Have you been to a trade show lately? We have and it was great. Here’s why …

Have you been to a trade show lately?  Ahhh, don’t bother to answer, we know it’s a no.  The Spring team hasn’t been to a trade show in 18 months.  In the ‘olden days,’ we wouldn’t have treated a trade exhibition in Liverpool with such unbridled enthusiasm either.  But we did.  Of course, this time was always going to be different – with very little face-to-face contact with our industry, the Outdoor Trade Show (OTS) was an opportunity to get up and personal and we loved it.

The Spring team took Liverpool’s first-ever OTS very seriously and travelled en-masse.  We’d meticulously created our product notebooks recording every nuance of each beautiful, new product. We were on it! We’d booked appointments with clients, journalists, and influencers and embarked on the trip like it was a summer holiday.  And you know what?  We enjoyed every minute of it.

This lovely view of Liverpool’s Liver Birds (way in the distance) was just a stone’s throw from where we were staying and the exhibition centre.

Feedback from our brands was nothing but positive.  Samantha Theron, Pàramo, complemented the exhibitors, customers, and media for their bundles of energy and enthusiasm.  Lilian Sullivan of Ardblair was impressed by the excellent customer quality and stated “it was also one of the most positive shows we have been to in a long time”.  Matt Jordan, Wildside Trading encapsulated many exhibitors’ feelings when he said “Our job is easy and a pleasure when we can meet in person.”  Hear, hear Matt!

Sustainability Breakfast

Rab-sponsored the Sustainability Breakfast, which Stephanie attended. It was a resounding success.  “I was inspired by Debbie Read, Rab, and Lowe Alpine CSR Manager. I loved her focus and attention to detail.  She started by stressing how important it was to look at the numbers from the outset.  It’s only when you’ve measured that you can see clearly what targets and goals you can set.” 

“I found it heartening to learn that whilst Rab had prided themselves on their invisible mending in the past, the customer actually revelled in a visible repair.  It appears that an obvious sign of re-use is seen as a positive rather than a negative.  That bodes well for the future.” Zoe Hewitt of Nikwax was also impressed by the early-morning conference saying it was a key highlight of the show with “really insightful and interesting presentations.”

Rab’s Sustainability story will get you thinking. To find out about what they’ve done click here.

If you, like us, want to look at what you can do to set your business on the road to improved sustainability, then the OIA has produced a document to help you.  You can download it here.

And finally, in a nutshell, this is what we loved about the new-look OTS:

Venue

Liverpool was inspired. Lunch by the River Mersey, swathed in sunshine, was awesome and the accommodation was a stone’s throw away as were the myriad of restaurants and bars.

Vibe

We weren’t the only ones to get excited by an outdoor trade show. It seemed that everyone felt the same. As a result, the upbeat mood was infectious.

Client liaising

We have zoom-fatigue, even more now that we have experienced live, in-person interaction. Can we ever go back to computer-based meetings? Of course we can, but we know what we prefer and it definitely doesn’t begin with “Z”.

Sustainability Breakfast

The Sustainability Breakfast was thought-provoking. We know that Zoe Hewitt at Nikwax and Stephanie were both buzzing with ideas and dreams when they left.

Dinner with Pàramo and Nikwax

Hooking up with the ladies from Nikwax and Pàramo for dinner was awesome. The hanging kebabs with garlic oil were delicious, but it was the company that was truly electrifying. Thank you, ladies.

The journey

How long since we had a car share? Too long! How lovely to know that 50% of the team had been double jabbed and the rest COVID-19 test negative. That gave us 3.5 hours of face-to-face catch-up time. Lovely.

Tenacity

Particularly that of the organising parties. What a challenge staging this event must have been. One minute everything is on schedule, the next, well, it’s like juggling with jelly. But the determination of the Outdoor Industries Association (OIA), Andrew Denton, and Media Contact Services (MCS) was commendable and, as it turns out, worthwhile. Thank you.

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