February 21, 2020

“If you’re not interested in doing business, what are you even doing here?!” - Our experience at ISPO 2020

by Levin Pablo

Earlier this year the AERVIDEO team got to spend a couple of days at the sports fair ISPO in Munich. We had a small booth and were able to present AER to a myriad of different and very interesting people. While we were enjoying great conversations and the general spirit of ISPO, a distributor approached us and started talking about re-selling our products. Although we’re honoured whenever people see potential in AER and want to work with us, at this point in time, we’re not interested in retail or wholesale. As we’ve done in the past years, we much rather sell directly to our customers through our own webshop, without any middlemen. Hence, we respectfully declined his request, briefly explaining our situation. He seemed very surprised by that answer and started pushing further and talking about prices. We again declined, explaining to him that for us it’s really not just about the financial details, we’re simply not interested in reselling our AERs. He looked at me in disbelief and asked: “If you’re not interested in doing business, what are you even doing here?”. This remark got me thinking about our reasoning to go to ISPO and why we’re definitely joining again next year.

For a small startup like ours, visiting a fair like the ISPO is a significant financial investment which needs to be justified. From a strictly financial point of view, this might be difficult. However, there’s more to life than money. Here are our top 5 reasons why we look back at ISPO as a huge success.

1 — We met Sarah!

Back in summer of 2019, Sarah started to support us with our social media channels and content creation. While Arne and myself currently work from our headquarters in Germany, she lives and works over 2700 kilometers away in Lebanon. We communicate almost daily and see each other in video calls at least once a week, but we had never actually met in person. We are true believers in the concept of remote work, but we also know how important it is to have good relationships with our co-workers and a healthy company culture. We believe that great products and therefore great companies stem from great people which is why we value our relationships with them, so it was about time we met Sarah in person! ISPO was the perfect opportunity to invite Sarah to visit us in Germany. Getting to know her face-to-face was a blast. We instantly connected and also talked about a lot of things outside of work — something we rarely do when working remotely. This strengthened our relationship immensely and will tremendously benefit our company in the long run.

2 — The people of the Longboard Embassy

Our booth was part of the ‘Longboard Embassy’, a collective of people all about boardsports, organised by the ‘Ministry of Stoke’. Imagine a community of athletes, brands and action-sports enthusiasts coming together to celebrate the sport and the culture and lifestyle that goes along with it. Within the Longboard Embassy, it’s not all about business but much rather the passion everyone shares with the sport. Common questions asked within the Longboard Embassy are not “Which business do you represent?” or “How high is your yearly revenue” but rather “Hey, do you ride goofy or regular?” or “Did you already check out the surfskate?”. This community is so much more than money or business, vibes are great here and we are very proud to have been a part of a community which exists and thrives for all the right reasons and up and foremost, the shared love and dedication for the sport.

3 — Face-to-face interaction with our customers

Being able to sell our products worldwide through our online shop is amazing and allows small brands like ours to exist. However, by only selling online, we rarely ever get to see our customers in person, which is a bummer. At ISPO, people came curiously to our booth — sometimes almost confused — when they saw us throwing AER around. When we then started interacting with them and started telling them that there’s actually a camera inside AER, their faces startled — an amazing feeling for us that we rarely get to experience. We got all kinds of reactions from “How cool is that?!” to “WTF, you guys are crazy!”. These emotional reactions are priceless and something we’re definitely missing online, where we often only talk about analytical things like bounce rates or conversion optimization. Giving people the option to actually try AER out for themselves and seeing their excitement motivates us and reminds us what a cool and awesome product we have.

4 — Inspiration

Luckily, this year at ISPO our team was big enough so that we could take turns and actually spent some time checking out the rest of the trade show. ISPO is huge and it often feels like there is an infinite amount of booths with brands showing off all kinds of new things. It was very inspiring to see so many genius innovations and new products. Just taking a stroll through one of the exhibition halls, one automatically starts thinking about potential new products.

5 — The parties

Yeah, they’re pretty epic.

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