Sunday, June 7, 2015

BlogPaws 2015 Recap

The Chesnut Mutts BlogPaws 2015 Recap

Hey guys! We had so much fun at BlogPaws this past week! This was my first conference and it was set in the beautiful city of Nashville, Tennessee. Thankfully, the venue was only three hours away and my boyfriend Johnny drove the whole crew up there. It was a nice ride and all the Mutts took a nap the entire time

Bailey falling asleep
"Zzz..are we there yet?"

The Sheraton Music City hotel was very nice, especially since they allowed pets of all shapes and sizes. I was a bit nervous of how the girls would react because they don’t really like other dogs in their face and generally pretty yappy when they see another dog around. I feel like it is my fault for not socializing them enough as a puppy, but it could just be how they are. Some dogs just don’t like interacting with others. My girls are a lot better with people, so because of this fact, I felt like we had a good chance of making this work. The rats are used to people, dogs, cats, and they don’t bark, so like I said to many people at the conference, the rats are more behaved that the dogs, lol.

Jada and Bailey in the hotel entrance

In the room, I set up the dog crate and put the boys’ travel cage on top of it. We had two double beds instead of one queen bed because originally my dad and stepmom were going to come along, but canceled due to a busy work schedule. I placed a fleece blanket on one of the beds and regularly let the boys run around and play. They loved to cuddle in the pillow cases. Silly rats.

Everett and Delmar on the hotel bed

The first night at the Ice Cream Social we were a bit nervous, being on our own in a new place and all. The big ice breaker was bringing the rats out. I made a couple of rat scarfs to hold the boys in (I will probably have an Etsy up at some point for anyone interested) and pulled them out for people to pet, hold, and even to take selfies with them. They were a big hit and I answered many questions about them which has prompted me to make a rat FAQ in the near future. The next day, Carol Bryant, the PR manager of BlogPaws, told me that I am doing my part as a pet blogger to bring awareness to rats and to challenge the bad rap that they unfortunately have. This made me feel all fuzzy inside and got me thinking of what else I could do to become a rat spokesperson.

Everett with Carol Bryant
Everett and Carol Bryant

Over the next few days, we attended workshops and speeches on varying topics such as monetizing, the FTC, giveaways, being a pet spokesperson, Pinterest, and so on. There was a huge exhibit hall filled to the brim with various pet-related brands. Being someone who mainly does pet product reviews, I felt like I was in some sort of heaven! Haha. I tried my best to talk to as many brands as possible while the hall was open, but I did miss a couple. Maybe next time I will get Johnny to split up and do some networking for me.

Jada with the Cesar westie
Jada with the Cesar westie

Since we had two registered bloggers, we got two swag bags! These bags were huge and filled with so many wonderful products. They had dog, cat, and mixed bags, plus you can choose some small animal items. Everett and Delmar were happy since they thought they would get left out, but they scored some of their favorite yogurt drops! I wanted to get a dog and a cat bag, but we accidently got two dog bags. I’m not complaining though, I have a couple of friends who are in need of dog supplies and I am going to be hosting a couple of giveaways for you guys.

Jada and Johnny with all the Blog Paws Swag

I networked with so many fantastic bloggers as well! I was recognized by a couple of people which caught me by surprise since I feel like I am still small. It felt good to be recognized though and I received some good ideas to incorporate the rats more into my blog since they are such a big deal (the boys think so too :P).

Everett the rat with Everett the man
Everett with a man named Everett

One of our biggest accomplishments was winning a major prize at the Pawject Runway event. I watched the video from last year and it looked pretty interesting, especially if I could manage to do it with a rat. I had to use Everett since Delmar had become grumpy the second day in. I believe be was sore from being handled so much, but now he is starting to feel better at home. So at the event we went to a table full of random craft supplies and had to dress our pet in ten minutes. Well, there is only so much you can put on a rat. I made a bow and a leopard cape which I had to reattach a bajillion times because Everett kept slipping out of it! Once we were on stage strutting our stuff, I announced to his loyal subjects that he was now “King Everett”. Everyone had a laugh and we actually won a $100 gift card to All Natural Pet’s web store. Whoot!

Everett in his Kingly costume

The whole experience was exhausting but definitely worth it. The relationships I made in those few days will last a lifetime and be very helpful to both parties.  Not to mention the brands I am now in contact with who will likely be in future review posts!

Abby Chesnut, Everett, VitaBone, Delmar, and Steve Dale
Us with VitaBone and Steve Dale

Thanks to all who talked to me and a big shoutout goes to my dad and stepmom who funded my way so I could go, and Johnny who drove me around! I couldn’t have had this experience without them!

Abby Chesnut and Johnny Barnes

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