YAY! My first Fancy Food Show!! What an experience! On our way driving to the SD Convention Center, a nervous excitement crept over me. How big is this thing? How much should I sell my ideas and network? Will I be disappointed?
The moment we entered (by means of scanning our "Consultant" badges, what that means, I still don't know), my jaw dropped and I instantly became giddy. So much to see! So much to EAT!
Tips for first timers...
1. Pace yourself. You cannot eat everything you see in one day. Accept it--it's OK. If it isn't something that you really want, or aren't interested in, pass it. If you still want it later, go back. You probably won't, but thinking so will make you feel better.
2. Don't bring water. (I was lucky, I trusted my instincts and left it in the car.) Who knew there were so many new and different water companies?
3. Don't be shy: try, asking for larger samples to take home, grab more.
4. Badges are for scanning if you want more information from the company later. Other people just took notes. I was too lazy, therefore being buried in junk mail is my punishment. One hilarious older man with an accent (sipped a sample at a tea vendor, took an exaggerated deep breath "You've got to smell the tea first!" He drank a sip,"Oh! This is the best! Even better than the smell!!" Ran to another vendor, "Here's another tea pot! Meet you at the next one!") would only give his badge to those he felt deserved it, "I only give this to the best! I don't give it to everybody, you know." HAHAHA
5. Badges are also for those companies to evaluate who you are and whether they should talk to you. (This part sucks.) The companies that I value are the ones that are willing to invest time and interest in me. (Neuhaus and Ritter Sport: awesome, can't wait to do business with them. Lindt and Scharffen Berger: inconsiderate and judgmental.)
5. Be specific in what you're looking for when meeting new companies. Don't be embarrassed by your ideas, no matter how weird or unoriginal they may feel.
6. Wear comfortable shoes. Dressy casual is good.
7. Bring business cards. (HAH! As if I actually had some.) Some companies don't have a badge scanner.
8. Work your way down the aisles, looking at both sides at the same time.
9. Park in Old Town and take the trolley in. Round trip ticket from Old Town is $4. Parking at the convention center is $8-10.
10. The last day, many vendors give away all of their samples for trade or freebies...definitely GO on this day!
I think that about covers my experience so far. In the meantime...
Check out our booty!