The annual Women's Lifestyle Expo returns to Tauranga featuring more than 160 companies under one roof for one weekend.

The expo is one of Bay of Plenty's largest events and is pegged as the perfect girls' day out. It features lots of new companies with everything from espresso martinis and gourmet cheesecakes to activewear and fashion accessories, electric bikes, new cars, giftware, a large artisan craft zone, businesses, beauty, eco-friendly products and more.

Small and large businesses alike are in the mix.

"We have noticed over the last couple of years that there is more demand from exhibitors like Lisa, who run a small business that they do in their spare time selling gorgeous things that they are passionate about. It's no longer just the bigger established businesses," says Renee Murray from NZME Events. "This is what makes our expo quite varied.

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"Our aim is to have as wide of a range of companies involved with the expo as possible.
Women are all different and their individual interests are so diverse. One woman may love the latest in skincare but the woman beside her may be more interested in buying the latest coffee machine or paleo products.

"We have artisan crafters like Auckland artist Natasha Wheeler exhibiting alongside national brands like Vivo Hair & Beauty."

Renee says it is great to see all the various women visit the show, from teenagers to business women, mothers to grandmothers and friends "simply enjoying each other's company".

This year the expo includes a Vivo Hair Styling Lounge, Beauty Bar plus the popular Taste Zone, NZ Craft Zone, Fashion Zone, goodie bags plus more.

The Craft Zone includes artisan crafters from all over New Zealand with original products often not found in shops including reusable food wraps, soaps and beauty products, handmade jewellery, original art and more.

The Taste Zone is where visitors can experience and buy a range of food to treat themselves.

The expo has been hugely popular over the years, Renee says. Organisers have added another 40 more sites this year to keep up with demand and they still have a waiting list.

Lisa Scott is among a growing trend of women creating small side-businesses to fit around their busy lives juggling day-jobs and family.

Lisa Scott is an exhibitor in the Women's Lifestyle Expo. Photo / Andrew Warner
Lisa Scott is an exhibitor in the Women's Lifestyle Expo. Photo / Andrew Warner

She is the founder of Snazzy Shop — selling snazzy ethical handbags and wallets — which fits in perfectly with her busy life.

But the venture is not just about making money for Lisa. She loves the product and is excited to introduce Kiwi women to the colourful, playful brand of handbags and wallets via Espe from Canada. Lisa fell in love with the bags when she was in Canada.

"I have wanted to bring the bags in ever since we moved back from Canada," she says.

"They're a little different from the rest."

On the Snazzy Shop Facebook page, Lisa states, "Upon moving back to New Zealand, I was looking for a new handbag and just couldn't find 'the one'. I kept going back to my trusted favourite brand — having family (in Canada) send bags over for my birthday or Christmas."

Lisa took the plunge when she got here, working up her courage to approach the brand and find out if she could import the bags.

"I thought, this was a good opportunity to see if I can make this work.

"It's an online business so it fits in really well for my love of bags and shopping, having young kids and working part time as a travel agent as well."

Snazzy Shop bags are "vegan", meaning no part of the bag is made from animal product including colouring. This aspect is very important to Lisa.

She encourages other women who have thought of creating their own small or large business, to give it a go.

"I didn't want to get to 65 and think 'I really ought to have given that a go'. If it
does'nt work out then it's not the end. Put yourself out there and give it a go."

This is her first time exhibiting at the upcoming Women's Lifestyle Expo.