Students from the junior and senior Home Products program recently traveled together to Chicago to attend the International Home + Housewares Show.
The trip included group activities pertaining to “best in booth” judging, fact/inspiration finding for our individual upcoming projects, and a great dinner out together.
After our NY Now field trip, we were told the Chicago show was about 3-4 times larger. This was intimidating at first, except that we had about ten times as much time to explore. Starting with an early flight on Saturday morning, straight to McCormick Place to hit our assigned areas (Wired & Well, Clean & Contain, or Dine & Décor). The range of booth styles and sizes were so much larger than those at NY Now-we could actually walk around in most of them. We set out listing our faves and describing what we liked about them.
That night, dinner at Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria (YUM-regardless of your NYC vs. Chicago pizza preference) where on the walk over, our group inadvertently traipsed through someone’s proposal, (she said yes!) and then on Sunday, back to it for Experience Day. The juniors were given an early morning additional intro to the show, and then were encouraged to split up to meet students at other tables, and while initially we all sort of cringed at the forced mingling, (joining a table full of strangers, not usually anyone’s favorite!), each table had a mentor/leader, which made the networking much easier.
Ours was Elliot Benitez, exhibiting at the show to introduce his patented 6-at-a-time tortilla toaster. Something I had never thought of, but he explained how many hours his own mother missed of family meal time, toasting one tortilla at a time for everyone having a taco, so he invented this product. He gave a lot of great insight into what brought him to now being an inventor and business owner. His product is now available for purchase at Sur la Table. We had the opportunity to ask questions and learn about the world of home products from someone with relevant, recent expertise.
We were encouraged to attend the sessions that interested us; included in these were cooking demos by Emeril, Robert Irvine and a range of other talks by industry experts.
Among the most interesting new products I saw was a juicer that determined the juice you should make after measuring your body mass index, by pressing your thumbs onto two small pads on the juicer. It made me wonder if someday we will be able to just get a meal plan for the day based on our body composition and goals, right in our homes. I also liked that a variety of new devices incorporated a hollow bottom for storing USB/charging cables. What a world, to not have to look through my entire apartment to find the cord for whatever I need to charge! (currently turning it upside down looking for my Clarisonic charger, so I can wash my face again).
Overall, the show was a great learning and class bonding adventure. We had some time to explore on our own (The Bean, The Skydeck), hang out together outside of class, and see where this degree could lead us.