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!


Anonymous said...

so proud of you girl--- i love catching up with you reading your blogs!!
Nikki heyneman

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