As the market for organic products continues to develop rapidly, currently valued at $2.78bn in the US according to the Colorado-based Natural Foods Merchandiser, the international trade show serves as an important means for new suppliers to meet established distributors and retailers. This drove Cosmoprof's decision to choose Thailand as the 'focus' country for the event as it has a large number of emerging organic skincare and body care brands and is a key exporter of plant extracts used in natural cosmetic products. Being the 'focus country' gave Thailand particular prominence among the other four countries that were given country pavilions. Small and medium sized companies from Thailand, Brazil, Italy, France and China displayed their products in country pavilions with the aim of securing distribution deals with American companies. After the 2005 event, Steve Sleeper, executive director for the Professional Beauty Association, a show partner, said that future shows would aim to increase the number of business deals at the event, in an effort to make the show more business-friendly. Buyers attending this year's show were offered pre-scheduled meetings with international sellers so that foreign firms would be better placed to secure contracts with American distributors and retailers. The new 'discover beauty' initiative gave twelve foreign companies with enormous potential who were yet to break into the American market prominent floor space and appointments with top US retailers. "Naturals have taken over in terms of what is hot in beauty and hair care right now and that is accompanied by new businesses setting up in countries without an established cosmetics industry. The show is now an epicenter that allows new firms from around the world to meet established international brands and buyers," said Brad Masterson, PR Director for Cosmoprof. The trade show finished on Monday after attracting more exhibitors and buyers than in previous years. A total of 699 exhibiting companies and 25,000 visitors attended the event from all over the world and through fresh initiatives sought to provide unprecedented opportunities for networking and deal-making on the show floor. During Cosmoprof North America the 15,550 square-meter Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas was divided thematically into four main pavilions each showcasing the latest products from different sectors of the cosmetics industry. Visitors were also able to benefit from educational seminars covering topics relevant to the industry including marketing, business strategy and regulation. The keynote speaker was Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak who lectured on innovation, turning concepts into products and adapting to change. Another notable presentation focused on impressing retailers and avoiding packaging pitfalls from senior marketing experts such as Rick Goldberg, the president and founder of Masstige Brands and Brand Architects. Next year's Cosmoprof North America show is planned for July 13-15, at the same venue, the Mandalay Bay Convention Centre in Las Vegas.