A Return to the West
Go west they said. Meet people they said. Smile and try to remember how to shake hands they said. So we did.
The outdoor retailer show has been a consistent visit for the Capsule team for about 15 years. We saw the first 10x10 booth for GoPro -- and you could tell they were onto something. We saw the growth of the “Life is Good” brand and its subsequent decline as well.
We traveled to Steamboat Springs, Colorado in order to ride 400 miles with our Smartwool friends to Salt Lake City -- for six years in a row. We made the clumsy transition from Utah to Denver Colorado and made sure we supported the brands, retailers and people who stuck with this twice a year gathering.
Capsule has certainly seen the benefits of outdoor living with the long list of outdoor brands we’ve been fortunate to work with over 22 years. This journey has rewarded Capsule with clients like Patagonia, Hydro Flask, Arc’teryx, Osprey, Stansport, Smartwool and a large variety of others.
When we wondered about this first show back, our expectations were subterranean. In the weeks leading up we heard a number of our clients were pulling out. We speculated, with great doubts, on how many people, brands and retailers would actually show up. Yet, this is a lifestyle, category and way of doing business we support, without reservation.
So, we showed up.
It took about a nanosecond after receiving our show passes to find it was evident this was going to be an altogether different show. The bustle of a convention hall packed full out into the common spaces was gone. Yet, there were people, and they were doing business, making new product pitches and conversing joyfully.
After the shock of change wore off, we found a common thread running through the varying conversations. This was a rebirth, the start of something renewed. It felt like the start of an industry or movement, not the decline. Cautious optimism gave way to outright optimism as brands declared they reached their goals for the show on day one.
Day two and three started to feel like you could see a future state where you’d buy the t-shirt “I was here when ... “ and proclaim the bravery, confidence and resilience of the teams who showed up. It became a social and economic win for almost everyone in the hall.
The Outdoor Retailer show of 2021 was (among a few adjectives) a small, intimate, highly engaging, rewarding and monumentally successful event. Almost down to the person, every conversation contained an, “It is just so good to get out and talk with new people, face-to-face.” On a normal day it would have worn out our smiling muscles, but on this day they needed the workout.
We are always grateful for the generosity and trust our clients put in our team at Capsule. Our team does all that we can do to deliver great work, advice, designs, messaging and research to achieve great results. And, showing up at this show isn’t just about being a body, but being a voice for optimism, resilience and a return to living.
Thank you to the brands who showed up, had conversations, made noise and stepped confidently into this new era of business in an ongoing (for how long we may never know) global pandemic.
Getting out into the wild, wild west … to shake hands and discuss design.
- Your Capsule team