7 a.m. came three hours too early. I did my best to rally though and slipped into the OR Industry breakfast at 7:30 a.m. Shshhh. I’m so stoked I didn’t blow it off. Marian Salzman from Trendspotting gave quite the lecture on the state of Americans and how the outdoor industry can get their attention. She’s one of the top trend forecasters in the country so when she speaks ears perk up. She told retailers they need to market to the inactivity of America or what she calls the Beached White Male (BMW). She said they (we) need to show them how to get outdoors…Outdoors For Dummies.
By Let Ideas Compete
Consumers don’t want to be hardcore extremists. They want soft rugged adventures where they can play safely outside. This is the pilates and yoga crowd as well as the angry white man who sits at a desk 24/7 pushing pixels. We all know guys like that. They feel disappointed and disenfranchised by all the broken promises in politics, business, the economy. We can give them a place to go and something to do on a Saturday. Show them the way, Grasshoppers.
Another cool thing she said is that “outdoors” does not mean “cut off”. No longer are people looking for some great escape where they unplug from the world. We want to connect even in the outdoors so you’ll see a whole lot more products in the market place next year and beyond addressing connectivity- GPS watches, solar chargers for iPhones and MP3s, websites like FB for outdoorsy folk, etc.
And here was my favorite point: ‘No answer’ means a missed opportunity. When someone calls you for something, YOU CALL THEM BACK. It’s too easy now for them to call someone else or go somewhere else if you don’t respond. You want to keep customers (and friends), you return phonecalls, you put contact information in easy to find places or your website and you respond promptly when you get a question.
Finally, she said expensive things have lost their chic. It’s about having the highest functional product, not the most expensive. We aren’t going to spend more than we need to. You will see an explosion in “gritty chic” over the next few years where functionality is fashionable and stuff lasts more than a season. That’s good news for Cordura. They announced today at the show that they are going beyond backpacks and luggage and will make tough but comfortable apparel fabrics. Already Timberland, Wrangler and Levi’s are using the Cordura denim which makes a jean last four times longer. Now they’ve got fabrics for all types of outdoor clothing.
Armed with trend knowledge, we moved onto the floor.