You have landed on our US/Global Site.

Why small events matter

No retailer is an island. The million-dollar question is, how can you authentically strengthen your retail network?

In the latest episode of the WFM Show, host Jack Pidgeon sat down with retail industry veteran Cathy Hotka to explore the power of small networking events for retailers. Cathy offered valuable insights into why gatherings such as her event, The Retail Insiders Party, nurture a strong sense of community and help retailers stay at the forefront of the fast-moving market landscape. 

Here are some of the insights from the latest episode:

Close up and personal

Cathy stresses that small events provide a rare opportunity for face-to-face, one-on-one interactions. Unlike larger trade events – where interactions can feel forced and transactional – smaller gatherings create the perfect environment for genuine connections. 

“It’s about people getting to know each other as people, which is really important in retail,” says Cathy. These intimate settings give rise to more meaningful conversations, helping attendees to share experiences and build trust, which is the foundation of lasting and successful business relationships. 

Peerless insights

One of the benefits of small events that Cathy emphasizes is the importance of peer learning. Retailers often face common challenges they can tackle together by sharing strategies and solutions with others in similar roles. 

Cathy shares an example from a recent event where a participant discussed how they managed to reduce payroll without harming employee morale. This kind of candid discussion, she notes, is only possible in a setting where attendees feel secure and supported. “Retailers appreciate the opportunity to get together and talk to each other,” she says. “That’s what they want. They want to learn from each other.”

Adapt and conquer

Even compared to several years ago, today’s retail landscape is virtually unrecognizable. Retailers have had to adapt to new consumer behaviors, such as the increased demand for online shopping and in-store collections. 

Cathy highlights that staying up to speed with these shifting behaviors and integrating new technologies such as AI is essential to stay ahead of the curve. “Retailers’ main job right now is to keep up,” she comments. Small events such as The Retail Insiders Party are the perfect place to discuss these rapid changes and share notes on how to implement new tech effectively.

Join the club

Cathy’s approach to organizing events centers around creating an environment that fosters an authentic sense of community. She believes her events have garnered such popularity because of their personal touch. “They’re smallish and personal. I’ll know every single person who walks in,” she says. 

This sense of belonging and familiarity is what brings attendees back year after year, nurturing a loyal community of retailers who support and learn from one another. This community aspect is essential in an industry where personal relationships are central to success.


Small events play a pivotal role in the retail industry by encouraging more genuine connections, facilitating peer-to-peer knowledge exchange, and inspiring a strong sense of community. Cathy’s insights illustrate why these events aren’t just an enriching way to escape the daily grind but essential for forward-thinking, success-oriented retail professionals.

Tune into the WFM Show to hear Cathy Hotka’s expert insights.

See all episodes


Get in touch for a free walkthrough

Enter your details below and we’ll be in touch to book in a free, no-obligation demo with you. Is this a support related question? Please visit our Help Center.