used to work with on the hospitality scene that now owns this bar. He was like yeah, cool, whatever it was. So it actually turned out to be the best place. If anyone is having a launch party in Cambridge and needs a venue location go for ‘BarOH’, used to be Quinn's if you're a Cambridge folk listening, but have it there. And guy Sean who owns it was really, really accommodating.

I totally forgot it was happening. I'll be totally honest. I forgot it was happening. I forgot that I hadn't organised anything, even though my team were like, do you need us to do anything? I was like, No, it's fine. I know what I'm doing. Hadn't got any food, or any drinks, or any activities, or the DJ or anything like that. Until I was sat when we went away for Christmas. And I sat in Malta by the pool. This is the 24th of December. And a lot of budgets like the fifth of January, I was like, Oh, totally forgot about it. And I couldn't do much about it. Because I had a new business bank account. I'd switched over. And I hadn't activated my new card. Because I use Apple pay all the time. And I can manage businesses but I can't manage my personal life. Let's just leave it at that. Anywho, I couldn't pay for anything because my card wasn't activated. And I was away in Malta and I texted Sean, I was like Sean, I'll sort this all out when I get back. But I need this and I need this and I need this and I need this. One of the things I really wanted was a 360 video booth. And he was like, it's not gonna fit. I said please make it fit because I had paid for this massive video booth to come. And it's really big. It's not just a normal video booth, basically you stand on a stand, and then this camera swings all the way around you 360 degrees, and it creates these really cool slo mo videos (hashtag content) . I need to have that at my launch party. So Sean really sorted me out. And then I realised like, there's nothing there to do with clue like, it's just gonna be a party and he banners or something. So I went on to Vistaprint and audits, conference banner type things, but tried to upload of design from Canva, the resolution wasn't high enough. So I was literally sitting on a sun bed, next to the indoor kids pool in Malta on my phone, so I didn't have my laptop on purpose so I could turn off my holiday, trying to design a conference banner, for clue on the tiny phone screen on the Vistaprint website. Because I only had three hours to order it until it wouldn't get delivered on time. So I didn't tell many people about it. As you could tell, I was panicking. And I was like I've got to pull this whole thing together. So I did. I did.

If you know me, you know I'm very much a swing by the seat of my pants type person and things generally come together, which I shouldn't rely on, but I always do. So I thought to myself, I've got the banners whoop. Sean's sorted out with the DJ and drinks. I don't need food. No one needs food. But I was going to have cupcakes, branded cupcakes. So I did sort that out actually in advance. The only reason was because my client and The Mad Batter did them. They were amazing, by the way. And she was on the ball with it. She kept bugging me about it. So we just have those sorted. If nothing else, there would have been cupcakes also sent over my face and stuff because this bar does like 3D printing. And they wanted my face for the cocktails, which was very cool. By the way, I got everything sorted, relaxed. For the rest of my holiday. Everyone kept asking me or my team. Is everything done? Everything is ready is it? I was like, Yes, actually, it is. None of you trusted me to do it on time. But I did. Little do they know. I did it with three hours to spare. But yeah, everything was done. And the guest list was ready. And I was sending out emails and everyone was really excited.

And I started hyping it on Instagram, because the whole point of our launch party is to make sure everyone's talking about it. You basically have to create this amazing party that everyone wishes that they had come to. That's the whole point of a launch party. And then during the launch party, the key is to communicate to your guests what the business is. Right. So they also failed on point number two communicating during the party, but I'll explain that to you in a minute. So I get back from my holiday, my birthday happens, New Year's Eve happens, kids go back to school, and the day of the launch party comes along. Firstly I'd forgotten to book the babysitter and properly like she said ages ago she would do it but I forgot to tell her that it was actually happening. So on the morning of the party I texted the babysitter like, can you come by the way? I hope you're still free. So did that. Can you sense a theme of the do's and don'ts of a launch party? Get it done out the way. Organise it.

My husband turns around to me in the morning. He's like, "What are you wearing tonight because I'm not sure what to wear?" And I was like, Oh my god. I've forgotten I have to wear anything. Anything nice, like I have quite a minimalist wardrobe. And so I tend to wear the same outfits over and over again. Somehow, in my mind I thought I'll just wear the same thing. I always wear I can't wear the same thing because it's my business launch party. So drop kids off at school and then went to try and find me something to wear. Now if you're following me on Instagram, I thought I'd share the whole thing because I'm a very real person. And it was actually really stressing me out. And as much as it looks funny on Instagram really stressed me out. I couldn't find anything to wear. Like I'm short. I'm five foot one. And I'm curvy. I'm about 13 stone, and I don't fit like most things are either too long or too skinny. And so I really couldn't find it. We went to one town, but couldn't find anything in the TK Maxx and the shops in that town. Went to another town, shops in that town like River Island h&m, new look next m&s loads of shops like some independence as well. And then I realise I have got really bushy eyebrows. My nails aren't done at all. I haven't got any good makeup to wear. I was panicking.

So I went into Cambridge texted my friend Zoe, and she met me in town. But she was coming to my launch party, all the while also throughout the day, there was a really big train strike happening, like all the signals were gone on strike. So not one train was running. So my guest list of like 70 people was shrinking and ended up losing like 30 people from the bloody train strikes. So I was feeling really crap. Actually, you know, I was supposed to be enjoying this really cool thing that was going to happen in the evening. Couldn't find anything to wear. Hadn't booked in any self care for the day. Do book in self care if you're doing a launch party, Like book getting your nails done, getting your hair done, having a facial whatever, it is just something to help you feel a little bit elevated and make you slow down. I didn't have any of that. Because that and then everyone started slowly dropping out. I know that they didn't want to, everyone had organised to come but a train strike, you can't do anything about it but I was really upset. That partnered with the fact that I did not eat. If having a launch party, I would eat something for breakfast, because I panicked. I was like, I'm getting anything that has coffee. At lunch, I panicked. I just don't have any time for lunch, I'm just going to get coffee. And then I didn't find an outfit until like half past four. I needed to be at the venue at six. And I also needed to go and get changed. So I went back to my friend's hotel room, got changed, sat down for a quick minute, bought myself a drink because I was like, I've done well, like a little pre drink celebration. And I wasn't hungry. So I didn't eat. I ate like a handful of olives and like five chips. And I should have eaten. I didn't eat because I can look back with hindsight on it. Now, I realise my adrenaline was running really, really high. So I wasn't hungry, and then strolled off to the venue. And I was really really, really excited, really pleased with myself, and found something really cool to wear.

As soon as that launch party, like I said the guy that owned the bar was one of my friends from back in hospitality. So I turned up and there were two shots ready to go on the bar. Just kind of a classic hospitality rule, if any one of you listening to this worked in hospitality worked in bars in particular, you'll know that it's just this unspoken rule that I don't know actually, maybe that’s a Cambridge thing. But when you turn up at a bar, there's always a couple shots ready to go down. I didn't have lots to set up at the venue actually, because that little was sorted and slipped into enjoying the night like and also people turned up on time. I got to the venue at like six. I told people to get there at seven, not expecting anyone to be there, like half seven. People got there at seven, I was really impressed. Like welcoming everyone in and I really enjoyed it, you have to kind of really, really, really take on the atmosphere when you're hosting the launch party.

Suddenly, I had this moment of like, everyone's here for me. Like this is very weird. Everyone in that room was there to support what I was doing, and really wanted to be there. And that was really, really special. And something that I'll never, ever forget. Unfortunately, though, tequila shots kept coming. As soon as people got wind that I kind of like a tequila shot. It just didn't stop. And people kept buying me tequila shots. Because I think it's a bit like a wedding. Like when I got married, I was pregnant, so I didn't drink. And I imagine it's a bit like that, like everyone kind of wants to celebrate you. So the thing that they do at a bar to celebrate you is buy you a drink, which is really, really nice, obviously, but

I knew that I needed to tell people why they were there. Like I said Part Number two, make sure that when they're at the party, you communicate to them the business, part number one was taken care of. I was very clear with everyone like I don't have my phone on me, please can you tag and share as much as you can. The bar was really really cool, which meant people wanted to tag and show off that they were kind of there. The cocktails have my face on which was kind of gimmicky so people were tagging and sharing that and the 360 video booth gave people these slow mo videos like really cool looking videos to post straightaway. So all those things I had taken in hand, and people started sharing the shit out of it. That was amazing.

Every time people were sharing it as well, we were making sure that we were sharing it across our socials so that the clue launch party for the people in my kind of circle, our business circle or like people that follow me, and that that was the only thing they would see that night. And that is absolutely paramount. I think if you're having a launch party to make sure that it dominates the socials when you're there. So that worked well. I got loads of feedback afterwards, everyone was like loads of people who can come or loads of my clients or followers and stuff like, Oh, my God, it looks amazing. Which was cool. And so part number two, communicate why people are there. I decided to do a speech.

Now I had pre written a little bit of speech, not like a full bit, but loads of like pointy bits too, but I put my phone away at the other end of the bar. And I was actually nervous about doing a speech actually. And I didn't know the right time to do it. I knew everyone was there for me. But everyone's having such a good time. I didn't want to interrupt. But one moment, I stood up on stage and gave a speech. Now the speech was supposed to be about Clue. But it ended up being a 50 minute long talk about me. And my friend texted me afterwards and actually said that it was 45 minutes talk on foreplay and five minutes of ‘by the way I've got this business called clue’. So do not stand up and give a speech without notes. And do not drink tequila before you stand up and give a speech. It went down really well. Like handily I am quite good at giving speeches. I know this about myself.

I was really enjoying myself and I was really enjoying the vibe of the room. And everyone I knew supported me. And it was just lovely to be able to individually pick people out, talk about how they supported me, talk about my journey up to this point and tell people how powerful it felt creating this business called clue. And so I went on and everyone's I can't remember much of the speech. I'll be totally honest. I must have been a good five tequila shots down by this point. And I wasn't slurry though. And loads of people were surprised. They were like, I didn't realise you were that drunk. I didn't realise I was drunk at all. But then I finished my speech and got offstage. Everyone had fun, I had a dance, I love dancing, and kind of really good boogie. And then by like, half past 10, I was like now I'm done that. Now I'm a classic kind of irish exit kind of person on night out, I will just go home when I've had enough. But you can't do that at your own launch party. So do plan an exit strategy. If you're having a launch party, do have a think about how you're going to get the eff out of there when you want to when you're knackered because it is exhausting. Going to a normal party these days on a school night is exhausting. But going to a party when you're the host is a new business like you. I was absolutely full of adrenaline. I had the biggest adrenaline dump I've ever had when I came off that stage. And after I finished, had a dance, an adrenaline dump, I could have fallen asleep and curled up in the corner. And I kept going round to my husband like ‘CJ, I want to go home, can you just turn the music off?’ He was like NO, this is your party, keep going? So we turned the music off and stuff like 12 like we went to 12. But number one had been rushing around all day, number two hadn't booked in any time for self care in that day. Number three had not eaten at all that day. Number four had shorted a shit tonne of tequila. And number five had a massive adrenaline dump and didn't kind of compensate for that. Number six, I should have had proper food at the party.

And so I got home and I fell asleep immediately. Like immediately as soon as my head hit the pillow. I fell asleep. Half two. I woke up. I didn't feel very well. And I always go and sit in the shower when I'm not feeling good. Let the water cascade over my back and I went and sat in the shower and threw up on myself. After I threw up on myself I was actually okay. It just needed to happen. Crawled back into bed, wet hair and everything and fell asleep and the next day didn't actually feel very rough but I was just exhausted. Now I would like to argue my point here that I would have been exhausted had I not drunk tequila like the adrenaline. The night the soul realized making sure that everyone felt cared, for making sure I talked to everyone, making sure I had a network, making sure that everybody had been sharing and talking about Clue is an exhausting job. And so I was kind of off for two or three days.

But since then, I've had so much interest in Clue. I've had so many inquiries come through, people have been telling everyone about it. I think it's important after the launch party to follow up with the people that were there. I will also be following up with people that had meant to be there, but hashtag train strikes. And making sure that I let them know how much I appreciated them coming. And a little bit more information about Clue because I clearly didn't talk enough about it with my 45 minutes of foreplay speech. And moving on from here, but I would really, really, really recommend it. If you're, you know, we've had COVID and it kind of bashed everyone in their heads with the way that they socialised. But everyone's coming out of it. Everyone's getting, like probably coming out of it now, after our COVID Hangover. And if you can get an excuse to get a whole bunch of people in a room excitedly and have fun, talk about what you're doing. 100% do it, it was one of the best marketing activities I have done.

I've not sat down and gone through the stats. But I know that we gained over like 200 subscribers on the email list. It wasn't even planned. Like we didn't share the email anywhere. We've gained over 200 subscribers. I think it was 500 followers across the different social accounts. And they're still growing, and people are still talking about it. And people are still messaging me. And the people that were at the party, and now telling people when they get people like oh, do you know someone who could do this immediately on the first in or clue was the first in their brain because they came to that experience. And I think giving someone an experience means that they feel it in every aspect of their body, and they remember it a lot better. And they remember you can partner up with people a lot better.

So do a launch party. But please learn from all of my mistakes. I made plenty, plenty that was the most passively pulled together event I've ever done in my life. And I did not manage myself very well on the day. So learn from my mistakes. It's diverse and real. I know that there's going to be some things to take away from this. I also hope that it makes you see that Instagram is not reality. But although you can use Instagram to market and play up a reality, let's be honest. So if you do have an event coming up, do a launch party. I can't say anything more.

I should finish off with if you ever have any questions, let me know over on my instagram, IngeHunter. Head over to the Clue website to see if its right for you and your business!

Inge x


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