Trade show cancelled? Put it in a box

Hello Bello gets in a sample box with other exhibitors to help it take a DTC approach to reaching new customers.

hello-bello

Like most events, expos and trade shows, The Baby Show – a twice-annual Toronto-based showcase of brands for pregnant and new parents – was cancelled due to COVID. That left Hello Bello and other exhibitors in a bit of a lurch when it came to plans to expand their reach to new customers and retailers.

But it has been reimagined as “The Baby Show in a Box,” taking a cue from DTC subscription boxes to put $100 worth of products from brands that would have shown at the in-person show into a box that is delivered to would-be attendees for $25.

Part of the curated experience in a box is a jumbo pack of super soft and absorbent eco-friendly diapers from Hello Bello, along with nipple cream, milk storage bags and nursing pads from Medela, organic purées made by Baby Gourmet, baby wipes, shampoos and soaps from Aleva Naturals.

Hello Bello is the brainchild of actors Kristin Bell and Dax Shepard, which launched in Canada right at the outset of the pandemic in March with full in-store displays in baby aisles across major grocery retailers.

Elise Hom, business development manager of Hello Bello Canada, tells strategy that while it’s seeing seeing unprecedented growth in plant-based wipes and personal care, it has incorporated The Baby Show’s box pivot into its own pivots for connecting thousands of Canadian parents and parents-to-be more directly to its diapers in a post-pandemic world. The box – which also contains access codes to seminars and video presentations – is part educational tool, part sampling opportunity.

“As a new brand in Canada, our focus is to spread awareness and educate consumers on our entire product line,” she says, and with this specific partnership, it saw a great opportunity to highlight what she calls “Hello Bello’s diaper difference.” That means touting its soft, absorbent, hypoallergenic, but also eco-friendly features.

According to Euromonitor, parents wanting to be more eco-friendly has led to the re-emergence of cloth diapers, but it has also led to the growth of more natural diapers for parents who still want a disposable option.

But in the highly-competitive category, purchases tend to comes down to price. And while upstart brands like Bambo Nature and Nest have tried to position themselves as more premium, the premise behind Hello Bello is that it’s a natural brand that is also affordable.

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When it comes to challenges in retail, Hom admits it’s “space, space, space.” The brand needs to ensure that it continues to sell at velocities seen today, with the understanding that its core product category of diapers requires large shelf space commitments from retail partners.

One way it has succeeded, however, is online. Hom says its direct-to-consumer is a key business channel in North America, and that Hello Bello is increasing its warehouse space in both Canada and the U.S. to position itself for demand spikes.

New mothers are a coveted consumer group, with some reports pegging annual expenditure on diapers as high as $1,000.

To get the word out, Baby Show producer Blue Ant Media is focusing on targeted ads to on Facebook and Instagram. On the PR side, Blue Ant Media’s in-house comms team is launching an influencer engagement campaign with well-known Canadian Instagram influencers who will be doing unboxing videos with The Baby Show in a Box.