Meet Allison and Cat, the dynamic duo from the Ultimate Product Party, the GO-TO EVENT for product based businesses ready to sell, scale, and level up. The event is May 7-9, 2024 in southern California.
Through the buzz and energy of in-person connections, they invite you on the path to business growth and visibility, all set against the picturesque backdrop of Rancho Las Lomas in Orange County.
They spill the tea on what to expect at this year's event - speakers, foundational workshops, networking & relationship-building. Learn about the the brand new "London Creates Things" UPP scholarship opportunity and how to get involved.
We particularly love how Allison & Cat share behind-the-scenes of what it's like to put on a successful event like this!
Get the details at https://ultimateproductparty.com and save $25 with code UPPJULIE.
Apply for the scholarship here.
So you want to launch a subscription box and don't know where to start? Girl, you are in the right place. I'm Julie Ball, and I'm Renee. Gonzalez, your host here at Subscription Box Basics, a podcast for new and aspiring subscription box entrepreneurs wanting to avoid overwhelm. So grab a coffee, some pen, and paper and let's have some fun. Hey everybody and welcome back to Subscription Box Basics. I'm Julie Ball, your head coach, and I'm here today with some of my favorite party people. In fact, they are from the ultimate product party. I have Allison and Kat from UPP. Hi guys, welcome.Speaker 2:
Thanks for having us Julie, we're glad to be back.Speaker 1:
Yeah, I was just going to say you were here last year and we talked about the ultimate product party and I actually got to speak on your stage and I had so much freaking fun at this event, so that's why it was like a no-brainer to have you guys both back on the show. So let's take a minute and just introduce first of all who you guys are, and then we'll walk into what the heck is. Upp.Speaker 3:
So ultimate product party aka UPP for short is the go-to in-person event for anyone who owns a product-based business, who works with product-based business owners and are looking to grow and scale their sales out of the freaking water network, be impacted by other entrepreneurs in the community, and it's a two-day event. This is not your basic B daddy's business conference. This is a true immersive experience where you just take away so much and network so much. And, julie, we loved having you on stage and getting to actually meet you in person and that's like the power of relationships and why we believe in-person events so much.Speaker 1:
It was so fun Cat your background. You actually run a product-based business and you are an educator. Tell everyone a little bit about that.Speaker 3:
Yes, cat with Kitty Miao. I'm not a crazy cat lady, but Kitty Miao is a stationary paper party and gift brand that I sell in over 1,500 stores all over the world. It is a collection of just really edgy and fun and little sexy but still sophisticated party goods. Then I also teach other product-based business owners a lot in the stationary category how to grow and scale their products through wholesale, because that is truly the biggest revenue driver in my business is selling my products wholesale, aka selling them to stores. Alison and I have a lot going on over here with our individual businesses, and then you PPP on top of that.Speaker 1:
Alison, how about you? Why don't you introduce yourself?Speaker 2:
Okay, I'm the other co-host of the Ultimate Product Party with my little bestie here, cat. I am the founder of Alison Carter Celebrates. I am a former product-based business and so I understand the ins and outs. I've actually worked with Julie before. I owned a subscription box company and then decided I really just loved and felt so lit up and successful coaching other small businesses on being themselves on the internet and getting attention for it. So now I really help small businesses, creative entrepreneurs really highlight their personal brands, lean into that and create an overall visibility strategy so people can actually know that they exist. So I do a lot of content ideas and pitching and PR and getting media features and really just picking apart what makes businesses and have that secret sauce and that special thing that they can show to the world and build businesses that they really love. That helps them build the lifestyles that they really love. What's fun is I have that product background and so I understand all of the ups and downs that product people go through and also the service background to come in and help them scale that product and get that product more visible and put that in the hands of their Dreamboat customers. So it's just a really fun kind of collision of both worlds and Cat and I just absolutely love what we get to do every year with this event. It's like this big reunion party that new friends show up to also, and we very intentionally design it to be a new experience every single year. So it's constantly fresh and interesting and marketing changes so much, and so we are very intentional about the trending topics and marketing strategies and growth strategies for businesses in this year because it's different than it was even last year, and so we have our finger on the poles and are giving that up to date, most relevant information for our guests. And so it makes our job fun because it's constantly changing and everything is new, which is pros and cons to that, but it's really rad building a business with one of your best friends and I feel really lucky that I get to do that every day.Speaker 1:
Oh, I'm not sweet at that, and what I love about this partnership between the two of you is there's so much knowledge through experience. You guys both either now or in the past, have run product-based businesses, but you are so invested in empowering other women to grow their own businesses. But you don't do it in that boring cookie cutter way either. That's what I love. You guys step out and you are 100% authentic and you bring everyone along for the journey. That's for me, that is what is so magnetic about your brand with the ultimate product party. So let's paint a picture of what this actually is like. Let's talk about where it is, when it is and what to expect.Speaker 3:
This year we are taking the UPP party to Orange County, california, and the venue is called Rancho Los Lomas and it is just so stunning this botanical wonderland, and primarily all outside but some really awesome shaded areas. If you just look at the pictures online, there are so many nooks and crannies and awesome spots that we have like. When we saw it, we just knew that this was going to be the spot. Alison said we switch it up every single year. Last year was in Nashville, this year we're bringing it to the West Coast and it's kicking it off with a cocktail networking party on Tuesday evening of May 7th. And then we have May 8th and May 9th, which are Wednesday, thursday just two full days of action, packed learning and implementing and networking and so many things.Speaker 1:
Last year was so fun just getting to know so many women. I don't know if you knew this, but I think I only other than you two. I knew maybe two people that were going to be there, but I left with a hundred new friends. It was so nice to meet women who genuinely want to get to know you. They want to see you succeed and can have fun doing it. So you guys are magnetically bringing in the right kind of people too.Speaker 2:
Yeah, we love that. That is the highest compliment. So thank you for that, and we are so crazy also about that. This is a wildly inclusive supportive girls. There's a couple guys sprinkled in. Let's be real. This is our energy, is the kind of girl energy, but there are some men that are in attendance and for an event that is a couple hundred people, it feels very intimate and want it to continue that way. We don't want this to grow into something that is a thousand people, because we really love and value and feel like the most power from this event is the connections that you leave with, because we can teach you anything Like we can put any speaker in front of you that teaches you X, y and Z that you can bring back and apply to your business, and that is great. But we cannot, through a screen, put a group of women that are going to turn into really close friends or that are going to connect you with someone in their network or a brand that they've worked with or a big box store that they have connections with. Like we have had attendees help each other get their products in target Wow, really cool connections that happen only at in person events and the relationships and the connections is the reason why we will never have this be a virtual experience, because we have enough virtual experiences on the internet. We have enough times where we have to sit in front of Zoom or be part of these master classes or watch these experience unfold, and we don't have enough where we push ourselves to get out of our house or out of our office and get in the room and just really soaking up that community and feeling like, wow, I'm not building this alone. There's other people out there that totally get my life and they understand my unique struggles as a product based business, as a subscription box owner. They get it. This is my community to pull from in this room and when I go back and there's just, there's a power that's so indescribable about that.Speaker 1:
I 100% agree. That was the word that was coming to my mind as you were saying. That is powerful. The amount of people that I met, and then actually continue to stay in touch with, too, from your event has been more than other events, and I love that too, because that just shows that they are invested in building these relationships, just like I was investing in building a relationship with them. So I love that. So Kat had said, day one is the cocktail to get together. That's a great time to, without any pressure, just like say who you are, talk about your business, learn about their business, but then day two and three, it's game on right. Are you guys gonna run it like that again this year, where it's all about the learning, and are you gonna have the marketplace? Tell me what day two and three are gonna look like?Speaker 3:
Yeah, so we have about 30 different speakers that are going to be speaking on all the different aspects or different revenue streams that you could possibly think of or maybe you haven't even thought of yet to run your product-based business. We are making a little bit more room this year to have a little bit more downtime so people can have more of those intimate connections and not feel so rushed with an action-making schedule. I don't believe that we are going to do the marketplace this year. We're still figuring out how we're gonna make the swag special. Are we gonna do a swag lounge? We are, as we're running this, we're finding out like, okay, that might seem like a really great idea, but that doesn't make sense from a business aspect. And as we do this, alison and I are really good about sharing okay, this worked, this didn't work, this is why it didn't work, and taking everyone along for the journey and we're totally transparent that, hey, this is why we're not doing this this year, because it doesn't make sense financially. And we're getting a lot better about making decisions based on what actually makes sense, and things like marketplace, things like so much swag, doesn't always make a lot of sense. So we're trying to be more intentional and really create a unique experience that doesn't feel so overwhelming to the attendees.Speaker 1:
I love that. I think we all, as business owners, we pivot based off of feedback and what you said, what works, what doesn't, and what Alison said. Things change. What works two years ago might not work this year, so I love that. I cannot wait to see it all unfold. So keep us posted on some of those changes. And then, listeners if you're listening to this on their Instagram they're consistently posting all kinds of cool updates about new things that are coming out for the event. That's actually how I fell in love with the venue. You guys did this very addictive Reels series when you went to go tour the different venues that you were considering and you guys had me, just like looking at your Reels, coming back to say, oh, did they tour the next one? Did they tour the next one? And I think that's so fun that you guys practice what you preach when it comes to marketing and transparency and all that good stuff.Speaker 2:
Yeah, we honestly didn't know what it was like to plan an event. So Kat and I over Margarita's, on a retreat that I took my like mastermind girls on decided to host this event, because there was no events for product-based businesses like specifically, and so there's a whole. Let's fill it. That is a lot easier said than done. So we had no clue how expensive events were, how stressful planning events were. We didn't know it was starting a brand new business. This is a brand new corporation that Kat and I are 50-50 partners on in addition to the other businesses that we own. It's not just like the side project that we run through one of our other businesses, this is its whole thing. And so we didn't know, and there are not events that show that, that show the building of that and what that is. We had no one to look to. We had events that we have gone to before and so we were able to pull things like oh, we really liked that experience. Okay, we hated that experience. We never want like that to be at our event, or that feeling or something that is we are like really pulled strong to is speakers are engaging and participating in the event. They're not just shoved in a room because they're too cool for school. Like they are also hanging out with everybody and they're having lunch with you and they're willing and able to be pulled aside and asked a question and they're learning just right alongside of you instead of them having a speaker green room or something like. So we really like that is something that we really want to continue having that presence. We have just different things that we've pulled from other events, but there's no other like businesses that we can think of in this space that really are sharing the ups and downs and what it is like to build something from scratch for to this magnitude. Like we're talking about big money. Events are money and this is some. This is type of money that we have never really spent in that capacity in our personal businesses, and so we've had to learn a lot of really tough lessons and we've gotten to the point where we're gaining a lot more confidence and being like no, you will take us seriously. Like we, this is our boundary or this is the deliverables, or this is what we're doing, and that just comes from running something and doing this multiple times and trying, having it fail or having it succeed, and learning from that and pivoting, and that is building a business. And we really love and we feel really grateful that we get to be mentors and like role models in showing that this is not a linear path up to the top of the mountain where we just gazillionaires this is we fall off the cliff and whoops Okay, now we're hobbling up the other side with a broken leg Whoop. But that's building a business, that's being a small business owner and we want to be that person that maybe as a couple chapters ahead or as maybe doing this or showcasing that things, things can happen and we are successful in our businesses and with this event. But we also fully understand what it takes to build a business and what that path looks like and we want to showcase that and that's important to us and that's a huge part of the brand that Kat and I are building.Speaker 1:
I think it's so fun to follow along and I think that you're breaking the mold of that perfection, and I'm so tired of seeing perfection in Instagram feeds and Facebook feeds. That's part of, I think, what draws people to you is you're keeping it real and the good and the bad. So here you are. What is this? You said year three. Right, this is your third event. Yep, okay, so year three. Not only are you guys mentors and role models, but you have become these amazing connectors. You are responsible for bringing the right people in the room. So let's talk about that because, as I mentioned, I really believe the people you're attracting into this event. They're invested in other people's success. Give us a sneak peek of just a couple of the topics and speakers that will be at this year's event.Speaker 3:
Our overarching theme for the entire event for this year is pushing you to go to that next level. We all know the basics of email marketing or you gotta sell wholesale, you gotta get your products on Etsy. That's boring. We're not asking you to spend time away from your business and family and invest in coming to this event to get information that you already see on social media all day long. So, knowing that you need to go next level, what does that look like for Etsy? If you're gonna spend money on ads, what does that look like for next level, showing up on email marketing? So we really want to push people outside of their comfort zones to think about their business in a different capacity or ways that they might not have thought could work for them, because everyone's always oh, try this, try that. Knowing that there's absolutely more than one way to approach growing your business and we were even thinking about that a lot when we're choosing speakers. Okay, we want you to start building out your team. Having a one person solo business is really great, but how much more can you do with multiple people? But if you don't have experience in that and you're unfamiliar, that could be really scary. So having speakers come to speak about that. But maybe the way we run our business and we share is totally different than what someone else is doing. So let's bring in what someone else is doing and doing. Well, as far as fulfilling orders, we're always like outsource, but what if you did keep it inside? What would that look like to still be really profitable and successful and to not have this business totally run you over? So trying to think of different ways, even ways that we don't run our own businesses, that could be really helpful to somebody else and help take them to that next level in their business.Speaker 2:
Yeah. So that is really important, I think, because business is personal and the brands that we're building are personal, and CapsPath looks totally different than my path and one of your students, julie like in that group that we ran together, like her way to build her subscription box was totally different than the way that was working for me, and so we don't want this to be another Instagram account that is, do this and make a million dollars. This one decision made me 17,000 million dollars in my sleep, but that's not what we're doing like. We hate that and we want this to be like okay, you get to come and you get to learn and you get to talk to other people and you get to leave with a plan that works and feels good for you, and you get to leave knowing okay, this is the next thing that I need to work on. I actually thought it was maybe scaling this aspect, but I actually really need to get my numbers nailed down before I can even think about doing this, and that person just taught me a couple hacks that I can do on the bookkeeping side, and so I really need to go home and implement that, and then I'm gonna be ready for that next tip that I learned and that is so personal to everybody in attendance and so we want to give that overview that is more rooted in scaling versus starting out, to continue to keep pushing to what's coming next to that next level. So we have all the fun things that everybody wants to learn about. Also, we have my personal mentor and business coach. Shannon Mattson and her husband are going to be there. They own two mega businesses. They're gonna be talking about marketing. They also have a brick and mortar store. It's a coffee shop in Vegas where they sell like a lot of merch and other aspects in the product space that we're going to have Tracy Matthews, who owns a huge community in the jewelry space. She is like an expert on hiring and building out a team. We have my friend, susan, who is gonna be talking about TikTok shop and how to make that work for you and she actually is like in direct contact with TikTok and so she has some really great best practices from the mouth of the beast. And then something new that we're doing this year is a lot of times we have had topics that we know that business owners need legal taxes, mental health and wellness, taking care of yourself and your body, these things, and we've put them at roundtables which roundtables are, choose your own adventure. But what we started to see in the past two years is maybe not everybody was going to those topics because they wanted something maybe a little bit more sexier, like selling on Instagram stories or whatever. And so we are this year doing a full session series called Eat your Veggies, where every single person has to go to the legal section, the finances section, the taxes session and the mental health session. They are quick, little, bite-sized things that everyone's going to cycle through, so they get that foundational information, so they don't turn their eye to those things that we really do need at the core of running a business and being an actual business owner. So those were just constantly trying to tweak and make that schedule the best it can be, and putting together the speaker lineup and the run of show is like this massive puzzle that we have to really spend a lot of time for organizing and figuring out what's going to be best and who's going to complement each other and what do these people need. But what do they want and really stoked about this year in particular?Speaker 1:
It sounds so exciting and I love the Eat your Veggies. That is brilliant, because that's the type of thing that so often we drag our feet with because we don't want to do it or we don't and or we don't know how to do that stuff. And it is like you said, allison, it's foundational. It is something that you need as a business owner. So thank you for putting that together in such a fun format that I think that's going to be awesome. So where can people read more about the ultimate product party and learn more about the speakers and the topics? What's the best place to send them?Speaker 3:
to. Yeah, you can get all the information about the schedule, the dates, the speakers, sponsorship opportunities over at partycom. But the scholarship, the scholarship, this is new this year. This is new. I don't know if you are familiar with Heather Crabtree. She is another business coach, not in the product space, just probably more on the service side. But Heather was my very first business coach when I was a kitty, meow, little baby bird. And she has a daughter, london, who ended up passing away this time last year and she was a young, budding entrepreneur as she was going through all these treatments in the hospital and when, when she passed, we just Allison, I really felt called to do something to honor Heather and her family. So we put together the London creates things UPP scholarship and in this scholarship we want to honor London and really celebrate her in so many ways. We know that she would just love having someone come to UPP, getting their travel and accommodations paid for an additional stipend to grow their product based business and have coaching from Allison and myself and even Heather. And you can still submit your application through mid February and Heather is going to pick someone and bring that person on stage until London story, and I just know it's going to be such a magical moment and it just really proves that the community that we're building is so much bigger than us and anything that we ever really imagined when we sat down for dinner one day, over Margaritas, to pull this thing together.Speaker 1:
Yeah, I love it so much and I also had been following Heather for what I feel like might be a decade, I don't know. Yeah, she was in that? Yeah, it was. Didn't she run a savvy business owner? Yeah, yeah, group, yes. And when I was a baby entrepreneur as well, I was following her because she just drew me in with her ethics, with the way she treated people, with her expertise, and so I definitely look up to her and I remember following along with London's journey as well, and when I saw that you guys were partnering with her to create this scholarship for London to celebrate her, it really moved me, and you guys probably remember that's what prompted this email to invite you guys back on the podcast. I wanted to have you on there anyhow, but when you made that announcement of unveiling that scholarship, it just moved me, like I said. So I'm so grateful that you guys have a heart to do something like that as well. And you're right, and it's bigger than just you, pp. This type of thing has such a ripple effect.Speaker 2:
Yeah, and we want that to be the thing that we stand for. We want that community and, like I've said a million times, like business is personal. There's a lot of emotions and a lot of relationships and a lot of stuff rooted in building out your business and the fact that even just came about is really a testament to, like I said, that community. And we're very honored that Heather is trusting us with something like this and is fully supportive and excited and she is very much involved in building it out and was involved with the application and what the deliverables were going to be. And she is basically going to be making the final decision on the scholarship recipient and obviously we'll be helping and looking through applications with her and everything like that. But it just is really cool that we can take this business that was a conversation between girlfriends and now pay it forward in memory of this darling, vibrant, creative little soul and give that same energy and celebrate this business owner who just needs some help getting to the next level. So this scholarship is not necessarily for someone just starting out. It could be someone who is years in and you're just a little stuck and maybe something happened in your business or you made a mistake that wasn't the greatest financially or something you just need help getting over that, or you have an idea for your business that you want to implement and you just don't have the investment right now in order to do that, and so we want this to be a scholarship that runs the gamut on who can apply. It is not for one specific business that has a sad story or something like that. This is a celebratory scholarship. This is not a like who has the saddest stories going to win scholarship, because that also can be a really touchy subject when we're doing something like this, and so we very much want this to be fun and a celebration and in honor of someone who was so fun and vibrant, and so we're just really excited to read those applications and be able to help the next business owner get to that next level or achieve that goal financially with our help. It's just really cool and I'm excited how to see how that's going to evolve the scholarship or other aspects of ways that we can give back to the community as we continue to build this event. But we can't continue to do that unless people continue coming and also being enveloped into the ultimate product party family, and so if you're listening to this and you're just like, oh my gosh, that sounds so fun, but I don't know if that investment is right or anything like that, I hope that Kat and I showed you today that we are very open books, we are very happy and willing to chat with you about what it looks like and where you are in your business and anything like that. So please use us as resources and sounding boards on some of these things, because we just really would love to meet you and we believe in the business that you're building, as does Julie, and we would love to invite you to be part of that community Trust me.Speaker 1:
You guys, you want Alison and Kat as part of your extended business family. They will get you connected with so many people and provide you with so many resources and just cut the learning time down and have fun while doing it. So grab your pen and paper if you're listening. Let's do a quick recap. Ultimate product party will be May 7th through the 9th in Southern California and you guys have a special link for me, right For $25 off a ticket.Speaker 3:
Yeah, if you're going to buy your ticket and if you enter in the code UPPJULE, then you'll get $25 off your ticket.Speaker 2:
Yep, we have all of that on our website and the code Julie I'm sure she'll put in the show notes and everything too. But we have room blocks, we have accommodation information, we have preferred airports All of those little nitty gritty FAQ questions all be found on our website too.Speaker 1:
And that's at ultimateproductpartycom. Thank you, ladies, so much for joining me today, for sharing what's coming up in this year's event so exciting. We hope to see many of our listeners there. And again, thank you for joining me today, thank you for having us. Always a fun time with you guys. Thanks everyone for listening and we'll see you in the next episode. Bye Music. Stop to內容.