The Outdoor Trade Show 2021 (OTS) marked a significant step in the post-pandemic recovery of the UK outdoor trade. Probably the first UK trade show event to go ahead as the country emerges from Covid-19 restrictions, OTS went ahead at the end of June at the Exhibition Centre, Liverpool.
The new modern venue on Liverpool waterfront proved to be popular with exhibitors and visitors alike with the upbeat atmosphere at the show underlining how much people value meeting face to face again. With 110 exhibitors and a wide variety of product ranges to see, buyers from the major multiples and leading independents made the effort to exploit the opportunity to seek out new products, place forward orders and network with friends and colleagues from the trade.
Sam Fernando, Sales Director, Keela – “Once again, the Outdoors Trade Show, showed its grit and resilience by leading the industry and the whole country in hosting one of the first in-person shows since the Pandemic started. Located at the outstanding Liverpool waterfront, the show was dynamic and positive, with a real buzz in the aisles. Forget the footie, OTS has come home.”
As well as Keela’s excellent outdoor product ranges, she also spoke passionately about the company’s key role in working with health professionals to develop and manufacture Covid-safe CPR equipment for hospital and emergency use. Plus, the outstanding achievement last year of getting a new facory up and running in just a week to produce PPE when the supply situation was desperate. She said, “It was a huge team effort and we had great support from other businesses. Plus, former staff turned up offering to help in whatever way was needed. It was exhausting but also wonderful.”
Mark Wood, Sports Division Sales Manager at Scott Sports – “A great show was put on in difficult times and I appreciate the time, effort and work you must have put in to make it happen. The venue, quality of visitors and general ‘ambience’ exceeded our expectations and we came away from the show with smiles on our faces, some normality back in our lives and some new retailers to work with.”
Damon Street, European General Manager for Exxel Outdoors – “OTS was a fantastic show. We had back-to-back appointments and the quality of buyers attending was clear. Aside from it being a great opportunity to get back in front of people it was great to see the camaraderie and collective support in the industry. Kelty and Sierra Designs will definitely be back in 2022.”
Sonia Prior, Sales Director at Bradshaw Taylor – “I’m delighted to report that Bradshaw Taylor enjoyed a productive show across all brands. There were sufficient buyers from both key accounts and independent retailers to keep us busy throughout the show and it was great to experience an optimistic outdoor industry, despite the pandemic. The team enjoyed positive discussions with customers seeking industry partners to enable them to grow their business and, thankfully, Bradshaw Taylor offers some exciting new and great staple brand alternatives. Generally, there was a good vibe at the show, everyone seemed delighted to be back together as an industry again – Big thanks to the OIA and MCS for persevering and making it happen!”
Zoe Hewitt, Head of Nikwax Marketing Communications – “It was great to be back to meeting people in real life and encouraging how well the outdoors industry has weathered the Covid storm. Although the show itself did seem understandably quieter than other years, there was a general buzz and positivity from attendees and exhibitors alike. The Sustainability Breakfast was a key highlight of the show for me with really insightful and interesting presentations.”
Samantha Theron, Páramo Clothing Marketing Manager – “It was wonderful to be back at OTS and there was an energy and enthusiasm amongst the exhibitors, customers and media which was palpable. The venue was convenient and suited to an outdoor show, there was good space for each exhibitor with a layout that allowed for ease of flow. The facilities were super, although the food menu was a little limited. Here’s to being in the outdoors and all of our adventures within it.”
It was in the Munich Globetrotter store the last time we shared notes with Lilian Sullivan, Sales Director, Ardblair Sports Importers Ltd – “It was great to have a trade show again and meet customers face-to-face. For us it was a very good show as the customer quality was excellent and it was also one of the most positive shows we have been to in a long time. We were pleasantly surprised by the Liverpool venue. It was easy to get to, the infrastructure was good and the whole area had a relaxed, laidback vibe reminiscent of Friedrichshafen.”
Ali Allen, owner of The Walking Hub retail store – “Fantastic venue in Liverpool docks. Really friendly atmosphere with quality exhibits representing both large and small brands. Loved the sustainability breakfast, vegan food and eco- friendly approach. Very well organised. Well done!”
Dan Pearson, COO, Ultralight Outdoor Gear Ltd – “A cracking selection of brands on show given the current pandemic. It was brilliant to finally be able to meet people face to face, we’ve really missed that over the past 18 months. Many thanks to those brands who attended, we greatly appreciated their efforts.
Dylan Jones from Crib Goch Outdoor – “Just a little thanks you for OTS this year. I attended all three days there. Feedback on location was top notch, brilliant hotels, reasonable and plenty things to do in the evening. Well worth the trip.”
Looking ahead to the winter season, Lesley Beck, organiser of the new Slide & OTS Winter trade show, had a presence at the show to meet up with prospective exhibitors. She said, “It was really pleasing that all those at OTS were already aware of the joint Slide & OTS Winter show planned for January and everyone was interested to hear more.
“Just two weeks after launching the show, over 47% of the stand space has already been sold, so it’s been a great start. We are following up all the interest expressed at OTS as quickly as possible to match exhibitors to the most suitable stand space.”
OTS organiser Marta Williams had the last word, “Having found a new home for OTS, plans are in place to return to Liverpool in June 2022 and build on the success that we experienced this year.”