This weekend I spoke and exhibited at the inaugural Bread and Butter festival at the impressive IOD building in London.
Having been asked by Jason Gibb, one of the organisers, to speak on Exporting for First Timers at the event for Foodpreneurs then I also took the opportunity (and potential risk to some extent!) to have a stand in the exhibition area for the duration of the festival too!
Cold and wet morning…
The 4am start on the Saturday morning after a busy week was brutal and in my sleepiness I realised half way to the station that I hadn’t put on my coat! But with a scruffy hoodie to the rescue (running the outfit for the journey ladies!) I made it to the IOD in Pall Mall for the event just before the doors opened for day one of the festival.
Now I have to be honest –as I was starting to set up my stand (very basic and paling in comparison to the others around me) I did have some doubts creeping in. What on earth was I doing here? Why would anyone be wanting to talk international growth and expansion with me? Is this even the right place to be pitching my export services?
Thankfully though I had the AMAZING Charlotte Moore and Hedi Pavelcova on the stand next to me from Smoothie PR (and Hedi as a blogger and recipe author – check out her amazing work here) and I could not have asked for supportive and passionate people to share my weekend with and to put me into good spirits.
Also with my talk scheduled at 10.30 (the first one in the Growth Labs section) then before I knew it I was whisked into the room ready to ‘impart my global wisdom’. Nervous about how many people would turn up I was pleasantly surprised to find that the room actually did fill up just as I was starting with every seat taken!
With just an hour to present then evidently it was a real whistle stop tour round most of the fundamentals of international trade and I was pleased that there were plenty of questions and intrigue from the audience. Anyone reading this who sat in on the session then I would be grateful for any feedback (positive and constructive) that you can give!
After the session was over I had hoped for myself to attend some of the inspiring sessions later that day but…I was too busy on the stand! What a great problem to have! Lots of interest and engaging conversation with food and beverage brands at different stages of development.
The only opportunity I did have was to nip in and hear a small part of Laurra Davies’ from Brilliant Social Media talk on social media (surprise surprise!) which was fantastically engaging and great to show some support to a fellow Leeds based company!
The Sunday, whilst quieter, was also a worthwhile day. With more lulls in the exhibition footfall then it was a great opportunity to network with fellow exhibitors, understand more about what they do and grow my peer to peer network. I also was added to the Food Hub Facebook group (join it if you haven’t already!) and have enjoyed virtually networking with many others that I didn’t physically meet over the two days.
Was it worth it?
So what’s the verdict on this first Bread and Butter festival? For me and my business as an exhibitor, it was a really positive experience and well worth it! It allowed me to reconnect with some of the F&B brands whose journey I have been following for a while, plus discover plenty of new ones not to mention generate some new client possibilities which I am hugely excited about. Time will tell how they develop.
On an export mission
As a fairly new brand myself (despite working internationally all of my career for others) and experiencing the highs and lows of running my own business then actually despite being a service provider to the sector (as opposed to a producer) and without realising it beforehand, it was also a really important weekend for me to reenergise, refocus and remind myself of the reasons I started Bolst Global in the first place: to help small brands succeed globally by fusing my passions for advocating the right to a healthy lifestyle for all and making international business accessible to everyone for whom it can significantly benefit.
Thank you so much!
So I’ll end by thanking everyone who has connected with me and Bolst Global over the weekend with a special mention to Jason and Tara for their hard work and efforts to create what I feel was a successful and inspiring couple of days for so many people!
If any health food or drink brands would like help with your export ambitions, please use the contact form below.
Busy times ahead & back to London
Next show after my free DIT webinar on 18thNovember is Food Matters Live back in London.
If you would like to meet up at this show then please message me as I will be there supporting some of my clients as well as developing other global business opportunities there and very happy to meet!
Have a great week ahead everyone!