From t9 to Emoji
The first KNOWSHOW took place from February 12 - 14, 2006. The event came together quickly following the previous spring/summer buying season. In a matter of months, Ben, Nick & I added (what is now known as) a side hustle to our existing roles of selling and making clothes for skate and snowboard shops and the burgeoning cadre of lifestyle boutiques popping up in the pre-recessionary retail landscape of the early '00s.
All of our lives were quite different back then. Some folks were still slumming around with Tom on MySpace, though most of us weren't on Facebook yet, Twitter didn't exist, and Instagram wouldn't be around for almost 4 more years. YouTube was brand new, yet to be integrated into Google, and I'm quite positive that you weren't watching it on your old Nokia 6023 or Blackberry Pearl.
The fax machine was a Sales rep's best friend and being online generally meant that you were waiting for a chairlift, and while Amazon was around, it had yet to turn its disruptive gaze towards the stable and growing infrastructure of brick and mortar retail.
All that said, one of the foundational reasons we started the show remains unchanged. This country is big. And spread out. And when it comes to buying, no matter how much technology changes our ability to see products, nothing compares to seeing them in person.
You can't feel the hand of a garment, the weight of the fabric, see the real shade of the colour, or the detail on the hem. You can't see the shape of the toe, the flex of the board, or how buttery the binding straps clip into place. For an industry so intertwined with quality, aesthetic, and design, seeing the product in person can mean the difference from loading up on a winner, or eating margin on a dud.
So while we've traded fax machines for order platforms, t9 texts for emojis, standing in line to living online, and side-hustles for career paths, 15 years later, hosting the industry under one roof still inspires us. We're proud to gather the people and products that make our industry run and look forward to seeing what is coming next. 2020 marks 15 years of putting on the KNOWSHOW, and we are excited to be celebrating with you all throughout the year!