The 2018 Natural Products Expo West show is my 5th consecutive one. It’s also the 5th year I’ve been on the Official Expo West Blogging Team.
As part of the official blogging team, I have one main task. That task is to go on a scavenger hunt of sorts and come back with my Top 3 overall picks from the show. It’s not easy. There are over 3,000 exhibitors.
If you click HERE, it will take you to five years of thoughts on the show and products I’ve found.
Natural Products Expo West is my favorite event I attend all year because it hits every single side of my business. In a matter of just a few days I’m able to network with current and potential ‘Content Creation + Digital Storytelling‘ clients, find new products to recommend and brands to work with for YOU – right here on my own blog, meet with amazing and talented individuals who I’ll then hopefully hire for client work, network with anyone and everyone in the industry, and simply just see all my industry friends and acquaintances.
All the things I love wrapped up in a crazy-busy few days.
Here are some pre-show things for this year, and some tips for both attendees and brands that I’ve gathered over the years.
2018 Natural Products Expo West
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Products and People I’m Looking for This Year
- Connecting with both people and brands – on behalf of several clients for both paid and co-marketing opportunities during 2018
- Connecting with both people and brands for my own business(es)
- AIP products
- Low-FODMAP products
- Low-to-no sugar
- more Travel Guide items
- The best bars
- Booch – always booch
- Toddler snacks – obviously since we almost have 3 Toddlers in this house (in May they will be 2, 3, and 4 – eek)
- Flexitarian-ish (ahhhhh…..this is a new term for my blog) I haven’t used it much because my gut was always such a disaster that I was mostly AIP/GAPS/SCD, but now that I’m able to do all the things, I’m looking for more than just meat, meat, meat
Must-See Booths and Teams
- Elmhurst (Booth #5550) – best non-dairy/plant-based/Vegan (whatever you want to call it) milk, hands down
- Lotus Foods (Booth #2117) – launching new line of Ramen Noodle Soup Cups and Moringa Pad Thai
- Nutiva (Booth #1745) – launching USA-Grown Hempseed, and debuting other new products
- Made in Nature (Booth #1724) – more on their single-serve snacks which I love, love, love for my kids because they are perfect for on-the-go, travel, and all the 24 hours of the day when they “just need a snack” (also, I never have to worry about what’s in them and if there are any unnatural sugars because I already know the answer, “Nope.” Most of their Dried Fruit has nothing added, it’s just the fruit, and their other snacks use natural sweeteners like maple syrup, coconut, etc.)
- Delighted By Dessert Hummus (Booth #8914) – After their Shark Tank deal, why would you not go visit them? A little birdie told me they will be debuting a new flavor. I’m dying over this one!
Top Tips: Brands
- Pre-show emails. Stop making them so impersonal and generic. I’ve already received like 1,001 emails, and I’m skipping right over the ones that say, “Will you be attending Expo West this year?” Um, duh. If you’ve taken even 5 seconds out of your time to pre-qualify Expo leads, you’d know that answer and the email tone would have come across vastly different.
- Be transparent without acting rude. Over the last 5 years, I can’t even count the number of times I have asked to see the ingredient label of a product being sampled and gotten so. much. ‘tude. We don’t ask to see ingredients to be a pain in the a#$. We ask it because we need to, for our health of anyone we may choose to recommend the product to.
- Collect business card. The show is nuts, so your best bet is to collect business cards and follow up.
- Follow up fast! I’ve had brands reach out a couple months after the fact. Don’t wait that long.
- How to Pitch Bloggers
- Show a little enthusiasm. Oh, trust me, I know what’s it like to be on your side of the booth. For the past 4 years I worked at the Nutiva booth, and after sitting in for so long, you get tired and cranky. But also trust me that that carries through to how your product and brand is perceived. I only want to work with products and brands that are excited about their products. If you aren’t, why should I be?
Top Tips: Attendees (namely, bloggers)
- Wear comfortable clothes. If you come dressed in a 3-piece suit, you may regret it.
- Wear comfortable shoes. The show floor is huge, and it spans across multiple levels and buildings. Now would not be the time to test those new heels.
- Security. We have been told that security is going to be tighter this year. If you don’t absolutely need to bring it into the show, don’t. You will always need an ID.
- Plan your schedule. From Thursday to Sunday, I put my schedule in 15-minute increments. I’ve learned my lesson over the years that if you don’t plan, you just won’t do and see all the things and people you intended to (the show is so big that you could get caught up forever).
- Eat from the food trucks. OMG. They are so good. My favorite makes these big old rice bowls, and if you like Sweet Potato tater tots, you’ll find them outside, too.
- Eat your way through the show. I eat a light lunch (usually food-truck style) and then I have dinner with a client every single night. The other meals and snacks are straight show stuff because there is so much. You’ll never leave hungry.
- 6 Things Brands Want Bloggers to Know
- Leave space in your suitcase. You’ll likely have a ton of samples and other things to bring home from the show, so leave plenty of room.
Other Pre-Show Posts to Check Out
- 10 Ways to Improve Your Blogger Outreach at Expo West
- Preview of Natural Products Expo West
- 5 Ways to Make the Most of Expo West 2018
- 10 Natural Products Trends You’ll See on the Expo West 2018 Floor
- On the Hunt for Low-FODMAP at Expo West 2018
- State of the Natural Industry Twitter Party March 8 (I’m a panelist, my Twitter handle is @sarahkayhoffman)
- Expo West 2018 and What You Should Know
I have several meetings, meet-ups, and events planned during the show. The schedule is filling fast, but I’m always happy to consider additions. If you are a brand or have a special event you’d love for me to consider, please contact me HERE (to use your own email client, you can reach me at sarah at sarahkayhoffman.com)
Your turn! —> Is there any brand or company from that you’d love me to check out for you or will you be at the show, too? Comment below or contact me!
p.s. Now that I’m no longer a West coast mama, I am so excited to travel out West for a few days (and then come home, of course)! 🙂
If you don’t have time to read these posts daily, but don’t want to miss them, be sure to follow via Bloglovin’ and/or join my personal e-newsletter HERE. I am doing my best to send a once per week email recap of prior week’s posts.
If there is a topic surrounding change that you would love for me to include in this series, please just CONTACT ME.
Previous 101-Day Change Series Posts
- Beginnings are Scary
- Change Pain Point
- Making Sense of Change
- Gratitude Journal
- Love Your Baby Girl
- Little Things Add Up
- House and Home
- Sunday Reflections
- Chocolate Shake
- 3-Ingredient Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Shake
- Chaos is a Temporary State
- Thirsty Thursday
- Month One
- The Nudge to Connect
- 11 Favorites from 11 Years in California
- One Box at a Time
- Good Enough is Enough
- There is No Dishwasher
- WWDW Number 8
- Move Initiated
- Sharing My Journey
- Back with the Tribe
- Small Town Grocery Shopping Part One
- January 2018 Catch Up Over Bone Broth
- Patsy Clairmont is My Spirit Animal
- Let There Be Light
- Forgot About Rae
- Coconut Oil Makeup Remover How To
- 9 Ways to Embrace Winter
- Escaping People
- Coming Home
- 105 in 1,095
- 40 Before 40
- When Change Was Coming
- Behavior Correction
- Embracing Motherhood
- Two Things for Lent
- Gluten Free Recipe Roundup Six
- Breakdown to Breakthrough
- 18 Things About Me
- Still Hope
- Month Two
- Pain is Not Weakness Leaving the Body
- Too Much Stuff
- Small Changes
- Can Wait
- Halfway Mark
- Squad Goals
- Do We Really Change?
- February Catch Up Over Bone Broth