2018 marked the beginning of a new era for the outdoor industry’s most celebrated gathering of brands, retailers, advocates, and ambassadors.
If anyone went into this year’s Outdoor Retailer + Snow Show with questions about what would change as the event took residency in Denver, the energy, enthusiasm, and passion of attendees did not. For the most part, this change in location fits with a core theme that is playing out across the industry’s broader landscape: it’s time to take action.
Brand Manager Brooke using Keen’s “Call to Action” telephone booth
We’ve entered an era where brands invite a lot of attention to their processes, supply chain, and dealings. The transparency that people use to bring awareness to their brand is tied to the industry’s overarching mission: to drive responsible oversight of public lands and sustainable environmental policies — as well as the price we’ll all pay if we don’t follow this path.
The weight of these issues is resting squarely on the minds of brand owners, who are doing an amazing job of balancing their responsibilities as outdoor advocates while finding their footing in a changing consumer space. What we gleaned from conversations, educational sessions, and research is a sense that the industry itself is growing while traditional retail evolves.
Enter the Amazon conversation. Years ago, it was almost awkward bringing up Amazon. People didn’t want to hear about it, ignored the question, or thought it wasn’t important. Today, DTC e-commerce — and Amazon specifically — dominates the collective consciousness. And rightly so.
Like the theme of action that is forcing outdoor brands to own and shape their own role in the future of public spaces, the time to organize around e-commerce has come. We’re hearing this a lot more from our partners, and it is promising to see brands putting their expertise, experience, and passion into strategies that allow the magic of this industry to grow with online marketplaces.
As the team from Netrush spread out across to the showroom floor to meet with our brand partners, the shower of hugs, hellos, and high fives brought something to light: we’ve been coming here long enough to have formed bonds with a network far greater than the names on our agendas. We’re just as excited as our partners to learn about the wild, innovative things that the industry’s best minds have been working on all year. Despite the change in venue, that hasn’t changed one bit.
Netrush team at the Ruffwear booth
Needless to say, we’re all looking forward to OR Summer Market in July.