The pageant industry is much more than the swimsuit modeling and nerve-wracking interview questions seen on television once a year. Pageant gown boutiques, crown manufacturers and pageant coaches are just a few of the thriving businesses that operate within the industry. Whether looking to start a service-oriented business or a business that sells products, operating a successful pageant business requires the ability to maintain a base of loyal clients and in-depth knowledge of the industry.
Develop pageant industry expertise--pageant directors, coaches, makeup artists and boutique owners are industry "insiders" who draw from years of experience, perhaps from past work in the entertainment, fashion or beauty industries, or as a beauty pageant titleholder. Remain abreast of current trends in the pageant industry by reading trade magazines and blogs and by watching pageants on television to keep up with the latest hair, makeup, posing and gown designs of the day. In addition to telecasts of the Miss USA, Miss America and Miss Universe pageants, cable networks frequently feature documentaries and programming on children glitz pageants, and local pageants are beginning to stream events live. Attend local and/or state pageants and form relationships with pageant directors and pageant contestants.
Craft a business plan that lays out marketing, operational and financial strategies for your growing business. Plan for start-up costs--starting a new pageant, for example, will require out-of-pocket costs before collecting fees from delegates or obtaining sponsors to underwrite operational costs. Alternatively, a pageant coaching business may not have to designate much money for start-up costs but will certainly have to plan for promoting services.
Launch a website and build a social media presence for your business in order to reach more potential clients and develop trust--a majority of pageant participants are teenagers and young women competing in Teen and Miss divisions and are active users on sites like Facebook and Twitter. Network with key contacts in the industry by attending local and state pageants or through social media presences to promote your business--in the pageant industry, a substantial portion of new business is generated from referrals made by trusted pageant directors or successful contestants and titleholders.
Market your business. Purchase advertisements in local, state or national pageant programs books to market the goods and/or services offered by your business. Advertise in pageant trade magazines if reaching a national demographic is your goal. Purchase advertising space on popular pageant-related websites. Attend area trade shows or throughout the country to meet potential new clients or collaborators--pageant directors and coaches are always in attendance. Build a relationship with a pageant coach who may be willing to recommend your product or service to her clients.
Offer discounts or other promotional offers to new and returning clients in order to develop a loyal clientele. Include testimonials on your website from pageant directors or titleholders. Reward clients with discounts for referrals or buying in bulk. Some pageant directors offer discounts when two or more members of the same family compete in their pageant, while a crown and banner manufacturer may offer a discount for a loyal patron.