If you want to see visual merchandising creativity on steroids, you need to walk the floor of the annual SIA (Snowsports Industry America) Snow Show in Denver, Colo. The wintersports crowd brings a more cutting-edge, “go-big-or-go-home” style than most show floors, and the SNEWS team had to shift its gears from the pervious week at Outdoor Retailer Winter Market to investigate and uncover the second annual SIA Best of Booth (BOB) Awards.
SIA Top BOB - K2 Sports
This new booth harkens back to an early K2 ad campaign that showed the brand coming from a make-shift factory barn in 1970. Some competitors really believed that this was where it all got done! Originally makers of animal cages, Bill and Don Kirschner (hence K2) “bent steel, shaped cores, applied fiberglass, and through pure commitment, guts and determination built a ski brand out of their garage.”
Celebrating 50 years in the industry, K2 pays homage to those beginnings with the new 40-by-65-foot booth that, while recalling the past, is full of fresh, spanking new product and technology. Every detail transports visitors to that barn of the past. New product is juxtaposed against old barn doors and inside troughs with the brand marking its territory high up on a water tower, and with creative historical vignettes sprinkled throughout.
Booth design was the brainchild of Commercial Display, Rob Humphries of Heckler Associates (the same group that originally created the barn), with Jeff Mechura, Mike Gutt, Ryan Schmies, Mike Powell, Andrew Thomas, Joe Erfle and Drew Pigott of K2.
SIA Recycled BOB: Fate Clothing
Fate’s decision to exhibit at SIA was to let the snow sports industry know they were back in the game even though its product line won’t be ready to show for another year. So without any merchandise on hand, they decided to announce its return with a unique booth.
And what an announcement! Fate grabbed attention with flair and panache while being gentle to the environment in an effort to communicate the vibe of its coming line. They intend to be a fresh brand with perspective and the booth was designed to get people to observe, listen and think.
The 20-by-20-foot booth was designed and built over approximately one month and is built out of recycled cardboard tubes and with wood from pine beetle kill. Even the lighting is designed around recycled cardboard, with furniture and graphics repurposed from the home of vice president of design and creative, Alan Ortiz.
Fate was a player in the early 90s for about ten years then experienced some growing pains, but the brand will be back soon with a mountain-inspired lifestyle collection and technical outerwear. “Born in the mountains, but shared with the city,” Ortiz said.
If its merchandise reflects the flair of its booth, we can be sure Fate’s return will be anything but the same old, same old, and we can’t wait to see product!
SIA Jammin’ BOB: House of Marley
House of Marley reggaed into SIA with a booth that pulled visitors straight into the Marley lifestyle and brand. Charity, authenticity and sustainability are the key guiding principles of House of Marley, which makes headphones, docking stations and speakers using earth friendly materials such as recycled plastic and aluminum. Its movement is spreading like wildfire: House of Marley launched five months ago and already has product in seven countries.
A primary focal point in the booth, a VW van that runs on solar energy, is used to spread the Marley lifestyle and product message. House of Marley booth shelves use natural reclaimed wood, and tables are made out of recycled materials. The tables were developed by Eco-Systems, developer of eco-friendly booth concepts based in Michigan.
SIA Honorable Mention BOB: Outdoor Research
One of the largest challenges we face when seeking out excellence in merchandising is spending as much time as we’d like in every booth, but boy are we glad we were invited to visit Outdoor Research’s new booth at SIA. The beauty is in the details.
Outdoor Research unveiled its new 50-by-50-foot booth at Outdoor Retailer Winter Market, and then showed its versatile nature one week later as a 30-by-30-foot booth at SIA. The open and airy booth came together through the work of Oregon’s Built Design and Greenspace.
What grabbed our attention at SIA were the beautiful and functional hat and glove cedar wood fixtures, which allow an entire line to be displayed with other colors neatly organized in drawers below not to overwhelm buyers with options. Though the booth was reduced in size for SIA, we still are reminded of the company’s Pacific Northwest roots. Bravo!
Congratulations to all the SIA BOB winners! Think your booth might have what it takes to make it to the BOB podium next show? Send an email alert before SIA to merchandising editor, Robin Enright, at email@example.com.
Robin Enright is the founder of Merchandising Matters www.merchandisingmattersnow.com which provides visual merchandising and marketing support to the outdoor retail industry.