MIAMI — Last week XBIZ Retreat in Miami hosted its largest gathering of vendors and buyers to date during three days of back-to-back meetings and special events.
Now in its fourth year, the latest edition of the Miami XBIZ Retreat, held at the Grand Beach Hotel, was once again declared a resounding success by event organizers as well as participating vendors and buyers.
Returning participants praised how the XBIZ Retreat has evolved and grown.
“Having attended every XBIZ event that XBIZ has ever held, including every Retreat, I have to say XBIZ outdid themselves,” Castle Megastore CEO Mark Franks said. “This XBIZ Retreat had the most qualified vendors that I’ve seen at an event within the last 10 years. There were a lot of fresh faces. The XBIZ Retreat was a great event that has set the standard for industry events.”
“This is the show that we’ve done consistently since launching in the U.S.,” Exsens’ Krystal Medeiros said. “It seems like every year the show just gets bigger and bigger. The fact that it’s increasingly attracting more buyers shows what a good event it is. I attribute a lot of our success to XBIZ.”
“It’s always a great event,” Devil’s Films Steve Volponi said. “I’m seeing buyers that I typically don't see at other events are here now. It’s a great turnout of fresh faces.”
In addition to the luxurious venue, coordinated private meetings and upscale dining and evening festivities, the XBIZ Retreat for the first time featured sponsored events, including a Marlins baseball game, which kicked off the exclusive B2B event.
Adam & Eve, Devil’s Films and Exquisite Multimedia joined forces to provide XBIZ Retreat attendees with a VIP experience at the Miami Marlins versus Tampa Bay Rays baseball game last Monday night. With several rows at field level reserved for the XBIZ Retreat group, participants enjoyed the game with all-you-can-eat food, beer and wine.
“The XBIZ Retreat was fantastic,” East Coast News Executive Vice President Brian Herbstman said. “The accommodations were great, the meetings went very well and the entertainment was top notch. Although I attended 34 meetings in two days, I still felt like I was on vacation!”
Herbstman celebrated his birthday alongside industry friends and colleagues at the XBIZ Retreat. During a dinner inside the swanky Michael Mina 74 restaurant at the Fountainebleau Miami Beach hotel, balloons and streamers decorated his table, and a cake was presented to him as the entire group sang to him.
During the dinner, XBIZ President and Publisher Alec Helmy and Associate Publisher Sara Ramirez thanked the participants, crediting the vendors and buyers for the XBIZ Retreat’s consistent growth. XBIZ Retreat attendees were then invited to a late-night suite party at the Grand Beach Hotel, sponsored by Jimmyjane and Sir Richard’s Condoms.
Attended by the majority of the 150-plus participants of the XBIZ Retreat, the suite was quickly filled and spilling onto the balcony before carrying on into other areas of the hotel.
Another evening of the XBIZ Retreat took participants to the exclusive Soho Beach House in Miami Beach, which offered spectacular sunset views of the ocean and the city while participants dined and enjoyed the open bar.
“It’s an amazing show,” XR Brands’ Lynda Mort said. “It’s like we multiply our business with our one-on-one meetings and then spending the evening together. Rebecca [Weinberg] and I split up at the evening events and do double the business. It’s a great opportunity to bond and reconnect.”
“We love the relaxed atmosphere of this show,” Pound International’s Dana Puerto said. “It’s a great opportunity to say thank you to our customers. This is truly the only way to do a show. We get so much accomplished here.”
On the final night of the XBIZ Retreat, participants were treated to a three-hour yacht cruise that featured dinner, drinks and dancing, along with dazzling views of Miami. The birthday festivities continued on the boat with a cake for Pipedream Products’ Chris Armstrong, who said he enjoyed celebrating his birthday with his industry family.
“The XBIZ Retreat is a great opportunity to connect with customers,” Armstrong said. “The intimate setting and one-on-one meetings allow you to really make a connection compared to other trade shows.”
The XBIZ Retreat wrapped Friday morning with a farewell breakfast, however the business and memories created at the event remain.
“The XBIZ Retreat and the ‘speed dating’ format with 30 minute meetings was an excellent way to become informed, educated and sold on new and interesting adult products from both new and existing vendors,” Craton Entertainment’s Chaz Craton said. “The one-on-one quality time with the vendors presented an excellent opportunity to focus on business without distraction and the 30-minute time frame created a sense of urgency that got us right to the point without boring presentations. And the vendors who participated came well prepared.
“The accommodations at the Grand Beach Hotel were excellent as was the food and the overall atmosphere. The social networking and meeting new people in the industry — both fellow retailers and vendors — was invaluable. In one short meeting with a retailer, I got a new billboard design for my store that I would not have thought of without that interaction. Thanks to Sara and Ariana and all the XBIZ staff for putting on a wonderful show!”
“I think this event offers an excellent opportunity to cultivate relationships,” Fleshlight’s Amanda Purcell said. “Everyone is so nice!”
Dame Products’ Alex Fine said, “This event is great. I’m new to the space so to be able to meet so many people is very valuable to me.”
“I love this event,” Paradise Marketing’s Michelle Liss said. “The one-on-one meetings allow me to get more done with no interruptions. It’s a great opportunity to have honest conversations with people.”
“This show had perfect timing for us to come promote all of our new stuff,” Pulse Distribution’s Joshua St. John said. “We have a lot of over-the-phone contact but face time is priceless. We’re the biggest, baddest distributor and we plan to keep going.”
“This is my first XBIZ Retreat to sit in one-on-one meetings and as a channel manager my job is to connect with our dealers,” Crave’s Jack Morocco said. “This atmosphere allows you to create personal relationships. The face time really makes them more human.”
Pulse Distribution’s Rob Plarski said that the XBIZ Retreat offers “the efficiency of getting to see our customers and companies from all over the country while meeting new customers.”
“All of my meetings were really productive,” Kama Sutra’s Paul Reutershan said. “We’re meeting with people that I didn’t get to meet with in January. Also, being in Miami, it’s also great that the event was held practically in my backyard.”
“This event was one of the most efficient, productive and well-organized to date,” Kaytel Media President Alain Elmaleh said. “First-class organization all the way! I will definitely attend the next ones, we would recommend to anyone who is still hesitant to participate, as a buyer as much as a vendor!”