Earlier this week, Soap Folk took part in the Natural & Organics Products Europe 2018 (NOPE), quite simply Europe's biggest trade show for natural & organic products.
Having received our Soil Association certification only the week before, the timing of the show could not have been better. It was the perfect launchpad for our young brand to celebrate its new certified organic status.
We’re not in Kansas in anymore
Soap Folk is Gloucestershire born and bred. We work out of a converted Victorian mill at the bottom of the intriguingly named Gydynap Lane in the Stroud Valleys . A cattle grid on the lane keeps at bay the cows, ponies and occasional donkey that enjoy a free roaming life during the summer months. Our destination of Excel, London could not be more different. But it was nothing we couldn’t handle!
NOPE is a brillianty run event. This meant we were able recreate a little bit of our workshop in less than two hours. All during one of the hottest April days on record. Time for a cold drink!
Sunday, Monday, Showtime!
The NOPE show lasts two days and boy, we really did pack in a lot. We met visitors from all over the world, in all different capacities, from retailers, beauty journalists and bloggers to healthcare professionals and business support. We talked cold process soap making, the importance of plastic free, palm oil controversies, we smelt soaps, we made contacts and we made friends.
The stand out moments
In no particular order!
- Meeting Janey Lee Grace (love her!) and hearing her namecheck Soap Folk when discussing some of her favourite new product picks from the show.
- Meeting Julia Lawless, the author of Encyclopedia of Essential Oils (a well thumbed copy takes pride of place in our workshop).
- Hearing “Ooh, what lovely soaps!” many, many times.
By the way, we’re in the Soil Association Family
Upon receiving organic certification, The Soil Association wrote, “Welcome to the Soil Association family” We felt this very strongly at NOPE. It’s an unexpected bonus to joining the Soil Association. As new kids on the block, it was great to be taken under the wing by more established brands. In particular, we met Kinn Living and Terre Verdi. This type of support is something a little bit special. For any organic company thinking of taking the plunge by joining the Soil Association, we can well recommend it.
Our biggest takeaway
"And was it all worth it?" We were asked once back in Stroud. It's true that the energy - physical and emotional - needed to take part in any trade show cannot be underestimated. Aside from the obvious potential for new relationships, trade shows can have a more long lasting impact. By bringing together industry professionals and influencers under one roof, we learnt a huge amount in a short space of time.
We returned brimming with ideas and a renewed, sharper vision for the future. This makes our first trade show experience absolutely priceless.
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