When Jina Park was pregnant with her first child, she found herself combing through a seemingly endless number of websites and mommy blogs, looking for the right products for her soon-to-be newborn.
“I was in front of the computer 24-7, trying to research down to that one perfect pacifier,” said Park, who lives in West Los Angeles. “It’s a daunting experience.”
A few years later, the stay-at-home mom founded her own company, Plush LLC, and started the Plush Show, a trade show to connect L.A. parents with the makers of high-end baby products, from chemically safe bottles to eco-friendly toys and cleaning products.
Now, Park is aiming for a different audience: retailers. The first two days of the 2013 show, scheduled for early June, will be solely for commercial buyers. Moms and dads can still come to the show, but they’ll have to wait for day three.
Park said some commercial buyers have already taken an interest in the annual show, first held last year at Vibiana in downtown Los Angeles.
“During the consumer show, we have a lot of retailers and buyers come by,” she said. “They like the exclusiveness. We’ve already researched these products and know they’ll do well.”
Park is also expanding her show to a bigger venue – the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza hotel in Century City – and upping the number of exhibitors from about 50 to nearly 200.
Park, now pregnant with her third child, said she hopes bringing big buyers into the fold will help steer parents to the best products, many of which come from tiny companies. Already, she’s reaching out to thousands of retailers, from mom-and-pop stores to big players such as Target and Babies R Us.
“There are companies that are up and coming that would get lost in the bigger trade shows,” she said. “I want to make a difference in this industry. I can’t get away from it – I’ve been pregnant for the past five years.”
— James Rufus Koren
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