Organic Food Conference Essentials

I look forward to attending the Natural Food and Products Expo every March in Anaheim, California.  There are numerous learning workshops, client meetings and new product explorations.  Much to manage!

One of the things I have learned to manage on these trips is “stuff”. The samples, promotional material and impulse purchases can accumulate!  I hate to admit that I still have two unpacked promotional material in my Expo West 2013 bags.

I planned to reuse my own bag, actually my Louis Vuitton Never Full, since it could fit just what I needed and on the flip side not go over board on carrying too much stuff. I would put the bag to test. How much could it hold?

I was allowed to take what I could carry and anything else would be overload. Overload on the brain and the body.

Not only did it carry just enough but it forced to me focus on quality not quantity.

The most challenging thing is to be particular to your mission and intent from the conference and not grab everything that is given.  Either deal with it there or lug it home with you and have to deal with the “stuff” there.

Do you carry your own bag or collect more bags?

What do you do with all the papers and samples you bring back to your office?

Here is what I had in my bag and why.

  • Conference packaging:  I was sourcing eco-friendly packaging.  Here are some companies I will be looking further into:

  • Conference badge:  Use it as a business card and keep it in a handy place before and after the show
  • Writing utensils: Pencils for calendar appointments and ball point pens for notes-why not make ’em fancy or colorful but never boring.


  • Techy stuff:  thumb drive for digital files and photos, adapter for cell use in the car or to download photos from camera, etc.  My cell service was spotty in the conference but the camera, calendar and Evernote was working fine.
  • Calculator: talking cost of goods, minimums and ingredient costs with suppliers and vendors? Don’t be caught counting on your fingers.
Notebook:  Keep notes together in one stylish book.  I love Christian Lacroix’s notebooks.

  • Wellness:  Aside from the vitamins I like to travel with (which I won’t bore you with at this time), there is one supplement I absolutely keep on me while traveling.  Melatonin Sleep Support spray from Dr. Mercola has helped me sleep when my brain doesn’t want to turn off.  I used it every night on my busy trip and returned home not exhausted.  Lip conditioner: to protect your lips from the harsh air conditioning and all the gabbing you are doing.  I actually like the natural non-petroleum based lip balms mostly found in health food stores.  Natural hand sanitizers: The alcohol free version from Clean Well doesn’t dry out my fingers or leave them numb tingling like the ones with triclosan.
  • A work bag worth its weight needs a sprinkling of real life with tchotchkes like unclaimed photo tickets from Disneyland, non toxic nail polish just in case and quartz crystals just because.

What’s in your bag?  Leave a comment and share what works for you and what doesn’t.

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