Episode 110- First Quarter Trade Shows



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Joe: On this episode of the "CPG & CBD University Podcast," we're giving you an outlook of the first quarter trade shows, and what's in store in 2022 from Tampa to Las Vegas and even online. We're giving retailers and distributors a look at what they can expect to see of some of the hottest hemp-derived cannabinoids and health and wellness products. This is the "CPG & CBD University Podcast," and it starts right now.

I'm Joe Agostinelli, host of the "CPG & CBD University Podcast." So we welcome you back to our podcast. Don't forget to hit that subscribe button wherever you get your podcast, so you get notifications of new episodes. And you can always catch full video episodes of the "CPG & CBD University Podcast" on YouTube. You can find that link in the podcast description if you'd rather watch, or listen and watch. We appreciate the downloads and the views, cheap plug.

But anyhow, we're sailing into 2022, and the busy trade show season is just about ready to pick up. Retailers can get a look at the hottest hemp-derived cannabinoid and health and wellness products to add to their inventory this year. And to give retailers and distributors a sneak peek, I welcome to the episode...welcome back to the episode, our Vice President of Sales, Vince Gillen, and our Director of Strategic Accounts, Tracy Lane. Welcome to both of you.

Tracy: Thank you.

Vince: Thanks.

Tracy: It's so much fun to be here together, for sure.

Joe: So we...not too long ago, Vince, we actually got together and recapped the 2021 trade show season getting back on the road, and we saw a much different trade show schedule, you know, over the past couple of years, given the pandemic.

Vince: Yeah.

Joe: But does it feel like things are starting to get back to maybe where they were from a trade show landscape, excuse me, prior?

Vince: Absolutely. We've finished the year with the NACS Show that went really well. And this year, we're gonna start out with CDA, ASD, and there's some ECRM events that we're participating as well. So we also have distributors that'll be attending some other national shows that will help support them on. So definitely different, a lot more action, and hopefully, a lot of people will be attending.

Joe: And we'll get to some of the in-person trade shows in just a minute. But, Tracy, obviously, there's all sorts of different formats, whether it's in-person, whether it's online, and online even comes to in-person sometimes that you've taken advantage of to connect with distributors and retailers. Talk a little bit about ECRM, which is one of the first trade shows that the season will be a part of.

Tracy: Yes, of course. So ECRM, they have focused events. So for example, we're participating in next month, the cough and cold category show, and then in March, we'll participate in the vitamin show. And we'll just continue throughout the year to attend and participate in these shows that fit with our products in these specific categories. And the shows really give us an opportunity to meet with the retailers and distributors in food, drug, and class trade. They're very solid, category-focused meetings, which is great. And, you know, they're intimate one-on-one meetings that create and build partnerships, growing the business for both the retailer and for us. So it's a win-win. But, you know, for example, we have over 45 appointments already scheduled with the ECRM events that is coming up next month for the cough and cold category. It's very exciting for us because we get to launch our ForeverWell brand, our super immunity product, and then also talk about private-label partnerships, you know, too. So, we've already partnered with some major retailers on both ForeverWell and private label, and we'll start to see products on the shelf for those retailers in Q2 and then just continue to work with those specific retailers and build on, you know, to the portfolio. But we're really excited about 2022. We'll just continue to participate in all of the relevant shows and all [crosstalk 00:04:18.012]

Joe: Another cheap plug, episode 104, the launch of ForeverWell Nutrition, you can go back and probably watch. That was a fun one to watch. Our co-founder, Kevin Collins, and Tony Little, guests on that podcast episode all about ForeverWell Nutrition. But another one of the first trade shows right here in our backyard, and it's the CDA, Convenience Distributors Association marketplace that we're a member of, talk a little bit about that organization and the trade show.

Vince: So it's exactly what it says, convenience-focused, but it's a lot of the top distributors in the nation that service the convenience space. Some of them do crossover in a grocery, but a lot of our existing distributors and then also prospective distributors will be there to check out what's new, what are hot items. So we'll have Hemp Bombs products and then Mystic Labs and also Hyper Brain and a couple of the ForeverWell SKUs there. So it'll be a great chance to really educate the distributors on what's new and why, and then maybe talk through some strategy conversations with some of the bigger chains and then the independent accounts as well.

Joe: And in talking about education, one of the other ones coming up very quickly is ASD Market Week, a very large trade show which I believe is in Las Vegas this year. How does that differ from some of the other trade shows we may do?

Vince: Right. So ECRM, I'm sorry, and some of the other trade shows are a lot more specific. They're more niche. Like, you could have TP, as an example, is tobacco-focused. Some of the CHAMPS shows are more focused on a lot of the alternative products, but when you go to a show like ASD, and we've been doing that one since day one, that was our first trade show we attended back in 2017. But you have different types of store owners, distributors from all different classes of trade that are there looking at products, and it's everything under the roof of a retail store, you will see ASD. So it's a massive show, but it's a really good show for us to get exposure to both distributors and retailers on a national level.

Joe: And shifting gears from the national level to the regional level, there's also a number of regional shows that we'll take part in, you know, really going forward throughout the year.

Tracy: Yes. So kind of similar, we'll participate in the regional distributor shows that are primarily focused towards the grocery and some of the regional drug pharmacy channel. And basically, we'll meet with the distributor customers. And, you know, like Vince said, it'll be, you know, very educational-focused, direct to the retailer, educating them on market trends, new products, and merchandising strategies. So it's a really good opportunity to help the distributor grow their business by meeting with their customers and just getting them, you know, up to speed on the category trends and getting...

Vince: A lot of times, the stores that go to those types of regional shows, no matter what type of store they are, they'll ask a lot of questions about the competitive brands that maybe you're on the shelf against as well. And it's a good opportunity to kinda explain why yours is different because a distributor may not carry all those products. They wouldn't know about them. So you do get some of the questions that you don't necessarily hear without going to those type of events.

Joe: And obviously, in this industry, with just obviously new ingredients, new functional ingredients, new products, we've talked about new hemp-derived cannabinoids, education, and lots of questions, and answering those questions is key.

Vince: Right. Absolutely. It could be product questions, legality questions, and that the education piece is definitely a big part of it because if someone has the slightest, you know, hesitation on bringing something in or not understanding why it's a trending product, or whatever, they won't bring it in, so, and that could affect you getting placement in a lot of stores, not just one.

Joe: And what are you guys looking forward to the most, you know, with the trade shows and everything coming up throughout the season?

Vince: Go ahead, Tracy.

Tracy: I'm just, you know, really having the opportunity...

Vince: What are you excited for?

Tracy: Really having the opportunity to...

Vince: Tracy's excited about everything.

Joe: Always.

Tracy: We're very excited about 2022 because we've got some great new brands that we're launching, ForeverWell, and we're just continuing to expand on that brand, and we'll start to see products on the shelf at major drug retailers in Q2. So that's very exciting. And just, you know, partnering on some other super immunity products for the cough and cold set and then expanding out on private label and building partnerships. But also to the trade shows, they really help us generate, like, stronger partnerships with the retailers because we're able to invite them into our corporate office facility, our manufacturing facility, which are, you know, both in Tampa, Florida. And we've actually had four to five national retailers and distributors come into our facility in the last... you know, last year, and, you know, it's really helped us to develop some really good, solid partnerships with the retailers. So we'll continue to do that as well coming off the trade shows.

Joe: Yep.

Tracy: Yeah.

Joe: And, Vince, you get a wide... Do you have a favorite trade show, you know, that you enjoy...looking forward to all the time, or...?

Vince: I like them all, but I'll say coming out of... hopefully, we're coming out of all this, knock on wood, COVID stuff, is really when we launch ForeverWell and some of the defense-boost products, you talk a lot about healthy habits, and Kevin and Tony talked a lot about that. And I think when you look at whatever the product line is, whether it's Hemp Bombs, CBD, Delta-8, Delta-9, the Kratom products, so if you look at all the brands across the board, not just the vitamin ones, you see an opportunity to really get out and be excited about, you know, health and wellness...

Joe: Yeah.

Vince: ...and try to create healthy habits with other products that are considered alternative health and wellness. So I'm excited about that and just being out consistently in front of people, the energy is fun.

Tracy: Sure.

Vince: The feedback you get in person is just so much better than it is sometimes when you're virtual.

Joe: Yeah. Absolutely.

Tracy: For sure.

Joe: And speaking of distributors, on a coming-up episode, we'll revisit one of our longtime distributors that we featured back on episode 40, Cardinal Bay Distribution. We'll talk more about their expansion of products and highlight the distributor and the relationship with us. So stay tuned for that episode. And we'll hear more from the trade show circuit as we get going along in '22, but...2022. I'm still getting used to saying it, as weird as it sounds. But for now, Vice President of Sales, Vince Gillen, and Tracy Lane, our director of strategic accounts, thank you for joining me on this episode.

Tracy: Thank you.

Vince: Thank you.

Joe: And for more information on the events that our team will be at throughout the year, you can visit www.globalwidget.com. And of course, follow Global Widget on social media, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter. We'll highlight our presence at all these shows, let you know where we're going to be, and stay tuned on all the latest news right here on our podcast and on social media. And for more of the behind-the-scenes, look at Global Widget and our facilities. You can always visit the Global Widget YouTube channel for our Meet the Machines series.

Thank you for tuning in to this episode of the "CPG & CBD University Podcast." Don't forget to hit that subscribe button, wherever get your podcast notifications of new episodes each week, and full video episodes on our YouTube channel. I'm Joe Agostinelli, host of the "CPG & CBD University Podcast." Thank you for tuning in.

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