Monday, August 18, 2008

Outdoor Retailer - Summer 08

When people ask how business is, my answer is always, "Its good. We are growing, we can pay the bills. I mean...I'm not a millionaire yet, but I like my job!" What more can I ask for?
Since Lola was such a hit in January, we decided to bring her again this summer. Only problem is, I was flying instead of driving. And I was coming all by myself... No problem, right? Well, it was a little more hassle than I imagined. But, of course, I figured it out. A little luck, a little help, a little batting of the eyelashes. Haha. And it didn't hurt that my dog is a heartbreaker!

Here's a pic of what our packaging looks like on a retail display.

Lola and I right after set-up. And below, you can see our booth. Clean and simple. But, easy for me to set up and tear down alone, which is important.
The Zinetic Booth! Complete with Mascot.

The show was great. I made some new friends, opened some new accounts, got some re-orders. That's a satisfying week of work in my book!
Then, its home on Wednesday and off to EORA in Greenville on Saturday at 6 am. Aaaahh...the life of the sales. :)

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Workin Hard for the Money

I need a new warehouse manager/shipping clerk! Mine just quit on me and went to dental school! Good luck, little bro. :)

Travel Goods Show - March, San Diego.

I know, I know. Its been forever. Cut me some slack, I've been busy and going through ALOT! But I thought I should post these pics from our first Travel Goods Show. It was good, met some really nice people. The vibe of that industry is definitely more traditional than I'm used to in the Outdoor Industry. I mean, for goodness sakes, look at my outfit. I was dressed like a teacher. :)But, I can't complain about San Diego.. love that place!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Outdoor Retailer Winter 2008

Salt Lake City is a very long way from Indianapolis. I've been there at least ten times, and its never seemed quite so distant before...when I travelled by plane. This time, I travelled by automobile. And the outcome of that decision is a new personal philosophy: I believe that people who often travel across country or internationally via air should subject themselves to a roadtrip now and again. Perspective is a precious gain.

On Sunday, January 20, My brother, Chad, and I packed up the trailer, hitched it to the jeep, mounted the GPS to the dash, loaded my 16 month old Saint Bernard, Lola, into the back, and headed West. We hauled behind us luggage, trade show supplies, dog food, ski gear, and our trade show exhibit. Everything we might need over the next 9 days. Its about a 1600 mile trip. We pushed hard, napped for about 6 hours in a well-lit, hotel parking lot, and got into SLC on Monday evening. The weather the entire trip was in the single digits plus high winds. But, we made it and Lola did great.

The next day was set-up for the show and we were in the exact same spot as 6 months ago! All the way in the back. Seriously, a 15 min. walk from the front doors. Ugggh. And with, Lola, everything took twice as long because we couldn't walk 10 feet without someone stopping to love on her. She was so spoiled all week long. But, it was great marketing! She wore a dog pack filled with sales materials and embroidered with our logo. By the end of the show, people were calling out her name that I had never even seen before. She was the belle of the ball. That's for sure. And so well-behaved. I couldn't believe it. Most of the time, she didn't even wear a leash. She just chilled out in our booth, the ultimate buyer magnet.

You can see her lying on her yellow rug in the corner. That was her spot!

All in all, Outdoor Retailer (OR) Winter 08 was a really good show for Zinetic Pocket Slippers and for me. This is my 4th trade show in a year and I feel like it was the first one where I felt really comfortable in my own "professional self." .I'm not sure if that makes sense at all. But, at past trade shows, I felt alone and overwhelmed. Like a very small nobody fish drowning in the middle of the ocean. Now, I'm starting to figure things out. Everybody has to start out as a little fish at some point, right? I feel like I'm understanding how it all works, what is expected of me as the personification of our company, how not to become overwhelmed, how to keep my emotional and psychological state from a tailspin on the last day.

I still haven't quite figured out how to keep the exhaustion at bay. Well, that's not true. Dad says maybe I could go to bed before 1 am. That might help, I guess. Good thing that's not a company policy, though! Because I so enjoyed getting to reconnect with old(ish) friends and meet new ones! Travelling and meeting new people are two of my greatest joys in life and I get to do both of them as part of my job! I love that. Anyways, I also gained an impressive amount of conceptual knowledge about pool throughout the week. Too bad it doesn't translate into skill. I'm very bad. It was disappointing, actually. :(

Below, you can see Lola and I resting in the booth on the last day. Most of the buyers had already hit the slopes! So, we got to relax.

The day after the show, Dad, Chad, and I skiied Solitude, one of our favorite places. The powder was deep, the snow was coming down all day, and it was a great relaxing end to the trip. Dad flew home (the President gets first-class treatment) while Chad and I braved the blustery plains and a scary motel. We made it home on Tuesday afternoon. By the end of the trip, the 3 Sloans had only lost one cell phone, one business credit card, and one business debit card. Not too shabby. ;)

See ya in August!

Friday, January 11, 2008

New Marketing Collateral

Featuring our Outdoor Poster Child, Abby! Thanks Abberdabber. ;)

Friday, December 21, 2007

Pocket Slippers' Grand Canyon Adventure

This is me. Staring into Bright Angel Creek at the bottom of the Grand Canyon... Wearing a biker skull bandana that I bought a few days earlier at the rim (not my usual style, you may have noticed.) Why? So that I wouldn't cry.

See, I figured that since I was representing Zinetic Pocket Slippers, I should probably try and act like I've done something like this before. I didn't want to talk to Rangers and lifelong outdoor enthusiasts about the merits of Pocket Slippers while I was crying from exhaustion, hypothermia, hunger, or pain (you pick). So, I got a safety net. You just can't cry if you're wearing a skull bandana. And it worked!

But, let me start at the beginning...

A couple of months ago, a few of my cousins and my Uncle Ron were planning a backpacking trip into Grand Canyon. They are avid outdoor adventure seekers. Climbing, camping, backpacking, skiing, horseback riding...they do it all. I overhead them talking about it and recklessly asked, "Hey, can I come?" It sounded like fun, not to mention, a great opportunity to do some field research and product testing for our next phases of Pocket Slipper development.

Fast-forward to Dec 15th....and here we are. 9 Sloans in total, loaded up and ready to go down. Do take special note of the snow. Yes, it is cold in northern Arizona in December.

We headed down South Kaibob Trail, an 8 mile down-hill hike, in hopes of arriving at Bright Angel Creek before dark. By the time we arrived, we were all doing the "Kaibob Shuffle," a sad and painful way of setting up camp. My toes were battered, my feet were swollen and all my joints were protesting. The first thing I did, was take off my hiking boots and slip on my PS. Aaaahhh, that felt better. So far, field research was going spectacularly.

Throughout the trip's 35 miles and 4 nights, we used our Pocket Slippers often. They were great around the campsite at mealtimes. We kept them in our daypacks to slip on during lunch breaks. And when we had to climb out of our tents in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, they were quick and easy to slip on.

I'm not really supposed to advertise this, but you may even see some National Park Rangers padding around in Pocket Slippers soon. If you're reading this, Ranger Greg, It was great to meet you. Thanks for your help regarding the attack of the cacti!

This is Abby lounging in PS during a 14 mile day hike to Ribbon Falls... a Cliff bar never tasted so good!

The other side of Kristy's perch is a 50 ft. drop followed by a steep slide to the bottom of the canyon. But, oh, what a feeling! And an awesome photo-op. We couldn't pass this one up!

All in all, it was a great trip. To be honest, I probably won't do it again in December. Sleeping outdoors in 16 degree temperatures, coupled with the snow/sleet/rain mix during our hike out the last day made for a very cold Kimberly. But, I hear October is nice!
Even though I was cold, tired, and in some severe muscular distress, every moment was a memory that will make me smile the rest of my life. I am so blessed to have a family that encourages one another to experience new things, pushes each other to greater accomplishments, and loves unconditionally. If I have to work (and like most of us, I do) then I am glad that I get to do it surrounded by and in partnership with these people, my family.
Have a great Holiday everyone! Next time I write, we will be in the throes of Trade Show Season. I can't believe its almost upon us....

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

EORA Greenville, SC

The Eastern Outdoor Reps Association show was located in Greenville, SC, a town that I had never visited until this show, but will be happy to visit again. In fact, I probably will!

These pictures are of our SE reps and myself and in our booth. Rob Robinson, Elliott Hardin, and Dan Williams are all wonderful reps and also great guys to hang with. They also represent Yakima, Timex, Camelbak, Eurosock, and a new footwear company called OboZ. A good group to be in.

Thanks for showing a Yankee girl a good time, guys! :)

Oh, by the way, in case my Dad or Wendall is reading this, the trip was beneficial from a business standpoint as well. It wasn't all just fun. We opened 10 or 12 new accounts at the show and gathered many good leads for future orders. I'm still following up now.

Lots of work to do, gotta go!