New Outdoor Retailer Exhibitors: Measurement Technology NW, SUPmerge and Sound Defense

About 250 brands were new to Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2013. We take a look at a couple that caught our eye at the show.
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Throughout the next month, SNEWS will recap its coverage of Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2013 with select stories from the O.R. Daily we published at the show July 31 – Aug. 3. It’s an opportunity for you to catch up on stories you might have missed in O.R.D., and for us to update and upload the articles to our searchable archives.

About 250 brands were new to Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2013. We take a look at a couple that caught our eye at the show.

>> Measurement Technology NW / www.mtnw-usa.comTim O’Neill, president & owner Seattle, Wash.

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Tim O’Neill on Measurement Technology NW: “Measurement Technology NW manufactures thermal comfort testing equipment including devices such as thermal manikins and sweating guarded hotplates that simulate the human metabolism and allow for precise measurements of heat loss without the variations found in human subject testing. Our instruments are capable of measuring and quantifying the effects of clothing design, insulation and ventilation while providing high-resolution data for local heat loss and regional insulation values. In a nutshell, our instruments help outdoor clothing manufacturers design better products, for all types of conditions and all types of activities.”

Tell us about your brands and products. 
Measurement Technology NW’s biophysical instruments fall into three broad categories: Thermal Properties (“Newton,” “Simon,” “Timmy” and Hand/Foot/Head Thermal Manikins, as well as Sweating Hotplates); Thermal Comfort (Manikins linked to the ManikinPC2 Human Comfort Software Module); and Thermal Protection (“Burnie” Flame Test Manikin, Flame Hands and TPP/RPP/SET/CCHR test devices). Each category involves instruments designed to measure how well fabrics perform in terms of insulation/protection from cold or heat, moisture permeability and thermal comfort prediction.

What were you doing before this? 
I was an engineer at Electro-Impact, a Seattle engineering firm.

Where did your inspiration come from? 
Expanding upon the early thermal manikin studies (1920s-1970s) conducted for the U.S. Army by researchers Dill, Talbott, Darling, Sargent, Russell, Belding, Goldman and Folk.

What’s the one best feature of your product? 
Flexibility. Our instruments satisfy all the relevant ASTM and ISO testing standards for textiles and garments, yet they’re well suited for research projects that push the envelope into new areas.

What has been your biggest challenge?
Developing the means to translate raw heat loss data into a predictive value of human comfort. Last year Measurement Technology NW joined forces with ThermoAnalytics to create ManikinPC2 comfort software. When ManikinPC2 is used in combination with a Newton thermal manikin, the software allows the operator to set variable activity levels that simulate the human metabolism while resting, working or exercising. Set an activity level and the appropriate metabolic wattages will be imposed onto the manikin. Now, thanks to ManikinPC2 software, Newton can tell you if he’s comfortable!

>> SUPmerge / www.supmerge.com / Kimberly Schamber, owner & designer New York, N.Y.

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Kimberly Schamber on SUPmerge: “SUPmerge is a new brand offering stand-up paddlers fashionable, athletic and quality sporting apparel. Our products have functional protective waterproofing and storage features and utilize comfortable and stretchable water repellent and quick-dry fabrics. We are committed to making paddlers look as great as they feel on and off the board.”

Tell us about your brands and products. 
Our products are water-resistant fabric with fashion forward design for both men and women. They are figure-flattering designs for all shapes and sizes. We recognize that not all paddlers are a size 0. We’ve incorporated features such as large and deep pockets, padded knees for dropping down and fabric that is UPF 50+.

What were you doing before this?
I have a background in fashion working for Michael Kors, Spyder and others over the years.

Where did your inspiration come from? 
When I started paddling, I was instantly hooked. Quickly I found there were very few apparel options for women like me to wear while paddling. I wanted something with more coverage than a swimsuit, but also compact, convenient and cute enough to wear afterwards. I wanted pockets! Lots of them. Pockets big enough to accommodate a waterproof pouch to put my phone and keys in. Also, I sometimes want to have my waterproof camera or water bottles handy. Well, you know what they say. The best way to get something done is to do it yourself. So I set out to provide the perfect stand-up paddling wardrobe.

What’s the one best feature of your product? 
The fabric is water-resistant so you can jump off your board into the water and get back on and not have to deal with the “sog” factor. You look and feel amazing and look great in pictures to boot. For example, we’ve jumped off the boards to swim with manatees and then went straight to lunch at a restaurant in my dresses. They are perfect for resorts for that reason as well.

What has been your biggest challenge? 
Having the perfect fabric made.

Who do you look up to in the industry?
Roxy, Quicksilver, Body Glove, Patagonia and Lululemon.

Who do you want to compete against in the industry? 
The same people we look up to.

Sound Defense / www.SoundDefense.comLeah Stephens, president, and John Stephens, CEO / The Woodlands, Texas

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Leah Stephens on Sound Defense, LLC: “The Sound Defense K9 Warning Device (patent pending) emits a unique signal that focuses in on the dog’s sensitive hearing range. There is a built-in pocket clip which can be placed on either side, and the accessories include the bicycle attachment that keeps the K9 Warning Device firmly attached to the bike for easy access and has two assembly options to accommodate various locations on the bike, and there is a Utility Holster for rugged conditions.”

Tell us about your brands and products.
The hand-held Sound Defense K9 Warning Device was created in response to a growing instance of unwanted dog interactions on our rides and walks, and developed to help walkers, joggers and cyclists keep pursuing dogs at a safe distance. The audio signal is specifically designed for the dog and focuses in on the dog’s sensitive hearing range. We also focused on the rider, walker and jogger and the particular requirements of outdoor use to determine shape and operation.

What were you doing before this?
John and I are husband-and-wife managing members. My background is in small business ownership, operation and administration, non-profit administration and financial administration/bookkeeping. John has a background in manufacturing.

Where did your inspiration come from?
I don’t know if it was inspiration or just dogged determination to enjoy our bicycle rides again.

What’s the one best feature of your product? 
The audio signal is designed specifically for a dog and focuses in on a dog’s sensitive hearing range.

What has been your biggest challenge? 
Learning the marketing side of the business and getting the word out about the new approach and quality behind the Sound Defense K9 Warning Device.

Who do you look up to in the industry? 
The companies out there running successful businesses while endeavoring to make the world a better place. Volunteering at and/or donating to animal shelters is a goal we hope to accomplish.

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