“Break through” is the overarching theme for NRF 2023: Retail’s Big Show and the carefully selected small business owners taking part in the all-new Consumer Products Showcase are definitely ready to take their small businesses to the next level.
Just look at MaeMarie Wraps, a woman-owned, intention-based, hand-beaded jewelry brand founded in 2019. MaeMarie Wraps was one of several small businesses invited to last year’s Big Show to participate in activations and hand out samples on the Expo floor. It was there that mother and daughter partners Angela and Mina Plachta connected with leaders from QVC; in July, the Plachtas signed a partnership agreement to sell their jewelry on QVC.
The purpose of the Consumer Product Showcase is twofold. First, the Showcase will offer a select group of suppliers, entrepreneurs and brands the chance to showcase their products and meet one-on-one with leading retailers to connect and grow their businesses.
Second, 80 percent of participating companies are minority-owned, women-owned, veteran-owned, disability-owned or LGBTQ+-owned, which means buyers and merchandisers get the chance to learn about these new businesses while diversifying their own supply chains and product lines.
Participants fall into six categories – food and beverage, fashion, health and beauty, home and pets, office supplies, and cleaning and baby care. The Showcase is an extension of the Level One Expo and is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 15, and Monday, Jan. 16.
In addition, every Big Show attendee will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite Showcase product. The two companies with the most votes will win $10,000 and $15,000. Be sure to stop by the Showcase and vote in the Coolest Product Competition.
Here are just a few of the Consumer Product Showcase companies at NRF 2023: Retail’s Big Show:
Vim & Vigr sells stylish and comfortable compression socks for all walks of life. Based in Missoula, Mont., Vim & Vigr is owned by Michelle Huie, who spent 15 years in the pharmaceutical and health care industry before founding the company in 2013.
After discovering that the diaper industry was lacking in visibility when it came to depicting people of color, Nadiyah Spencer founded TinkyPoo diapers. Made with plant-based materials, TinkyPoo diapers feature images of babies of color and are designed to encourage a healthy self-image.
Doggy Bathroom is the only dog litter box on the market that keeps everything in one, easy-to-use, easy-to-clean, sleekly designed space. Initially funded by Kickstarter and introduced at the SuperZoo Expo in Las Vegas in 2019, Doggy Bathroom was founded by award-winning designer Alain Courchesne.
Blending fashion with function, BILLY Footwear is the brainchild of two Seattle locals: Darin Donaldson and Billy Price. BILLY Footwear shoes embody universal design and incorporate zippers that go along the side of the shoes and around the toe, allowing the upper of each shoe to open and fold over completely, enabling the wearer to put them on and take them off easily.
IYA Foods is a food company based in Aurora, Ill., that offers delicious foods inspired by founder Toyin Kolawole’s African roots. IYA Foods sells gluten-free flours, flour blends and baking mixes, hibiscus and whole food powders, and spices and seasonings made from African superfoods such as cassava, plantains, tigernut and baobab powder.
Espe Vegan is a cruelty-free business based in Toronto that uses premium vegan leather to create unique and timeless handbags and accessories. Founder Elizabeth Hardy spent 25 years as a CEO of an international fashion brand before starting Espe, which combines her lifelong loves of fashion and animals.
Power Beauty Unlimited specializes in handcrafted medical cranial hair prostheses, fashion wigs that are fully customizable, and premium hair extensions. Founder Valrie Alexander is focused on serving clients experiencing hair loss as a result of cancer treatment, alopecia, Lupus and a variety of other medical diagnoses that cause hair loss.
A certified women-owned small business, 3 Moms Organics co-founders Lisa-Jae Eggert and Jennifer Decker have created TickWise, a plant-based repellent that uses the best insect-fighting essential oils, is DEET-free and has a lemony fresh scent.