From powerhouse big brands to aspiring small companies to tie-dyed poodles, I saw (and learned) a heck of a lot at SuperZoo 2014. Not only was I a first-timer to Las Vegas, but this was also my first time working and taking everything in at a pet industry tradeshow.

As a pet lover and designer, I understand that the love for our animals is monumental. They become vital members of our families. Based on what I saw at SZ, the humanization of pets has to be at an all time high. I’ve heard of loving your dog like a child and feeding them quality food, but I saw high-end strollers, human grade foods, electric-filtering water bowls and even hair grooming systems — to make those dye jobs look their best, I guess.

From my design perspective, there was a lot of innovation, but not as much that seemed genuinely new. That said, there’s a ton of opportunity for the products and brands we work with to push the envelope and challenge current trends.

SuperZoo 2014 was a great place for networking and talking with passionate business owners, pet owners, designers and retailers. It was inspiring to meet so many people who have centered their careers around their passion for their pets. It makes my job as a designer (and my work) more exciting when I can bring my personal love for pets to client projects. And it’s exciting to see how our design thinking elevates client brands and products in their market.