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The Outdoor Biz Podcast

Sep 14, 2021

We talk about Trade Shows, what’s working, how they facilitate buying and selling, and what we can improve on with Matt Dobrowolski from Envoy B2B, Rumpl’s Patrick O’Neill, buyer Jill Jacobson from Bill & Paul's Sporthaus, and Michael Stevens from sales agency True North.

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Show Notes

Welcome to episode 293 of The Outdoor Biz Podcast with Matt Dobrowolski from Envoy B2B, Rumpl’s Patrick O’Neill, buyer Jill Jacobson from Bill & Paul's Sporthaus, and Michael Stevens from sales agency True North. We talk about Trade Shows, what’s working, how they facilitate buying and selling, and what we can improve on.

Brought to you by envoyB2B

Show Notes

Jill Jacobson from Bill and Paul's Sporthaus

Patrick O'Neill from Rumpl

Mike Stevens from True North

Matt Dobrowolski from Envoy B2B

Outdoor Retailer

The Big Gear Show


What are the most impactful shows for your business?

Mike Stevens: It seems it always fluctuates. I find that they're all important in different facets. My end goal is to show up and have the best representation for our brand partners. But also meet our buyers and the owners and where they need to be seen and where it's the best opportunity currently, what's leading for us is the regional trade shows.

Patrick O'Neill: We view it in a couple of different ways. Big national trade shows as a small brand entering the outdoor industry have been crucial to getting our footing and making connections, whether with, maybe potential hires, sales agencies, retail partnerships, other brand partnerships at Rumpl. We do a lot of brand collaborations, so shows like OR have been absolutely vital and our ability to create those connections.

Looking forward we see what Mike sees. There's more business, actual transactions of dollars happening at the regional shows. And it's more focused and we can have those one-on-one conversations and spend more time.

Jill Jacobson: As a buyer, I completely agree. The regional shows are where we are working. It's a working show and it's appointment after appointment. It's where we're looking at everything where we're deciding everything. Also, we do have some in-store and there are some showrooms here. We're fortunate, there are a lot of people who in our territory are pretty low key are located very close to where we are so we can do a lot in-house just going to their showroom or going to their house, or they rent a hotel room.

We go to the national shows. It's important for us, for me anyway, that's where I find something that's a little more unusual or different than regional shows,

Matt Dobrowolski: I agree with everyone here in the sense of, the impact of these shows is quantifiable in all aspects. I definitely see, for myself, the national trade shows are the places where I'm going to see the new and up-and-coming brands. The relevance of the A-type brands is less, I think more and more as we're moving forward on these national shows. Their marketing presence is already so strong that, we're seeing less of an impact of them on the trade show floor.

I think on the business end of it, though, the shows that are truly quantifying themselves, as far as, the retailers investing to go, the brands investing today is exactly what both Mike and Jill are talking about. It's working shows where we're actually writing orders. We're actually going to merchandise. Those are the places where business is being made.

What would you like to see for the future of trade shows?

Jill Jacobson: I think for us as buyers, the biggest problem we have is, like I said before, scheduling. One shows at one time, one show is at another time. I've got two days I have to be in one state, and then two days later I gotta be in another state. The scheduling of it is very frustrating as a buyer. I don't know how to fix that though.
Patrick O'Neill: I think the biggest thing to me as far as improvement as we're coming out of COVID, and this is me speaking personally. This is not a brand statement.  I was really pretty upset with the way OR handled COVID. I thought it was extremely poorly done. It's one of the reasons we did not attend. The fact that they did not require masks with Delta surging was extremely irresponsive. It really upset me. We actually ended up attending a show in New York that is outside of the outdoor industry because they required masks for everyone regardless of vaccination status.

And so I think that needs to be taken more seriously. Even as we're going into winter OR, the safety of all of our employees, the safety of our industry, and our friends needs to be paramount. And that needs to be the first thing that's being looked at. And so that is the main thing is we're coming out of this.

It's changing so fast. It needs to be planned better for the safety of everyone first and then business, and then whatever the order is that you put after that. But really we need to put safety first.

Mike Stevens: Oh man. I really enjoy all the different trade show shows there are now. So as a brand representative, as someone that's connecting with retailers, I don't know, I don't think there's anything from my side that I necessarily need to be fixed other than the fact that, safety is first.

So at True North, we haven't been to a regional show or to Outdoor Retailer since COVID started. And we've found other ways to represent our brands and meet our customer's needs. So we're excited as a team to get back in person. It's all about people, right? That's why we do this. It's the outdoor industry, but it's all about the people and it's such a great community. Let's just make it be safe and let's get rolling again.

Follow up with our Guests


Patrick O'Neill-

Jill Jacobson-

Mike Stevens-


06:31 - 06:55 What are the most impactful shows for your business? Mike Stevens

12:57 - 13:11 Will you take more people to the regional show and fewer people to the national show? Patrick O'Neill

09:35 - 09:47 What's working for you? Jill Jacobson