by Nancy Hassel of American Pet Professionals
After 2 long years, being back at Global Pet Expo in Orlando two weeks ago, was awesome. I won't lie, I was definitely a bit anxious to be back in a mostly mask-less crowd of people (myself included), and after talking with many other pet pros - they too had that anxiety. But once on the show floor, seeing everyone, and many long over due hugs and smiling faces of friends and peers - was just what this pet professional needed. And not to mention meeting people now for the first time in 2 years in-person vs. being on zoom!
The show was smaller in size vs. let's say the massive shows in the past, but it was not a small show by any means. A few new comers that I spoke to, were blown away by the size of the show and all the saw, and people they got to meet. It was not the 8 miles of trade show floor where it was impossible to see everything, I thoroughly enjoyed being able to take my time, and really see everything - without feeling so insanely rushed.
The show was very well attended, I was actually surprised to see how many people showed up and was so happy to see that for the show organizers, our industry, the vendors and for our speaking sessions to be packed with pet pros!
APPA (American Pet Products Association), and PIDA (Pet Industry Distributors Association), did a fantastic job - Global Pet Expo feels like going home if you have been in the pet industry for a long time - and I can't commend them enough and all the hard work going into the show. To bring us all back and be so excited about the show and our industry - the amount of smiling, the joy of being there and the good vibes was felt everywhere thorough out the show.
Some of the stats for the show were:
Over 700 exhibiting companies
5,550 U.S. and international buyers
800 new product launches
40+ educational sessions
All-new Global App - which made navigating the show so easy
According to APPA's State of the Industry Report, by the end of 2021, the industry in the US reached $109.6 billion in sales, up 6% from the prior year. 70% of US households own some type of pet, up from 67% in the 2019-2020 survey. I am one of those recently adopting a betta fish that some one left behind at a pet shop, giving my dog a little scaly brother! So it was fun to check out the Aquatic section with a lot more interest this year and I got some great information from vendors there.
The growth of our industry never fails to amaze me, even after being in this industry for over 20 years at this point. The innovation and new products that are at the show every year are really inspiring, and seeing companies that just started out a few years ago, having bigger booths, more products and doing incredibly well, is so rewarding to see in person.
It was an honor to be back as a speaker again at Global, teaching and helping pet professionals in attendance is something I love to do, and so happy to see standing room only in my TikTok session. Thank you to everyone who attended all of my sessions, and Global will continue their Global Learning Series with some recordings of some of the speakers sessions soon - so stay tuned for those! (And thank you for having me back Global!)
I asked a bunch of our fellow members of American Pet Professionals their thoughts on the show, some that were brand new vendors and some that have been to Global many many times over the years. This is what they had to say:
"As first-time attendees at the Global Pet Expo, we were blown away! The energy and vibe were electric. Our booth was constantly busy and we made some amazing contacts. As the youngest exhibitor in attendance, I was excited to represent for teen entrepreneurs everywhere! We're already looking forward to Global Pet Expo 2023!"
- Ava Dorsey, Founder & Chief Pet Officer
Ava's Pet Palace
If you didn't stop by Ava's booth, you missed out on speaking with this dynamic 14 year old pet entrepreneur, and her amazing parents. Ava has been making pet treats since she was 8 years old, and her treats are limited ingredient and organic. You have to check out her website here.
"I considered the show a big success for me. It was my first trade show so I wasn't sure what to expect. Putting my product in the 'New Product Showcase' was a huge plus. People who saw my product in the showcase looked for my booth, and told me they were very excited to find me.
I got some great customer feedback regarding shelf life, bottle size and what they think about turmeric for dogs. I made some sales at the show and have been getting a lot of followup emails from retailers and distributors since I have been back home.
I also spoke to a couple of co-packers at the show, and may have found one in Vermont that I can work with. Besides getting to hold and snuggle with puppies every day, there is nothing like seeing and speaking to people in person, I enjoyed every minute of it, my feet not so much."
- Gay Jensen, Owner, Kangaroo Dogs
Ok, so my dog has been on Kangaroo Dog's liquid turmeric for almost 9 months now, and it is just incredible. He suffers from seasonal allergies in the fall - and after many years of trying different products, and many trips to the vet, nothing worked - but this product. I am not being paid to say this, it is an incredible product and if you know how amazing turmeric is, you know. Check out Gay's website here.
"I had a great experience as a first-time vendor and speaker! I made some great new connections among other vendors, saw some old friends, made new friends, and all in all had a great week in Orlando. It had been 3 years since the last time I had a booth at a conference so it was nice to be back in person. I didn't have a ton of time to explore until Friday afternoon, and even then I had specific destinations in mind but I was able to cover ground quickly and met with everybody I had planned to."
- Matt Aldrich, Founder, Pet Engine Marketing
If you're a pet retailer and you're looking for marketing help - this is what Matt does with Pet Engine Marketing! Check out his website today. (And congrats on speaking at Global Matt!)
"2020 changed most of us– More than anytime before retailers are looking for brands like ours for their customers that accentuate simplicity (limited ingredients and whole, human-grade ingredients) and manufacture transparency.
Revitalization of brands was big this year – after 10 years in business we know the importance of standing out on crowded store shelves, and so many companies showed off their new look at GPE this year- This was definitely one that hit home for us as."
- Kelly Ison, CEO & Founder, Einstein Pets
If you're smart, you will head right over to Einstein Pets and see all of the products they offer and see the new dental treats too! (See what I did there?) We love this company and their products!
"It was great to be back at Global and meet with buyers face to face so they could touch and feel the products. I introduced a few new carrier styles which the buyers loved and I was very happy with the orders I received. I also met reps who want to represent A Pet with Paws both domestically and internationally. In conclusion, Global was a very good show for A Pet with Paws."
- Ann Greenberg, Founder & President, A Pet With Paws
Loved seeing the new line of carriers with A Pet with Paws, and if you don't know the eco-friendly story behind Ann's products - you need to run to her website now. Beautifully designed with incredible form and function to travel with your pets - whether your flying or just walking down the street in NYC.
"The show certainly had a vibrant air of excitement that filled up the room. Great to welcome back old friends and make new ones. The crowd was more than receptive to see and hear about all of the new things vendors were doing.
The talk around the show and at social gatherings reinforced the positive momentum everyone felt about the continued growth of our industry."
- Joel Katz, COO of Health Extension
The Health Extension booth along with their two other brands, Snugarooz Pet and Ancestry Pet Food was so well done (as always). The spring line of products with Snugarooz for dogs and cats - I just loved. I don't think I have ever seen a garden gnome pet toys before - if you didn't see them, be sure to check out their website.
And congratulations to Diggs, I have watched Zel Crampton's company go from a small company at a local event in NYC years ago, to now having a large team of employees, their signature product the Revol dog crate (now in multiple sizes), and many new products - all beautifully designed for pets and their parents.
The Royal Animals/Sabrina Treats booth featured Sabrini’s treats that are all natural, without additives or preservatives, easy to break apart and perfect for snacks or training. Made in Canada. And their apparel is fashion forward and they have the license for the NYPD and FDNY and US Army. Be sure to visit their website today if you didn't get a chance to stop by their booth at Global.
If I missed seeing you there - it just goes to show how very busy the show was for all of us, and I would love to know how the show was for you.
There was so much to see at the show, it's impossible to list everything. If you have not yet been to Global Pet Expo, mark down the dates for next year, March 22 - 24, 2023. You know I will be there!