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My Experience Traveling solo to Closets Conference & Expo


Two weeks ago, I took a significant leap out of my comfort zone and ventured on my first solo trip to the Closets Conference & Expo in Schaumburg, Illinois. To add to the challenge, I wasn’t just attending—I was also a panel speaker.


For an introvert like myself, the thought of traveling alone to an event packed with strangers was daunting enough. But the prospect of stepping onto a stage, microphone in hand, truly tested my limits. Despite the nerves, this experience pushed me to grow in ways I hadn't imagined, proving that sometimes, stepping out of your comfort zone is the best way to discover your potential!


closet conference and expo 2024

If you’re in the closet industry, I wholeheartedly recommend attending this conference! Next year, it’s set to take place in sunny Florida, giving you even more reason to join.


Why Attend This Conference?


The benefits of attending are twofold: education and networking. Both are crucial for personal and professional growth.

Back when I worked for Cali Closets in Tampa, I loved our monthly meetings where vendors showcased new or existing products. It was a fantastic learning experience about materials, accessories, and product implementation, which are essential to becoming an expert in our field.


Since moving to a smaller company, I've found myself advocating more and striving to stay at the forefront of product knowledge.


Education:


This conference offered me a valuable opportunity to engage directly with vendors, ask technical questions, and see product displays that might inspire new design ideas. It also allowed me to establish a personal connection with vendors, something that can be overlooked when you’re part of a larger company. At this scale, you can have more intimate and meaningful dialogues, which is invaluable.


Networking:


Admittedly, networking is challenging for me. The idea of attending a conference where I knew very few people, mostly from social media, was intimidating. Yet, one of my favorite aspects of my job is meeting new clients to discuss their custom closet needs.


Interestingly, a podcast I listened to explained that most people are not pure introverts but ambiverts, who function quite well in social settings when there's a clear purpose. This resonated with me, and I’ve since applied this approach to all networking events. At this conference, I reminded myself that everyone was there to learn. My goal was to gather as much knowledge as possible from vendors and to connect with peers to understand how they run their businesses and learn from their challenges and successes.


I also made sure to schedule downtime to recharge!


Panel Discussion:


I participated in a panel focused on personal branding and differentiating oneself in the industry. My key message was centered around the trio of client experience, quality product, and accountability.


At the core of my philosophy, I believe that becoming an expert and delivering exceptional experiences to clients is the key to generating repeat and referral business. This isn’t about quick gains; it's about valuing each client interaction and meticulously ensuring their satisfaction at every step.


From the initial consultation, it’s crucial to listen attentively to the client's desires and essential needs. This information forms the foundation of the design process, where their vision starts to take shape. Collaborating closely with clients during the design review helps refine and perfect the closet layout, ensuring it meets their expectations and functionality requirements.


Once the design is finalized and moves into the implementation phase, maintaining open lines of communication is essential. Regular check-ins between contract signing and installation keep the client informed and engaged, easing any concerns they might have. Being present on-site during the installation is another critical step. It allows for a final walkthrough, addressing any last-minute adjustments and ensuring that every detail is perfect.


Post-installation, keeping in touch with the client confirms that everything meets their standards and gives them an opportunity to provide feedback. Additionally, a service that sets us apart at Closet Envy is offering four hours of organizational support after the closet installation. This service helps clients settle back into their space smoothly and ensures that everything is organized optimally from the start.


By taking these steps, we not only meet but exceed client expectations, fostering a level of trust and satisfaction that encourages them to return and recommend to others.


One insightful takeaway, shared by a fellow panelist, emphasized the importance of using geo-tagging and strategic connections on Instagram. Geo-tagging in social media and marketing efforts allows you to target and reach an audience in specific geographical areas. This practice is especially beneficial in industries like ours, where local visibility and community relevance are crucial. By connecting with individuals and potential clients in precisely defined areas, businesses can tailor their outreach and engagement strategies to meet the unique preferences and needs to their desired demographic. This targeted approach not only enhances the efficiency of marketing campaigns but also increases the likelihood of forging meaningful relationships and attracting local clients who are more likely to seek out our services.



Attending this conference not only broadened my professional knowledge but also helped me grow personally by stepping outside my comfort zone.


If you have any additional questions about the conference or want to connect for next year please send me a note on the contact page.


Thanks for stopping by!


Andrea Litsch Closet Designer

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