The creativity and innovation at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market didn’t stop at gear and apparel, but carried over into booth design and visual merchandising. As a result, the SNEWS® team was happily challenged in deciding winners of the coveted BOB (Best of Booth) awards. Visual merchandising is subjective, but excellence can be uncovered when answering the questions: “Did this booth catch my eye and make me slow my feet? If so, why?”Creativity, color, lighting, and the telling of brand story are always at the heart of the SNEWS BOB awards at Outdoor Retailer, but may not be immediately obvious to the casual observer. Who we chose and why:
Best of Booth Overall: Mountain Hardwear
There’s an energy and subtle elegance emanating from Mountain Hardwear’s new booth that encourages visitors to linger and explore. The booth entrance provides an introduction to Mountain Hardwear’s new face of the brand, Swiss alpinist, Ueli Steck, with a room devoted to showcasing the gear designed to his specifications and that is now the standard for the company’s product. Opposite is a media area where Steck’s adventures are shown, and a line of mannequins sporting Mountain Hardwear’s Ghost jacket, winner of a 2011 Outside Gear of the Show award, to greet you as you enter the booth.
According to Jill Nickels, retail marketing manager for Mountain Hardwear, the fractals often found in nature provided inspiration for the new 40x40 booth, with the shape repeated throughout in seating, on conference room walls, and in the steel ceiling structure. Tables are reclaimed Douglas fir from Oregon with dovetail finishes. A soft color palette reflects nature in both product and booth design. No detail was left unturned in this comfortable and beautiful booth -- right down to the fonts used in signage and the background music that was playing.
Booth designers were Skylab Architecture based in Portland, Ore. with PC Design Inc.’s Paul Curtis operating as Skylab’s project manager.
Brand Story BOB: Sea to Summit
Sea to Summit’s new two level booth caught our eye from Salt Palace’s upstairs lounge with its bright and airy design. This leading manufacturer of lightweight gear wanted its booth structure to mirror their product. New fixtures allowed Sea to Summit to categorize its merchandise and provided a neutral background for colorful product. The pods can be rearranged in any configuration and are made of frosted acrylic then grounded with a wood frame filled with river rock. Slot wall commonly found in the retail environment provides product placement guidance to retailers along a rear wall.
Sea to Summit’s upstairs meeting room included artful details: tables that incorporate the company’s stuffed out Ultra-Sil Dry Sacks inside acrylic fixtures, and its mission statement as wall art. Exterior walls tell company history through a timeline.
The booth was designed by Seattle’s Built , and built by Portland’s Greenspace.
Slight Remodel/Big Results BOB: Snow Peak
The Snow Peak booth grabbed our attention with a new riser that spotlights product on its stage-like structure. The riser, counter and extra mountain peak that make up the backdrop are the only new elements but they are significant. Another nice detail is the use of Snow Peak’s Hozuki lamps. A friend of Snow Peak’s general manager, Nate Borne, helped design the 3D elements. Snow Peak went from a 50x50 booth when launching at OR in 2007 to a 20x20 booth this show. Borne mentioned that he thinks he’ll need 10 more feet next show, and while he might not be sure yet how it will be accomplished, knows that this booth is pretty versatile!
New Heights BOB: Danner
What if the tools you used to create your product could also be used to introduce your 31 new styles, and art all at the same time? Danner took footwear merchandising to new heights by doing just that. The steel leather cutting die pieces used in the construction of its footwear gave new life to the fixture that couples function with design. The mountain in the 20x30 booth went from concept to finish in about one month and was collaboration between Danner’s Karen Wolf and Haven Anderson with Christine Clark, a Portland artist and professor at Oregon College of Art & Craft.
Fun BOB: Fits Socks
Fits Socks were introduced at ORSM 2010 and Wood Talkington, brand manager, well knows the value of standing out, saying, “New socks pop up all the time.”
According to Talkington, the team at Fits is just having a real good time and has incredible chemistry which can’t help but generate creative ideas including an engaging sock flower to introduce their new ladies’ collection, mannequin leg lamps which display ski socks and the warm pendant lighting on corner fixtures.The warmth of the booth exterior and interior had this writer wanting to hang out and well, just play!
Super Small BOB: My Alibi Clothing
Bike bloomer manufacturer’s owner, Abbie Durkee made the walls of her booth out of something many of us never want to see again: old bills. Once the bills were sewn together, her husband attached them to found driftwood. Tiny, but mighty, this 10x10 booth was an eye-catching lure with the simplicity of its design and well-planned details including colorful flowers and engaging fixture.
Eco and Easy BOB: Nikwax
If you are going to remodel your booth, and want it to be environmentally friendly, why not also make it easy as pie to erect? Sound impossible? Nikwax’s new booth sets up in 3 hours and packs down to four feet high, requiring no fasteners. The tab and slot system booth is constructed of high-grade solid birch FSC plywood with NAUF and no VOC’S in the finish. Booth fabric panels are 100 percent recycled polyester.
Display BOB’s are chosen on their ability to grab attention while telling a product story. These three stopped us in our tracks!
- Confluence: Go big! An over-sized whitewater graphic with a curved bottom suggesting the flow of water artistically creates pop for a fully dressed mannequin and paddling gear clipped to the graphic.
- Woolrich: Adaptation and quick thinking are necessary attributes for any visual merchandiser. This footwear window looked like it had been planned for weeks even though it was created at the last minute due to some missing mannequins.
- ExOfficio: Take your underwear out of the box! Many retailers hide their underwear assortment, but ExOfficio playfully demonstrated display creativity in the telling of its ‘17countries in 6 weeks’ underwear story.
Congratulations to all BOB winners on a job well done! We can’t wait to see what will be in store at Outdoor Retailer Winter Market!