New gear, an Airstream road trip, and finding inspiration at Global Pet

New gear, an Airstream road trip, and finding inspiration at Global Pet

Posted by Kitter Spater on 17th Apr 2019

The Global Pet Expo is the Super Bowl of the pet world and every March we pack up our vintage Airstream and head south. Each year the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida is packed with wall-to-wall pet enthusiasts. Kurgo is typically one of 1000 other exhibitors from across the globe sharing their love for all things “pet.” From reptile retailers to aquatic aficionados, this show has it all; it’s no wonder that it is the pet industry’s largest annual trade show. To get an idea of the sheer scope of the annual Expo, you can check out a floor plan here—see if you can spot the Kurgo display in block 1035! Once inside, our booth is easy to spot, and visitors flock to see the Airstream and check out our new gear.

As you can imagine, the Expo is a great environment for taking the pulse on new industry trends. Every year I task myself with identifying these trends and ensuring that Kurgo products are consistently ahead of the innovation curve. New colors and styles become popular at different times, so it’s helpful to understand the current trends. I also find it interesting to pinpoint when fresh and innovative styles or designs have plateaued and are now considered mainstream.

A major trending topic at this year’s Expo was CBD. CDB oils, treats, food—you name it, they had it. However, CBD didn’t overshadow the high level of interest in raw food and fresh food at the show. It's always interesting to see which topics are hot conversations and to see how they continue to develop throughout each year.

A significant benefit of the Global Pet Expo is that it provides a direct line of communication between our team and the retailers we work with. It’s a great opportunity to receive immediate feedback from these industry professionals who interact with our products on a daily basis in professional and personal life.

One product that I was particularly interested in getting feedback on was our newest product, the K9 Rucksack. We ran a Kickstarter campaign on this mountaineering silhouetted pack that ended recently. Our goal was $15,000, which we surpassed with a final count of $16,465 in pledges from 188 backers. We used Kickstarter to test the waters with early adopters in the market to ensure that we’re offering trending products to our retail partners that are tested in the real-world as well. We’ve already had great enthusiasm for our G-Train Backpack and are excited to now have two different carrier backpack styles to share with our consumers.

Have you been to the Global Pet Expo?