POSTED BY: ERIKA
Last week Keeley and I had the opportunity to go to Chicago for a trade show! I was was very excited because I have never been east of Colorado, so it was great to be in a completely new place!
The purpose of the trip was to attend a holiday trade show that is put on by KEHE distributors, who distribute products all over the country. We were in an expo center for three days with other natural product companies pitching our nut butters and story to interested buyers, marketing reps etc. Exciting but also exhausting!
Morning of day 1…hardly anyone in sight! We were there very early to set-up and to get a feel for the show.
Per usual, Keeley and I were the youngest at the show…people try to figure out why two young girls are wearing badges and standing behind a booth. They are always surprised to hear that we are the founders ;) Surprise!
One of the things that amazed us most at the show, was that so many people recognized us! They either had heard the name, some version of our story, or remembered our faces from Shark Tank! Countless people came up to us and said, “Do I know you from somewhere?” We always responded, “From Shark Tank!?” This was almost always where they knew us from! It was exciting to be recognized by strangers who already knew our story and all about our products.
Here we are at our booth!
A perk of going to trade shows, is getting to meet the people behind the products. Before Wild Squirrel, I never spent time thinking about the amount of energy it took to get products onto the shelves. Now I am very aware of the “behind the scene food world” that exists, and I love learning about other companies. We got to meet the founders, CEOs and employees from companies like Theo Chocolate, Mary’s Gone Crackers and Bob’s Red Mill.
Here we are with Bob!
We have been wanting to meet Bob for a while, so we were thrilled when we realized he was at the show autographing his new book! Not only do we love his products, but since starting Wild Squirrel, his company’s commitment to provide the best whole grain foods combined with their employee owned business model is very inspiring! Read more here!
Throughout the show we loved wandering around to try all of the different samples! When one of us would need a break we’d walk around, do some networking with other companies and come back with tasty treats! My favorite sample at the show were these awesome Hemp seeds from Manitoba Harvest. They are packed with nutrition and are a great topping for oatmeal, smoothies, salads and more. They have a nice nutty flavor which we discovered tasted great when sprinkled on a spoonful of our nut butter!
Each day after the show we couldn’t wait to get outside and explore the city! Most people may look up the closest museums, theaters etc…the first thing we look up when arriving in a new city, is the closest Whole Foods ;) We were thrilled to discover that our hotel was .9 miles away from a Whole Foods, the perfect walking distance!
There were many delicious looking restaurants along the way, especially ones with the famous Chicago deep dish pizzas, but we had our stomachs set on the healthier options at the hot bar! Shredded Chicken, roasted sweet potatoes, kale salad…endless combinations!
We were so impressed how beautiful the city was! Our hotel was right on a tributary that led into Lake Michigan!
By the end of day three we were tired and ready to head back to home!
Post-show! Here we are with all of our luggage full of trade show gear!
Overall we had a great time in Chicago! This trip obviously wasn’t a vacation/sight seeing trip, but there were many parks, museums and restaurants that I had my eye on…I can’t wait to go back someday and explore more of the windy city!
That’s all for now,