Love it or hate it, cannabis industry trade shows are back in full swing for 2022. For the industry veterans who attended dozens of B2B shows on an annual basis, Hall of Flowers tends to be one of the more enjoyable experiences, pleasantly blurring the line between business and consumer events, and this year’s trade show was no exception.
While the oppressive Palm Springs heat tends to keep the suits at bay, we managed to spot a few well-tailored individuals suffering through the 102-degree weather. But for the most part, the event’s casual atmosphere lends itself to genuine, open discussions about products, services, and the direction the industry is moving in California and beyond.
For binkse account executive Alyssa Torro, her first Hall of Flowers event after being in the industry for many years was a success. She could not say enough good things about it from an attendee and brand perspective. “I was able to network with so many people and find new brands, and really, the exposure that our brand got via this event was incredible; 10/10, would recommend,” she said. The luxury MSO with a large national footprint launched in California in October, bringing its vibrant floral branding and fruit-centric flower, edibles, and pre-rolls to dozens of dispensaries across the state.
Those who’ve attended past events felt right at home with the familiar assortment of comfortable bean bags neatly scattered across the lawn surrounded by an impressive array of cooling misters, unique pop-up shops, and meticulously branded booths from crowd favorites including Ispire and lolo. While the show is an industry-only event, the friendly atmosphere, open consumption, and long lines to pick up products definitely added to the consumer-oriented feel that makes Hall of Flowers such a popular and unique event.
“What made last week’s event successful starts with the community. You could feel it walking around the venue and outdoor area — the energy was high and people were excited,” said Chris Gonzalez, head of the retail relations department for Hall of Flowers. Gonzalez wears many hats for the event that allows buyers from across the state to look, smell, touch, and taste everything before placing orders. Behind the scenes, efforts are made to ensure that exhibitors are meeting with key decision-makers.
Michael Straumietis, better known as BigMike from Advanced Nutrients, is no stranger to the trade show circuit and typically draws a bit of a crowd, but this was also his first time attending Hall of Flowers. Straumietis appreciated the “level playing field” where everybody got a chance to see everybody. “It’s huge… The cannabis community has come out and embraced it in a way that they should have done a long time ago,” he said. Straumietis was especially excited about his company’s new Voodoo Juice Tablets with 10 billion colony-forming units per gram. He estimated the product will cost between five and seven cents per gallon to use and protect against thirteen different root-born diseases, helping to expand a plant’s root mass and total yield while controlling costs.
3 Key Takeaways from Hall of Flowers Palm Springs 2022
During our time walking the show floor and speaking with brands about their latest and greatest offerings for 2022, we took the opportunity to ask dozens of business owners and reps to share their opinion on the success of their competitors and industry friends for a few key takeaways. If you were unable to attend this year’s event, here’s what everyone at the show thinks you may have missed.
Premium oils are trending
The hunt for high-THC oils in one of the country’s most developed cannabis markets appears to be making way for a premium, flavor-focused experience in a convenient handheld format. Live resin cartridges, live resin disposables, and sauce pens dominated the concentrate and oil discussions on the show floor. Brands like Sherbinskis, Connected, and Cru were all quick to point us toward their high-terpene or premium single-source cartridges that cater to a more discerning cannabis customer seeking a robust flavor profile and experience.
An entertaining booth is a popular booth
There’s no shortage of ways for a brand to define success at a trade show. Collecting the most leads, closing the biggest sales, and securing a foothold in a new market are all valid definitions. However, when asked to judge their peers, we heard the name STIIIZY more often than not. Their outdoor booth with plenty of shade attracted hearts and attention through their collection of retro arcade cabinets and a photobooth with tall strip photos printed out the side. Whether the brand was able to parlay all of that positive attention into their definition of success is unknown, but it goes to show that the right entertainment may be the best way to get the most bodies into the booth at events this year.
Flower with a bigger purpose reigns supreme
Among many things, Hall of Flowers is renowned for its abundance of high-quality flower from dozens of established brands. But from the sign-in area to the lunch tables, much of the discussion happened around brands that do more than sell products. Biko CEO Timeka Drew is a social equity license holder and co-founder of a non-profit workshop and mentor program for minorities in cannabis. She’s also a former Hall of Flowers Equity Grant recipient and current board member. Her small booth inside the showroom was a bit of a bottleneck with the consistent crowd formed to chat with her, demonstrating the merit in the show’s decision to cover the full cost of a standard boutique booth for a few deserving brands each year. This year’s recipients included Blaqstar Farms, Dose of Saucy, and Naughty Dabs. If Biko is any indication, this year’s winners may be next year’s success stories. According to event organizer Chris Gonzales, all three equity brands were onboarded with retailers who committed to placing orders.
As one of the older, most developed recreational cannabis markets, what consumers demand and enjoy in California can be seen as a strong indicator of what’s on the horizon in newer markets like New Jersey and Oklahoma. Brands and retailers in younger medical and adult-use markets may want to pay special attention to the ways in which the product offerings at shows like Hall of Flowers have evolved over the years to stay ahead of the coming trends in consumer preferences.