Pet brands met big retailers Pets At Home, Wilko, Sainsbury's and more

Product Guru, the Glasgow-basedonline platformthat connects challenger brands with retail buyers, hosted a sold-out hybrid event dedicated to Pet on the 31st of March at Edgbaston Park Hotel, Birmingham, with 50 challenger brands and an impressive line-up of retailers, including Pets at Home, Jollyes, Sainsbury’s, Wilko, Costco, Abel & Cole, and many more.

The inaugural event was a first-of-its-kind for the sector, introducing a pioneering format with targeted in-person meetings in speed-dating style, virtual pitching, product sampling, and integrated technology.

At Huddles, challenger brands can get involved through multiple options, with the flagship in-person package allowing emerging suppliers to interact face to face for eight minutes with each buyer. The list of retailers and brands is carefully matched up by Product Guru prior to the event, to facilitate successful partnerships. This innovative event format was praised by both buyers and suppliers who attended the inaugural Pet Huddle. Attendees found the event to be different and effective for their business objectives.

Retailers who attended Product Guru's Pet Huddle included: Pets at Home, Jollyes, Sainsbury’s, Wilko, Costco, Abel & Cole, Dobbies, Bents, B&M, Morrisons, Aldi, Scotmid, SemiChem, Farm & Pet, Vital Pet, Pedigree Wholesale, Webbs Garden Centre, Gladwell Pet and Country, WufWuf, Bristol Pet Stop, Pet Planet, Get Set Pet.

Zoe Pandeli, Buyer at Jollyes, described the experience attending the event: “It was really good and really organised. Eight minutes was perfect timing to get the points across, all very valuable. We were pleasantly surprised by quite a few of the brands.”

Huddles events also offer brands the options to get involved from a distance, reaching retailers through product sampling and combined video pitching. During the events, buyers can provide feedback through devices which integrate the experience with the company’s digital tools. All feedback provided to brands is channelled through Product Guru’s platform, to maximise engagement and follow-up interactions. Through the platform, buyers can also shortlist products, request samples, and carry out other next-step actions. 

Reception following the sold-out event has been very successful, with both retailers and brands sharing their excitement for Huddles and its disruptive concept.

Ieuan Rees, Buyer at Wilko, said of the format of the event: “Interesting concept. If you compare it to a traditional trade show, you walk around and people aren’t necessarily relevant for your sector, but Huddles is very much retailer-focused, so everyone you’re talking to has relevance. It was definitely worth doing.” 

Mohammad Hossain, Buyer at Costco, said of his experience: “It’s nice to see the suppliers face to face, even if it’s for a short time – it’s quite intense, but it’s useful. It’s been good; I got to see a lot of products in a short amount of time, and so many vendors in one place. The format is quite unique.”

Suppliers also shared their positive feedback from the event. Richard Marles, from Park Life said: “It’s been a fantastic experience for a new brand like Park Life to get in front of so many influential retailers. Lots of great interactions with buyers coming to the stand and are interested in the brand. It was fantastic to get that direct feedback from buyers in the right category."

The concept of Huddles has been able to impact the industry, not only by bringing together brands and retailers in a hybrid show but re-thinking the traditional trade show model with something new and innovative.

Unlike other traditional events, Huddles gets brands guaranteed timeslots to engage with a multitude of decision-making buyers from retailers that are relevant to their business.

Robbie Allen, from Paw Planet, said about his experience attending: “Blown every expectation I had out of the water. We’ve done trade shows before, and if you compare it to Huddles, it’s night and day. The whole experience – the interactions with buyers – has been excellent.”


Andrew Bucher, Co-Founder of Rocketo, said of the format: “It’s like speed-dating for retailers, so, it’s a nice way to work out if you click, and whether a follow-up meeting is required. I enjoyed it, and you’re talking to the right decision makers.”

Brian Taus, who joined from the United States with brand Pure and Natural Pet, said of his experience: “It's great. I love the format and the 1 to 1 – within eight minutes you’ll know if you have a future opportunity, so it’s a wonderful format. The interactions have been positive, and the buyers are category-specific, so it’s good to be lined-up with the right buyers in the right category.”

Product Guru has a schedule of upcoming Huddles events for 2022 and 2023. Following the success of the first Pet Huddle, Product Guru plans to host two other Pet Huddles next year: an event in Amsterdam on the 2nd of March 2023; and another event in Manchester on the 11th of May 2023. Brands can contact Product Guru to apply now for the upcoming hybrid events, for the unique chance to meet with top level buyers and retailers in their category.



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