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All Green Podcast Ep.18- Lift Toronto Live Walkthrough

All Green Podcast Ep.18- Lift Toronto Live Walkthrough

Experts and consumer connoisseurs rejoiced in the busy streets at the Toronto Metro Convention Centre for Canada's premier gathering of top industry leaders and professionals. 
Naturally, Eco Four Twenty had to be there, and boy was it fun! 

In this episode, hosts Michael and Andrea hit the ground running at the Lift Expo in Toronto, June 2023. Amongst all the hustle and bustle, tune in to get a first impressions listen at everything that happened this year on the show floor.



Michael: All right, all right, all right. Welcome to another episode of the All Green Podcast. I'm really excited because we're doing a live episode. So basically, Andrea and I, no prep, no research into it, we are walking through Lift and Co, in Toronto. Lift and Co 2023, I guess. 

So we're very excited there's. I would say hundreds of booths here. A lot of people who are in the industry for years but are in new jobs, a lot of nice, fun things to do. So I'm really excited to walk through it. And we're just going to get our feedback.

Andrea: First impressions? Yeah, we'll do some first impressions.

Michael: It's really cool, too, because I've been coming to Lift for, I would say five years now, six years. And it even has new management called MCI. It has new locations. They're doing it in San Francisco. How cool is that? MCI is an American company, so that's why they're doing more American events.

But it's amazing to see that things are expanding and going forward. And I even asked, do you guys have plans for Vancouver again? Toronto again? They're already thinking a year in advance. And that just goes to show how much time and energy gets put into a big event like this.

I'll admit, we kind of just show up with a booth. And when we have our booth, it takes maybe a day of set up, a couple of weeks of prep. But these guys, eight months of constantly worrying about it and just the financial investments. How much do you think it costs to rent out a huge place like that?

Andrea: Probably 100,000,

Michael: At least. Right.

Andrea: There's security and everything like that. Electricity.

Michael: They have to pay for all of it without the money coming in right away at the hope that it's going to be good.

Andrea: So let's get a review going.

Michael: We'll give our honest feedback and yeah, this is Michael and Andrea walking through Lift. So if there's any background noise or, like, interruptions, that's them, not us.

Andrea: Authentic experience.

Michael: Yes. So we apologize for the noise, but here we go.

Andrea: Let's do it.

Michael: And what's really cool, even just walking right when we start, these booths that we see. So there's Purple Tree, there's Shiva's Rose. These got sponsored by the OCS, so they actually helped pay for these booths to be here and honestly be represented. Because it's so expensive to have a booth. And if you are spending $3,000, but you're a small business, how do you do it?

Andrea: How else would you? Yeah.

Michael: And so these are obviously stores that they pay taxes to the OCS. They pay through the government system. And it's a cool way that they're kind of like bringing it back here. And so even Purple Tree is a brand that carries our products, so it's really cool that we're being represented in that way there, too. I like how they have a volcano there. Not the Eco Four Twenty but still very, very cool.

One thing I've always thought that was interesting about a media lounge with no soundproof. So, like, this is a soundproof booth. People are supposed to interview here, but look, the roof is open, so there's no benefit, it's not soundproof. We will hear the same noise as if we're walking there too. So just something that's like, interesting and fun as well. But as we go through, it's really cool to see a lot of new industry players, like people who are here for packaging. People are here completely unrelated from what the industry might be. They're like accessories - 

Andrea: Even like soil and fertilizer companies. A lot of them have nothing to do with this industry and they just know that there's a market for it here.

Michael: The same customers who might love the other stuff will also like their stuff as well. I love how there's even the magazine. This is High Canada magazine, so they've been here and sponsoring it for, I don't know, four years at least doing it. And it's cool that they're able to continue on, like as a media plan. I feel a lot of these companies, when they put out good content, it helps push the industry forward.

Andrea: And I think with marketing specifically, because it's so difficult sometimes and so sensitive to have a company that can do it well and make a business off of it is like, impressive in the industry.

Michael: And honestly, he must be making money because he's been doing that magazine for 20 years at least previously, to even at the show sponsorship and doing these events, like being able to do it.

Andrea: We have the Main Stage here. This is where Main stage people are giving a speech. Michael's actually going to be speaking later today, around three, about accessories. It's always cool to sit and listen in on conversations and different parts of the industry that you're not really exposed to on a day to day. Like, how do you do packaging, how do you do innovation in soil and stuff like that. So Speaker's Corner is always a cool place to stop and listen.

Michael: I really love speaking too, because it's the one opportunity where you get to directly kind of talk to the masses of customers. Sometimes when we're talking to customers, it's one on one. It's a lot more broken up as opposed to being able to talk to one on 50 and they're able to ask questions publicly. And if they have a question, it's very likely someone else would have that exact question, but maybe they're too embarrassed to ask it or something like that. And so it was really cool to be able to have several people like that who literally ask a question and other people you could tell benefited from that answer.

Andrea: Do you think that you've gotten better at speaking since you've done a few shows now?

Michael: I do think so. I think I've practiced a bit, but I still don't think I'm perfect. I'm so nervous doing it, and every time is a new experience. Every time has new questions, new opportunities and also just new other panelists too. I really find that I'm able to build off of other panelists really well, especially, like, they're all owners of accessory brands, too. If I could say, that's the coolest thing. So even I know at this show we're going to be speaking with Fumes Papers, for example. It's cool to meet other small business owners and ask their feedback and their questions about what to do. I already learned so much from Josh, one of the owners of Fumes. He gave me advice yesterday that I was like, "Why aren't we doing that? We should be promoting it this way." And so I definitely build off of other people. This is a brand called West Coast Gifts. It's a distributor in BC. It's really interesting that people came all the way from BC here, and they're famous for their Red Eye Tech brand, which has a lot of good glass. One of the cool things is, if you want to go look at it- 

Andrea: it has the lighter inside it!

Michael: It has the lighter inside it so they're actually able to drop the lighter. Have you ever seen it?

Andrea: No. That's really nice. Andrea, I'll buy you it. It's so cool. I wonder how much are they? I'm curious. Let's look. Is there a price on it? There is no no price. We don't know.

Andrea: It's priceless.

Michael: It's $100. It's priceless, I guess, but it's still nice. I would buy it out of all the items. 

What do you think about the equipment and technology? Like, Andrea and I are standing in front of a laboratory equipment and service center, and this looks like a very high

Andrea: It looks like a science lab.

Michael: Science lab, yeah, exactly.

Andrea: With all the beakers. And it's, like, specifically made. You can tell that they engineered this specifically versus, like, having a factory making them.

Michael: They specifically, like, in each individual part. A lot of this is even for distillate and kind of like, taking out the liquids. It's so cool that they're able to do it, but, I mean, even just the setup cost. It's not about money with this. This is knowledge, right? Like, you actually have to -

Andrea: Knowledge!

Michael: *laughs* Knowledge! It is interesting that they're able to come up with it. Do you think people 50 years ago were, like, even doing this kind of technology?

Andrea: They were doing this in a barrel, in their basement with a flame. 

Michael: The bathtub!

Andrea: It's probably a big part of it's, like, controlled quality control now. And you have all the technology that keeps track of everything happening in the product,

Michael: But innovation has just gone so through the roof with this kind of cool technology. That Beaker is, like, bigger than my head. Really?

Andrea: It's probably twice the cost of our company.

Michael: Very cool. There's a lot of nutrient companies. There's a lot of light companies, soil companies, like you mentioned. And yeah, just gardening. It's really cool as, like, an outdoor garden supply store as well. They got the smoking sign. We'll steal that sign. I'm going to try to take the there's always, like, a no consumption sign at Lift, and I always kind of steal it as I can, so we'll see. Did you see they have it again kind of thing?

Andrea: Yeah, but you steal it. Unless somebody from Lift is listening. In that case, we do not steal it. We only give. 

Michael: No, if anyone from Lift is here, we actually give signs. We bring our own no consumption signs and tell people not to do it. Another thing that I think is really fun and interesting, so a lot of these bigger trade shows have large booths and large speakers things. The idea that I like about these, especially at Lift, there's several, I guess, speaker's corner.

But the cool thing about a speaker's corner is that it's small groups. I would say, what, 25 people are sitting in a kind of a circle and they're able to actually communicate.

Andrea: And there's people with notebooks. They're like, taking notes and learning from it.

Michael: Is it, two? Yeah. So they have Diners Club and a Speaker's Corner west and a main stage. But the main stage might have 100 and 5200 people.

Maybe some people are, like, introverted and they're not interested in being able to talk in front of 100 people. But they could still add a lot of valuable information to Lift and to everything like that. So I definitely think that's like, a positive thing too, as well.

You come to this show for several times now. What is something that you find interesting? Have you ever gone, if you don't mind me asking, have you ever gone to other industry shows? Like, have you ever gone to a vegan show or outdoor sporting goods show? Like, what's your comparison?

Andrea: I went to a University Fair, which is, I feel like, kind of similar. Where they pull you in. 

Michael: Hundreds of just booths kind of like competing against each other.

Andrea: It was actually here in the Toronto convention centre. It was the same place. I remember coming here. But I think this is more interactive and a bit more like dynamic. They have stuff there. There's free samples. They'll pull you in. "Hey, are you interested in stuff like that?" I think it's a fun way to connect with people that I don't know if other industries have that.

Michael: Do you think that it helps convert sales? For example, when you were at the University show, did it help convert sales? Were you there being like, you know what, I loved this university meeting or at this booth at TMU University  or anything like that. What is something that would draw you in that way?

Andrea: I think a big part of it is having somebody to ask questions to directly. Whether you're buying a product or whether you're trying to pick a university, there's sometimes really specific questions of "What's the times between classes, how is the commute, do you have any discounts for commute?"

And unless you're standing in front of someone directly who works there and who knows this stuff, it takes days or hours to get these answers. So I do think in that sense, it's like you leave being a lot more knowledgeable and knowing, like having confidence in whatever decision you make, whether it's like a buying decision or what university you go to.  So I think that's like a really big part of it, especially with COVID and everything's online. This is like one of the few times you can see people face to face and talk to them and learn more about their company and stuff.

Michael: That's an amazing point. Truthfully. And even today, you saw I was able to answer questions about our filter right away. Oh, "300 to 500 uses" right away. I was able to give them that immediate feedback rather than emails back and forth. Such a positive thing about the booth and just being able to walk through and see everybody inside and outside.

Andrea: It's like the best representation of their company. I feel like they're showing you the best. So I think that's why it's always fun to see how people do that in the different ways as a consumer and as a small business. But I feel like Lift is always stepping up their game every year. Even from the photos I saw from Vancouver, I was like, that was a huge Expo Center and it looked very busy.
So I can tell that Lift is growing in the right directions, I guess. So it's always cool to attend and see what's new and see old familiar faces and meet new ones and stuff. So I'm thankful that we get the opportunity to come every year.

Michael: I couldn't have said it better myself. I think Andrea said it perfectly. There's so many positives of Lift, and we're so excited to be able to join and kind of participate, whether it's a speaker, whether it's a booth like Lift.

I hate to say it, but I don't think our company would have been here without Lift. Humble and Fume early on was one of the first companies I met, and it ended up being a large project, getting us into hundreds of stores. I met them at Lift. I had my prototype product not even ready at Lift, and I was able to show it to them.

And Bob from Humble and Fume literally supported me. And it's like, "You got to keep going, keep doing this product." And I think it's those kind of motivations and kind of props that you get at these shows,

Andrea: Especially when it's from experts. Right. It's one thing to have a family member be like, "This is a good idea, you should do it."

But to stand in front of people who've done this business for years and years, and they have a very large value and knowledge and a business that they built up, it means so much more when you hear it from them. And I feel like that's also what spurs a lot of people to keep going in this industry, especially when things sometimes don't look so good.

Michael: And I get a lot of good feedback. Things like, I can improve my product, things, how I can improve my business, how I can do marketing differently. I've already gotten so much great advice that this is what these kind of Lift events are for. I'm going to quickly talk about something that I think is negative that is at the show we notice a lot when I go all the time to Lift like outside at the events, people throw their garbage, their butts, their cigarette butts, they just kind of finish it, throw it on the floor.

And it's something that has concerned me a lot because it makes us look bad as an industry and it makes the show look bad. And so we set up these little planters as like ashtrays basically just for people to able to do it at the show. So that's like a fun guerilla marketing example we did where people are able to see, like, hey, we're in a small way trying to help even the show be more eco friendly. So what do you think about that? Has it been a cool thing to do?

Andrea: I think it's fun. I think the reception is good for it. People are always like, "Oh, that's you? That's so nice of you." I think even last year when we did it, we got compliments from the Lift staff too. They're like, "Oh, that's so nice of you to do that."

Michael: Absolutely.

Andrea: And I think it definitely encourages people to think twice. I know even in general, you go to retail store and there's like empty packages and stuff like that.
Now we have recycling programs, so I feel like moving and encouraging people to think about their waste in this industry is important and it's cool that we can be part of that and encourage that discussion,

Michael: Even in a small way. Like small steps make a marathon.

Andrea: Exactly.

Michael: Thank you so much for listening. I know this is a short podcast. It might be a loud podcast as well as there's a lot of background noise, but I think it was really cool to be able to walk through Lift and just give us our initial feedback of what we thought about it.

So thank you so much. You could always connect with us on social media just at Eco Four Twenty and see our website, So if you have any kind of feedback, reach out to us as well. We'd love to hear from you, but thank you so much for helping make the world greener one podcast at a time.

Andrea: Thanks, guys, for listening.

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