I’ve been to my share of conferences and conventions including one-day educational activities or large-scale industry specific events. Multi-day conferences specific to the blogging industry that incorporate expo aspects, private gatherings, educational seminars and close the evening with parties. One thing is consistent with each that I’ve attended. While they can be entertaining, they aren’t designed for fun and they are far from free. Attending these events is an aspect of work and the person paying the bills is me. I’m frugal with my decisions and factor in the value I receive versus the amount I need to expend. Blogger Bash in New York City was no exception. 2014 was the inaugural year of a full-blown conference after the team had spent several years hosting the Sweet Suite event to showcases upcoming toys. Scott said he had researched and a VIP (which costs more than a standard pass) was the way to go. These kinds of opportunities are what give us the connections needed to present you with quality content. I agreed, purchased my VIP ticket, booked a hotel room and flights, scheduled events such as Getting Gorgeous and planned for a family trip to New York City. The two-day event offered a multitude of events with a little bit of something for everyone. There was a VIP event on Wednesday evening with Delta Children that I wasn’t able to participate in due to a conflict in my schedule. It was a shame to miss because I heard it was a fantastic evening. The official Blogger Bash schedule kicked off at the Care Bears breakfast, with representatives telling us about their Share Your Care initiative. We listened as Share Your Care ambassador Zach Kaplan spoke about his goals to make a difference. While that might not sound like anything abnormal, Zach is only ten years old. The Care Bears presentation featured details about the upcoming products, “Care Bears and Cousins” coming to Netflix November 6th, a line of Care Bears products for pets as well as a variety of new games and apps. From there, VIPs were invited to a special jewelry event being put on by Amrita Singh Jewelry. She offers some beautiful statement pieces. I’m conservative with my jewelry selections but found several that I would love to own. In particular, the Shelter Island Head Pendant that I wore across my hair struck my fancy. After that, we went our separate ways for small group activities. I attended a luncheon with HomeAdvisor and learned about how their program works. I’m hoping to partner with them to bring you a variety of DIY and home improvement tips. Other VIP participants met with Evite and Kids Headquarters while the remainder attended a special performance by Blue Man Group.
We finished off the evening with the pinnacle event: Sweet Suite. Toys and games from many, many brands were on display. As a VIP ticket holder, I was able to enter at 3:00, an hour prior to general ticket holders. Even with the hour head-start, I was still unable to connect with all the exhibitors before the event closed the doors at 9pm. I met with some existing clients such as Spin Master and R&R Games to check out some of their upcoming games and toys. Checked out new products from familiar brands like Skylanders, Lego, PlaySmart, HexBug, Smart Games, Build-a-Bear, Leap Frog, Razor, Hasbro and Tomy – to name just a few. I also was excited to discover a multitude of new products that I wasn’t familiar with such as Schleich, Folmanis Puppets, Kolibree, LockerLookz and even scales for the Perfect Drink and perfect baking. It was truly an entertaining evening filled with toys and all kinds of goodness! The following day started with a bang. John Vignocchi from Disney Infinity showcased their upcoming 3.0 system, including the Disney Pixar Inside Out Infinity figures, Star Wars, Tron and even some Marvel characters like Hulk Buster. One of the more interesting and exciting announcements involved the conversion of the Power Discs from blind packaging to fully visible blister packs. After that, I had some time to explore the expo hall which included a variety of companies such as Rite Aid, HomeAdvsisor, Teleflora and Boiron along with several philanthropic booths. It was inspiring to hear stories about ArtWare for Good, Unicef, Understood, Alex’s Lemonade Stand and Bloganthropy. Lunch included a presentation for the upcoming The Peanuts Movie with a special presentation by the young actors who voice the characters. 2015 marks the 65th anniversary of the comic strip! Upon completion, I attended a Speed Dating event to develop relationships with additional brands and agencies. Throughout the entire conference, there were a variety of activities running simultaneously With so many activities, it was impossible to attend it all! There were seminars and keynote presentations about blogging, SEO, creating videos and social good. There was an awards presentation, a fashion show and even a baby expo with brands such as Gund and a feature presentation by Anne Geddes, There was truly a LOT happening in a very short time frame. We wrapped up the final night enjoying a carnival presented by Canadian Lentils. The cost of attending the event was higher than I would like to spend, but I feel that Blogger Bash offered a little of everything and a lot of opportunity to make some quality connections. I look forward to sharing some of those exciting new products with you in coming months! What are you most excited about hearing more about?