What is FABlogCon, you might ask? Well, it's none other than the Food Allergy Blogger's Conference! Hubby and I were thrilled last year when we discovered that FABlogCon 2015 would be in our neck of the woods! After all, we were a tiny start-up just discovering that nearly ALL of the food allergy events are on one of the coasts, with the east coast hoarding the majority of them. Being landlocked and stranded in the Mountain Region, it was nice for a food allergy event to come to us! We were so excited about the opportunity to meet and connect with other food allergy companies and personalities that we decided to sponsor the event!
The weekend was truly outstanding. The wonderful Jenny Sprague put together an amazing weekend filled with informational panels, fabulous food, and a great dose of fun! We made so many connections, our heads are still spinning and we're still following up on some of them!
You don't have to be a blogger to get something out of FABlogCon. There were informational panels for bloggers looking to create/change/solidify/improve their brand, but there were also panels on food allergies in general, along with the chance to meet (and try samples of) some amazing allergy-friendly brands and meet the "rock stars" of the food allergy community. The networking alone was totally worth it!
I thought I'd recap our experience through pictures, so you'll have an idea of what to expect when you come next year!
Enjoy Life Foods' own Joel Warady. I was awesome to meet him in person! He's very approachable online, and thinks that responsiveness to customers is one of the big mistakes massive food companies are making. He's a great (and funny) guy and it was excellent to meet him!
Keely McGuire Blog) and Erica Dermer (of Celiac and the Beast) with tips on how brands should approach bloggers when looking for a review, an endorsement, or when looking to start a relationship.
People had a lot of fun with this! We gave them a small prize for playing, and offered them a percentage off any order if they managed to hit three allergens in a row (a-la tick-tac-toe.)
All of the food at FABlogCon was carefully set up and labeled in order to remain safe for all attendees. Some allergens were absent entirely, others were present but served in such a way that anyone allergic to them could see where they were and avoid them. There was always a good amount of space between dishes, and everything always had its own serving spoon. Foods were simply but elegantly made, with as few ingredients as possible, and ingredients were always listed. If only every buffet and school cafeteria could emulate this, dining out with food allergies would be SO much easier!
We just have one Twitter account for the business and it's on both of our phones. I was amused about halfway through the Twitter panel when I suddenly got close to a dozen Twitter notifications all at once. I knew Hubby must've said or done something in the panel!
My Plant Based Family.) Both of these panels made me think a lot about how I fit into the Food Allergy Blogging Community, since I am both a blogger and the face of a business. I'll be making some changes in the coming months to better integrate the two.
My Gluten-free Kitchen) and Chandice Probst (of Gluten Free Frenzy.)
After a long day and lots of chatting with people in this community, it was time to again close the Expo hall and get ready for dinner. Saturday night was the "Wine and Sign" Party along with dinner. In fact, in addition to all the fabulous food, we also got free drink coupons for both evenings, with alcoholic (and non-alcoholic) beverages to fit any diet.
There was also a photo booth sponsored by Sunbutter, which encouraged everyone to get goofy!
Saturday night was a lot of fun!
There were several "Info about Food Allergies" and "Living with Food Allergies" panels throughout the weekend, but we weren't able to fit everything in. In fact, we didn't make it to any panels Sunday morning. We stayed in the Expo Hall for its few remaining hours and chatted with still more people.
It's really impossible to list everybody we connected with at FABLogCon, but here are a few highlights:
Dairy Free Gina) again (we met once before when a funeral took us into her neck of the woods.)
And it was awesome to spend the weekend in the prestigious company of so many great Allergy-Friendly brands.
Dec. He took our pictures all weekend, and he was awesome too!
There were tons of prizes to win. In order to enter, each attendee received a sheet listing all of the sponsors in the Expo Hall. They were supposed to get the sponsors to sign off that they'd chatted (or at least met.) Attendees received one raffle ticket for each sponsor they visited. There were goldfish bowls set up for each prize, and attendees put their tickets into whichever bowl(s) they wanted. Sponsors were allowed to enter as well, but they couldn't sign off on their own organization. There were all sorts of allergy-friendly foods, kitchen appliances, and books, etc. The grand prize was a trip to Chicago to visit the Enjoy Life Foods headquarters!
We didn't win anything :'(
And guess what? Next year has been scheduled!
November 4-6, 2016, once again at the Denver Renaissance Hotel. Check out http://fablogcon.com/ for more details!