DogdadApproved.com at the Pet Connections Expo, Oct. 15,16, 2019
I'd been to the The New Jersey Convention and Exposition Center before, but this was the first time I was going as an exhibitor. Dogdad Approved had taken a booth at the Pet Connections Expo to represent an array of Dogdad Approved products. Not only do I review products for www.dogdadapproved.com, I am a "Product or Brand Advocate" which is a fancy way of saying I'm a Product Promoter.
The whole experience began for me months ago when my brand and business were in the embryonic state. By chance I exchanged comments on LinkedIn with the Pet Connections Show Director, Bill Doherty. He had a growing trade show for east coast independent pet retailers that was changing venues after a couple of years and I was starting a new business and brand and needed a place to test my system. He was looking for new experiential components to add to the show and I offered to host a Pet Product Parade.
I had an idea in my head of what my booth would look like and how it could function. Sounds simple enough, but people who know me know I've had a hard time picturing space and dimensions over the years. For some reason, this time I knew exactly what I needed for this booth to be professional and effective. Experience is truly the best teacher.
The Dogdad Approved booth turned out amazing! We were able to accommodate retailers and give them information about the products we exhibited from companies that included Metro Paws, P.L.A.Y., Ruff Dawg, Worldwise (Sherpa and Olvipet), Hearth Hounds, Ware (Gorilla Chewz), Paws Effect, Pop-Up Pee Pad, Corky's Reflective Wear. We promote, we do not sell. We had a place for a photo op for the 4-legged social media influencers.
Interacting with the retailers on hand was a fun experience. Promoting products is easy when you believe in them and have had experience with them. We were able to glean valuable information for our clients which was quickly relayed to them. Moving forward Dogdad Approved will do the same on a B2C basis travelling to some of the best East Coast Pet Shows that draw tens of thousands of pet lovers eager to see new products.
As for our experience with the show, it was well run and the venue is convenient for retailers from the surrounding states. Although I could not get to most of them, there were "campfire" educational sessions that covered a variety of topics. A Nor'Easter rolled in on day 2 which didn't help matters. Topics of conversation included raw diets and DCM, CBDs, and ways to market independent stores. I was struck by the people I met that knew about CBDs, but only for the potential for anxiety and stress relief when most of the available testing indicates positive results for pain management. There also seems to be a disconnect between independent pet shops and their local Vets that is causing angst.
The Pet Product Parade was fun for those who attended. Our furry flock modeled products from the show floor including Soggy Doggy, A Pet With Paws, Steel Dog , Up Country, Pet Edge, Zack & Zoe, Casual Canine, Sherpa Pet, Metro Paws, Corky's Reflective Wear, Headlight Harness and Bay Dog. I look forward to working with the Pet Connections Expo again next year.