1. CMCSKB: How did you get the opportunity to go to SIA?
Riley Myers: When I was still living in Michigan I helped set up a MRA trade show for Rossignol. Mid-way through the show, I walked around and ran into the owner of Candygrind, and began talking with her about my upcoming trip to Colorado, ironically the same time as SIA. We talked about how I grew up riding CG mittens and how much I loved the brand. After talking a bit about my passion for the brand and the upcoming trade show, she asked me to help set up the SIA booth. I have been with the company since. This year was my third year with CandyGrind at SIA.
2. CMCSKB: What was the start-to-finish process of SIA?
Riley: We got there on Tuesday with all of our setup equipment and booth materials. We had to have registration, and have union workers move all of our equipment into the convention center. Hundreds of brands are there, making it crowded and congested in order to find our floor space. We jumped right in, laying it out and building the booth with our materials according to the floor size. The show started two days after our set up. The first day was our busiest, with back-to-back appointments with retailers. We had four appointments simultaneously an hour. This went on for four days, Saturday being the die-down and Sunday being pretty much dead. Sunday, around 3 o'clock, we tear things down, which is a lot less stressful than setting up. From there, we go to the on-snow demo the next day. We didn’t have anything to demo at on-snow, so we took our key retailers and athletes out to the demo. We spent just one day at the On-Snow SIA, so we just packed it up and called it good.
3. CMCSKB: What part of the show were you looking forward to, based on years past?
Riley: Just having my own appointments and having retailers coming to see me, rather than just being an errand guy. I had accounts coming to actually see myself, so I was looking forward to that. It felt nice to step up from being a grunt to having responsibility. And the after-hour parties are tight. Brands would do their own kind of events and parties to promote themselves that were really unique and cool.
4. CMCSKB: What was the most difficult/stressful part of the show?
Riley: Getting there, setting up, and making sure everything is on point is really important. You only have so much time to set things up, and make sure everything is perfect during the show. Along with that, making sure that every retailer and appointment went according to plan and on-schedule. We have to have everything memorized, as far as specifications and sales presentation. Retailers want consistency and someone who is professional and making sure that all of those retailers every hour are happy is a very stressful part of the show.
5. CMCSKB: Did you get a chance to look around at other vendors? Was there anything this season that really popped out?
Riley: Well I really didn’t have too much time with a packed venue and the size of the show, as SIA was in combination with the Outdoor Retailer trade show this year. There were a lot of interesting vendors I hadn’t seen before and got to check them out. One thing that did stand out for me, was not really anything from the snow world, but from the outdoor world. All of the Outdoor brands (Hiking, backpacks, water bottles, shoes, etc..) had insanely intricate booths and the level of detail that all of them put into them was eye opening. Some booths had full houses, some had garages for conference rooms, and most of the rest just put in that extra mile of effort for the retailers.
6. CMCSKB: Any advice for students that want to go to SIA in the future?
Riley: The first thing I would suggest is to utilize the CMC Internship program that they offer. CMC has a lot of connections in the industry solely based off of the degree we are all in. If you are serious about wanting to work in the industry, SIA is the best way to start your career. After my first year at SIA, I was offered a real internship at the office and at the end, they offered me a job. If it was not for SIA, I would not be where I am today. Along with that, My best advice is to keep your options open, always be networking with anyone you talk to. Also, always follow up with every opportunity you get. Persistence, diligence, and passion is the key in this industry and if you have that, you will have a job right around the corner!