Thursday 23rd October dawned, I was up with the lark, a heady mixture of nerves and excitement filling me with a manic sort of energy.
My toast burned under the grill and my tea went cold as I rushed around the kitchen trying (and failing) to do the school preparation. My mind was firmly on the coming evening to the exclusion of everything else. Every now and then I would scuttle over to my ever growing list of things to remember and scribble furiously. Somehow the children got out of the door properly washed and dressed with everything they needed for the school day and I was left home alone to panic in peace.
The morning was over in no time, I ironed the dresses for my display, hunted for the tiny pearl buttons I had forgotten to sew on the regency style dress, packed trunks and tried to decide which shoes to wear, not to mention popping out to get my hair done! On top of all this I wanted to be at the venue early to make sure everyone was set up and that there were no last minute hitches.
I was still finding it hard to believe that the idea I had all those months ago had come to fruition, the months of planning and frustration were at an end, our core team had done an amazing job raising awareness and preparing for the ‘The Launch’, I was starting to feel ready, if not quite relaxed…..we were all set to go! Then just when I had begun to breathe again I received a call from Radio Cornwall to arrange an interview about the event for later in the afternoon, I don’t exaggerate when I say this struck terror into me like nothing else could! talk on the radio!!!??? Oh my goodness…me???!! I now had 5 hours to work myself up into a frenzy about it!
It seemed like I would never get out of the house, I lingered and dithered sure I had forgotten something, checking and re checking my list, I did finally manage to get in the car and go, leaving my husband with instructions to check the phone for messages from me during the afternoon so that any thing I had forgotten could be brought later when he came for the evening. The short drive to the hotel had me practicing what to say on the radio while my stomach turned cartwheels, I tried desperately to convince myself that I could do it! I kept telling myself I was after all a new business owner and the creator of the Launch, surely some fantastic publicity shouldn’t be beyond me …. other people people talk on the radio and it doesn’t kill them….I could do it! I could do it!
I felt better when I arrived at the venue, to be with other participants helped, a few people were already there and excitement got the upper hand, I started to enjoy the preparation and setting up my display gave me a sense of purpose, I could feel my confidence crawl out of the hole it had found to hide in and join me in the great hall at the Alverton hotel, we were setting the scenes for the evenings celebration and it felt good!
When I was finally happy with my display (after re arranging it approximately 372 times) I spent a further half an hour sitting in the bar with Kathryn from Purmorven crafts and Paul from Amazing cupcakes while I worried out loud about the interview and sipped at a small glass of wine (dutch courage apparently). Those were the final moments of quiet before it all got going, we could hardly have imagined the success that was to come in such a short time.
The interview itself seemed to go well, I didn’t faint or choke and I think I managed to string together coherent sentences, so there was another achievement under my belt and it wasn’t even six o clock yet.
By the time I got dressed up in my posh frock and back into the great hall the place was a hive of activity, everyone was set up and the atmosphere was one of anticipation, I was still nervous, this event was an unknown quantity, but we had high hopes for something very special….we were not disappointed! The next two hours passed in a blur of social activity, so many people and smiling faces, an interview with Laurence Reed from radio Cornwall, an interview with a reporter from the West Briton, photographs, lots of important people from the business world, anyone who was anyone seemed to be there! The car park was packed and people were pouring though the doors! I felt myself grinning ridiculously from ear to ear whenever I made eye contact with one of the other Launchees, the turnout was beyond our greatest expectations! so many people had come to share in our celebrations. I still get goosebumps now when I think of it, I believed in it and it happened!
Our little group managed to pull off the networking event of the year with no budget, extremely limited experience and a lot of luck! The lack of budget was overcome with the support of established businesses who took a chance on an unknown event and sponsored us. The experience we gained along the way was invaluable and the luck? well the luck was that we found a fantastic group of people who worked well together to create a really special event that will be repeated in the future to help the business start ups that come after us, our little legacy. Statistically speaking we won’t all make it as businesses, it seems that the figures aren’t on our side, but we have already achieved what some people thought was impossible and we have tasted success! So who is to say what the future might hold for the launch team of 2014? But I am sure I speak for all of us when I say we certainly won’t give up without a fight!
If you don’t know what the Launch was then please see thelaunch2014.co.uk