OIA Conference & AGM 2019 Round-Up

Over 160 delegates from all aspects of the outdoor industry gathered together at this year’s OIA Conference and AGM at Shrigley Hall, Cheshire. It was another successful year which saw a fantastic range of keynote presentations and inspirational talks from the likes of Daniel Raven-Ellison (London City Park), Liz McMahon (Madison Muir Group) and explorer Ben Saunders.

The interactive breakout sessions included Andy Atkins of Resonant, Phillipp Grüntker and Jonas Wand from the Foursource Group, David Judge and Lee Isherwood of Cornershop.Design and Gordon Young from Sheffield Hallam University who gave delegates an insight into various aspects of business.

One of the highlights of the conference was the thought-provoking ‘Pass on Plastic’ panel discussion chaired by AS Adventure Chairman, Frédéric Hufkens with, Seonaid Lafferty, Kieran Miles and Scott Nelson on the extremely contentious issue of single-use plastic.

The conference started with a number of physical outdoor activities on the Wednesday morning that also went down a storm, quite literally as unfortunately, ‘Storm Gareth’ decided to hit the event at the same time. However, those who were committed to attend, embraced the conditions and enjoyed a choice of mountain-biking and road cycling led by OIA members British Cycling, a 10k run with Chris Lines and a leisurely countryside walk with sponsors Ordnance Survey.

The success of the conference was echoed by attending delegates who provided positive comments and feedback.

Nick Giles, MD Consumer of Ordnance Survey, ‘The OIA conference, aside from being a great time to form and nurture connections across the industry is an engaging, insightful and productive event. I’d defy anyone to not leave the conference with at least a few great nuggets of information that will help shape their organisations over the coming year. For me this is a must-attend event and further demonstrates the significant benefits of OIA membership.’

Tony Hawkins, Director of Exotogg, ‘This was my first OIA conference, and I was impressed with the organisation that had gone into it. Everything ran smoothly, the speakers were relevant, polished, and interesting, the other delegates were friendly and well-connected. In fact, the whole event was hugely beneficial to me at this stage, as I try to build contacts in a new industry. I hope to see you at the next one!’

Andrew Shand, CEO of Helinox, ‘I came to hear some new and thought-provoking content about our industry- and I wasn’t disappointed.’

Ralph White, MD of Rosker, ‘It was really encouraging to see more independent retailers at this year’s conference. This is a great thing to encourage more of and if you look back in time has always been a keen focus of the OIA. This year we began to see what I hope is the start of something even better. Andrew was in great form and his 5-minute summary of Brexit was the sharpest and best explanation I have heard so far.’

Paul Trepte MD of Trekitt, ‘As an independent retailer we found the OIA conference an ideal opportunity to network with business leaders and brand representatives from across the industry. It’s only when you stick your head out from the trench and have a good look around, can you get a true sense of perspective about the outdoor industry as a whole.’

Jake Doxat MD of Montane, ‘Once again I found the conference to be a very worthwhile blend between mixing with my customers, peers and competitors in a relaxed environment; and some thought-provoking nuggets of inspiration from the speakers.’