Last month I managed to get myself into Joshua Tree climbing with a friend (who happens to be the policy director of the Access Fund and a gifted climber). I struggled to show some sort of form befitting of an industry pro and ex-regular JTree climbing scenester... to no avail. 'Ugly' would be putting that vertical struggle mildly, but still any day on the rock is a good day, in my middle-aged/overworked/undertrained/kid-focused world. I quickly worked to forget that and remain convinced that I'm on my way back to climbing shape and smoother sailing (or paddling, more likely).
In a recent correspondence he reminded me that I had commented (huffing and puffing after that gripping sharp-end effort on 'The Exorcist') "I feel like the Mickey Rourke of climbing".
Well I ain't got no Oscar nomination, or any climbing award whatsoever to my name. Still, the comeback story has yet to be written... at least the way I see it.
Anybody planning on climbing after the summer show? Medicine Wall/Ruth Lake, or maybe Cecret Lake or bouldering in Little Cottonwood? I need something to train for... let me know.
(check this out for inspiration http://www.chickiesmickey.com )
Here is a recent update from the industry on this topic, from SNEWS. American Illustration, a nationally renowned organization centered on creative illustration, featured a great 'slideshow' type presentation that speaks to the different ways art is used, including to inspire 'new methods in retail branding'. As brands work to resonate beyond the functional into the emotional with customers, they are moving into this art/commerce interface.
The blending of art and commerce is a place I'm interested in, now that my East Culver City humdrum/ghetto-adjacent neighborhood has transformed (through the magic of urban redevelopment funding) into the 'Arts District'. This Saturday June 5 is, in fact, the annual 'Artwalk' event where all 37 galleries in my old 'hood are open to the public.
Action Sports (surf & skate) is particularly hot in this direction, and Outdoor is just coming around (unless you think the splotch-painted lycra tights of the early '90's constitutes 'art').
Some cool considerations - See below for great examples of art/music/film inspired by Outdoor.
http://www.jercollins.com/ (who may be performing at OR Rocks this Summer Market! Stay tuned)
From the River City Canoe & Kayak(Louisville, KY) shop facebook page...
This is also worthy in the art-meets-climbing scene, this time in the musical sense...
What have you got going to show off the CULTURE of OUTDOOR? Share it here... and open your doors to let in the creative forces in your neighborhood. It's good for business!
At the recent Canoecopia consumer show in Madison, WI, I witnessed some amazing firsts. First ever backpack mounted advertising (cardboard and sharpie style), mid-city ice fishing, canoeing over ice, and a real throng of people in a buying frenzy over boats and all the accoutrements. Maybe it was the cabin fever, but what I saw really pointed towards a resurgence in outdoor rec business on the water and on the trail.
Not exactly out of the woods yet, Specialty Outdoor retailers of today have got to be asking 'where is the next opportunity for growth?' This is a shift from the recently heard 'will we even survive?', possibly the specialty dealer mantra in 2009... no bailout for the little guy. In their region, on the web, with product mix, and with events and partnerships, retailers are searching for that next opportunity to grow again.
Brands in the market have got to be asking 'where is the next opportunity?' as well, looking for new distribution channels, competitive strategies and overall market growth. Brands and retailers who have continued investing during this steep downturn are in best position to achieve market share gains... but who can claim that level of health?
Social Media and the new online advertising paradigm is seen by many (mostly people IN the media) as a savior and reaper simultaneously. I just got my copy of 'Advertising Age' and it is 4x thicker than any issue I've received in the past 6 months... yes, it's The Digital Issue, no surprise. At Nielsen and across the print landscape, 35-50% revenue drops are not uncommon, if titles are surviving at all. By all accounts, those revs aren't bouncing back anytime soon either. They have shifted, rather permanently. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Blogs are driving marketing at every level of the business, from startup to public company. I recently had a discussion with an industry insider who mentioned that Sea World has 4 staff dedicated to social media outreach and analysis (I bet they areBUSY these days). I wonder how many they have dedicated to print collateral development?
If you have some thoughts on this shift in messaging (and messengers) in media usage and how opportunities for specialty dealers might be materializing, chime in here with links, comments or suggestions. Wistful remembrances of bygone days not necessary, but if it helps put the new opps. in context, go for it.
Well the 21st annual Outdoor Retailer Winter Market is now a wrap. I'm afraid I will never get around to thanking all the dozens, no HUNDREDS of people who contributed to the success of the little show that could... btw there are great links below for HAITI help and to video and stories on OR Winter 2010 if you want to skip over my nostalgic storytelling...
My first visit to a Winter show was when I made store manager for Adventure 16; I had just gotten my ears wet for a few months running a little backpacking shop in the San Fernando Valley when I was whisked off to Las Vegas for the SIA show, where there was a small representation, in a back, dank ballroom, of outdoor brands we needed to see. The ski show was a glam-fest, which wasn't that odd to me given my L.A. roots (my dad attended Hollywood High School, even). It was clear, even then, that our little market was an afterthought to the burgeoning fur-lined high heel fashion show going on in the main hall.
So fast forward to last week, and the Winter Market born in 1989 has grown up into an electric, thriving beehive of commerce on it's own, celebrating and gathering brands and dealers selling outdoor gear for real use in the natural environment, both on and off the resort. At the 2010 version of OR Winter, Jeremy Jones' POW (Protect Our Winters), Transworld Business, Trew and Venture Snowboards presence on the show floor for the first time showed a new inclusive atmosphere that joins resort and backcountry focused businesses together, really for the first time.
More images, stories and video from the show will be posted up as the show shrinks in the rear view mirror, so feel free to chime in under 'comments' to guide fellow readers of this blog to other legit content... beware spammers and flamers, got my finger on the delete button just for you.
Check out the following links to see video spots and hear about the show from different viewpoints...
http://www.outdoorretailer.com/winter_market/show/livefromor (featuring Timmy O'Neill MC!)
HAITI SUPPORT UPDATE - see below for several different industry initiatives to choose from to support efforts on the ground in Haiti
Exhibitors are invited to donate show products - logistics will be provided by Terramar, Sierra Trading Post & Eric Larsen (THANKS for your strong efforts at show to pull this together!)
Logistics will work like this:
1. At the end of the show, participating vendors will package and ship their relevant show product they are donating to:
Sierra Trading Post
5121 Campstool Road
ALL PACKAGES MUST BE MARKED: ROBIN JAHNKE /
2. Product must arrive at Sierra Trading Post's warehouse within 10 days following the show
(that would be by FEBRUARY 8, 2010)
3. All products must be labeled HAITI RELIEF.
4. Sierra Trading Post will ship to
Haitivia the Red Cross or another reputable relief agency.
Doctors United For Haiti - option for gear donations not flowing through Port-Au-Prince
Paul Fish, of Mountain Gear, has recommended this outfit to get critical gear on the ground going around the main squeeze zone of Port au Prince, using private transport delivering straight to doctors on the ground in Haiti. There is a detailed list of gear needs evident on the following sites:
Coordinate gear for this approach via;
Mountain Gear, Inc
6021 E Mansfield Ave
Outdoor Industry Association
Working with AmeriCares (http://www.americares.org/), the OIA is calling on members to dig deep to support those areas devastated by earthquake in Haiti.
AmeriCares has disaster workers on scene and is planning immediate relief flights and sea shipments from their headquarters in
. Their immediate product needs are:
Medical Supplies First Aid Kits Bandages and Soaps
Face Masks – Medical Water Purification Headlamps
Tarps Work Gloves Hydration Containers
To donate this urgently needed product/equipment contact: Randy Weiss at AmeriCares at (203) 658-9527 or firstname.lastname@example.org. All donations will be delivered by air and sea directly to the region by AmeriCares.
If you are a gearhead and want to see the latest posts on gear reviews from the show, check these links out... more to come.
Well like most of you we have been busy little beavers here at OR central lining up the hundreds of little details that make a great show go off. With the end of year, planning for next, holidays and oh by the way a pretty big show approaching, it's been a whirlwind, for sure. Sounds good, you say, but where's the beef? What is happening this month in SLC?
Plenty, to put it mildly. Where do I start?
UPDATE- Haiti needs our help. OIA is recommending working through http://www.americares.org to funnel contributions, especially of gear that will be necessary in urban rescue and portable living arrangements. This is the time to shine as an industry for outdoor recreation. Other groups with people and programs on the ground or very soon will... http://www.medicinesglobal.org , or super easy text the word 'Haiti' to 90999 to put $10 to the American Red Cross.
The All Mountain Demo would be a proper place to start. Get to Snowbasin on Wednesday the 20th of Jan and treat yourself to an all-mountain cornucopia of latest gear to test on both lift-served, groomed nordic and off-piste terrain. All the major brands will be there and two new events will highlight the expanded scope of OR Winter; the Transworld Business Retailer Rumble (pitting dealers against their vendors in a fun downhill run, whether sliding sideways or two-plankin'), and the Nordic Challenge, which will be more treasure hunt/orienteering fun on the x-country gear that will be available. Fantastic prizes (including hotel rooms at next winter show!) abound... so step on up.
At the show in town, I'll only bore you with the nitty gritty details, some of which can be plucked from the online event schedule. so suffice to say there will be new features to partake of, new intelligence to absorb, new technology to understand and implement, new best practices to fold into your already strong business acumen. There are some key avenues to explore as you enter the SPCC and Salt Lake in a few weeks... all at your fingertips at the show and in the weeks that follow...
The COMMUNITY - This Winter Market opens the season with not just a peek at the products and innovation that the brands bring to OR each January, but a never before seen gathering of powerful brands alongside the athletes, advocacy groups and media players that round out the entire winter outdoor rec business. New media players like Transworld, New brands like Venture Snowboards (+150 others), and senior brands like Columbia Sportswear returning to the show floor are just a few community highlights you'll see later this month in SLC.
The EDUCATION - a timely and powerful lineup of seminars, panel discussions and presentations will manifest at OR Winter, powered by the Outdoor Industry Association as well as the OR special event team. Social Media is a big topic these days, specifically how successful businesses are using it to fuel sales and contact with customers. Late breaking, a panel of journalists and media experts from the industry will vet the 'death of media... long live (new)Media!' on day 3 in the morning. The full lineup of presentations can be seen here.
The NETWORKING - Starting with the AMD Bash at Snowbasin (where the PRIZES are awarded!) and running continuously through the show are opportunities to network with peers from around the world, as well as with leaders of brands that will make your registers ring next year and beyond. Athletes and advocacy groups can bring depth and purpose to any events you are currently hosting, and bring fresh ideas and influence to your community. Your customers need to know who and why, not just where and what they need to recreate with! Focus your networking intent on the ZONES at show, including the Climbing Zone, the Endurance Zone, the Design Center, the Backcountry Village... all of these areas are owned by the community of orgs and businesses who consider it their home, offering a great meetup (or tweetup) spot to kick off new relationships or solidify current partnerships... or just cool your heels or get a little stretch in on a rock wall or treadmill (while testing something cool and new).
The CULTURE - SEE NOTE FOR HAITI ABOVE! This industry is all about facing adversity with confidence and clear thinking... let's show the other industries what we can make happen on the ground, and do our part.
From the TNF Masters of Snowboarding Comp to the Transworld Shop Challenge at AMD to the Backcountry Village events and the OR All Star Industry Jam, the OR Winter show reveals the soul of the marketplace... we do business, we do it well, but we know how to bring a city to life and play as hard as we work. That ethic rests at the center of our lives, personal and professional. It comes to life in the creativity that is flowing all around the OR show, day and night, for nearly a full week. This Winter show will unveil new partnerships and creative treatments on and off the show floor in the booths, in the Zones as well as in the bars, restaurants and clubs.
UPDATE- Haiti needs our help. OIA is recommending working through http://www.americares.org to funnel contributions, especially of gear that will be necessary in urban rescue and portable living arrangements. This is the time to shine as an industry for outdoor recreation.
It's a great place to feel our culture, but it's a great place to expand on that culture, and be more inclusive as we enter 2010. Let's invite everyone to play as we do, to simply start. No attitude to contend with, no judgement, just have fun on the snow, ice, trails that are flat or vert or watery... just get out there, and get some gear to make it even more fun.
This should be the theme of Outdoor in 2010; Inclusivity. And this is what you'll get an eyeful of at OR Winter.
The thought has been running through my head for the past 3 weeks, going on 4... why haven't I done my own show synopsis? Why haven't I blogged the living daylights out of the incredible experiences of people, product and politics that whirled incessantly for 5 days (including the Open Air Demo) in SLC last month? What is my problem?
OK, I think I'm getting a reputation for making up words, but 'Tribality' just jumped out at me in my mental haze after six days of OR Summer Market, minimal sleep, and lots of conversations across tribal lines, inside the core councils, and at 'metatribe' events (oops there I go again). I will post some cool links to photo pages, videos, reviews and blog posts soon, promise. Oh, I just did. Cool.
Last night I had the pleasure of visiting an art opening, of sorts... not with edgy paintings or strange sculpture installations (like the ones that are the rage in my old East Culver City neighborhood) but one that featured climbing videos from the '30's, hand-written letters and quotes from legendary figures of Yosemite climbing, some of Yvon's personal gear, and interactive displays of how camming devices and pitons worked (fun for the kids). This was the opening of the new 'Granite Frontiers' exhibit at the Autry, running from June 12 thru October 4, signalling a coming of age for the once 'daredevil' and 'circus trick' sport of rock climbing in America.
The black suits and ties were donned by some of the 300 or so patrons in attendance at the Gene Autry Western Heritage Museum, in Griffith Park, but most were in casual wear, especially the climbers that managed to get invites to this posh affair. Most notable though, were the green felt hats donned by those in attendance who contributed significantly to enrich not the coffers of the museum, but the history of climbing in The Valley; John Long, Dean Potter, Royal and Liz Robbins, Don Reid, and many other legends of climbing. Appropriately, all the glorious food (pumpkin ravioli, even) was served on fully compostable pressed wood flatware and plates, and there was nothing plastic anywhere to be seen. Free food and open bar? They knew how to get the climbers to show.
Pretty cool slideshow here, but there is nothing like an in-person viewing of this 3000 sf testament to the creativity and boldness of those that came before, and even current events like Hans and Yuji's 2 hr. 37 min ascent of The Nose last Fall are covered. Huell Howser was even in attendance, the ex-NFL TV personality of 'California Gold' and other travel and adventure exposes.
Love this, which captures the essence of the exhibit;
.''These determined free spirits, vagabonds, and visionaries of one of the West's last truly wild experiences guide visitors to the edge of infinity to experience the exhilarating rush and harrowing perils of this most extreme of Western adventures
Check it out if you can. If you can't, at least check out the historic video clips they put up on the site.
I'll work on bringing it to the shows someday...