August 16, 2010

I Am No Longer An OR Summer Market Virgin

I was very fortunate to be able to go and play at the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market this year. Held every summer and winter in Salt Lake City the market is a gathering of outdoor brands, representatives, suppliers, and retailers. A unique opportunity to see the up and coming products, hold meetings face-to-face, and the most magical part, to be around thousands of like-minded people focused on outdoor recreation some merely by career but for many it's a dream job and a lifestyle. There are a ton of reports about OR and the newest latest and greatest gear to be launched soon. However as an OR Virgin I will break this down into three areas of observation.

The Show
As an event planner I have to say this show is amazing!!! Coordinating a city wide trade-show is no small feat. There are so many details, contractual elements, and space requirements it will make your head spin. The OR group did an amazing job, not only designing a great trade show and various parties but seminar content was valuable and the Open Air Demo at Jordanelle State Park was fabulous! Usually you see one or two weak areas in an event of this size, but there were no weak spots to be found.

The People
Going to OR Summer Market was like going to summer camp. I knew I would see a few familiar faces that I have met in person before like Darren Bush of Rutabaga (my adopted brother) and Brad Werntz of Pemba Serves. I also met a lot of friends from Twitter for the first time in person, thanks to Sara Lingafelter's efforts to organize a great Tweetup.

One of the amazing things about the Outdoorsy folks on Twitter is that many of them have mastered the art of authenticity and transparency when it comes to Social Media. By being themselves online you get a true sense for who they are. So our night at the Tweetup was more like catching up with old friends rather than the awkwardness that comes with most first time meetings. Thank you to all that made the Tweetup an amazing night and for making my first OR an incredible experience.

In addition to the Tweetup, I was also blessed to me @JodiM! Also a friend found in the Twitterverse but our connection began through Yoga. I was able to spend two great nights with Jodi going out to dinner, to a yoga class, and I got to help paint her living room. This is what it's like when you meet Twitter folk. Truly amazing.

The WT????
There are three things that blew my mind.

  1. The scantily-clad Trade show models: Yes, I have seen this before but for some reason I didn't expect to catch a full view of semi-nakedness at OR. I remember staring as I walked past the Reef booth because there model was bent over with little more than a thong on and that was a whole lot of booty in my face. Then of course I felt pervy for staring. At another booth, I can't name because I can't remember who it was, models were walking around in lingerie. Does it make for more sales? I don't know? Is it a bad thing? I can't say. I just didn't expect to see it.

  2. I was asked to leave a booth. It was a very spacious booth with plenty of room but they were only interested in having meetings and without knowing who I was or why I was there didn't make any effort to set a meeting with me. I appreciate their dedication to their purpose, to sell, but it definitely wasn't the most tactful approach. There were a lot brands out there who handled their desire for a "meetings only" environment in a more polite and professional manner.

  3. THE DOGS!!!! There were so many dogs and puppies at the trade show I couldn't believe it! All of them were sweet and lovable and ready to be pet. I think every trade show should have dogs.

So that's my experience in a nutshell. Special thanks to Darren for getting me acclimated and being an awesome big brother.


Paukku said...

Excellent blog! Makes me wish I had been there.

It is nice to catch a glimpse of the 'inside' of the outdoor industry. Those of us on the user-end of the market benefit from seeing that the outdoor industry really is populated with people just like us.

Thanks for the excellent report.

Gear said...

What booth were you asked to leave? That seems really shocking to me.

Tali said...

Thank you Paukku. I am glad you enjoyed.

Gear, as far as being kicked out of the booth I would rather not mention the name here as I know from previous expereince the company is pretty good as a whole. Feel free to email me at if you would like to discuss more.

canoelover said...

Awww...brotherly blushing has occurred. Hugs, T. I'm proud to be your adopted bro.

As far as people asking you to leave...don't take it personally. I once tried to get into TNF booth/room. "Are you a current dealer?" "Uh, no..." "Then I'm sorry, you can't come in."

If I WANT to become a dealer I have to go talk to the rep for a blood test to see if I'll ever stop exploring. I guess.

As far as scantily clad models, thankfully they are few and far between. The Reef girls were a sufficient deterrent to keep me out of their booth. Besides, it's hard to see the product when you're surrounded with perfectly sculpted buns. I think that's the idea. Ex Officio hired the Naked Cowboy (the dude from Times Square) to sing outside their booth. It backfired.

Son 1.0 agrees with the dog statement. He usually goes to see all of them. When he found a tick on a Blue Heeler in a sock vendor booth, they set him up with some serious swag.

Paukku, you wanna come? I got room in my family for lots of siblings. As if anyone would look at our respective hairstyles and make that mistake... :-)