5 stand outs for the Spring team at OTS ‘24

This year’s OTS was indeed a good example of a well-run trade show and don’t just take our word for it, OTS 2024 saw a 2% hike in numbers (910 uniques and 1,227 repeats) when compared to 2023.
July 17, 2024
Tradeshow & Expo
Reading Time
5 minutes
5 stand outs for the Spring team at OTS ‘24
Stephanie is the founder of Spring PR and is a hands-on member of the team.

Trade shows.  You either love them or hate them, right? Granted the prep can be arduous but when you get there, well, all that angst is quickly forgotten.  And, for the record, we’re definitely advocates of a well-run trade show.  This year’s Outdoor Trade Show (OTS) was indeed a good example of a well-run trade show and don’t just take our word for it, Chris King of AKU and LEKI UK Distributors told us “OTS 2024 was another successful show for Ardblair.  Given the varied challenges of recent years things move on – there’s an air of positivity in the buying which I think putsus all in a good position for 2025”. Zoe Hewitt, Head of Comms at Nikwax was similarly impressed, describing it as “a well organised show at a great location with a very helpful support team”.  Indeed, OTS 2024 saw a 2% hike in numbers (910 uniques and 1,227 repeats) on 2023.  For our part, once the challenging task of securing media appointments has been nailed, we’re free to catch up with our customers, the outdoor media and this year, topped it off with a sneaky little get together over a Mexican feast.  But we have more best bits that we want to share with you, five in fact.  Here we go…

1. Sustainability Breakfast Speakers (but not the breakfast)

There are a number of elements that we love about this breakfast and one that we don’t.  Let’s start with the positives which kick off with the attendance which was the highest yet, says Outdoor I, since the format was started in 2021.  We loved Rab’s campaign for a joined up approach to sustainability data which they presented with collaboration partners Alpkit .  The progression of the Rab brand that openly admits that the whole sustainability focus really kicked off during COVID has been phenomenal.  We have found its journey fascinating and inspirational to watch.  We’re big fans of the Head of Corporate Communications and CSR at Equip Outdoor Technologies, Debbie Read, who always delivers an in-depth, informative presentation.  We’re pleased to see the progression of Material Facts, the Nutritional Information inspired table of information on outdoor gear.  Collaboration is the name of the game these days (we see it a lot in PR) and we love to see a brand invite more of it from its competitors and complementary brands.  

You can’t attend this breakfast without reflecting on the content long after you’ve returned from the show.  Our client Paramo delivered a talk on its partnership with the United Recycling Centre.  They are working together to extend the life of repairable, Paramo garments as the brand has reached its ‘repairing’ capacity.  We suspect the benefit of the Sustainability Breakfast Platform will deliver an ROI for URC.  Their services will have surely resonated with other brands that are looking to extend the life of their products.  

And to our negative, and there is only one.  It’s the breakfast itself which comprised a few pastries and a plate of (nicely arranged) fruit.  We don’t think we’re alone in craving a healthy breakfast before a full-on day of show mayhem.  May we suggest pots of overnight oats with berries?

Richard Pyne, CEO, Páramo Clothing & United Repair Centre present their apparel extended life collab
2. Salad Bar, acting on feedback

Perhaps the sustainability breakfast ‘breakfast’ part was a little disappointing, but lunch certainly wasn’t.  The Salad Bar was a resounding success, and we applaud the OIA and MCS for listening to the feedback from visitors and exhibitors that lunch was missing something.  Fundamentally we’re pretty healthy eaters, aren’t we?  We love our great outdoors activities and, if we’re honest, have a penchant for a healthy salad, soup or wholegrain sandwich.  It’s just how we roll.  These salad bowls answered our prayers and from a Spring PR point of view really hit the spot.  Thanks guys!  (Although we would also like to make it clear that we are partial to a beer and a burger every now and then too!)

3. Increased number of networking events

This year’s OTS increased its number of extra-curricular events with a Morning Run on Tuesday and Wednesday (sponsored by Top and Ronhill), the Dalesman Relaxation Area and, gear rejuvenation by our favourites, the United Repair Centre. We’ve already mentioned these guys, but we wanted to say what a great idea to call out to attendees for product that needs repairing and then repair it on-site, during the show.  It has been a winning formula for the likes of Patagonia and GORE-TEX at consumer events so good to see it at a trade function too.  Good work URC, we hope you’re there next year as we have a few more jackets that might need your magic touch.  We are also huge fans of the obvious repair patches and love the story they tell.  Could they become the new fashion statement?

United Repair Centre at work repairing apparel brought to them by show goers
4. Plethora of new brands at the event

It’s tricky entering a new market and we applaud the brands that took up the challenge.  We saw some interesting companies dipping their toes into the British Great Outdoors.  Gaiam with its funky yoga mats was a huge draw for the Spring team who are all yogis.  Does outdoor retail and yoga go together?  It does in Germany we were told.  Other brands we had good chats with included Acer with its power banks that would come into their own at Festivals.  Pits and Bits, the innovative cleaning solution for campers and adventurers keen to stay clean and smell fresh without polluting the natural water sources with their perfumed products, were another hit with us.  It was great to see and meet the new guys.

5. Seeding a trail to success

Our final stand out was the amount of seeding at the show – or was that just our clients?  There is nothing better than getting product into peoples’ hands and the most successful brands we work with are the ones that maximise seeding opportunities.  Nikwax is hot on this and quite rightly, you’ve got to see it and experience it to really buy into a brand and product. What better way than to seed. The number of conversations we had with people that had been gifted a pair of Darn Tough socks for example and had become life-long fans of the brand ever since.  Darn Tough is growing at a rate of knots here in the UK and we’re confident that its generous side is a big component in that growth.  It’s no surprise then to learn that Darn Tough and Nikwax also contributed to what Outdoor I referred to as an “excellent press goody bag”.

Darn Tough Vermont believe in the power of product seeding

Richard White, Director at Lifemarque seconded ourhighlights and was particularly impressed by Rab’s Debbie and Alpkit’s Ronnieat this year’s Sustainability breakfast. He continued “Liverpool is a good city to host it in, the hall isperfectly suitable and the social aspect gets better each year.  We will be attending next year and we areconsidering expanding the stand so some more categories can be added”.

And with that we conclude our top five.  As another OTS comes to a close and we go back to our offices, we bide time until the next trade get together.  For us this will be ISPO in Munich next November but before then we have some little media gatherings of our own, just to keep us on our toes.  Stay tuned.