Signposts along the way
White Roads are those little roads that take you to where you’re going but with a little fun and adventure in-between. This “in-between” place is where we have probably lived a few incredible moments that then turned into our favorite stories. We’d like to share with you so please feel free to follow along with us on the “how” and “what” led us to where we, and our partners are today. We’ll post up some stories, insights, pictures, vlogs, recordings, musings – and just about anything else around what makes us tick in general…….
expo west and the f***ed categories?
oh trade show how i love you part two…aka…the final installment
walk a natural foods trade show floor like expowest for a few days
and if you’re awake and aware while in the aisles, at the end of it all?
you should be able to make a list of the food categories that could be referred to as f***d?
for now let’s just call it the “screwed” category to be politically and swearingly correct
maybe we can play a quick fill in the blank game to succinctly explain ?
if you’re going to get in the “blank” category you’re probably screwed
so let’s fill in that blank….here’s our short list
2-anything coconut….oil, water, snack, etc….
-popcorn in a bag
-granola* (with an asterisk because it’s been on the list for at least 2 yrs)
it’s not that these categories aren’t real or don’t generate millions if not billions in revenue in the natural foods universe
it’s just when talking to entrepreneurs, founders and new business types
if they have a product in one of the above categories?
just want to give them a loving hug and say
congratulations, you are so f***d….oops i mean screwed
interstellar irony right here and right now?
these entrepreneurial peeps are usually super smart, hard working, committed, mission driven, etc
but they are also willingly entering into the “screwed category”
a wild world of sameness with incredible power and strength working against you
so as a newcomer brand/product in these screwed categories?
if their product or brand doesn’t have “special powers”
it’s probably not going to work
point of interest? at all trade shows …
there are always places where the most of the cool, emerging brands reside
the 3rd floor or the basement or that one corner over there
it’s easy to get excited when you see the ones with special powers
and sometimes it’s a bummer….because you see many without the special powers
and you know next year they probably won’t be around
first…..most are in one of the above mentioned screwed categories
you’re going up against powerful competitors
that own the shelf, the trade spend, the consumers mind share and they most likely make pretty good product and margin to boot …
oh that’s right they also know how to deliver on time
so if you’re going up against the goliaths of the category you better have something really special going on or you are screwed
you notice i pluralized….goliaths…that’s an s on the end…..
two symbolism there……
-screwed starts with an s
-you can bet there’s going to be more than one goliath you’ll be up against.
figure a minimum of three!
the screwed list isn’t exclusive to the natural foods world
in the outdoor world, stainless steel water bottles might be top of the list
and in the bike industry?
if you’re introducing a new high end carbon road bike in the u.s. market?
you’re probably screwed
btw….feel free to make your own list in whatever business world you play in
i’d like to see it…..
ok…enough, let’s close….the moral of this screwed story?
stay out of the screwed categories
and if you’re crazy enough to go in will you please build a brand/product with special powers?
because then and only then? you might have a shot at it…..
oh trade show…let me count the ways i love you…..
trade shows, energy, connectivity, and finding one?
we just got back from expo west…..it’s a lovely natural foods show…
live in person, no virtual reality, face to face, hand to hand, and lots of hand washing and hugs for the ones you know and love
expo is probably one of my fave trade shows despite it’s increasing size and humanoid density in the aisles
or despite the 3 min trade show aisle meeting we are forced to have
or despite the 10 miles of walking each day
or the 100 miles of talking ….as we all go home with sore throats and sore feet
in the spirt of the f word…focus
decided to skinny this weeks rant into the 3 reasons why we go to trade shows
expo west is great because of it’s “energy” as the majority of attendees are on a mission mofo…
and that’s everything from changing how foods are grown and produced to the quality of food that humanoids put in their pie holes
and you can feel this energy and connection when you enter the hall
hyper competitive yet hyper collaborative….
it’s bi directional….it goes both ways baby
the big energy and the mission are fantastico
and let’s remember that “energy contains information”
so when you leave you can take some with you…
and it can last a while if you practice it daily
reason number two?
trade shows are a one stop shop…..
you can check out the industry landscape in one place
you can walk up and down the aisles and see who and what you’re up against
you can also visualize/hallucinate/make up in your mind where you think it’s all going
so trade shows are a great way to get present and possibly future snapshots of the industry
if you’re lucky “you find one”
for us at wri that means we find something…get a lead, meet a founder or find a category that we think has promise and we can invest in for the future
for you as an exhibitor or attendee or a sales rep
you finding one might be a new retailer to sign up, a new employee to hire, or a company you may want to work for, etc…..
now….not to be a buzzkill….but here’s some reality check….
we personally attend a myriad of trade shows and i don’t care what industry or category you are in
more and more trade show floors are becoming a sea of sameness
same colors, same products, same claims, same positioning, same packaging
example? do we really need 30 different brands of kombucha?
don’t get too bummed out by this sea of sameness
as it’s a good way to figure out how to differentiate
as your enemy isn’t so much the competiton but more about the sameness
who knows by walking the aisles
you may figure out how to zig when everyone else is zagging