10 Tips to Survive and Thrive at Expo West

Whether this is your first time attending Natural Products Expo West or your tenth, here are some tips we’ve compiled to make the trade show an enjoyable and productive experience. Start by reading What is Expo West? for an introduction to the event, then dive into these suggestions to optimize your time there this March.

1. Research

Use the tools provided by Expo West to research vendors and plan out each day. Research the hashtag #ExpoWest to see what products other bloggers are reviewing and find those vendors who are active on social media. When you arrive, block off time to check out the New Products Pavilion in the lobby. You just may find more booths to visit.

2. Make Yourself Known

Interact with vendors on social media now. Ask for press releases/promotional material and put together questions to ask them at the show. It is great to walk up to a booth and have them not only recognize you but also recall your interest in their product.

3. Exercise

Exercising in the weeks leading up to the event is highly recommended. Start with weights to get arms/back in shape for carrying around bags full of product samples. Start walking more and stand at your desk to get those calf muscles in shape.

4. Packing – Footwear

Remember you will be walking miles each day so be kind to your feet. Bring two pairs of comfortable running shoes (rubber soul) and switch off each day to keep your feet from getting too fatigued. Make sure to pack bandages and first aid ointment for blisters. 

5. Packing – Wardrobe

It gets hot in the exhibit halls, so wear loose fitting comfortable clothing and bring a light jacket. Don’t over pack – reserve that space for product samples, an extra carry on, and an umbrella. The extra carry on will come in handy when you fill up your suit case and don’t want to leave anything behind.

6. Packing – Medicine

Bring anything and everything needed to adjust to the climate/weather and any digestive problems eating way too many samples can bring, such as: allergy medicine, sinus pills, digestive enzymes, eye drops, nose spray, medicinal teas, pain relievers, etc.

7. Packing – Supplies

Don’t leave the hotel without a fully charged phone and phone charger, pen, paper, hand sanitizer and a large supply of business cards (bring more than you think you will need because you go through them fast). Find a lightweight bag to wear across the body to keep your hands free and use it to store more business cards, pens, driver’s license and cash.

8. Hydrate

Bring a refillable water bottle and fill it up frequently. Each hall has a water fountain by the bathrooms, so take advantage. You will be talking all day and the palate needs to be cleansed between samples.

9. Sampling

Samples will be everywhere but don’t try to sample everything or you could feel bloated and tired. One or two bites is enough to form an opinion of the product’s taste/texture. Also, germs are everywhere, so avoid taking samples from large bowls with tongs because not everyone will use them. Instead, ask for a snack size bag to try later. Be aware that many vendors heat/prepare/cut gluten-free products on the same surface as wheat-based ones to save table space. Just say no to cross contamination.

10. Socialize

Post your product finds to all social media accounts and shoot videos to post to your Instagram Stories. Your readers want to see what walking the show floor is all about. Share what you have been eating, what trends you are spotting, and any photos taken with celebrities (yes, they will be there) and/or bloggers.

Have fun at the largest natural products expo in the United States and enjoy your time there because it will fly by.

An ode to Expo West, Jeff Foxworthy Style:

You might be at Expo West…

  • …if you start exercising in February to build up the strength needed to walk the show floors.
  • …if you pack almost no clothing to reserve space for food samples.
  • …if you wake up with food and empty wrappers in your bed.
  • …if after a long day of sampling, you are starving and crave red meat, veggies and salad.
  • …if you just can’t eat another bite, well, maybe you can.
  • …if your phone charger needs a charger, needs a charger.
  • …if you lose your voice from networking.
  • …if you arrive at the airport only to realize your luggage is embarrassingly overweight.
  • …if you leave 5 to 10 pounds heavier than when you arrived.
  • …if you wouldn’t change this experience for the world!

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