We are all still recovering from the unbelievable energy from the World Tea Expo show! It is an amazing experience to be surrounded, literally, by like minded tea enthusiasts and professionals.
Our trip to Vegas began with a day of relaxation and presentation tweaking at "TheHotel" where we bunked this year, instead of Mandalay Bay. We definitely made the right choice for us.
The Teas Etc guys, Matt, Rafael and Newman spent the majority of Thursday putting together our show giveaway bags in the New Business Boot Camp Office, thanks Stacie.
Friday began early kicking off my 2009 expo experience with a day of teaching at New Business Boot Camp. Giving the NBBC's Marketing Segment is a lot of fun for me. This years group were extremely engaged and enthusiastic about their "tea" future. Thanks to all who so energtically participated with lots of questions, ideas and great marketing pieces from the "shameless self promotion"
I had the luxury of not having to worry about the show floor execution because of our great team in Las Vegas. That team was headed by Rafael our warehouse manager, who works under the direction of Ward Sener, Head of Operations. Thanks Rafael and all for a job well done!
Our booth looked amazing!
The expo is the one opportunity during the year that we have to reconnect and renew with friends, some whom we have not seen in years! It's great to put a face with a name to those individuals we have spoken with but not formally met.
This year we added a fun new cupping event which took place in our booth twice daily. Each session focused on a specific tea category; black, green, white and oolong and was conducted as professionally as possible. Participants had a chance to sign up to take part prior to the show.
We extended some special invitations for the cuppings and were excited to have Lindsey Goodwin and Jason Walker at a couple. Thanks to all for taking part and giving us your time and evaluations.
The highlight of the show was most definately the World Tea Championship! We asked individuals in a variety of different industry genres to sit at the "Teas" table which made for an interesting, fun evening. We had bloggers, media, authors, buyers, 4 different tea companies (Village Tea, Teakoe, The Teahouse, Tea Willikers, East West Tea Emporium) and some other exhibitors (Village Tea, Quality Certification Services). We developed new friendships and renewed others.
When the first award of the evening was announced, Signature Famous Teas - Assam Category, I was completely caught off guard, which was obvious by my response when they announced the winner "Teas Etc" .... OH S_ _ T! I was totally suprised! I did not expect to win that particular category. I know we have great tea. I knew we entered teas that we sell and that we feel confident and proud of. I also knew that we were in competition with companies that have dominated the black tea categories in the past.
We followed up that win with the next, Signature Famous Teas - Ceylon Category and then our Organic Golden Monkey took 2nd place in the Signature Famous Teas - Yunnan Category! We did not have any wins in the General Teas Categories which is where I thought we would have the strongest showing. This competition gives us an opporunity to see what others in the industry are doing. To discover more about what to look for in the cup by learning from the esteemed judges. Most important it gives buyers and consumers a true evaluation of quality tea at its best. I feel strongly that this will elevate our industry "specialty tea" and the teas being sold as such.
It was an amazing night! I am personally honored to have the opportunity to participate on this level with some of the finest companies and teas from around the globe. It is a particularly proud moment for me, once agian being the only female owned company with winner's in the World Tea Championship, Hot Tea Category.
After the energy and excitment of Saturday night it was difficult to get out of bed on Sunday morning for my Organic presentation with Ram from QCS, Quality Certification Services. This intimate presentation was specifically developed for those companies interested in becoming USDA organic certified and was a road map to getting it done simple and effeciently.
Sunday afternoon brought about the Teas Etc vendor presentation which was a success with an interactive disscussion between myself and the audience, just the way I like it. The day wrapped up with a World Tea News video interview by Lindsey Goodwin, thanks Lindsey!
While many folks left on Sunday the show floor was still non stop for us on Monday! The energy in our booth never seemed to diminish and we all stayed busy non stop.
I would like to express special thanks to the following people for there support, friendship, insight and willingness to help; Lisa Richardson, Richard Guzakaus, Maria Seemer, Martin & Village Tea Team, Dan Robertson, Skip and the folks from Cirqua, Ken Rudee, Scott Shivula, Benjamin Harrison, Planet Can It, David Walker, Ram & QCS, Jason Walker, Lindsey Goodwin, Nicki Means and Sungarden just to name a few.
I would also like to express how nice it is to work with the group of professionals at World Tea Expo and World Tea News. A special thanks for all you do to help exhibitors succeed, Kim and George Jage, Stacie Woods, Kim, Vanessa, Nate, Tim, Kari and Heidi.
Until next time, Beth