The inaugural Made In Maui County Festival attracted records crowds to the Maui Arts & Cultural Center.
The Mayor’s Office of Economic Development (OED) announced it has issued a full report on the results and successes of the first-ever Made In Maui County Festival (MIMCF), which was held on Nov. 7-8, 2014.
The full MIMCF report can be viewed at www.mauicounty.gov/OED. Some of the highlights of the report include:
– 130 vendors, including 12 from Molokai, sold about $300,000 in products over the two day period
– Despite the bad weather that weekend, more than 9,400 people attended the festival
– Besides the sales, vendors reported gaining 180 new wholesale accounts and 1,070 new business leads for future sales
“We want to thank the entire Maui community for their support for this first festival,” said Mayor Alan Arakawa, “Building the capacity of our locally made product companies will strengthen our community, not only with the jobs they create, but with the diversification this brings to our economy.”
The MIMCF opened up its first day on Nov. 7th as an invitation-only event for wholesale buyers, retailers and distributors. This Buyers Preview Day attracted nearly 300 industry professionals.
On Saturday, November 8th the event was opened to the public at 8 a.m. with vendor sales, demonstrations, a fashion show, food trucks and prize drawings taking place. Despite a steady downpour of rain, the MIMCF still managed to attract thousands of people.
By the time the doors closed at 4 p.m. organizers had recorded 9,400 attendees, of which approximately 35 percent were visitors. OED Director Teena Rasmussen said besides giving local companies more exposure, the festival provided necessary resources and training to get vendors ready for the crowds.
“The vendors were required to have GET licenses, to attend mandatory tradeshow training, to create wholesale price sheets and think about how to build supply if they gained large orders,” Rasmussen said. “We required them to look professional with their signage, marketing material, and displays. Everyone had to step up to the plate, and the public loved it!”
The selection of vendors was based on the quality and presentation of products, making sure products were 51 percent value-added in the state of Hawaii and that the company headquarters were based in Maui County.
“We had comprised a wait list of over 40 vendors that still wanted to participate,” said Kimberly Haueisen, MIMCF coordinator with the Mayor’s Office of Economic Development. “The response was tremendous and showed the pent-up demand for this kind of event for our local product companies.”
An aggressive marketing effort helped launch the inaugural Made In Maui County Festival. A summary of these efforts are as follows:
· News releases were distributed to a total of over 6,500 local and national media outlets.
· Over $80,000 of print and radio advertising was secured for the festival with leveraged buying.
· MIMCF’s e-newsletters and media sponsors’ dedicated MIMCF e-newsletters reached over 102,000 residents and visitors.
· On November 8, 2014, the event’s Twitter feed recorded an estimated reach of 58,053 and a total of 406,897 impressions.
· On November 8, 2014, at least 4,700 people were interacting on the MIMCF Facebook page. Currently, the number of MIMCF Facebook page “likes” are 1,554 (as of January 20, 2015).
The robust media plan also included being listed in virtually all event calendars in Hawaii, banners and rack cards being passed out at Kahului airport during event week, numerous television and radio shows featuring Made In Maui products, hotel and concierge support for promoting the festival, and a social media plan including a social media squad on event day.
Volunteers were an important component to the success of the MIMCF. In addition to the event committee who met for almost nine months, many organizations contributed volunteers.
These organizations included: Teens on Call, the Academy of Hospitality and Tourism, Boy Scout troops #88 and #54, MACC docents, Mayor’s staff, Maui Chamber of Commerce board of directors, and approximately 100 other volunteers.
Rasmussen said OED will continue to work on improving the festival, including adding booth spaces, more food trucks, a better traffic flow plan, and Wi-Fi service for the vendors.
“The public and vendors overwhelmingly have requested that MIMCF become an annual event,” Rasmussen said. “Going forward, our office will be working to fine-tune the festival, so we expect this year’s event to be even better.”
For more information on the event, visit www.madeinmauicountyfestival.com.
“This one event did more than all our annual advertising could do to ‘introduce’ our company to the public.” – Mike Okazaki, Maui Coffee Roasters
“The MIMCF was one of the most positive, delightful festivals I have ever been a part of. Such an attitude of helpfulness between the vendors, so well organized, and so many people! A lot of bang for the buck as far as advertising dollars.” – Joy White, joy’s place LIVE!
“We made numerous contacts with buyers and store owners. This could not have been accomplished on our own without the generous help of the MIMCF. The staff for this event was absolutely phenomenal and that is what makes Maui no ka oi. We can’t wait for next year’s event!” – Jae Springer, Maui J & M Photography
“The MIMCF is the perfect proactive, grassroots initiative supporting, growing and elevating Maui small business while perpetuating the spirit of aloha. As a vendor, we had the opportunity to gain exposure that would have been hard to achieve individually – we more than doubled our wholesale orders.” – Kauionalani Waller, Maui Nui Wear
“I believe that the combination of wholesale buyers and retail buyers was the best benefit to our small business. Your advertising and PR was outstanding and we had the opportunity to make the newspapers (twice) which really helped put our small business on the map of Maui businesses. The team that put the event on could not have been better. You crossed your t’s and dotted your i’s and thought of just about everything that vendors could need or want, right down to the Boy Scouts helping us get our items to our vehicles, which helped move us out quickly. Big mahalos to everyone!” – Caroline Arena, Ono Nuts