I am currently the Event Coordinator for a local Mountain Bike Race in Traverse City called Conquer The Village. Many of the Elite Riders cite this race as being the toughest, yet most exciting race of the year. The treacherous climbs and sweeping downhills are most referenced. These are the same climbs and sweeping downhills which leave racers at the bottom without tires on their bikes. It's no longer an exaggeration to see an elite racer walk out of the woods holding nothing but a bike frame. Needless to say, it's an event the co-founders have become quite proud of!
The event scene began with a 7 a.m. set-up the prior day. Britten Studios (our parent company) was on hand to install the massive start and finish towers. This was one of those moments when the light goes off in your head and you realize that you work for one of the best companies in the world! A 10-man team descended upon the start/finish area to begin the installation. What looked like it would take hours to assemble, went up in a matter of 30 minutes. Despite a last-minute mistake with one of the banners (not their fault) they absorbed the hiccup as if expected by issuing a sincere apology and returning with a freshly printed replacement banner a couple hours later. While I know I work for an amazing company, I still had to pick my jaw up off the floor. I was beyond impressed with the way these men handled themselves from the moment they arrived to the moment they left.
Since we were in year two for the event I thought we knew what to expect. However, last year I was not yet part of the TentCraft team and boy let me tell you—I was a popular girl this year! During event set-up, the various race sponsors and businesses were calling me "Tent Master" which I thought was ironic considering we sell MasterTents™ (dare I say #tentnerd?).
Each of the racing teams, including the sponsors, had tents set-up for the event. For me, this meant about fifteen 10x10 or 10x20 tents requiring setup the day before the race. Fourteen of the fifteen tents came from TentCraft. The one tent that was not from TentCraft...I don't even know how to describe how that tent went up. Once it did go up, it came back down 15 minutes later. It literally turned inside out just like an umbrella on a windy day. When the tent finally came to a standstill, 50 yards away, I was happy to say "that's not one of our tents."
We also purchased a pop-up tent for the event which consisted of a bright orange color, race logos and our website. Nothing too fancy (when compared to TentCraft's true capabilities) but we still received so many compliments. I ended up distributing my business card to several people letting them know I could set them up with one of our sales reps. Who knew I would be so proud and eager to talk tents with anyone who had questions—and on a day designated to mountain biking?
All in all, it was a great day. All of the riders were extremely happy with the race. I went into the event praying for zero hiccups and beyond the slight banner conflict, that's what we had. The race teams and sponsors were more than satisifed with their custom pop-up tents. I walked away proud as both an Event Coordinator and TentCraft team member. I thought about our customers near and far. This must be the feeling we help achieve! That's what a brand is all about. It's about how your customers perceive you. It's the feeling you elicit through human conversations, touch-points and by exceeding expectations. As crazy it might sound, you don't own your brand—your customers do.
When I received my degree in Hospitality Management, my professor never told me to "chase those dreams of working for a custom tent manufacturer." Yet today, I wouldn't have it any other way! Working for TentCraft is like working with a family that you really getting along with. My day-to-day interactions are full of reasons to laugh and not take life too seriously. While I'm not quite sure how I got so lucky, I'm not going to ask any questions!