I am thinking of a Jay Z lyric as I begin to type this: "I'll show you how to move in a room full of Baby Vendors..." Well, Jay says "vultures," instead of "baby vendors."
But if you are new to baby expos or trade shows, trying to get through to the popular vendor tables can feel just like that. So I am here to break it down for you.
I had the pleasure of attending this year's 2014 Brooklyn Baby & Family Expo on Sunday in Brooklyn Heights. This year, I attended as a member of the press. I point that out because I may be a first-time mommy, but a first-time expo attendee, I am not!
However attending as press has given me a new perspective and a new respect for preparedness.
This expo was one of the smaller shows I have attended, so I was surprised that it wasn't what I expected. Brooklynites come out in droves for this informative event. It was packed, and lucky for us train-bound attendees, there was a stroller check.
Inside the exhibit hall it was hard to concentrate on the vendors with so many adorable little ones perched on shoulders, baby slings and carriers. My own little one included, every few steps we were engaged in trading compliments on how cute our offspring were.
This expo was different, in that it offered more boutique style services that make city life more convenient (I'll highlight some of my favorites at the end).
Now if you are reading this and you did not attend the Brooklyn Baby & Family Expo, you missed out. But if you plan on attending an expo next year or any of the other few that will pop up this season, listen up this is for you!
Knowing about the expo ahead of time is a plus (otherwise miss out like I did last year). This will give you time to check out the host's website and scout out which vendors you want to visit. Bring as little as possible, even if your latest and greatest stroller has a huge basket, chances are everyone else will have their strollers too, so navigating through the exhibit hall will look more like the BQE at five o'clock.
Timing is a game of Russian Roulette: Get there early, and grab all the goodies and enter to win all the raffles; get there late and miss the crowds but sorry no goodies for you. Bringing the littles along involves serious multi-tasking and calm nerves.
My daughter Dionne was too excited to sit in her stroller so that meant carrying her while pushing the stroller, snapping pictures and snagging goodies. She had a couple of emotional breakdowns but we made it through.
Some of my favorite vendors were:
- Little Essentials- A 501 (c) (3) organization that helps keep families together by collecting and re-distributing free baby and toddler clothing, gear, and other essentials Brooklyn families living in poverty need.
- Bumble Bean- Specialty Brands and Unique Inspired Ideas for Moms and Kids
- Kid & Co- A vacation rental site that simplifies family travel
- Brooklyn Manny and Nanny- Child care for last minute, long term, and special events
- Bitta Blankie- The security blanket you were, reducing the risk of SIDS
- Mabel's Labels- Personalized waterproof name labels and tags
- Super Useful Human- An army of super assistants that will do almost anything you cant do yourself
- Frolic- Rock 'n Roll play space for children
- SouvenarteBooks- Turn your kids art and drawings into a picture book
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