I could post a lot of photos of the fabulous new products I saw at ABC Kids Expo but I already did that on Instagram. Instead, as I adjust once again to my normal life, I’d rather reflect on my week of Summer Camp for Adults (term stolen from Katie Pickles from AppleCheeks).
Every single year I look forward to this trade show. Of course I love seeing the products and learning about new things I can share here on the blog or on social media. I like having answers for your questions even if those questions aren’t cloth diaper related. I like being “in the know.” But, I enjoy the quality time I get to spend with my “industry family” even more.
I started attending this expo back in 2009 after learning I could go as media. In fact, Jenn Labit was the one who put the idea into my head during a Twitter party. It stuck, and the following month I packed my things and my 10 month old son and headed for Vegas! It was CRAZY! I’m not that type of person to travel so far from home, alone, with a baby in my Ergo, and head to one of the largest juvenile products expos in the world! My passion and love for cloth diapers overpowered by logical brain. I still wonder how I did it and why- my blog was a baby then with little traffic and no one knew who I was!
That experience helped push my blog forward. I connected with brands on a level not possible on the computer. I MET them, and more importantly, they met ME! We were real people behind those Twitter handles. I certainly credit that first trip with the growth of Dirty Diaper Laundry.
This year it was less of a meeting and more of a reunion with my camp friends that I only get to see once a year. Most of us left our children behind and were able to do grown-up things like have dinner and converse without interruption. I love my kids but boy was it fun to have a few days away, even if I was missing them and my husband like crazy.
The thing about ABC Kids is that it reinforces the fact that there are real people behind many of the brands/stores I love and recommend here. I can love a product, but if I love the people and the mission behind it I love it EVEN more. It makes my job easy to say you should support _____ company because I know them, they are real people working hard to run their company and support their family. Those “huge” companies in our industry- well those are still mostly family run too. Many have extended family working together and they support 5 or more families. Our buying decisions matter, where are dollars go matters. I get to see this and I hope I’m able to continue to convey this message with my work.
In the cloth diaper business no one goes into it to get rich. No one (except maybe a certain section that you can guess). It’s where entrepreneurship and passion intersect. With the business savvy these brands have they could easily be doing something else, making a lot more, with a lot less hassle. I’m glad they’re here, helping us lessen the impact our children have on landfills and keep our wallets a little heavier.
I wish I could bring you all along to see just what I mean. Maybe we should start a real summer camp for adults, with rum soaked marshmallows in our S’mores and fun, adult only campfire stories. What fun that would be!
Here are some photos of my summer camp friends, new and old, that I can’t wait to see again next year.