Well day one at SIAL has been an interesting one…staying not very far from the trade fair has also so far been a good move, meaning I don’t thankfully need to endure nearly an hour packed in a metro carriage with someone so close to me that every time he laughed his belly pushed up against me made my back vibrate (at least someone was in a good mood after a long day at the show you may say!)
If I’m honest I’m usually a lot more prepared for shows (as my previous blog posts show) but the opportunity to come to SIAL presented itself later than normal and despite not having enough time to be as organised as I’d like (the perils of being a perfectionist!) it was too good an opportunity to not be here and taking advantage of market research, prospecting and (re)connecting with others on an international basis.
It was off to a good start when I squeezed onto the metro in the morning, stepped on the foot of a fellow Brit who then proceeded to ask me for my business card after we had engaged in conversation.
With just a couple of meetings fixed today – most of the day was then dedicated to walking the halls and uncovering new opportunities and new brands.
Whilst there are too many brands to mention – here is a selection of those with whom I had the most memorable interaction:
1 Paul and Pippa
A great Catalan organic brand of savoury and sweet crackers, this branding with adult characters is fabulous with a premium packaging feel, great product and they are now looking to build on very early days into the UK market with more distributors.
Any takers from the UK network who could be interested in distributing this brand?
A fun Belgian salsa and guacamole brand, these dips were delicious and chatting with one of the guys on the stand he eventually revealed to me that he actually works for an export agency taking care of this brand’s export business development and international trade fairs along with a portfolio of around a dozen more in Belgian, German and Austrian brands supported by 15 Associates. Given that this is certainly something Bolst Global aspires to in time, we exchanged business card details and aspired to keep in touch.
I had a refreshing conversation with Bahram, the MD of this company. After tasting the fabulous spicy German sausage bites I wanted to know why I hadn’t seen this brand in the UK. Quite simply he explained that as much as he would like to, the retail environment is too challenging and that despite perceptions he has found exporting his range (he is Edinburgh based) much easier and profitable than what most companies believe.
And we agreed that most companies should be doing much much more on the international front as there are a wealth of opportunities out there- even brands just put some resource and effort behind driving the international mantra. Bahram was a lovely guy who congratulated me on what I am trying to inspire in others on the export front and I wish him plenty of continued success too!
The last brand is a new French one called Swala, tailored at the sports segment and specifically runners with refuel products that are portable and easy to consume with no excess packaging. A great concept and I commend the guys for launching at SIAL with little more than a few prototypes, some packaging mock ups and lots of passion! (See the image with the jelly looking substance in an arm strap!) It was great to hear more about their products and it would be great to see them become more main stream and a staple product for runners in France and other countries too. (A propos Marc: j’aurais dû vous dire que je parle Français!)
After a long but fruitful day it was back to the maison (after a detour round Carrefour and the longest wait I think I’ve EVER had at a check out!) for a bottle of Bordeaux, bread, blogging and business prep for tomorrow!
If anyone reading this is also at SIAL this week and would like to meet then please message me…I’d be delighted to do so!
And if you are reading this, aren’t at SIAL but would like to discuss your export plans or development then please fill in the contact form below and we’ll be in touch to talk further!