So…Plus London – 11 months in the planning and over in a flash! Overall it was a huge success and the best one so far. It was great that there was a whole team of us this time and with added helpers throughout the weekend, the actual roll-out of the event went very smoothly!
Planning an event of this scale is a full time job and when you work full time as well it becomes a massive task. Personally I think the five of us (Lauren, Isha, Kirsty and Michelle) did a remarkable job. The aim of Plus London Three was to build a stronger sense of community in the plus sized hemisphere.
We decided to have it over a whole weekend this year. We wanted people to have time to chat to each other as well as speak to the brands and attend workshops, panel discussions etc. So when we stumbled upon the Hoxton Arches with its blank canvas like feel and graffiti art in the back yard – just screaming for outfit post pictures – we knew we had found our space. We then took our time in ensuring we used the space effectively and that our programme allowed people to take the event at their own pace. We also listened to the feedback that had been given about other events and we made sure we learnt from those mistakes and copied the successes. People said they wanted somewhere to sit and chill out – we made sure we had plenty of seating. People said they wanted there to be something to drink – we made sure we gave everyone a bottle of water when they arrived. We hope we provided the best space we could.
As I seemed to spend most of Saturday either with a mic in my hand, running from one end of the venue to the other, grabbing people for two minute hugs and smiles or looking for something, I barely took a single picture! Isha did a stella job at keeping the social media side up! However I did manage to get a few pictures done by the husband who was helping Dannie from Blast! out during the day:
Simply Be kindly dressed all four of us on Saturday – I’m wearing a Project D dress. I teamed it with a mustard cardigan and tights.
Amanda looked brilliant in the ASOS leather dress and Tatty Divine lobster necklace. We’re doing a side on picture to show we don’t care – we look fat and fab from ALL angles!
And for the first time in the two years I have known Gina her belly is bigger than mine! She has a reason though – she’s with child!
Brand day was a roaring success, the event was packed and everyone appeared to be having a great time. The brand talks had every seat taken and with people standing – which was really great to see. Betty & Lilly from the pop up Pamper Box were run off their feet and the Blast! studio had a queue of people waiting to get their pictures taken. Diablo’s performance was loved and was very enpowering!
Plus London After Dark
As quite a few people were travelling from outside of London and as the last two Plus London events were evening based, we decided to throw a part after the Brand day. We hired fellow blogger and DJ Bethany to put on her DOMO (Dancing On My Own) set and made up a leathal shot called “chub rub”. The turnout for After Dark was disappointing - we had 100 tickets allocated and a waiting list for this part of the weekend and only about 30 people turned up. Now, those 30 people made the most of it – they partied hard, did shockingly riske things with the Blast props and drank themselves silly. But, we had still told a number of people we didn’t have tickets because people had said they were coming. I understand that for some, after having dinner the lure of their hotel bed was too great. We also had a rival in the form of a BBW club night round the corner. However, it just went to prove to me how much people take the planning of an event like Plus London for granted. A learning point for me is that by charging people to come – even a small fee of say £5 – would go some way in ensuring we got the numbers we had turning up.
For me Community day was the highlight of the weekend and what Plus London at its very core represents – a space to make friends, listen to experts, have a chat and learn a new skill. Alas I am in the minority with this. I started blogging to meet like minded people and to talk about fashion but also about being fat and happy with that. I’ve been lucky enough in the three years I have had my blog to meet some amazing people and make wonderful friends. I love spending time with women who – like me – love their bodies and how they dress them. But its not just about clothes, its also about how they interact with people in the daily lives, their stories of how they have overcome fat shaming or gained in confidence or have done a yoga class and been as bendy as the size 8 woman sat next to them.
We allocated out 90 tickets for Sunday and we had a maximum of 35 people turn up. This was not only heart breaking for me as an organiser it was highly embarrassing given that we had asked three speakers to come out on a Sunday to give a panel discussion to an empty room. I had to ask myself – why aren’t people here? For a few it was the leathal Chub Rub shot but only for a few. What about the other 40 people who said they were going to come?
Was it because it was a Sunday and people wanted to get home?
Was it because the panel were people who they don’t know or who have backgrounds they don’t care about?
Was it because the brands weren’t present?
Was it because they don’t want to be part of a community?
I think all four of those factors played a part – perhaps we should have swapped the days over – made Sunday Brand day so people who were down for the weekend would have come to both days.
Having spoken to those that did turn up, they found it motivating and enlightening. They loved the panel discussion and the questions asked and the answers that were given. They loved the sewing workshops we put on – with people buying Redbow’s vintage stock and getting it altered or embellished. The tea room went down a storm, yoga was popular and Lauren’s bloggers journey talk couldn’t have been more well received. So for those 35 people, being part of a community is important and as disappointed as I am that not more people came, I’m so glad that the event achieved what we set out for it to – to give people a space to feel valued and to meet like minded people.
Thank you to everyone who came! To every brand who was involved and to every single one of our helpers!
So now I’ve had a few days to digest – was it a success? Yes! Was it everything we hoped for? In a way YES! Will I plan Plus London again? Right now – no. Its exhausting and it nearly broke me. Ask me again in six months and who knows…