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Surf manufacturers and retailers gather at Industry Boot Camp

The annual event featured seminars and roundtable discussions on a variety of apparel industry topics.

By Kylie MalstromPublished: October 31, 2011 07:45 AM

More than 135 surf-culture manufacturers and retailers last week gathered at the Hyatt Regency in Huntington Beach for this season’s Industry Boot Camp, which brings surf manufacturers and retailers together for educational seminars, roundtable discussions and networking.

Event seminars dealt with such topics as consumer research, sales, Web-search optimization, marketing and public relations.

The Boot Camp was co-presented by the Surf Industry Manufacturers Association (SIMA) and the Board Retailers Association (BRA). This is the third time SIMA and BRA have joined forces in the series.

“Today's SIMA and BRA Industry Boot Camp was truly valuable for the 50 surf manufacturing companies and shops participating,” said Doug Palladini, SIMA president and Vans’ VP of marketing. “Any time we can get retailers and manufacturers together for a day of shared learning, it's a positive thing.”

Kelly Gibson, president and CEO of Rip Curl USA, gave the keynote address, which was presented in a conversational format and moderated by Sean Smith, executive director of SIMA. Gibson offered insight on his goals for Rip Curl in the U.S. surf apparel market, his thoughts on the current state of the industry, and why he believes that events and athletes remain an integral part of a brand’s success.

“As far as the state of the surf industry goes, wow. People are going to laugh at me, but I think we are the strongest we’ve ever been,” said Gibson. … “The innovation I have seen in the sport of surfing in the last three to five years is probably the most I’ve ever seen, and I’ve never seen surfing progress at such a fast rate.”

Following Gibson’s address, the event offered six seminars:
• “Organic Search Strategy,” by Mark Lavoritano, account manager of SEER Interactive
• “Generation Why: An Interactive Consumer Panel Discussion,” by Alexis Kopikis, founder and president of Krush
• “Driving Offline Sales with Location-Based Social and Search Tactics,” by John Faris, director of cross-channel marketing of Red Door Interactive
• “A State of the Industry,” panel discussion led by Michael Tomson, founder of Gotcha
• “PR and the Media – Conveying Our Story to the Masses,” by Mike Lewis, editor-in-chief of TransWorld Business
• “Tips for Better Online Marketing Campaigns,” by Chris Di Cesare, head of creative programming at Google

“Industry Boot Camp has become an invaluable event for retailers and manufacturers to address our biggest challenges as an industry,” said Coco Tihanyi, BRA co-chairperson and owner of Surf Diva Boutique. “This collaboration also yields innovative ideas that can change how we do business. I'm completely inspired.”

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