Issue 92: Editorial
Putting this issue together, two words have really resonated: fickle and hybrid. Fickle is a word we use a lot in boardsports; the weather, trading conditions, the consumer. The weather can be an evil mistress – you’d have thought with the record snowfalls in the European Alps last winter that retailers would have been elated. But with little to no sunshine on weekends, many of our shops struggled to truly maximise their selling potential and astonishingly complained of too much snow.
So how has the European boardsports industry kicked off its 2018 summer season? Surely with every weekend in May a public holiday in one part of Europe or another, we’d hear strong feedback in our Market Insight series after the multiple heat waves? But once again that word ‘fickle’ reared its troublesome head. Warm weather drew droves of people to the English coast on May Day weekend, but unseasonably warm weather combined with cold seawater drew a dense mist reducing visibility to squat – however, we did hear reports of good sales. And although bank holidays mean footfall for beach and resort shops, spare a thought for shops in urban areas reliant on grom sales who see their traffic dwindle as families head for the coast.
Alas, we may be subject to fickle trading conditions, but if there’s one thing the boardsports industry is, it’s resilient. As well as being resilient, we in boardsports are known for being innovators. ‘Hybrid’ has been a tech industry buzzword for the past five to ten years, signifying the perfect balance of different components to result in ultimate performance. A nd while the use ofthe word has trickled through many different market categories, over the past three years it’s been those boardsports retailers creating their own hybrids who are now ahead of the curve. Successful retailers have combined bricks and mortar with internet sales and stellar customer service to deliver innovative retail concepts. Examples of such hybrids can be found inboth this issue’s Retailer Profile (A LA BONNE PLANCHETTE, P.17) and our Buyer Science(P.46), where we speak with 2017 Vans Shop Riot winners, Skateboutique SBQ from Belgium to hear about their ground-breaking setup, which includes an indoor park, two retail units and park building business.
A resilient industry of innovators; hybrid systems to combat a fickle trading environment. One such innovator is SUPRA’s Sascha Weil who is this issue’s Big Wig. Sascha worked in action sports from 2002-2012 but left for different pastures only to return due to the heavy pull of boardsports and in particular, skate. Perhaps the grass isn’t always greener… In our 92nd issue we debut our first look at hydro foils, a trend taking the surf industry by storm while featuring all of the Buyer’s Guides you’ll need to walk the summer season shows.
Harry Mitchell Thompson
On the cover: On the cover: Celebrating Titus’ 40th year in business, Hardgoods Buyer, Adam Przybyla. Photo: Jan Rehermann