There’s an event for everything you may say until you think of a new idea that hasn’t been done before. Three years ago in New York, while eating dessert and looking up events to do in the city, I looked at the vintage fair, the burger and beer festival, and I wondered to myself when the dessert festival was. After some sleuthing, I discovered there had yet to be a dessert festival in NYC so I set out to start one and now have hosted six in N.Y. and two in L.A.
In a similar fashion last year while watching romantic comedies on Netflix, I thought to myself that romcoms really don’t play in many film festivals and how could there be multiple horror film festivals, yet never a rom com fest? So, eight months later here we are, about to host the very first Rom Com Fest in Los Angeles (scroll down for an exclusive ticket discount for C&C readers). What has been so special about this process is that desserts and romcoms are so truly me—they have been my passions since I was young—and now being able to create experiences to bring communities together who equally love them is truly life changing.
Of course, there are a lot of steps along the way from when that initial idea sparks to kicking off a festival but everyone has to start somewhere. So I’ve outlined the first three steps in finding your niche and making your mark.
1. Decide on your niche and your audience.
Step one is figuring out what your niche is, ideally something that lights you up and will drive you to make your idea a reality. Narrow in as specific as you can. Maybe health and wellness is your jam? Now what about it? Is it women in fitness or beauty routines while traveling? The more niche of an idea the more possibility of you really making a mark and standing out.
When narrowing down and deciding on a niche, you should also think through who your audience would be. You don’t want to go too narrow that there won’t be enough people to bring together. Once you’ve come up with some ideas, start chatting with friends and strangers to see if there are already Facebook groups or MeetUps with the topic. If there are groups already, that means there is an audience, but also means you must figure out how to set yourself apart. If you don’t see anything then maybe you’re really on to a new idea but even better to start small to test it out since it’s a brand new niche you’re developing.
2. Select the right setting.
Your first iteration might not be a festival. Would your audience connect better in person or online? Your company could start digital as an Instagram a blog, or a podcast. Or if you think in person is the way to start, test it out small with a casual gathering or dinner party, or as a pop up event within an existing conference or festival. There are many options and based on your resources ($$$ and time may be the biggest at first) you can decide the right setting to kick off our niche business.
3. Build your dream list.
Whenever I’m first starting a new idea, I’ll create a new document and list out all my dream partners. This includes brands, community partners, press, influencers speakers, vendors, you name it. In my ideal world what would your event/blog/experience look like? I then look at the dream list and see who those people/brands are collaborating with and add to my list to create a massive outreach plan.
Then I send lots and lots of emails. If you’re getting started with a rolodex of contacts or friends in the industry that definitely gives you a step up, but don’t be discouraged if you aren’t. Every time I’ve started from the bottom, I had no experience in food or in film, but by researching the right people and crafting personalized emails and not being discouraged by the many, many non replied emails, eventually a few people say yes and you’re on your way. Remember that everyone has to start somewhere and ion creating this dream target list you could be surprised by who you might be able to collaborate with in year one, or maybe in year three, but you still made it happen.
ABOUT MIRAYA BERKE
Miraya Berke is an entrepreneur and founder of Dessert Goals and Rom Com Fest. Her mission is creating experiences that spark delight and joy, Marie Kondo style. In her spare time she loves, of course, eating desserts and watching romantic comedies. She lives in the Bay Area and is often traveling to L.A., N.Y. and beyond for events.
ABOUT ROM COM FEST
For those of you in Los Angeles, Rom Com Fest is happening June 20-23 and Miraya is offering $5 off all individual tickets to Create & Cultivate readers. Use code CREATECULTIVATE when purchasing tickets on Eventbrite. The full line-up of new and classic rom coms is at www.romcomfest.com