There is no question that America is an consumerism-drive country. I have a love-hate relationship with this idea, especially in terms of parenting. You really don’t need a lot of stuff to raise a child. And it gets overwhelming for parents to decide what stuff is the best for their child. Part of my life’s mission and the purpose of this blog is to live a more simple life.
But that being said, stuff does make parenting easier. And easy is definitely a big part of a simple life. I have come to terms with the idea of parenting with a few, good quality items is vital.
These vital items will look different based on your lifestyle, parenting choices, and family’s needs. Thus, it is hard to make blanket statements on what is the “best” this and best “that”. Just like I say when I am teach babywearing, there is no such thing as the perfect carrier for everyone, but some where is a perfect carrier for you! You just need to look, try, and think to find it—baby carrier or any other product.
This is why I highly suggest baby/kid/parenting expos. Events where many retailers, businesses, and organizations have tables, displays, and demonstrations of their services and products. They usually have a mix of local and national companies. It’s a great way to see what products and services there are, and even compare offerings.
One such event in BabyFest Northwest. This year was my second year attending and it’s truly a fun, jammed-packed event. Last year I taught in the Babywearing Lounge for Babywearing International of Portland and attended as normal attendee. This year I was very busy working/teaching at the Wrapsody booth and covering it as a blogger.
Speaking as a retailer/organization representative, we put our heart and soul into these events. We want everyone and anyone to come to our booth. We want to talk to you and hear about your family. We want to share how our product can help your family. And sometimes we event want to give you stuff or offer you a discount for coming to talk to us. So please stop by every booth possible, we are there for YOU!
At BabyFest this year, I stood in front of the booth greeting everyone and handing out as many Wrapsody stickers as possible. I truly wanted to hear everyone’s story and see if our product could help them. And honestly, for some people our product was not the best fit. I pointed them to another booth and thanked them for chatting with me. This is a great way to not only share our product, but to gauge the needs of our customers. Hearing directly from them what they want and need. So please, talk to the booths! We want to share and have you share with us.
Now, speaking as an attendee/blogger, all this booth visiting can be overwhelming! There can easily be 100+ retailers, organizations,and companies to check-out. If you are pregnant, bringing kids—or both— it might be impossible to talk to everyone! Don’t feel bad if this doesn’t happen.
My advice is to make a plan. Find the list of who is going to be there beforehand if you can. Check out each booth and see if it’s something you might like. When you get to the event, check out the map when you first get there. Find where the booths you don’t want to miss are and plan a simple route to include as many as possible. That way you don’t miss something you really want to check out! While you follow your route, don’t forget to check out all the booths you can along the way. You might find something awesome you didn’t even know about!
You don’t have to spend 30 minutes chatting at every booth, or even 5 minutes really. But don’t just snag the swag and run off. Say hello! Ask about the product or service. Are they local? Can you find them in store? Order online only? Suitable for what ages? You get the idea. You may discover this was the exact thing you were looking for, if you take a little time.
For example, across from the Wrapsody booth was Grapple. I was so busy I never got a chance to walk over to say hi. I saw the toy on their table, but didn’t think too much of it. Later on I noticed one in my gift bag. It’s exactly the toy I’ve been wanting for Bear! I had no idea because I never asked.
BabyFest had amenities to make navigating the crowds easier too. Many booths had places to sit if you needed a break.
There were plenty of bathrooms. Concession stands and Snack Bars for food and drinks (though you are welcome to bring your own food too).
A nursing/pump lounge with plenty of chairs and tables for your comfort.
Whether you come for a few hours or the whole day, expos like BabyFest are a great way to learn what you want in terms of baby products. So brave the crowds and come see for yourself!