Mommycon kicked off International Babywearing week with two events this past weekend. A day long VIP event at the Luxe Hotel followed by a day event at the LA Convention Center. The theme was to gather moms, dads and babies together to discuss babywearing,cloth diapering and other parental issues. The theme of the weekend was an effort to set the BabyWearingWorldRecord.
- People wore their babies and loved it! – I’ve been to many conventions and this one definitely had the most people wearing their baby. I love this! It was a great opportunity to see what other people used to carry their babies and I loved seeing all the dads wearing their babies! The carrier vendors, Beco, Ergo, Onya, Lilebaby, and BabyHawk were there having fun, meeting parents and fitting people with their carriers. Carriers are easy to buy, but it can be trial and error to see what will work for you and your baby. Mommycon was the PERFECT opportunity to experiment.
- Meeting up with friends! Shout out to SV Moms! An easy way to make your day better is to spend it with other moms you know. Seeing my friends at Mommycon made my day.
- VIP swag bag – I forget how much I paid for my VIP ticket (Platinum I think) but the swag was definitely worth the ticket. Giving away carriers at a babywearing themed conference is brilliant. I have four new carriers to try out with pumpkin and talk about here.
- Pump Station – I don’t know how they do it, but every event they sponsor, they do a great job of providing water and a comfortable place to breastfeed. They even brought cookies.
- The disorganization- If this was an un-conference, or a local event, maybe I’d feel differently, but MommyCon has toured around and should have it’s act together. Across both days, there were not enough signs or clearly labeled volunteers to help give information. The more questions I asked, the more blank stares I received.
- VIP day – The VIP day was sold as a full day with special guests and a special gift bag. The idea was that each event gives you close access to talk to the sponsor/guest speaker. If you follow me on Twitter you’ll know how upset I was at this event. Not only was it WIDELY disorganized, but there were not enough chairs in the room for everyone and there didn’t seem to be a plan for the day. There was also no effort to help VIPs to get to know one another. No nametag, no group introduction. It felt incredibly awkward. Also someone should have let us VIPs know that they wouldn’t get a bag on Sunday. I had no place to put any information from the few vendors that were there.
- Not enough Vendors – People came wanting to make purchases. They wanted to learn about new products and purchase on the spot. I believe there were only 20 vendors in a total space that could have easily filled more.
- The stroller – no stroller fiasco: This was a total mess and just another example of how disorganized the event was. A stroller valet was announced for people that wanted to bring their strollers. Why bring strollers to a babywearing event? Because some babies don’t like to be worn for long periods of time. Also, it’s a great place to store “stuff”. At some point strollers were not allowed and I saw people with strollers being turned away. Then I walked inside the venue and people were there with strollers! So confusing! I actually had to leave the convention early to go home and pump. Without a stroller, there was no way I could wear pumpkin, carry a diaper bag and carry a pump bag. I would have been miserable. Instead, I had about a 5 hour window I could go before I had to head home to pump. I get there aren’t many of us exclusive pumpers out there, but if the Stroller rule had been clarified, then maybe I could have gotten more out of the event instead of feeling even more excluded.
I don’t offer negatives without suggestions so here are my thoughts on how MommyCon could have improved:
- Decide what you want out of a VIP day and be CLEAR about it. The VIP day was sold as a day of intimate meetings with sponsors and guests with a special swag bag. It was scheduled as a full day and many of us thought that we would be listening or involved in Q&As with the guests. So we left our babies at home. That wasn’t the case. Instead, we were in a room that didn’t have enough room for VIPs, with nothing to do but “hang out” and everyone once in awhile hear someone shout a sentence or two to the group. If you wanted to do a swag bag pickup/casual meet event, you could have done a cocktails/food event in two hours and everyone would have had the rest of their day back. The VIP day was a complete waste of my time and as a working mom, the last thing I want to do is waste time when I’m away from my baby.
- Build Community! This event had so much potential it kills me inside. The positive push around Babywearing and yet not a single local babywearing club had a booth for people to learn or sign up for meetings. There was a huge outside space that could have had tables for local babywearing clubs to hand out information. Some of the attendees are learning about babywearing for the first time, why not reach out, greet them and make them a part of the community? This convention is an excellent way to help moms get connected, instead it was alienating.
In the end, I won’t attend another MommyCon unless there was a serious overhaul to the event. The vendors/sponsors were excellent, but this convention was poorly managed. Several people have asked me if the event did set the Babywearing World Record. My response, is I have no idea. The MommyCon Twitter or Facebook has no message of total number of attendees or information on the world record.