Dorian, Ryan and I attended seven state conventions during the Spring and
Summer of 2000. Dorian was invited to speak at several of them. The tapes
that we sell on our web site are the same talks that she gave at the
We met some great people at the conventions. Several of them are on this
egroup today. But, all in all, we were disappointed. Conventions are very
expensive and consume a vast amount of time. This is time that Dorian can
much better spend researching and writing!
I'll give you some examples, we traveled to the Louisville convention and
sold ONE book during the two day convention. I can't tell you how
deflating it is to travel that far, put in that many hours, and work that
hard to sell one book. (Promise Keepers was in Louisville the same
weekend, and attendance was way down.)
We traveled to the West Virginia convention and sold three books. Not
pleasant! We knew we had a good product, but when this happens, you tend
to lose confidence. Fortunately, we approached each convention as an
adventure. We enjoy traveling together, meeting people, and spending time
with each other, so we made it fun. If we hadn't, it would have been
really depressing. We did better at the Lansing, Indianapolis,
Chattanooga, and Milwaukee conventions. Columbus, Ohio, a big convention,
was one of our biggest disappointments. All in all, we lost money during
the convention season and, more importantly, lost time.
Furthermore, I am still employed full time. Each convention required me to
take vacation time. Time that we could better spend with family.
All that to say that we will not be attending any conventions in 2001. We
feel we can serve our customers better by answering our mail, and email.
We will expand our advertising budget to compensate for the loss of
convention exposure. Also, Ryan has drivers training and soccer in the
Spring. We will only have him with us for 2-1/2 more years. We want to
make the best of this time with him! We are just a family, just like you
all. We are a family first, a business second.
People who go to conventions usually have their mind made up as to what
they are looking for. They come with blinders on, looking for the textbook
company tables. It's very hard to convince them to change their entire
educational philosophy as they walk past your table. We've done it. But
it's difficult. With this thought in mind, it's amazing that we did as
well as we did. Too many people are afraid to try something new, even if
it's better. And we are new, and unconventional. It's better for them to
come to us.
We are still trying to decide how best to advertise. We have an ad in the
current issue of The Teaching Home, but they are in such bad shape now,
with only two issues in the year 2000, that I don't feel I can go back to
them. I've paid for an ad in Homeschooling Today, but I don't think it has
come out yet.