“Outdoor Is Everything That You Do When You’re Not Indoor” – Introducing Tech-Causal

July 19, 2019 / Abbie Baynes  / 

At this year’s OutDoor by ISPO change was in the air, down the aisles and along the rails. But, this time, we’re not on about the new location.

Spring’s Stephanie says: “For the first time we noticed a real change in the offering of outdoor brands. It’s something that’s been creeping up on us but, seeing it in the flesh at a trade show, has made it very real”.

What are we talking about? Well, we’ve had “athleisure”, now meet “tech-casual”.

What is tech-casual?
The European culture change towards a much more informal workwear wardrobe combined with our growing attitude towards flexi-working and love for active outdoor weekends has led to younger consumers demanding clothes which work across multiple occasions, at different times. Apparel that technically functions no matter what the day throws at you or where it takes you. This is accompanied by an emphasis on premium fabrics and features and a desire to buy fewer, better clothes which last longer.

Who’s at the forefront?

The change is being led by fabric innovators, like Spring client Polartec, who exhibited at this year’s OutDoor By ISPO. As Polartec CEO Gary Smith told trade magazine Outdoori at OutDoor by ISPO: “Young people have grown up with technical efficiency and now the expectation is that their apparel not only has to look good, but it’s got to work – work in an active setting and a lifestyle setting too. You can’t just sell something on status anymore and charge a premium price. It’s got to work.

“What we’re seeing is the coming together of outdoor, sport, athletic, urban and fashion – there are no lines anymore. Most department stores don’t separate high end and sport now. Boundaries are over. Outdoor is everything that you do when you’re not indoor.”

What this means is that our obsession with wearable tech is becoming so ingrained that we’re expecting our clothes to be as capable as our phones, watches, gadgets and gizmos. But more than that, we’re expecting clothes with a conscience; not only do we want it to work, but it should work without impacting the environment. An environment we all want to spend more time in.

Polartec has most recently released Power Air: a fabric which encapsulates lofted fibres within a multilayer, continuous yarn fabric construction. It’s a revolutionary new material offering advanced thermal efficiency that is proven to shed five times less than other premium mid-layer weight fabrics. It’s just one element of their Eco-Engineering initiative which sets a new standard for sustainable textiles – including the creation of the world’s first fully recycled and biodegradable fleece, other knits, insulation fills and breathable waterproof fabrics.

“If you look at the consumer, they are wearing athletic and outdoor brands and it’s about what their apparel does for them: they want it to keep them warm dry safe and cool. In a nutshell it needs to work but it also needs to look good, feel good and be versatile. As the newer generation takes over there’s an expectation of sustainability. Ultimately the most sustainable product you can make is the one that lasts a long time.”

It’s that younger consumer who the most innovative brands are looking towards; they’re the ones who are changing the field. Not defining outdoor brands by being just for cyclists or walkers but instead focusing on the features, the tech, the extras offered by each brand.

“Many brands are getting super interested by tech fabrics.” Says Gary Smith. “Aesthetics are no longer the only important selling point in the clothes we buy. We expect our clothing to do something for us too.

 “The expectation for things to work are high. When the new generation buys something, they expect it to work. All the non-technical brands are waking up to the fact that they need technical components. Upcoming generations of designers will never go back to the cotton domination. This is not a phase.”

Look out for brands including 66 North, Diadora, 8Js, Bleed, Magnethik, Bon Geulle, Moncler and Banana Republic who all use Polartec fabrics.

OutDoor by ISPO Round Up

July 19, 2019 / Abbie Baynes  / 

#TeamSpringOnTour

July is one of the biggest months in our industry for trade events. For the first time, ISPO moved locations from Friedrichshafen to Munich and was renamed ‘OutDoor by ISPO’. According to Jo, it was “hot, hot, hot! We won’t be packing our jeans next year”.

Did Munich work?

Although the show appeared busy, we were under the impression that there were fewer people than normal, “As a new show it was quieter than past events in Friedrichshafen; but then some brands were perhaps being cautious and not committing to the first one in order to check it out and make a decision for next year.”

But Stephanie ponders whether it was an illusion, “I wonder if it was because the halls are bigger and the walkways between a lot wider. I believe the attendance figures were similar to last year, but because the space is configured differently it felt emptier. 

It’s a thought mirrored by Outdoori journalist, Peter Luscombe, who was impressed by the planning and layout of the halls with their open aspect and wide spaces resulting in a “much more productive atmosphere” with the feeling of a “shared event rather than a succession of meetings”.

“Saying that”, adds Stephanie, “there were definitely fewer journalists flying out. Based on our records, media attendance was down 30 per cent – which could be explained by OTS in Manchester being a week later.” 

New style ‘hubs’ became informal breakout areas where people could mingle, network and learn. Spring client, Nikwax, discussed sustainability at the CSR hub and AKU talked about sustainability in footwear at the Sustainability Kiosk in Hall A5.


In the evenings, the new location proved to be good fun and great for catching up with clients properly. Jo said: “We got the opportunity to have dinner with Lilian and Simon from Ardblair Sports at a restaurant in the centre of Munich.” But Stephanie adds that there was still a longing for the atmosphere of Fred, “In conversations there was a relief that it wasn’t such a pain to get to but there was a cathartic longing for Friedrichshafen and its idiosyncratic villages and the lake with the beautiful restaurants that surround it. The outdoor vibe that was prevalent isn’t so prolific in Munich.”

But the new location did please with it being logistically much more manageable and easier to get to: “It was lovely to see Munich in summer as we’ve only ever seen it in winter whilst being knee-deepin snow.” Said Jo, Abbie added: “Munich is also great because there’s a u-Bahn metro system making everything easily commutable.”

 What were the results?

According to ISPO and cited by Outdoori, there were 1,018 exhibitors with 84 per cent of them being international. They were all vying for the attention of 22,000 trade visitors. ISPO called it a “huge success” with 87 per cent of their visitors rating this first event as good to excellent. The style of the halls was slightly different – as referenced above – organised more like a shopping mall and making stalls more eye-catching for passing trade. According to Outdoori, OutDoor by ISPO “hit the mark” and fully justified the confidence of its stakeholders.

 2019 trends?

There were two incredibly obvious trends this year: plastic-free and sustainable. “This was plain to see in the use of materials the stands were made up of – both recycled and upcycled materials made a big impact.” Says Jo. The lack of carpet, which must produce an incredibly hideous amount of waste for trade shows normally, didn’t go unnoticed also. 

“Nikwax had ingenuously taken a crate which had been full of product brought to the show and repurposed it into their reception desk. AKU was interesting as well as it had chosen to design its logo using recycled corrugated cardboard.”

When it comes to colour we all noticed two in particular –“electric blue with flashes of yellow” says Abbie, with Mammut and AKU (left) showcasing new boots in this fashion-forward colourway. This bright, colourful vibe was also witnessed at Hydro Flask and LEKI who had both incorporated exciting neon detailing in its 2020 products. 

There was a healthier feel to the show as well with fewer sweets and treats on the stands and more fruit – like big bowls of apples – which was good to see.

Who hit the mark?

We loved the reveal of LifeStraw’s new Home pitcher and Darn Tough’s vintage vibe with its range of athletic socks (right). Following Peter Luscombe’s thoughts, Jo said: “The Mammut stand was open and spacious and had a really cool rope making machine in the middle of the stand that generated rope in a mesmerising fashion. It was then cut into pieces and made into key rings to celebrate Mammut’s heritage with a Swiss flag design.” (Left).

Stephanie says, I loved the Borderlands area where Polartec was. It gave off a young, independent vibe and was very different to the rest of the trade show experience. The stands couldn’t have been more different: Polartec comprised a shipping container, was on two levels and had a structure made out of scaffolding poles. It was a bold move to break from the norm into this new concept area but we think it was a good one.”

This meant Polartec was close to many of the lifestyle brands giving them a chance to showcase their growth away from purely traditional outdoor activity clothing. Something you can read about in our interview with Gary Smith.

Which Work Experience Placement is Right for Me?

July 18, 2019 / Helen Hyde  / 

Here at Spring, we are proud to support and nurture the next generation of PR professionals. We believe one of the best ways to learn about our industry is to simply have a go and, for this reason, we’re always pleased to welcome work experience placements.

For the last week we’ve been joined by A-Level student, Harriet Adams, who goes to Hardenhuish School in Chippenham. She got in touch asking if she could experience the working world of marketing and we jumped at the chance.
Harriet Adams
On her final day here, we wanted to know her top tips for helping your children to find the right work experience for them: 

“At some point leading up to your post-school career, the search for a work experience placement becomes real. Finding a placement that is best suited to you is incredibly important, but the search can be daunting and seemingly impossible.”

Ask yourself the following ten questions before you embark on a placement:

What do I want to do in the future?
My top tip is to ask yourself this question. If you know what you want to do, then you are one step ahead and can start pin-pointing some potential types of jobs that could help in your journey to achieving your long-term goal. Take this opportunity to look for work experience that is related to the job you want to do or is at least in the same sector or industry as your chosen career path. Start researching what jobs exist within your field of interest and identify the ones that catch your fancy.

What will I benefit from the most?
It is important to keep in mind what experience or qualifications you may need for your future. In year 12/13 especially, your work experience should provide valuable content for your UCAS application. This could range from evidence of useful skills, qualities or knowledge that your future university or employer will find desirable.

What are my interests?
If you don’t know what you want to do in the future then thinking about your interests is a good place to start. Look at hobbies, sports, activities, and pass-times that you enjoy and think about whether you would enjoy and benefit from getting a deeper and more insightful look into the professional side of it.

What are my subject interests?
A good way to narrow down your work experience search is to look at the jobs associated to subjects that interest you. Here are some examples of how different subjects can help with different jobs:

English: Newspapers, magazines, publishing, writing, libraries, teaching, journalism
Maths: Accountancy, banking, engineering, computer programming, finance
Science: Veterinary, pharmaceuticals, zoos, laboratory work, medicine, teaching
History: Law, research analysing, librarian, anthropology, archivist, teaching
Religious studies: Religion, law, social work, research, teaching
Physical education: Personal training, sports coaching, exercise psychology, sports therapist
Geography: Green charities, environmental sciences, town planning, journalism
Business studies: Accountancy, public relations, retail management, general management
Photography: News, fashion, portrait and nature photography, film

What am I good at?
Identifying your current skills and qualities is a good way to narrow down the search for your ideal work experience placement. This can involve practical skills and characteristics that you possess. Certain jobs require specific qualities that may match your personality, so looking into what you are especially good at can be very useful.

Do I have any personal preferences?
Making sure your placement complies with any preferences that you may have could mean the difference between you enjoying your work experience and not. Such preferences could be: preferring to work outside, having involvement with customers, or even working within a small community instead of a vast body of people.

What are my values and motivations?
If your main aim is to please people, then maybe you should consider looking at jobs that have direct involvement with their customers. Even having personal values like being eco-friendly could mean your work experience search starts with looking into opportunities within companies that revolve around coexisting peacefully with the environment.

What jobs have I seen other people doing that I think look interesting?
If looking deeper into yourself (what you enjoy, what you are good at, what you value etc.) isn’t working, then maybe looking at other people may work better. By identifying interesting jobs that you have seen other people doing, you can take the opportunity to ask them questions like: “How did you get into this profession?” “What qualifications does your job require?” “What roles does your position involve?” And if you are interested, you could even ask them if they know of an opportunity for a work experience placement with their company.

Are there any practicalities that need to be considered?
How will I get to my placement? What hours work for me? Do I need to prepare for my placement? What will I need to wear? What dates am I available? These are the types of questions that you should answer during your search and especially before you start at your placement as they could pose problems that hinder you getting the most out of the experience.

What companies suit me?
Now, the final stage is to find out what companies fit with your requirements or desires. This requires you to do some final research – it won’t take too long as you should have already cut down the companies that aren’t fit for you.

 “Once you have asked yourself all of these questions you should be well on your way to concluding your search for your perfect work experience placement. The final step for you is to contact the company or companies and ask.”

With the summer looming, your school-age children may be thinking about what the future holds for them. Getting some work experience onto their CVs is one of the most influential and beneficial things they can do. We as companies should be encouraging and promoting this to ensure the next generation is prepared for what a working life entails.

New Job Opportunity at Spring PR!

July 17, 2019 / Abbie Baynes  / 


  • Full Time, 35 hours plus occasional overtime
  • Spring PR, Malmesbury
  • Salary: Competitive
  • Application: please apply by sending your CV and covering letter to stephanie@springpr.com.

Are you looking for a new and exciting career opportunity to work at one of the most renowned active lifestyle PR agencies in the outdoor industry? Spring PR is based in the picturesque Wiltshire countryside on the outskirts of Malmesbury and we are looking for an Administration Assistant.

We’re a small team who pack a punch and work with some of the biggest and most innovative brands in the outdoor industry including Mammut climbing, Hydro Flask drinks bottles, SMITH sunglasses, Elliot Brown Watches, Polartec fabrics and Yogamatters. We have recently gained a number of new clients and are looking for someone who thrives on being organised and working with systems to ensure the smooth running of the office.

We’re looking for a highly efficient individual who is focused, organised and keen to help with all office administration tasks. Someone who can perform general office duties, has a welcoming phone manner, proficiency in English, attention to detail, comprehensive computer skills and a professional outlook.

We are a friendly team of people with a number of long-standing employees and the company’s Founder, Stephanie Briggs, is still heavily involved. We regularly organise and run media events, alongside our day to day office-based work and pride ourselves on a hardworking, enthusiastic, close-knit office culture.

Job Description:

The Administration Assistant will manage the product inventory, handle travel arrangements for the team, pull together presentations on PowerPoint, maintain filing systems, answer the phone, schedule appointments, basic office maintenance and will keep the wheels of Spring PR Ltd well and truly oiled.

Typical Duties:

  • Pull together the monthly reports for clients on PowerPoint
  • Book travel
  • Maintain the product inventory
  • Organise couriers and deal with the post
  • Order product from clients for various tests by the media
  • Help out at events and festivals
  • Answer phones and liaise with clients and the media

Requirements

  • At least one year’s experience in an administrative-based role
  • Organisation skills
  • Strong work ethic
  • Strong attention to detail
  • Good level of grammar, spelling and writing.
  • Ability to work independently and multi task in a team-oriented environment.
  • Driving Licence
  • Cake baking skills and a love of the outdoors is preferential!

Exercise in Comfort this Summer

July 15, 2019 / Jas  / 

It’s great to finally see some sunshine here in the UK – but what impact is it having on your sports gear? While we wouldn’t like to admit it, exercising in hot weather leads to a much quicker build-up of sweat and body odour. Here at Spring, we’re not particularly fond of having to wash our clothing after every run as it’s costly and time consuming, but nor do we relish the idea of exercising in smelly gear.

Luckily, Nikwax produces two essential products for summer exercise – BaseWash and BaseFresh. BaseWash is a deodorising cleaner and conditioner that sorts out your smelly base layers, maintaining their freshness and breathability. Next step is to use some BaseFresh, to improve your clothing’s wicking properties and cooling efficiency. Together, both these products from Nikwax will ensure your gear performs optimally, reducing the build-up of odour and accelerating drying.

Revolutionary for avid runners, athletes, and physically active people – Nikwax’s products for base layers are essential for comfortable exercise this summer.

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