We were really excited in the lead up to this season’s Outdoor Retailer because it coincided with the launch of wholesaleisnotdead.com with several supporters. We know specialty retail is a vibrant channel and a valid growth opportunity for brands of all sizes, and the #wholesaleisnotdead movement (check out our blog explaining what it’s all about!) gives the outdoor retail community a way to join together in shared understanding and shout out that message.
It was fulfilling to head into the show by putting our efforts behind a positive, unifying message for our industry. We distributed over 2,000 buttons and stickers at OR spreading the message!
This was also the calm before the trade show, so we made sure to get some time to enjoy our surroundings. A quick stop at Flat Irons and the Chautaugua for some local beer. Then a hike through the surrounding meadows to remind us of the real reason we are here - our love for the outdoors.
Then a spin down Pearl St. for some more local brew, and it was off to pick up the Wholesale Is Not Dead buttons at a cheese shop of all places (that doubles as a UPS drop off). Wrapped up the day with some Sushi at one of the excellent restaurants near our AirBnB, and some Star Wars pinball at 1up.
We met up with the full Envoy B2B crew and headed into the back entrance, which turned out to be a wise choice. This OR was packed! And registration lines where long, winding all over. It looked like all 25,000 attendees were trying to register all at once.
A quick walk around the show floor to get the lay of the land revealed a greatly expanded Venture Out area this year. And the Upper Level was Massive, with many brands that had previously been in Venture Out. It was exciting to see so many of our friends and peers finding success (Congrats to Topo Designs!).
After a lot of lively talk with friends (OR is also a great place to catch up every season!), we headed out to our party at Live At Jacks with Netsuite. It was great to meet some new NetSuite faces and network with brands over tasty treats and drinks.
That was just the start of the evening though, as we also had a party at Your Mom’s House that night with the American Alpine Club. Our very own Tom Rau and Chris Morse joined in and played drums on a few songs. By the end of the night the place was packed, and it felt like we had officially settled into the tradeshow.
I may or may not have put a WHLS NOT DEAD sticker on the men’s toilet seat.
Back on the floor, it was terrific to see so many Envoy B2B clients using the platform right in their booth. Meeting buyers and building their business with the tools we’ve created. Wholesale is truly not dead, and Day 2 was a tangible demonstration of that.
All good things must end. One last go-around to say goodbye to friends and help them offload any unwanted gear.
Before we left the show, we published our final blog, a conversation with argot agency. They shared their unique insights on specialty retail, how brands can be smart partners, and the outdoor industry. Wes, Matt, and Megan at argot have so much knowledge and insight on how to help brands work with retailers at a hyper local level. It’s incredible. If you missed it, give it a read!
A quick train ride back to the airport and we were off! Back to Grand Rapids, minds enriched through so many great conversations with brands and retailers experiencing growth, excited about the state of our industry.
Wholesale is not dead. Team Envoy B2B just spent four days in its heart and it’s beating strong.
By: Jon Faber
Chief Executive Officer
Jon has specialized in pushing the Wholesale B2B landscape forward for the past 8 years by championing feature innovation and generating high volume, high value content for forward thinking footwear and apparel brands.
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Envoy B2B is a wholesale content and eCommerce platform for your entire team. Our tools and services are designed to help you create dynamic content, increase your speed of sale, and bring you closer to your retailers. Envoy B2B provides the technology you need to empower your sales reps and support your retail channel.