It’s been dilemma time again. Outdoor at Friedrichshafen is on and I’m not going. Again.
I’ve spent the past few weeks fielding invitations for meetings and functions and I’ve had to make my excuses and decline.
I’m busy with work, and I have to be honest, as much fun as it might be, spending the money on the trip just doesn’t make sense. A lot of the product launches that would interest me are of stuff that’s been known in the trade for months and this is just the “allowed to talk about it” point, the few real secrets will be available to see in the UK in a couple of weeks and anything else interesting doesn’t have a UK distributor.
But there’s a wealth of stuff could do with getting picked up for the UK and you just have to hope that the right distributorial (?) people see it and are in the right frame of mind to see the possibilities.
The quality of gear we get here really does hang by a thread. I was looking over some very expensive market research on UK outdoor retail and it occurs to me the whole thing was a waste of time. All it is, is a report card on how well the products specified by chain-store buyers have performed. Did they fly off the shelves or end up in a sale? The influence these reports exert is frightening and the already limited imagination of the store buyers is reduced further when they see the results and then what you get is the extreme dullness of product and colour choice now available.
The manufacturers make samples of wonderful kit in a rainbow of colours and it never makes the UK stores. But imaginations dominated by dog-walking kit in dull colours, reading reports that enforce that point of view make sure that only Europeans get it. It’s an infinite, self-perpetuating circle of despair.
What I propose is that everybody gets the manufacturers workbooks for the coming season and pre-orders the styles and colours of their choice through the retailer of their choice.
Let’s see what the buying habits are when folk are given real choice…