Editor’s Note: When most people hear "SIA" they immediately think of the trade show, but SnowSports Industries America is much more than that. As a not-for-profit trade organization, it is run by its members and Board of Directors, of whom a third are from core snowboard brands with well over 100 years of collective industry experience. The SIA Board meets regularly to steer the organization's goals, like increasing participation; services, like in-depth research data; and, yes, it's trade show, to ensure SIA meets the needs of brands and retailers today, and in year's to come.
When and why did you join the SIA board?
I first joined the SIA board from 1993 until 1996, then returned again in 2001 until the present. I make the time to be a board member of SIA because it is our national trade association and I want to have a voice in the decisions that affect our industry. The scope of issues that SIA influences, from trade show dates and locations, to providing data on retail sales, to helping grow participation in winter sports - among others - are significant. I think it is important to be in the conversation where industry topics are discussed and decisions are made. It takes some time each year, but it is worth the effort.
What are your goals in steering SIA’s direction to better support the sport of snowboarding and its retailers and brands?
I have several goals with my involvement with SIA relative to snowboarding, its retailers and the brands that are members of the trade association. SIA has been active in helping bring together the different stakeholders - retailers, resorts and vendors — who can help drive more participation. We have collaborated with the National Ski Areas Association on the Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month (LSSM) and Bring a Friend initiatives. There is still lots of work to do, but we are heading in the right direction. Beyond working to help increase participation, we also need to have a coherent buy/sell cycle that works for retailers and their vendors. Although the partying is maybe not as good in Denver, we get a lot more work done at our new location.
What resources does SIA offer retailers that they might not know about?
In addition to participation in initiatives like Bring a Friend and LSSM, SIA supports International Snowboard Day, has a snowboard committee and a snowboard section on our consumer website (snowlink.com). SIA has all retailers listed on the snowlink.com website and they have developed a retailer to consumer marketing guide to help retailers with ideas to shape their messages to the consumer. SIA also has a government affairs program that was successful in eliminating tariffs over 20% on snowboard boots to help keep prices down. And of course there is the extensive research that SIA does which can help retailers understand the market better from the standpoint of the consumer and the product trends that are happening.
How has the snowboard side of the show changed since you began coming and what are your goals for the future?
When snowboarding first came into the SIA show, the category was growing exponentially and the vendors seemed to be mostly there to have a good time. We are for sure still having a good time, but there is a higher level of professionalism and seriousness in Denver. I guess we have all grown up a bit and realized that this is a very tough business. My guess is that this trend will continue in the years ahead.
What tips do you have for retailers attending the show to make the most of it?
I think retailers need to schedule enough time at the show to be able to absorb the breadth and depth of the brands that are present. This is the only show where someone can see true rainbow collections with all models and colors. I think there is value in making the time to sift through the product offerings that are shown to pick out the gems that might not be at the store down the street, because they missed it. Additionally, I think it is worth making time to meet with company principals who are in attendance. This is a way to have your voice heard and help shape the future of their future collections and policies.