The trip was broken up by a stop-over in Las Vegas on the way down and on the way back. On the way back we stopped by the Pool Tradeshow, a fun fashion tradeshow for hip, new companies. The last time I was at a tradeshow in Vegas was for SIA, the annual snowboard industry tradeshow for North America. I was able to attend at the benevolence of Josh Reid, founding partner of Rome Snowboards. It was during their first year of retail and I volunteered like an eager beaver to help in any way possible. I was amazed that he actually returned my emails, gave me his cell phone number, and then ultimately invited me down to meet him at the show. He was also the only person who gave me more than quick glance at the entire show. I felt like a kid in a candy store walking around to the different booths and looking at all the fresh, new product that was going to hit the stores next year. But just like a kid in a candy store, I got the cold shoulder and was treated like an loitering brat. Everyone was so focused on looking cool, being cool, knowing someone cool, that it drove me crazy. All anyone was saying was a mumble of "Bro, brah, blah, blah, blah." I guess I wasn't cool enough to participate.
Pool was different, though. There was a combination of two things at work. First, most of the companies were young start-ups that were hungry to talk to anyone. If you made eye contact with anyone, be prepared to have a 10-minute conversation about their new designs, how their company is the next big thing, so on and so forth. It was refreshingly fun. Second, I was able to attend the show with a press pass. That's right, Geoff Tice has officially been recognized as the publisher of snowblahg.com. You'd be amazed how differently people treat you when you have a lanyard with the word "Press" hanging around your neck. Seriously, stop looking at my chest, my eyes are up here!
We also met up with our good friends from Amadeo Decada. It was a real eye-opener to hear the horror stories of starting your own apparel company from the ground up, especially in this day and age. Off-the-shelf software programs like Adobe Creative Suite allow anyone to become a designer. Cheap, global manufacturing and electronic correspondence have also streamlined the production process. A guy working out of his living room can produce clothing comparable to any of the big box apparel companies. Kind of sounds like blogging, right?
In the forgone time before the 00's, self-publishing was a little more laborious, and therefore naturally filtered out a lot of crap. Think back to 1517 when Martin Luther self-published the Ninety-five Theses, or when Hamilton, Madison and Jay distributed the Federalist Papers. Even when technology like photocopy came along, zines would often be carefully crafted together as a work of art and thought-out expression. Way back in the 90's, when the Internet became a hit, creating your own website required some programming and technical savvy. But nowadays, anyone can easily publish their thoughts for the whole world to view, or in most cases, ignore. Hey, I'm just waiting to get more than a dozen responses to any blog post I've written. If I should ever get to the point that I have 55 responses, then I'll know I've made it big and I'll retire and live the good life: riding my bike around the hills of Switzerland.