Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Blogshop Till You Drop!

‘Blogshop Till We Drop!’ was organised and precisely planned to be an entirely unique event. The organising team looked at the previous events held by the Events Management & Road-Show Teams (EMRS) before them and thought, “It has to be different, it must be improved...” After a week or so of meticulous planning, the event finally took place on the 11th & 12th of July (The model competition took place on the 12th). The team of extremely capable individuals from Teams 2 & 3 were led by Herman and Leonard.

The very first obstacle the team met with was the number of blog shops that were actually needed. This number will have to complement the amount of space available at the atrium. If the number is wrong, the event will end up looking either less prominent or too cram and untidy. After much deliberation, the team decided to settle for 25 participating blog shops, after the Logistics Team (Do Kahn Duy & Ivan Lee) led by Marcus Lim made careful measurements and provided a solution.

The second step, equally crucial as the first, was to contact blog shops and present to them this business opportunity. The organising team sent out possibly hundreds of e-mails to blog shops, asking for their participation. To ensure consistency of all e-mails sent out, Herman and Leonard created a template that the team would use. The template was carefully drafted as it would either make or break this event. As foresaw, approximately 30 interested blog shops replied. After several e-mails to-and-fro, the team managed to secure the participation of 17 blog shops and another 8 blog shops owned by Nanyang Polytechnic students. Upon confirmation with the 25 blog shops, we requested all apparels, accessories and bags to be delivered to us on the 4th, 5th and 6th July. Such an arrangement would allow the organising team to place price strips on all products to be sold prior to the event.

The organising team, after much contemplation, decided to use a new method of payment. Instead of the usual price tags placed on each product, the team decided to place price strips on the products. The price strip has three price tags on it. After purchase, the customer, cashier and EMRS sales assistant should each have one price tag. At this point of time, you are probably frowning with a thought in mind, “Why the hassle?” The answer is simple… Such a ‘tedious’ method will allow efficient stock-checks, not forgetting the convenience it brings to the accounting process.

Of course, doing hundreds of price strips was far from easy. Keying in the figures and descriptions in the template was a breeze… Until we had to cut the prices strips and fasten them to the clothing using a security tag. This meant several members had to work overtime. With that said, most of them were on the ball and several labour-intensive jobs were executed promptly.

Day One, 11th July. The men of Team 2 & 3 reported at approximately 0800 Hours, just two and a half hours away from the opening of the event. As expected, most carried a bewildered look upon arrival. Mr Chong was quick in delegating; his zeal for success could be felt, like most of the time. The men were now on their feet, scrambling about the place carrying out instructions. All thirty clothes racks were shifted out to the atrium, along with the speaker, tables and other fixtures. The shifting was not difficult. In fact, the difficult part was arranging all the clothes racks according to the floor plan. The two OICS and Mr Chong took over, arranging the clothes racks, ensuring zero inaccuracy in positioning. Everything went according to what the three had planned and envisioned. The spacing was right, the stage position was perfect, and the men were quick. It all seemed too good to be true, that was when Herman and Leonard realised they missed out on something. What they saw was that the wheels on the clothes rack were too easy to move, which meant that a customer browsing through the clothes would result in the rack moving out of place. Imagine one customer doing that, now multiply it by forty. You get the picture. Racks will be shifted, the positioning will not be greatly affected though, but the overall placing will look like a mess from far. After much contemplation, the two OICs decided that it would not be wise to make amendments at such a time, exactly 30 minutes before the start of the event. There were more important tasks to be completed, one of which was the placing of the fans. To add on to the difficulty already faced, some of the fans were not in working condition. Either that or the contractor that did the new marble floor did not fix the power sockets properly. With not much of a choice left, the team went ahead, placing fans at areas where space permitted.

Before EMRS could take a breather, the event was underway… We had a decent crowd at about 1130 Hours, until we hit lunch time at 1230 Hours. With the students and staff of NYP out of their tutorial rooms and offices respectively for lunch, the crowd started to pour in. It pretty much went smoothly for Day One with no major hiccups, and everything was according to plan.

Towards the end of Day One, Mr Chong along with the two OICs, were now looking at the floor plan. Yes, changes had to be made to accommodate to the runway that would cut straight through the clothes rack. It all sounded easy, but it was not. Most blog shops took up more than one clothes rack and assigned to each blog shop is a ‘Booth I/C’. The Booth I/C’s primary role is to overlook all clothes racks and sales assistants assigned to him. Should a runway come in between his clothes racks, it would make it impossible to do so. After 20 minutes of ‘Tetris’, the floor plan was now ready and Day One had come to an end.

Day Two, 12th July. The setting-up was smooth and quick, probably because the men had an idea of the actual layout. With Leonard and the team arranging all the clothes racks, Mr Chong was busy with the speaker that had a mind of its own. Jerron Lok and Herman were no less busy. With the duo in charge of the model competition, there was much work to be done. Work such as the program flow, getting the prizes in place, contacting all models and getting ready the outfits to be donned by the models, the runway song…

At 1230 Hours, Blogshop Till We Drop’s model competition was underway, with Yvonne and Kishen as emcees. As each model strutted down the runway, flaunting their curves and looks, the fans were hyped; some even came with banners… Upon completing the ‘walk’, each participant would be given the opportunity to speak on the microphone, explaining why people should vote for him/her.
Within 10 minutes, we were now ready for the voting to take place. All models had a voting box placed in front of them, they all had a wide smile on their faces, and they all wanted to win the grand prize of 2 Universal Studios Singapore tickets and the $50 Wing Tai Clothing Voucher OR the $50 Forever21 Voucher. As you probably expected, we’ve done it properly. The voting would have the crowd going up the runway, with two voting tickets on hand, one for a male model (Blue Ticket), and the other for a female model (Pink Ticket). During the 20 minutes of voting, we had at least a hundred people going up on stage and voting for their favourite model.
After counting and finalising the scores, Julian Siew and Gina Tow emerged at the Blogshop King & Queen 2011. Both received a crown and tiara respectively, not forgetting the bouquet of flowers presented to them by Ms Khoo. The event came to an end at 1645 Hours, with the total sales for both days adding up to over $6,000.

The days of planning were not exactly joyful. There was always this sense of uncertainty that everything would come crashing down. I will spare you the cliché ending, whereby the student goes on to explain about the values he learnt. What I will say is that it was an honour to have worked with such brilliant individuals, because without such dedication and drive displayed by them, Blogshop Till We Drop would have never taken place. In conclusion, we would like to thank the supervisors of EMRS for guiding us along, all 5 EMRS teams for their contribution and most importantly, the students and staff that supported our event. It was certainly much fun given the opportunity to plan an event of such magnitude… The satisfaction derived, the joy in reaching the sales target. Cheers!