The Joint SIGB Presidents, Sonia Prior (Bradshaw Taylor) and Dave Sawyer Parker (Bespoke Trading), have highlighted all of the Association’s activities in the past year. This will form part of the SIGB AGM, taking place at the Slide & OTS Winter trade show in the Telford International Centre, 7pm, Wednesday 19 January.
SIGB Presidents Report, October 2020 to September 2021
We are looking forward to seeing everyone at the very first Slide and OTS combined trade show and welcoming the industry back to Telford following an immensely challenging year for the snowsport industry.
After Covid shut down the end of the 2019-20 season and completely wrote off the 2020-21 season, it was exciting to see and feel the demand from the consumer across the retail network this winter. Everything was looking positive until travel restrictions were put in place yet again and the familiar downturn of sales in store and cancelled trips ensued. Thankfully these restrictions are now being lifted and skiers are once again looking forward to escaping to the mountains. Let’s hope the rest of the season will regain the pre-Christmas momentum and we can all look forward to a strong sell through from here on out.
I would like to give a huge thank you to the committee and Rare Management for all their hard work in this extremely challenging year. Whilst trying to keep their own businesses on track, the people in these voluntary roles have put an incredible amount of time and effort into supporting the industry we all love. It often goes unnoticed, so I would like to highlight some of the actions and support the committee has worked on over the past year:
- Working with the Outdoor Industries Association (OIA), to combine Slide and OTS, culminating in one UK winter trade show, providing a more efficient, relevant, and sustainable solution for UK suppliers and retailers.
- Members of the SIGB have been in a working group alongside the OIA and other industry organisations to delay the implementation of the new UKCA criteria to allow us to continue using and sell through CE marked products for an extra year.
- Petitioning of MP’s to request support for our industry for challenges caused by the pandemic. Whilst the government has unfortunately been unable to offer any further assistance specific to our industry, we were able to have 2 meetings with Secretary of State for Trade; Kwasi Kwarteng after months of emailing, countless phone calls, numerous Zoom calls and managing to enlist 9 MP’s to support our cause.
- The Mountains are Calling marketing campaign. Undertaken by our marketing sub-committee. Funded and created by the SIGB, this inspirational content is for all members to use FOC, sending a unified message to all consumers that our industry and the mountains are open for business.
- The dry slope initiative. Whilst this project is in its infancy, the SIGB are working with slopes to provide free lessons for schools and clubs giving opportunities to try our sport to those who may not otherwise have the chance.
- The SIGB is now part of a working group that includes all snow sports governing bodies, formulating a long-term strategy to make our sports more inclusive to the LGBTQ and BAME communities.
- After much consultation with retailers, suppliers and media, the decision was taken to return to Kuhtai for the ski test. Many hours were spent deliberating on the best option for the whole industry, whilst sticking to the criteria previously set out to ensure the optimum conditions for the test.
- A consumer Test is still being planned but it is considered prudent to push this back to winter 23-24 to allow things to settle.
- Introduced a monthly newsletter; a new initiative to keep everyone up to date with industry news.
- Trade Survey – The annual trade survey was once again organised by Rare Management on behalf of the SIGB, while the numbers are not pretty, we still feel it is an important tool to show the industry trends and will hopefully show good recovery in the coming years so every brand’s participation is very much encouraged.
For the coming year we will be looking at the timing of the Slide & OTS winter show. National and regional shows are becoming increasingly important, and the timing needs to reflect the challenges we now see in the global supply chain. Post pandemic, it is clear the global supply chain can no longer be a “just in time” model, so we will have to make changes if we are to bring product to market in a timely fashion. We plan to send out a survey shortly after Slide & OTS 2022 to gather everyone’s views so please take the time to complete the survey which will influence when the show will be held in future.
The committee are also looking at other options for changing the timing and location for the 2023 ski test to reflect the ever-evolving needs of suppliers and retailers alike.
Wishing you all the very best for Slide & OTS and a healthy, successful remainder of the season.
David Sawyer-Parker & Sonia Prior