Christmas. Kid in a candy shop. Heaven.
That’s what it felt like for me at the Natural Products Expo East Trade Show last week in Baltimore, Maryland! In the words of Stephanie Quilao, I found “my people”, and it was my happy place just being with so many like-minded peeps. Personally, I loved every minute of it, and from a business/blogger standpoint, it was hugely successful. I connected with many bloggers, food brokers, exhibitors, and people who love the Natural Products Industry. Like my friend and industry broker, Donna, stated in an InstaGram pic, it really is “an industry that’s changing lives”, and for that I am extremely grateful to have been a part. So here’s how it went down…
The hubs and I loaded the minivan and headed to Baltimore on Wednesday afternoon, and 8+ hours later we arrived. Now, you may be thinking what a long and terrible drive, but NO! As parents of two wonderful but chatty children, we cherished the 8 hours of adult conversation and quiet!! That alone made the trip worth it!:) We enjoyed every minute of the long drive (except for the construction on 85 near Charlotte. Yuck. Nobody likes that mess). Baltimore is a beautiful city, the weather was perfect, and our hotel was across the street from Camden Yard! Score! My husband was thrilled, even though there were no games being played in it. He was happy to just be in its presence. The hotel had a baseball theme which also made him happy he took off work to come with me to this! Thanks Cramzee! You are the best manager, promoter, social media expert, sample holder, and card passer-outer I’ve ever had!!
So the next 3 days were spent strolling the Expo floors, perusing booths of natural foods and products, along with meeting bloggers and connecting with those in the industry. Free samples everywhere we turned! We basically ate all day, every day. Nice. (also ensured cramzee will be interested in going again next year). The face-to-face meet ups were the best! I met Nutrition Diva, the Healthy Apple, AllergicGirl, The Gonzolution and several on staff at New Hope 360. (Village Green Network was there too, along with FoodBabe and Living Maxwell, but I didn’t get to meet them!) Meeting the entrepreneurs and creators of new products (i.e. moms and dads who wanted better for their kids) was so inspiring! It was all the things I love to do under one roof: eat, talk, and take pictures of healthy stuff! It was literally 3 days of heaven for me. I know I’m where I’m supposed to be and doing what I’ve been called to do because it was a natural fit (pun intended) in every way. I was a little tired by the end of day 3, but extremely fulfilled!
I found several stand-out products that I will share with you in the next post. I’m inclined to show you every picture (like a proud mama), but I will try hard to narrow it down to a Top 10 List. I also noticed some industry trends I want to share with you, but again, I’ll save that for another post. I need to get to the pictures now….
Where it all began. On the first aisle. Day One. Can you see the anticipation on my face??!! I did make it to every aisle, but could not stop at every booth, sadly.
Baseball themed hotel = happy hubby! (and I loved the Kandinsky, who is one of my favorites!)
OMG, I met the Nutrition Diva. She was lovely. I was a little star struck.
The beautiful Donna, natural products broker and friend, who is just as lovely on the inside as she is in this picture!
I met one of the creators and founders of Sea Snax. I was so thrilled to tell her how MUCH my kids love her creation! Sea Snax was an Innovative Product Award Winner this year!
Happy to meet The Gonzolution, and put a face with those beautiful pictures he posts! Meeting at the Navitas Naturals booth is always a good thing!
Ran into The Healthy Apple unexpectedly and it was so fun!
If you want to see pictures of most of the Expo, you can go to the #Expoeast hashtag on Twitter or Instagram to see every picture that was taken there with that hashtag. You can also visit Natural Products Expo on Facebook. Here is the link to Expo East if you want more details from their press release. Also, Living Maxwell already has a Top 5 Organics list from Expo East, and they’re five that I didn’t even see at the show (to give you some idea how massive this thing is!)
Thanks for letting me share my trip with you! Have you ever been to Expo East or Expo West in California? I hear that one is WAY bigger! If you know of any other trade shows, etc. I should attend, please let me know. Hope some of you can join me next year in Baltimore!