It is hard to believe that Expo West 2024 is now a few weeks in the rearview mirror. That show always has a fun vibe, but this year touted an even more vibrant excitement. The fact that it was sunny helped a lot, given the number of outdoor activities that are a part of it. I have attended this show for about ten years, but this was the first year we came as exhibitors. That was a whole new experience, and I can 100% say I learned a lot! Given the sheer number of exhibitors, I also fully appreciate the staggered opening and closing of the show. I always struggle to make it to every booth when I am just walking the show; this year, with splitting time at our booth, I missed some big happenings.

This year was the debut of our Unicorn mascot, and he was a huge hit. The fact that we specialize in hunting unicorns helps us to paint word pictures at significant events like this. Even if people don’t fully understand it, an 8-foot-tall unicorn is hard to ignore and always inspires at least a look, usually much more! My favorite part of the show was walking around with him and watching all the reactions as people realized a mythical creature was amongst their mix.

The show is also a great place to bond around shared passions and try new things. Our crew started the show with the Community Breakfast, during which we got to mingle over a catered meal provided by Planet Oat and Wildfare. There were so many good items there, but I have to say – the avocado caprese toast was my ultimate favorite! From there, we hit the floor and had an AWESOME day 1. This year’s feature was a drawing for yoga mats (I mean, who doesn’t want a personal mat for use during the morning yoga sessions); that giveaway was a big hit. The bright colors also created great props for photo opportunities with our unicorn mascot.

Speaking of our unicorn mascot, I mentioned it earlier – but he made it around! I loved it when he would make friends, and it was even better when they let us snag photos of the interaction. I was slightly concerned when we stopped at Crofter’s because our Unicorn liked their Bear a little too much. I had my mascot love when I met a local favorite, the Secret Aardvark! I Love that stuff, and it is found right here in the Pacific Northwest!!! I also milked a grass cow on the show floor – thanks, Organic Valley, for showing me that my farm skills are not on par!

My favorite part of this show is the family feel it has. Being a small business, it is hard to take your entire staff to a show and leave the office vacant for a week. Luckily, I had many little hands to help at this show, allowing me to leave half of our team back to get work done while I put my young ones to work! Think of it as spring break meeting work experience. Ultimately, they enjoyed the show more than a typical vacation. My kids love going to Costco on the weekends due to the samples at the end of every aisle… this show was like a weekend Costco trip on steroids for them! I also loved their quest to see how many hats they could collect and stack on their head by the end of the day – I believe 11 was the daily record, and let me tell you, that was quite a sight.

All in all, the show was a success. It made me grateful that we are past COVID and back to where we can spend face time with people again. We took full advantage of every hour the show was open; we met many people, made many new friends, and collectively gained 20 pounds. (All natural and organic, of course). Above all, we learned a lot about an ever-changing industry and got to take the pulse of this fun space. It is great to have an opportunity like this to be hands-on with the brands we work with daily from a distance.

So it is with a bittersweet goodbye we left Anaheim in the plane window, but we know we will be back again. Until 2025 Expo – see you next year!