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Specialty Retailers and the Board Sports Lifestyle
Surf | Skate | Snow | SUP | Wake

“How to Create One Connected System for your Retail Store” by RICS Software (BRA Supporting Vendor Partner)

As businesses grow, the importance of system integration grows with it. Without it, you lose time and money. System integration is connecting software applications allowing them to talk to each other and act as one coordinated platform. Top retailers have found ways to connect their store to their stockroom, ecommerce, and available inventory from the brands they sell, creating one system of record that does it all. As you think of your retail business, how many different software or manual applications do you use?  Are they working together or working against you? Where are the opportunities to integrate your technology? Here are a few ideas on where to begin: ECommerce – Connect your ecommerce platform to your POS. With ecommerce sales driving growth for most small businesses, it’s imperative your POS and ecommerce platform communicate to one another in real time.Payments – Don’t let payment processing be a point of friction in your sales process. Establish an integrated payment processing feature to remove unnecessary fees, steps at check out, and save you time. Plus, customers get a simpler, better, and faster touchless checkout.Ordering – Eliminate pains when placing orders by finding a solution that integrates with your supplier’s system to automatically add, edit, delete, or share product information. A real-time connection will ensure you are accurately seeing product data and availability.Marketing – Use customer data to drive your marketing outreach by connecting your customer database to your marketing tools.  Create personalized email campaigns or manage your customer loyalty program knowing your customer data is accurate and always up to date. Establishing the right integrations allows you to build one... read more

“Retailers Must Find a Way to Keep Pace With Emerging Instagram, TikTok Trends” by Adrien Nussenbaum via Total Retail

In December 2020, a Scottish mailman named Nathan Evans uploaded a video to TikTok singing a 19th Century sea shanty called “Wellerman.” Within days, his rendition of a more-than-200-year-old song was shared worldwide, leading to countless online collaborations, features on late-night shows, and finally a three-album record contract. I’m a father of two daughters who do a good job of updating me on online sensations, but even I was taken aback by the speed and scope of “ShantyTok,” as the trend was dubbed. The rate at which these trends are emerging, exploding and being monetized is accelerating dramatically. For retailers, this change in pace of play requires an unprecedented emphasis on speed and agility. The increasing speed of retail trends is directly related to the media on which they’re emerging. While previous fads evolved out of longer viral videos, today’s TikTok videos and Instagram reels are comparatively bite-sized. When content creators are challenged to hold their audience’s attention over a span of 15 seconds to 30 seconds, they’re forced to introduce new material on a weekly or even daily basis. Consider these two features on TikTok fashion from Seventeen and People: published less than three months apart, there’s only one item in common between the two lists. If you’re an online retailer, how do you stay afloat in this rapidly changing environment? Or better yet, find a way to profit off of it? Related story: 3 Key Takeaways for Marketplaces in a Post-Pandemic World 1. Keep your finger on the pulse of emerging must-have products. Many retail executives would prefer not to spend their time refreshing Instagram feeds. However, some degree of investment in observation... read more

“Why Retailers Should Display Christmas Merchandise Before Halloween” by Bob Phibbs (The Retail Doctor)

Why do retailers put out Christmas merchandise before Halloween? Because customers buy it. It’s that time of the year … Time for the leaves to change and drop… Corn mazes to sprout up… Pumpkin spice lattes… and the perennial favorite of writers everywhere…Christmas creep. “I can’t believe they already have Christmas stuff out and it’s not even Halloween.” Y-A-W-N. Oh, excuse me, I suppose I should be in the camp that talks about “the good old days” from the movie A Christmas Story when shoppers would admire retailers’ windows during the annual Christmas parade. Or maybe I should extol Nordstrom again because they won’t put up decorations until Thanksgiving Day. Sorry, but there is one basic reason all retailers should do this. Wallets. Most customers have a mental budget of what they will spend for the holidays; for decorations, for gifts for the family, for the teachers/coaches, for the office – the works. The sooner those customers have spent money earmarked for gift-giving, the less they will spend when it comes to the traditional time to think about buying holiday gifts. Deloitte forecasts that 2021 holiday retail sales: Will increase between 7% and 9%. Overall will total $1.28 to 1.30 Trillion. E-commerce sales will grow by 11% to 15%, year-over-year. E-commerce holiday sales are expected to reach between $210 billion and $218 billion this holiday season, compared to $189 billion last season. And Forbes reported that ICSC, the leading shopping center and mall industry organization, predicts that end of year sales will jump by 8.9% over 2020. And that’s the opportunity for all merchants to put out the Christmas merchandise now. This isn’t something new but it is something smaller... read more

“If you missed the BRA Retailer Roundtable Panel Discussion at Surf Expo, you can view it and other relevant and helpful educational webinars right here” by BRA + Management One

Concerns about the delta variant contributed to store traffic declines in July, combined with some signs that consumer confidence is wavering. The outlook for business in Q4 is nowhere near certain. In this Board Retailers Association (BRA) Retailer Roundtable panel discussion, the panelists speak about how these factors are affecting independent retailers plans for holiday selling this year. In addition, the panel explored and shared current pricing practices that have increased operating margins in their stores as well as significant staffing challenges. These competitive pricing and staffing strategies can be implemented in your store immediately. This remarkable panel was moderated by George Leichtweiss (BRA Chairman and owner of Modern Skate & Surf) and included Paul Erickson (Director and Senior Retail Consultant at BRA Supporting Vendor Partner Management One), Bruce Cromartie (BRA Board Member and Owner of BC Surf & Sport) and Doug Works (BRA Executive Director and former retailer). Push play to view this remarkable BRA Retailer Roundtable Panel Discussion from Surf Expo – 9 21 Massive thanks to Jesse of Podium (BRA Supporting Vendor Partner) for introducing their remarkable retail resource and sponsoring this outstanding event. Learn more about Podium in the following article: BRA Podium 4 Ways Article The video above serves as the 2021 3rd Quarterly BRA + Management One Webinar. At the end of the each Quarter, Board Retailers Association hosts relevant and helpful quarterly webinars on a variety of topics in collaboration with BRA Supporting Vendor Partner Management One. Push play to view the 2nd Quarterly BRA + Management One Webinar of 2021 Push play to view the 1st Quarterly BRA + Management One Webinar of... read more

“THE 27TH ANNUAL TAMPA PRO is underway plus link to view the Finals as well as the 2020 Pro Contest” via

Skatepark of Tampa (BRA Distinguished Retail Member)* is back with the the most historic contest in skateboarding. Whether you’ll be coming to SPoT to experience the stoke first hand, or keeping it virtual and tuning in to the world’s best webcasts from home, we are happy to have you with us!  TAMPA PRO LIVE WEBCASTSATURDAY AND SUNDAYOCTOBER 16TH & 17THWATCH LIVE ONSPOTTAMPA.COM Push play to view the Finals of Tampa Pro 2021 It’s Finals day of the 27th Annual Tampa Pro. Find out which of the world’s best skateboarders will be adding their name to the legendary list of winners, ranging from Mike Vallely in 1995 to Nyjah Huston in 2020. Push play to view Tampa Pro 2020 LOCATION Skatepark of Tampa4215 E. Columbus Drive, Tampa, FL 33605 SCHEDULE FRIDAY – OCTOBER 15 9:00am – Doors OpenRegistration and Open PracticeSkating reserved for pros only11:00am – Team Manager / Industry V.I.P. ContestOpen to team managers, retired pros (for at least 5 years), and company ownersDisclaimer: There’s no age limit but if you’re obviously way too good, the judges probably won’t let you win4:00pm – 5:00pm – Open Bar Courtesy of PBR and Monster Energy (for 21 and over, must have valid ID, and while supplies last)10:00pm – Park closes SATURDAY – OCTOBER 16 Watch the live webcast at – 12PM EST 9:00am – Doors Open / Open PracticeSkating reserved for pros only12:00pm – Street QualifiersTwo, one-minute runs, best run countsTop 30 advance to Semi-FinalsTop 2 qualifiers get Straight Shot directly to FinalsPrevious Tampa Pro winners are prequalified to Semi-Finals4:00pm – 5:00pm – Open Bar Courtesy of PBR and Monster Energy (for 21 and over, must... read more

“How Retailers Can Teach Empathy for De-Escalation” by Derek Belch via Total Retail

Retailers and consumers alike had just started to feel hopeful about a post-pandemic future a mere few weeks ago. However, with the COVID-19 Delta variant quickly becoming a concern, retailers across the country have made the move to reinstate mask mandates indoors. Unsurprisingly, this latest round of mask mandates has come with mounting tensions. Many store associates have found themselves in very uncomfortable, and sometimes violent encounters with disgruntled customers, with facemasks continuing to pose a controversial debate. As such, with the onus sitting squarely on the shoulders of front-line employees to outline and enforce these mask mandates, many businesses are looking at proactive measures to help train and prepare workers for potentially highly charged customer encounters. Preparing Our People With Empathy Training During these challenging times, customer-facing employees will be looking for guidance on best practices and reassurance on how to handle potentially tense situations with customers. Signals must come from the top, emphasizing the importance of being confident and prepared with the skills needed to de-escalate stressful interactions. It often comes down to the ability to show empathy to those experiencing stress or anxiety. However, this typically doesn’t come naturally and requires proper training. This is why empathy training is key for giving front-line associates the tools to prepare for what they’re likely to face, such as what Walmart is doing with its beKIND program meant for teaching and measuring empathy in customer service. Customer-facing employees can benefit immensely by being able to embody the feelings of an anxious guest or customer. Through realistic, immersive training modalities, learners can better understand a customer’s point of view, whether or not they agree, in order... read more

“Pandemic-related delays force retailers to tweak holiday messages” by Arriana McLymore and Siddharth Cavalevia via

NEW YORK, Oct 12 (Reuters) – Season’s greetings from your favorite retailer come with a 2021-style postscript. That gift you want to get for your loved one? It may be out of stock. And the hot toy? It may not arrive in time for Christmas. Americans collectively are expected to spend as much as $1.3 trillion this holiday season, up from $1.19 trillion in 2020, according to Deloitte. But retailers are bracing for inventory shortfalls, as well as scarce labor at ports, driver shortages, rising warehouse expenses and higher prices. So they are encouraging shoppers to open their wallets early this year, inducing fear by highlighting what retailers describe as “supply chain challenges,” “longer delivery times” and “lower inventories,” in marketing materials. Surf- and skateboard-wear retailer Zumiez Inc’s (ZUMZ.O) website features a banner that reads: “Don’t let out-of-stock items and shipping delays screw up your plans.” The mall-based retailer primarily sources merchandise from Asia, Mexico and Central America. It did not immediately return messages seeking comment. Nordstrom (JWN.N), which typically brings in about 20% of its merchandise from China, on Thursday sent a holiday marketing email to customers citing “global supply chain challenges” that they said would likely put a damper on holiday shopping plans. “We’re anticipating that the hottest gifts may sell out on our site and that shipping could take longer than we’d all like,” Nordstrom President Peter Nordstrom and CEO Erik Nordstrom said in a joint emailed message to customers. Nordstrom declined to comment. In surveys by consulting firms, some shoppers have previously said they are concerned about stock availability and even that they already noticed empty shelves as far... read more

“DC Shoes is proud to present, ‘THIS TOO SHALL PASS’, a short documentary about mental health issues in the skateboarding community.” – be sure to share this important video with your customers

Push play to view this important video Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always. DC Shoes is proud to present, “THIS TOO SHALL PASS”, a short documentary about mental health issues in the skateboarding community. DC team rider, John Gardner, opens up about his own mental health struggles as he experienced suicidal thoughts and depression over the years. John talks about how he uses meditation, breathing and skateboarding to help heal from depression. The documentary also features Andrew Huberman, Professor of Neurobiology and Ophthalmology at Stanford School of Medicine, providing some amazing insight into how we can help ourselves and each other on a daily basis. John also curated a limited zine that includes facts on mental health, self-care, breathing techniques and other tools that can be useful for anyone suffering from depression. Check the link below to read the digital zine and more. Link:… For anyone battling issues with mental health or having thoughts of suicide, please know that you are not alone. You are loved – and there are resources available to provide support. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) Follow DC Shoes: Website: Instagram: @dcshoes TikTok: @dcshoes Facebook: View this important video on Thrasher via the following link: JENKEM – John Gardner’s Tips for Building Up Your Mental Health View another important article featuring Andrew Huberman via the following link: If you like fun and intelligent skateboarding related articles, be sure to visit and bookmark: Jenkem Mag If you are not yet a BRA Retail Member, you can easily opt in to either Regular (no... read more

“The Best Advice I Can Give Retailers Right Now” by Dan Jablons of Retail Smart Guys

It would be easy to start this article by talking about how we’ve all been through the craziest times in our lives.  But you already know that.  I could also talk about how challenging things can be now, with the extreme difficulties in the supply chain causing many to struggle to keep up with increasing demand.  On top of all that, we’re dealing with mask mandates and all kinds of political noise that affects retail.  But you know about that too, and you’re already navigating that. So let’s get down to something important.  In times like these, the winners are those that can become hyper-focused on the truly important things.  It’s very easy to get distracted by the problems that exist in our industry, to throw up your hands and just hope that things work out.  You could do that, but you’re also better than that. At this moment in time, my most successful clients are focused on 2 things, and 2 things only: Their customers and their inventory.  It could be argued that staying hyper-focused on those 2 things has always been the key to retail success, and that’s true.  That said, it’s especially true today, given everything I wrote in the first paragraph, the fundamentals of focus are more important today than ever before. But how do you do that?  The nature of our business is such that there seems to never be enough time to get everything done, and lots of small details seem to block our ability to focus on the things we want to focus on.  There is only one path out of this. ... read more

“To Meet Customers’ In-Store Expectations, Retailers Must Master ‘Phygital’ Experiences” by Jaime Betancourt via Total Retail

Credit: Getty Images by bernard bodo Distance makes the heart grow fonder, sure. But it can also create romanticized expectations that are near impossible to meet. While there’s certainly a lot to miss about physical shopping, it’s possible some consumers have built up the retail experience in their head to the point where it will be hard for stores to deliver. To use another adage about human nature, people want what they cannot have. During the last 18 months, when in-person shopping was not possible, or at the least, not the same, some consumers yearned for classic brick-and-mortar moments more than ever. So, what happens now that consumers can visit stores again, and how about long term, when the pandemic is at last behind us? Retailers have no choice but to REALLY deliver on the core benefits of physical shopping — the joy of discovery, getting to touch and feel a product, the potential for immediate gratification, and the social aspect, whether that’s spending time with a loved one or connecting with a stranger. They must understand shoppers’ sentimental longing for normalcy, while continually innovating to reflect expectations for convenience and personalization. Otherwise, stores will have sorely disappointed shoppers on their hands. Building the Bionic Beings of Retail There’s a famous TV show from the ’70s called “The Six Million Dollar Man” about a former astronaut named Steve Austin, played by actor Lee Majors. After a flight accident, Austin is rebuilt with bionic implants and becomes better, stronger and faster. It makes me think about in-person retail experiences. The pandemic was our flight accident. Now it’s time to rebuild,... read more

“Key Industry Surf Shops Impacted by Oil Spill” by Tiffany Montgomery via Shop Eat Surf

Workers cleaning oil that washed ashore on Corona Del Mar State Beach Wednesday – Photo courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard The oil spill in Orange County that has closed beaches in Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, Laguna Beach, and Dana Point is not only a crisis for the environment, it also could have a major impact on important industry stores and other businesses in the area. “This is an ecological and economic crisis for the city of Huntington Beach,” said Aaron Pai, the owner of Huntington Surf & Sport on Main Street. “I feel for all the animals and businesses affected.” Last weekend, Huntington Beach was packed due to the Pacific Air Show, which draws thousands of people to the beach to watch the planes perform off the coast. HSS was a sponsor of the event, which ended up being cancelled on Sunday, the last day of the show. “We had to navigate through COVID, and now we’ll have to navigate through this,” Aaron said. The spill has also cancelled this weekend’s City of Huntington Beach Surf Contest, which HSS was also sponsoring. The only good news is that the spill didn’t happen in the height of summer, Aaron said. Huntington Beach also just hosted the WSL’s U.S. Open of Surfing at the end of September. “Thank God it didn’t happen during the U.S. Open,” said Bobby Abdel, a partner at Jack’s Surfboards, whose flagship store is directly across from the beach in Huntington. “Can you imagine?” Jack’s has already noticed a drop in traffic as people avoid Huntington Beach because of the spill and the negative publicity. “There’s no... read more

“Just How Much Does Music Change the Way We View Surfing?” by Juan Hernandez via The Inertia

That headline was a rhetorical question. Of course music impacts our viewing of surf videos. A lot. In fact, music doesn’t just have an effect on how we view surfing, a guy like Quentin Tarantino would argue music completely controls how we feel about anything watched on film. And he’s pretty good at making films. Music is an integral piece in the storytelling experience and surf flicks are no exception. Cue Brad Jacobson, a videographer and filmmaker based in Los Angeles’ South Bay who doesn’t make your typical daily or weekly surf-porn vlog. He watches more footage each day than most of us can fathom after hours on end of watching our lineup habits and behavior through the lens of a camera. It leads him to ask questions like “Do average surfers have the most fun?” or “What’s up with all the weird faces we make while surfing?” They’re refreshing quips on things many of us notice in the everyday lineup but probably don’t actually talk about. Yes, that classic steel guitar leaves us yearning for the old days. Everything about surfing in the 1990s had a very specific and familiar sound. You can almost feel the paper-thin, 6’6″ thruster under your feet while picturing Kelly Slater with hair. Clown-car music and a wipeout reel? Makes sense. Ska? LET’S GO! Jacobson runs through an entire library of sounds here and looks for which types of waves and performance works for each. While we all know surfing is best (or at least most often) paired with certain genres, you probably haven’t taken the time to watch the same two or three clips paired with six different genres, back to back. It’s a... read more


To some skaters out there, filming might seem like a pretty simple task. First, you have to buy a half-decent camera with a fisheye, and then all you really have to do is keep the skater in the frame and make sure the colors aren’t too blown out. Easy, right? Maybe, but when you start to really focus on the technique, you start to see there’s a big difference between the regular Joes and skateboarding’s elite filmers. To shine some light on the real lens tacticians out there, we’ve compiled a list of some standout maneuvers that filmers have pulled off that others couldn’t (or wouldn’t) for the sake of keeping themselves and their camera safe. Feel free to bitch and moan in the comments about what clips we forgot to include. BRIAN PANEBIANCO – SABOTAGE X DC Philadelphia is a city of history. From the founding fathers to Rocky Balboa to the DC team, Philly has seen it all. In the new Sabotage x DC video, Brian Panebianco kicks off his own part by doing a Varial Heel while filming Kevin Bilyeu at Muni. Everything about it oozes a calculated maneuver that might be the coolest most nonchalant thing a filmer has ever done; baggy sweatpants, bulky Lynxes, and a somehow perfectly caught varial heel. This clip was good enough to earn Brian his place in Boil The Ocean’s “Filmers Who Rip on the Board Hall of Fame” and a spot on this list. JACOB HARRIS – ATLANTIC DRIFT: TOM KNOX Everybody remembers this part because Tom Knox performs some of the smoothest skating on some of the roughest ground. But Jacob Harris’ filming often goes... read more

“A ship anchor hooking the pipeline may have caused the California oil spill, preliminary report says” by Madeline Holcombe, Eric Levenson, Amir Vera and Cheri Mossburg via CNN plus relevant letter from SIMA President

(CNN) An anchor hooking an oil pipeline may have caused the Southern California spill that spewed more than 100,000 gallons of oil into the Pacific Ocean, the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration said in a notice to operation owner Amplify Energy. “The pipeline has essentially been pulled like a bow string. And so at its widest point is about 105 feet away from where it was. So it is kind of an almost a semicircle,” Amplify Energy CEO Martyn Willsher said at a press conference Tuesday.There is no confirmation of a vessel above the site of the spill, but a response team is working with other agencies to determine whether a ship was in the area, said Capt. Rebecca Ore, the commanding officer at US Coast Guard Sector Los Angeles-Long Beach. Photo: Oil spill in Southern California Workers with Patriot Environmental Services clean up some of the oil that flowed into the Talbert Marsh in Huntington Beach, California. Earlier Tuesday, authorities said a 4,000-foot section of the pipeline was displaced laterally about 105 feet and had a 13-inch split that was likely the source of the spill.The discovery explains the likely source of a spill, widely reported Saturday, of as much as 144,000 gallons of crude oil about five miles off the coast of Huntington Beach. The spill has shut down prized beaches, damaged the environment and presented possible health hazards for local residents.Authorities investigating the leak also sought Tuesday to clarify the timeline of when authorities and the pipeline company learned about the spill and what they did in response. A strong gasoline odor. Plumes of oil. And now... read more

“Mobile retail aspires to attain food truck-like popularity” by Tom Ryan via Retail Wire

Mobile retail is at the early experimental phase of development, but operators are looking to achieve the same level of acceptance as food trucks have achieved in the restaurant space. The Lovesac Company, the home furnishing brand known for its adaptable Sactionals couches, just launched Mobile Concierge in the Seattle and Washington, D.C. areas. Customers schedule a visit from the van and, inside, receive live demonstrations, see the latest innovations, touch and feel fabric cover options, and design their own Sactionals setup to fit their space and style. Mobile Concierge builds on the growing use of showroom and virtual appointments, as well as interactive Facebook Live demos over the last year. “We wanted to create a new way for customers to shop our products, free from the stress of busy shopping centers and limited parking,” said Shawn Nelson, Lovesac CEO and founder, in a statement. “We decided to bring the showroom right to the customers’ home with a one-on-one, tailored shopping experience. Santa, created by former Wework veterans, recently debuted in Texas with two trucks canvassing Plano and Frisco. The trucks offer a weekly-rotating range of fashion, beauty, tech, home décor and gifts with a focus on locally-made. The initial idea was to offer front door exchanges to eliminate the hassle of online returns, but Santa’s mobile trucks also enable customers to try on clothing and see how décor looks in their homes before purchasing. Customers see the merchandise on the Santa app and are notified when the truck will be in their area. “Santa is an attempt to create a new kind of physical store that moves around and... read more

“When Retailers Mistake Their Most Important Asset As A Cost” by Bob Phibbs (The Retail Doctor)

For years we’ve heard that employee expenses are driving retail profit margins down; as a result, labor hours were cut. That meant shoppers were more likely not to see anyone working in a store, that they most likely would have to wait for assistance, and would have to wait in line to pay. That led customer service levels down across the board and still today it is pummeling retail traffic across the world. Many retailers see their retail employees as a cost center, the opposite of an asset. They are something to be minimized. That’s why, to keep down the expense, they try to get away with the minimum needed to cover the floor. And that’s a mistake. Brian Field, Senior Director at ShopperTrak, notes, “The more you cut your labor hours, the better your labor looks.” But there’s a problem with that and that’s why ShopperTrak advises clients to instead measure using shopper to associate ratio. That number can go up or down, depending on the level of service that a brand is intending to provide. The lower the shopper to associate ratio you want to have, the better trained your employees must be. You can’t say customers are the major focus of your business and then provide three-person coverage on a busy Saturday. But it’s not just employees you need to value as an asset, it’s their training. A friend of mine related an experience her son had while working at a Michelin-rated restaurant in New York. To keep their rating stars, they are mystery-dined each year. There are separate ratings for food and service. Last year this restaurant received a 93 on the... read more

“A Rock Star’s Next Act: Making Montana a Skateboarding Oasis” by Jim Robbins via The New York Times

Photographs by Todd Heisler  BROWNING, Mont. — This is not the Montana where the wealthy are building ski-in and ski-out mansions or refurbishing a trout stream on a new ranch. Browning is the capital of the Blackfeet Nation, where the rolling, grass-covered high plains collide with a steel-gray wall of snow-dappled mountains on the Rocky Mountain Front just south of the Canadian border. This is also a new capital of world-class skateboarding, and a nearly 13,000-square-foot, $300,000 skate park called Thunder Park. It was paid for by the Montana Pool Service — a name in reference to the large bowl at the center of a skate park — a foundation funded and operated by Jeff Ament. Yes, that Jeff Ament — the bass guitarist and a founder of Pearl Jam. He’s seven years into his self-appointed mission to bring high-end skate parks to every city and town in Montana that will have one. Ament has paid for, or helped pay for, 27 skate parks, most of them in Montana. He has also helped build three on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Three more are planned for reservations in Montana and South Dakota, including one at Wounded Knee. “It’s much bigger than skateboarding,” Ament said. “You are teaching kids to get up when they fall.” “If you are in an isolated rural area or you come from a broken home you are going to fall a lot.” A clue to his skateboard philanthropy is found in the angsty and melancholic lyrics of Pearl Jam’s music. “I gotta bomb in my temple that is gonna explode,” the band sang... read more


Square and TikTok announced a new integration that will make it easy for sellers of all types and sizes to reach new customers and grow their sales online. Square x TikTok enables sellers to send fans directly from TikTok videos, ads, and shopping tabs on their profiles to products available in their existing Square Online store, providing a streamlined shopping experience that retains the look and feel of their personal brand. To take advantage of these powerful new commerce features from TikTok, TikTok For Business users can now quickly and easily set up a free, fully integrated Square Online store and start selling right away. Jessica Thompson (@beejoyfuljess), owner of the Bee Joyful Shop, a zero-waste and sustainable living shop in Dexter, Michigan said that the Square x TikTok integration has helped her reach new customers in a new, and lucrative market. “TikTok is huge right now and only continuing to grow. With Square x TikTok we’re able to quickly and easily feature our products in our TikTok content and seamlessly direct buyers to our Square Online store,” she said. “We’re really excited to give fans an easier way to shop, directly from the platform where they’re already spending their time.” With a billion monthly active users, TikTok is one of the world’s fastest growing social media platforms. Reaching this audience provides sellers with a valuable opportunity, especially as the lines between entrepreneurship, content creation, and commerce continue to blur. With Square x TikTok, sellers are able to grow their business by running ads using TikTok Ads Manager, sync their existing item catalog to TikTok for inclusion in curated shopping tabs on their profiles, and include... read more

“Analysts throw cold water on the great DTC pivot” by Ben Unglesbee via Retail Dive

image courtesy of Daphne Howland/Retail Dive Dive Brief: As brands large and small try to capture more margin by selling directly to consumers, analysts with BMO Capital Markets question whether the strategy is truly more profitable.In a recent report, the analysts found that wholesale sales come with higher margins before taxes and interest than DTC sales. Moreover, shifts to DTC channels could translate into lower sales dollars overall even though brands capture more of the sales price for themselves. The BMO analysts wrote that “although revenue per item grows at DTC, the units lost by abandoning wholesale generally overwhelm the unit price lifts at DTC.” Dive Insight: Nike is doing it. Adidas is doing it. Crocs is doing it. Canada Goose, Vera Bradley and Michael Kors are doing it. Brands across the board have been expanding and prioritizing their direct channels, often to the detriment of retailers that rely on national brands to drive their own sales.  The strategy is based on the straightforward promise that brands can capture more of the sale price of a product and thus keep more of the profits. But the BMO report calls into question the formula that more DTC sales equal higher profits.  The analysts estimate that wholesale margins are about 1,000 basis points higher on average than those of DTC, prior to taxes and interest payments. The reasons for that are not really known with any certainty. The BMO analysts suggest a few theories, including that the scale of wholesale sales reduces the cost of goods sold and that wholesale sales boost the visibility of a brand.  For a brand, making DTC sales online is a costly venture compared to... read more

“5 Steps to Get Your Website in Shape for a Competitive Q4” by Jason Rosenbaum via Total Retail

Photo Credit: Getty Images With the holidays right around the corner, retail brands will be looking for ways to stand out in a crowded marketplace. They’ll have to look hard, because they’ll be facing unprecedented competition. Over the past year, many B-to-B-to-C businesses battered by the pandemic shifted their infrastructure to eliminate the middleman, creating the most saturated direct-to-consumer (D-to-C) market ever. The following strategies can help businesses succeed in such a highly competitive environment. 1. Prioritize customer experience through integrations and infrastructure. A great front-end experience is a must-have for any web retailer. Speed, performance, and stability are essential to keep visitors engaged, but that’s just for starters. Consumers expect a personalized, easy-to-use site and a seamless user experience (UX) that’s dynamic and relevant. The right digital partner can give even the newest of businesses a competitive advantage over bigger competitors that have been doing it for years. Focusing on customer experience and overall functionality of the website can not only help your company now, but set it up for success in the future. Ensure that the customer experience is as simple and intuitive as possible. 2. Strive for scalability and flexibility. Scalability and flexibility sound great, but it takes a solid technical platform and a lot of behind-the-scenes work to manage, monitor, and continually update everything that’s happening across a multitude of systems. For many companies the internal staff doesn’t have the time or advanced technical skills to do it on their own, especially as the business grows. It’s also a challenge to respond quickly to fast-paced, ever-evolving markets and customer demand. Scalability and flexibility must be baked... read more

“How To Fix The Fatal Mistake That’s Losing You Retail Customers” by Bob Phibbs (The Retail Doctor)

Online retailers and discounters have taken their toll on many brick-and-mortar stores. Macy’s, JC Penney, and Kohl’s have each closed locations, and Lord & Taylor closed all physical store locations. You might be worried that you are next, especially if you are seeing fewer customers walking into your store. The fatal mistake you can make in a retail store isn’t that you don’t have an app or a Big Data strategy. It isn’t that you don’t have an endless aisle of online products, magic mirror kiosks, or robots that talk. The fatal and most common mistake retailers make is staying beige, and that big mistake is losing them customers. When your store is beige, customers leave without any impression of your brand whatsoever. Shoppers are fickle and busy. They have too many places they can buy too much of the same thing. If you don’t make a remarkable impression, all traces of the visit to your store will have evaporated from your shoppers’ memory before they get in their car. The always-on consumer isn’t always on the search for stuff. But when they are looking for products you carry, they have to be able to remember you so they can come back to your store or website. You can’t just take customers for granted. I was in Des Moines recently and came across a store with “The Greatest Store In The Universe” emblazoned on the side of the building.  I had to go in. Once inside, I discovered all kinds of cheeky, urban, Made in Iowa merchandise such as greeting cards, notepads, sweatshirts, you get it. The store had about a dozen shoppers and you know what? The crew was... read more

“A Look Back: Dogtown and Z Boys” (mini documentary about the documentary) by Glen E. Friedman via Thrasher Mag

Dogtown and The Z Boys found an audience outside of the traditional skateboard community. Tony Alva, Peggy Oki, Stacy Peralta and more from the OG Zephyr scene break down why it worked and what was missing. Big Thanks to Glen E Friedman and Vans. Push play to watch this newly released documentary about Dog Town and Z Boys Dogtown and Z-Boys is a 2001 documentary film produced by Agi Orsi and directed by Stacy Peralta.[1] The documentary explores the pioneering of the Zephyr skateboard team in the 1970s (of which Peralta was a member) and the evolving sport of skateboarding. Using a mix of film of the Zephyr skateboard team (Z-Boys) shot in the 1970s by Craig Stecyk, along with contemporary interviews, the documentary tells the story of a group of teenage surfer/skateboarders and their influence on the history of skateboarding (and to a lesser extent surfing) culture. Dogtown and Z-Boys, narrated by Sean Penn, begins with the history of skateboarding in Southern California and how it had been strongly influenced by the surf culture in the surrounding areas of Santa Monica and Venice, nicknamed Dogtown.[2] Surf shop owners Jeff Ho, Skip Engblom, and Craig Stecyk established the Zephyr Skateboard Team with local teenagers from broken homes.[3] The sport of skateboarding continued to evolve as the Z-Boys continued to bring edgy moves influenced by surfing. During one of California’s record-breaking droughts, local backyard pools were emptied and became hotspots for these young skateboarders looking for places to skateboard.[2] The members of the Zephyr team gained notability and national attention when they competed in skateboard championships and started to receive media attention for their skills as young athletes. Testimonials and commentary provided by the members and founders of the Zephyr team combined with the rock-and-roll soundtrack and vintage footage... read more

“4 Ways to Power Touchless Retail with Text Messaging” by Podium (BRA Supporting Vendor Partner)

Companies from Amazon to Zoom are rethinking their customer experience in the post-COVID era. See how innovative retailers are responding with text-based messaging, touchless payments, and more. COVID-19 has completely transformed consumer behavior. 85% of consumers have chosen a new business because of pandemic friendly services and 86% say they expect businesses to be even more convenient after COVID-19 restrictions lift completely everywhere. It’s not surprising that 80% of consumers would like local businesses to continue offering curbside pickup options. Companies like Amazon, Doordash, and Netflix have also upped customers’ expectations for convenience. And retailers can meet these expectations with a few tips from the experts. In this session of the 2020 Total Retail Innovation Conference, Katie Osberg, Global Retail Partnerships Lead at Google, and Doug Regner, VP of Enterprise Sales at Podium, share four ways to power touchless retail with text messaging. Read on for the takeaways from this discussion: 1. Grow location reviews with text messaging.  89% of consumers begin their buying process with a search engine. Searches containing “near me” have grown 9x more popular since 2016. Google Map Pack chooses three businesses to highlight based on star ratings, number of reviews, and frequency of reviews. And 70% of clicks on a local search will happen in that map pack. In order to grow and optimize your online and local presence, you’ll need the help of reviews.  Follow these steps to get started: Check to see if you’re listed on Google My Business. If not, create a Google My Business accountVerify your businessEnter or update business informationPeriodically add or update information, especially relating to COVID hours, pickup services, etc.Generate reviews The most effective... read more

“Why raising minimum wage is no longer enough to draw in retail workers – Workers are not responding to these cues as they traditionally have. Why? Most retailers are using an outdated hiring playbook” by David Ritter and Conor Gaffney via Retail Dive

Editor’s note: The following is a guest post from David Ritter, a managing director, and Conor Gaffney, an associate in the consumer and retail group, at global professional services firm Alvarez and Marsal. They can be reached at and, respectively. Views are the authors’ own. It’s no secret that U.S. retailers have struggled immensely to fill employment gaps and maintain staffing levels as store traffic has returned in recent months. According to recent U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics, after significant growth in June — up by 67,000 — retail hiring flattened, then decreased in July (down 6,000) and August (down 29,000). At a macro level, the number of individuals employed by retail companies still sits about 300,000 workers below pre-pandemic levels, despite retailers’ increasingly desperate attempts to hire additional staff.     With the critical holiday season approaching, this strategic challenge — which already looks for all the world like a great reset — will be exacerbated by seasonal hiring efforts. In response, large retailers including CVS, Walgreens Boots Alliance and Walmart are all increasing their minimum wages to attract workers. Unfortunately, workers are not responding to these cues as they traditionally have, causing some companies to report that they will remain understaffed into the holidays. Why? For one main reason, most retailers are using an outdated hiring playbook — an approach with a critical lack in understanding of their current and future employees — and are, in turn, relying on the easiest lever in that playbook, minimum wage, in a misguided hope that staffing will eventually recover.     Why aren’t higher minimum wages the answer?   A recent study of retail associates by retail operations platform Zipline found that a significant... read more

“Will overstocking get retailers through the holidays?” by Tom Ryan via Retail Wire

Big box retailers are pulling forward orders earlier than normal and aggressively investing in core items as supply chain bottlenecks threaten to lead to empty shelves over the holiday season. In many cases, inventories are up double-digit percentage points compared to last year’s pandemic-depressed levels and also up over the same period in 2019. Target inventories at the close of the second quarter were up 26 percent year over year. John Mulligan, COO, told analysts Target’s inventories are “well-positioned” to drive holiday sales against record year-ago gains, although the situation is not optimal. “Our guests are still seeing empty shelves on some occasions,” he said. “In some of those situations, we’ve simply sold beyond our expectations, and our team is working quickly to secure additional quantities. In other cases, the vendors themselves are facing constraints in their ability to deliver product. And we’re collaborating with them to address these constraints together, securing as much product as possible on behalf of our guests.” Speaking last week at Goldman Sachs’ conference, Lowe’s CFO David Denton said the home improvement chain has placed bigger orders for high-demand items and its inventory position is in better shape than it was six to 12 months ago. At Best Buy, inventories at the second quarter’s end surged 55 percent year over year and 23 percent versus two years ago. CEO Corie Barry told analysts merchants worked strategically to bring in as much inventory as possible during the quarter with actions like acquiring additional transportation, pulling up product flow and adjusting store assortment based on availability. She said, “There will continue to be challenges, particularly as it relates to congested ports... read more

“New Social Commerce Tools Can Boost Businesses This Holiday Season” by Thibaud Clément via Total Retail

A breadth of new social commerce tools and features will make shopping online this holiday season look very different from years past. Throughout the past year, e-commerce has seen an enormous boom fueled by physical retail limitations and closures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. During this time, businesses have sought innovative ways to connect with customers through online experiences, and the growth of social commerce has played a key role in facilitating those efforts. Major social platforms, including Instagram and Twitter, are pushing new features to facilitate commerce directly within their platforms. For businesses to get the most out of their social media presence, they should be familiar with how each of these new tools, from integrated shopping posts to live shopping, can help grow their business this holiday season. Take Advantage of Social Commerce Social commerce provides some significant advantages compared to other methods of online retailing. For example, social media allows businesses to test how consumers will react to certain products or campaigns before having to spend a single dollar on ads. We can observe the successful use of social commerce in action by looking at Facebook’s ecosystem. Facebook Shops allows businesses to set up stores within both Facebook and Instagram. By following this route, companies can avoid redirecting consumers towards other websites, which can often distract or dissuade potential customers from completing their purchases. The seamless social commerce process provides consumers with a complete shopping experience integrated into their existing social media activities. This makes for a shopping experience that’s both easier and more personal for consumers, leading to increased sales. Social commerce makes the online... read more

“Watch Now: ‘The Curious Tales of Italo Ferreira – THE EPIC BIOPIC ABOUT THE 2019 WORLD CHAMP AND OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALIST IS FINALLY HERE’ by Surfer Mag

Trailer: The Curious Tales of Italo Ferreira (push play) Roughly 18 years ago, in a small fishing town located along the northeastern curve of Brazil, current World Champ and 2021 Olympic Gold Medalist Italo Ferreira first learned how to surf on a chunk of styrofoam. Since then, Ferreira’s subsequent rise to surf stardom and above-the-lip supremacy has made him one of the most recognizable faces in surfing–and, in typical Italo fashion, he’s showing no signs of slowing down. The World Champ’s life story–from his gromhood days in Baia Formosa to his most recent podium ascension in Japan–is told beautifully in “The Curious Tales of Italo Ferreira”, the brand-new documentary above, directed by Luiza De Moraes and scored by Ed Cortes. Filled with stories from his friends and family back home–and sprinkled generously with the spring-loaded surfing that’s made Ferreira so famous–the biopic above is not one to be missed. Click play to learn more about how Ferreira became one of the most talented surfers of all time. Click here to view the actual documentary: If you are not yet a BRA Retail Member, you can easily opt in to either Regular (no cost) or Distinguished ($99/yr.) Membership via this super simple join... read more

“SKATEBOARDING IS FASHION – NYFW, The Olympics, Pants, and ZZ Top” by Anthony Pappalardo of Artless Industria®

Last week, I attended a panel discussion celebrating the release of Kyle Beachy’s new title The Most Fun Thing: Dispatches from a Skateboard Life at the McNally Jackson Seaport book store in Manhattan. The panelists included Beachy, Jessica Edwards, Noah Johnson, Willy Staley, Alexis Sablone and moderator, Steve Rodriguez. Throughout the spirited discussion, two key topics emerged: The Olympics and pants. The latter has become an in-joke/trope of #SkateTwitter, spawning various threads, fit checks, and general discourse but as I left the event and walked through the Seaport I dug a bit deeper into the Olympics and Pants, talked into my phone as a form of notetaking, and now, the morning after the Met Gala, seems like the perfect time to discuss these events. This is how my New York Fashion Week began. The core idea of gawking at rich people and celebrities’ clothes is banal. In fact, most people who attend events during New York Fashion Week are not fashionable nor do they care about fashion. Several years ago I attended an event held in a SoHo storefront where ZZ Top performed sponsored by a whiskey brand. I noticed an older gentleman at the bar who—like most of the older people in attendance—was wearing a very ostentatious outfit. I did not care about his clothes as I was fairly sure it was James Goldstein, a businessman who attends 100 NBA games a year. Like Spike Lee, he’s a superfan but he doesn’t yell as much. I politely approached him and we talked about the Boston Celtics before I went outside to smoke a marijuana cigarette with some people... read more

“Remarkable new BRA Distinguished Retail Member benefit plus video showcasing outstanding new Supporting Vendor Partner” by Doug Works, Executive Director of Board Retailers Association

Push play to learn more about PartnerShip (BRA Supporting Vendor Partner) and how you can benefit BRA strives to be the definitive resource for active sport retailers and we’re always looking for ways to help your business be successful. We’re excited to announce a brand-new benefit available to BRA Distinguished Retail Members that will save you money by spending less on shipping. With the BRA Shipping Program, managed by PartnerShip®, you save 50% on FedEx Express and 30% on FedEx Ground. If you’re receiving inbound freight shipments from your vendors, you’ll also have access to competitive rates with UPS Freight, YRC Freight, XPO, and many others. To take advantage of this free benefit, enroll now. To learn more about the BRA Shipping Program, call PartnerShip at 800-599-2902 or email     If you are not yet a BRA Distinguished Retail Member, please complete the super simple join form (choose the Distinguished Retail Membership option).  Shortly after we receive your join form, we will email you an invoice with payment instructions for the $99 Annual Dues as well as the link to access the BRA Office Depot Preferential Pricing Program and summary of additional Supporting Vendor Partner benefits for BRA Retail Members. Once your payment is received, we will notify the good people at PartnerShip who will approve your enrollment and enable you to take advantage of the savings in a timely... read more

“Carissa Moore and Gabriel Medina Are Officially the 2021 World Champions – RECAPPING A HISTORIC DAY OF COMPETITIVE SURFING” by staff writer at Surfer Mag

After a historic day of competitive surfing at Lower Trestles yesterday, Carissa Moore and Gabriel Medina are officially your 2021 World Champions. The Rip Curl WSL Finals offered a new format to decide the final World No. 1s–and thanks to pumping conditions, it kept surf fans on their seats throughout each and every heat. To watch all of the day’s highlights, hit play above. And to read a full recap of Moore and Medina’s victories, continue reading the WSL’s presser below: Carissa Moore (HAW) and Gabriel Medina (BRA) are the undisputed 2021 World Surf League (WSL) Champions after defeating Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) and Filipe Toledo (BRA) today in their respective Title Matches at the Rip Curl WSL Finals. It was an exhilarating day of surfing at the first-ever, one-day winner-take-all event in pumping, six-to-eight foot south swell at Lower Trestles. Medina and Moore both entered the Rip Curl WSL Finals as World No.1, which gave them the advantage of a place in the best-of-three Title Match where the first surfer to win two out of three heats becomes the undisputed 2021 World Champion. Carissa Moore Wins 5th World TitleMoore came into the event as the reigning WSL Champion, World No. 1 and Olympic gold medallist and her victory marks the first time in her career that she has claimed back-to-back World Titles. Moore has been the most consistent surfer on Tour this season and is the only person to reach the Semifinals or better in all seven events. The five-time World Champion has finished 3rd or better at every CT event since the 2019 Margaret River Pro and 2021... read more

“15 Ways to Increase Retailers’ Profit Margins” by Bob Phibbs (The Retail Doctor)

Retailers’ profit margins have been more relevant than ever lately … It all started with curbside pickup, the only way many stores could sell their products during the Covid-19 pandemic. Now, some experts are suggesting retailers add similar programs: “You should really offer social shopping.”“Why don’t you ship and return for free?”“Can’t you deliver to trunk like Amazon?” This advice is well-intentioned but misinformed. If you’ve got the same resources as Amazon, Walmart, or Target, great! Add as many bells and whistles to your retail sales strategy as you like.  But if you’re anything like the retailers I know, you don’t have unlimited capital from stockholders. And programs like these take funding — additional costs you’ll have to compensate for elsewhere.  The truth is, improving your retailers’ profit margin is a two-step process: Step 1: Know your average profit margin (and a good margin to shoot for.) Don’t worry. I’ll make this process easy for you, even if you’re not a “numbers person.” Step 2: Implement my 15 proven ways to increase your retail profit margin — no complicated programs or freebies required.  Ready to get started? Good. Let’s dive in. What is retail margin? “If you don’t know your numbers, you don’t know your business.” – Marcus Lemonis So, what is retail margin? If you’re an accounting whiz, feel free to skip ahead. For the rest of us who could use a quick refresher on some bookkeeping fundamentals, here are the numbers you need to grow your business: Gross retail profit margin is the percent of revenue that remains after deducting the cost of goods sold. It doesn’t account for additional operating expenses... read more

“Shoppers returning to their earlier pandemic behaviors, research finds” by Daphne Howland via Retail Dive

kajakiki via Getty Images Dive Brief: Consumers are retrenching in the face of the delta variant of the coronavirus, with 20% “highly optimistic” about a return to normal, down from a third at the beginning of the summer, according to Numerator research. Nearly 60% are “very or somewhat concerned” about holiday plans being disrupted by the pandemic, Berkeley Research Group found.The number of people who said they had resumed pre-COVID behaviors fell for the first time, from 39% in July to 27% in August, Numerator said. Nearly half say they expect a full reopening to be delayed until 2022 or later, up from 23% who said so in July and 18% in June, the firm found. The comfort level of shopping without a mask dropped 15 percentage points from July to August, with 34% preferring to go in stores with mask requirements and 36% having a higher level of respect for businesses that enforce mask wearing, per Numerator research.  Dive Insight: After waning this year, troublesome uncertainty is gaining strength, as the delta variant of the virus spreads and immunization rates in many areas falter. Wells Fargo economists noted that new COVID-19 cases were averaging about 100,000 daily at the time of their August economic outlook report, but had risen to more than 150,000 per day at the time of their September report last week.  “As a result, Americans have generally become more cautious,” they noted. To address the renewed strength of the disease and its risks to health, life and the economy, President Joe Biden last week announced an unprecedented move to require large businesses to vaccinate their employees or have any unvaccinated employees produce a... read more

“September Surf Expo Health and Safety Guidelines and link to SES Interview with Roy Turner about the Show plus retailer registration, BRA specific events and Surf Expo highlight videos” via the awesome people behind Surf Expo

Surf Expo is the largest and longest running watersports and beach lifestyle tradeshow in the world. Since 1976, retailers from around the globe have relied on Surf Expo to identify new trends, new brands, and to get business done. Don’t miss your chance to be a part of this vibrant, award winning marketplace! Surf Expo is excited to welcome our board specialty retailers back to forge new relationships and celebrate old ones with Vendors and each other. The Surf team is committed to creating an event experience at the Orange County Convention Center’s West Concourse where their customers, partners and employees can safely and effectively conduct business. Show Dates:  September 9th through 11th, 2021 (Waterfest Sept. 8th)Location:  Orange County Convention Center, West Concourse, Orlando, FL  | View Map Show Hours: Thursday & Friday: 9 am to 6 pmSaturday:  9 am to 4 pm Register for the Show: Click HereMake Your Hotel Reservation: Click HereTo view the Exhibitor List:  Click Here BRA Specific Events at Surf Expo: BRA Retailer Roundtable Panel Discussion on The Stage (Thursday, Sept. 9th at 2 pm). BRA Retailer Gathering/ Happy Hour in The Neighborhood Lounge (Thursday, Sept. 9th at 4:30 pm). HEALTH + SAFETY GUIDELINES AT SURF EXPO Updated: August 27, 2021 In line with CDC guidelines, everyone is required to wear a mask, regardless of vaccination status while at the show and all show functions (this includes the show floor and registration areas). Masks will also be provided at the event if needed. Surf Expo is excited to welcome our buyers and vendors back to forge new relationships and celebrate old ones. Our team is committed to creating an event experience... read more

“Ending prices that end in 99 cents” by Al McLain and 29 Retail Experts via Retail Wire

Retailers might want to rethink doing away with prices that end with “.99” if they believe the results of new research from researchers at The Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business. The study found that setting prices “just below” round numbers (i.e., $19.95, $19.97 or $19.99 instead of $20) can make consumers less likely to spend to upgrade to a more expensive version or size of the product or service. In a coffee stand experiment done on campus, the researchers changed prices hourly, offering a small coffee for 95 cents, or a larger cup for $1.20. Every other hour they would change the offering to $1 for a small cup or a larger cup for $1.25, so both sizes of coffee cost more. When using the latter pricing scheme, 56 percent of customers upgraded to the larger size, versus 29 percent who did so with the first pricing scheme. The researchers concluded that while the just-below price makes a product seem like a bargain, it also makes the step up to the premium product seem too expensive. “Going from $19.99 to $25 may seem like it will cost more than going from $20 to $26, even though it is actually less,” lead author doctoral student Junha Kim said in a statement. “Crossing that round number threshold makes a big difference for consumers.” Students in a lab study were also more likely to choose a costlier car or apartment options when base prices were just above round numbers, rather than just below. The study appears to indicate a shortcoming in the theory around charm pricing, or psychological pricing, that holds that goods priced using... read more

“How to Motivate a Retail Employee” by Bob Phibbs (The Retail Doctor)

How to motivate retail employees …  It’s a subject retailers routinely ask about. My answer is always the same: You don’t. That might sound strange coming from a motivational speaker, so let me explain. You can try to motivate a retail employee with the “do this or else you’re fired” speech. But fear only goes so far — and you only get to use this tactic once or twice during a person’s employment.  And sure, you can try to boost an employee’s motivation by constantly giving compliments to improve their self-image. But this is problematic, too. Trying to pour good feelings into a bucket with a hole in it becomes increasingly frustrating — and doesn’t fill up the bucket. Soon, you’ll give up, and you won’t have more sales (or more motivated staff) to show for it. Before we learn how to motivate retail employees to sell, we must brush up on our managerial skills and understand what employee motivation actually entails. Let’s dive in. What exactly is employee motivation? Do you associate motivation with achieving goals?  Then you’re a goals-driven retailer, and you’re probably a Driver personality. I am, too. You’re like a hungry bunny. And the sales bonus or award? That’s like a carrot dangling in front of you.  You only need to know what or how many to sell, and you’re ready to go with your retail strategy. That’s because winning is important to you (as it is to me.)  If everyone were a Driver personality, then retail games to motivate employees would be a great idea. But here’s the thing: not everyone is. There are many personality types, each with different motivations.  The opposite personality style of a Driver is the Amiable personality. This retail employee... read more


What if I told you there are some spots that are centuries-old (maybe even millennia-old) that have never seen a truck touch the marble on which they’re built? Stairs that were graced by the feet of Greek gods that have yet to be kickflipped…Today, many of these ancient sites are overrun with clueless tourists and vendors peddling shirts with bad slogans like “I went to the Colosseum and all I got was this stupid T-Shirt.” It may make these spots seem like a nightmare to skate, but crowds and security have never stopped skaters from getting clips. We can’t condone skating these historic pieces of architecture and holy sites, but we also can’t say we would hate to see it go down. If you do decide to do a hardflip for Hercules, just don’t tell them Jenkem sent you. VALLEY OF THE KINGS, EGYPT The Valley of the Kings is an ancient burial ground for Egyptian Pharaohs and other dignitaries. King Tut is buried there if that interests you. If you’re reading Jenkem, it probably doesn’t. What should really interest you is the massive bank in front of the tombs. The ramp extends all the way from the top of the complex and is made of perfect limestone. Having never bombed a hill in Northern California myself, this looks like a more relaxed version for newcomers. Hopefully, none of the mummies lying nearby have cursed the spot and will only bless the session. VOLUBILIS, MOROCCO This is the El Toro of the Arab world. In recent years, crews have been heading to Morocco to skate the North African architecture... read more

“Why Inventory Management Matters” by RICS Software (BRA Supporting Vendor Partner)

It’s not easy to keep inventory in line. You analyze sales trends to make decisions. You review margins, sell-thru, and return on investment to evaluate profitability. You create buy plans, propose reorders and cancellations, and you suggest markdowns. All this just to keep your inventory in line. Inventory management is crucial to thesuccess of your business. Why? Because accurate purchase order planning is a necessary step towards optimal profit. Inventory influences sales.Sales drive business.Business creates profit.And profit measures success. Having the right product at the right place at the right time is the reason why sales occur, making it crucial to use all the information at your disposal to make inventory management decisions. When you’re not selling merchandise, you’re losing money. Period. The longer you hold on to merchandise that isn’t moving out the door, the more moneyyou are losing. In this article, we will share the 7 best practices on how best to manage your inventory, putting you in charge of you store’s success. When you’re not selling merchandise, you’re losing money. Period. Plan before you buyUse your data to plan out your assortment rather than reordering using the same quantities you always have for convenience’s sake. In the long run, profits beat convenience. Take the time to analyze which items are profitable and use past numbers as a guide to forecast future demand. Only after thoughtful data-driven planning should you start writing purchase orders. If you’re in the process of ordering merchandise for a particular season, use historical data as a benchmark for pricing decisions and sell-thru rates. Too often, merchants get stuck pricing seasonal or trend-driven... read more

“Resolve Retail Customer Complaints in 4 Easy Steps” by Bob Phibbs (The Retail Doctor)

It’s never easy dealing with a retail customer service issue. Sometimes it may seem like someone is looking to find trouble, but complaining customers are most often just looking for a solution to a frustrating problem. If you provide excellent customer service, go the extra mile for your customers, and follow procedures then complaints should be rare. When they do occur, however, stay calm. Breathe. I know, staying calm is tough when your patience is challenged by complaining customers! But customer service means taking the good with the bad. Use this four-step system to deliver excellent customer service:  1. ListenLet the customer voice their complaint without interruption. The biggest mistake is second-guessing a customer service gripe and trying to cut them off before they have finished their story. Use this time as your chance to identify what it is they are REALLY upset about. Remember, don’t take it personally. It’s probably not about you. 2. AcknowledgeSay you understand and are sorry for the situation. An unhappy customer wants your attention and understanding. You won’t lose dignity or concede to being wrong by making the customer feel that you understand their frustration. Remember, you are saying you understand. You are not saying you agree or will give them the moon. They’ll also be more receptive to your solution. 3. SolveOffer the dissatisfied customer real solutions, telling them what you CAN do for them. Don’t dwell on what you can’t do. You might begin by asking what they would like you to do. They may actually require very little. Sometimes we hear “I want my money back” instead of “I want to exchange this.” Resolve the complaint on... read more

“Tony Hawk releases limited $500 skateboard with his BLOOD infused into paint… and it SELLS OUT within 20 MINUTES” by Justin Enriquez via

Blood, sweat, and tears: Tony Hawk released a $500 skateboard deck with his actual blood infused into the paint in collaboration with sponsor Liquid Death Mountain Water He is the greatest skateboarder of all-time and has done it all from being the first to ever land a ‘900’ and was the first ever to skateboard on White House grounds with permission from officials. And Tony Hawk recently enjoyed perhaps the weirdest first of all. The 53-year-old professional skateboarder released a $500 skateboard deck with his actual blood infused into the paint in collaboration with sponsor Liquid Death Mountain Water. He was shown sitting in the middle of a half-pipe as his blood was being drawn as he said: ‘Hey what’s up I’m Tony Hawk and I recently became an ambassador for Liquid Death Mountain Water. Impressive: Despite the steep price tag, many just had to own the novelty item as all 100 decks were sold out within a mere 20 minutes of the item being posted on the canned water company’s website Despite the steep price tag, many just had to own the novelty item as all 100 decks were sold out within a mere 20 minutes of the item being posted on the canned water company’s website. Skateboarding living legend Tony was featured in a video posted by the company as he explained the process in how they were made. ‘Apparently I didn’t read the fine print and now liquid death officially owns my soul and my blood too. I don’t know it’s very confusing, they’re taking out my blood, and we’re going to use it for skateboard graphics.’ The clip... read more

“Skateboarding Is In The Olympics; Now PhD Neftalie Williams Is Bringing It To The Ivy League” by Michelle Bruton via Forbes

Dr. Neftalie Williams lecturing in his skateboarding course at USC alongside legendary skateboarder … [+]NEFTALIE WILLIAMS There’s no question that as skateboarding has soared into the Olympics this summer in Tokyo, it has reached new heights. But to Dr. Neftalie Williams, it would be a mistake—and a missed opportunity—for the world to focus on skateboarding reaching a new peak without considering the climb. A University of Southern California provost/postdoctoral scholar and Yale Schwarzman Center visiting fellow who studies the intersection of race, culture and community through the lens of skateboarding, Williams sees this moment as the culmination of decades of work building skateboarding culture. “This is the history of decades of fights and advocacy and allyship that has gone on to get us to the point where people are even interested in having us on a big stage,” Williams said. “The pinnacle for us in skateboarding is not that we went to the Olympics,” Williams added. “The pinnacle is when people celebrate and understand skateboarding culture; when the everyday person celebrates skateboarding culture, that’s the pinnacle.” How do we teach skateboarding culture to those outside the community? Well, what if skateboarding were included in the curriculum at Ivy League universities? That’s been Williams’ aspiration throughout his career as a sociologist, which saw him earn his undergraduate degree in communication and his master’s in public diplomacy at USC Annenberg, followed by obtaining a Ph.D. in sport and culture from the University of Waikato. With that background, he was able to teach the United States’ first course about skateboarding, USC’s “Skateboarding and Action Sports in Business, Media, and Culture.” In his new... read more

“Selema Masekela Is Right: Action Sports Still Have a Long Way to Go” by Joe Carberry via The Inertia

Selema Masekela, the voice. Photo: Jeremy Deputat/Red Bull Content Pool Selema Masekela is a generational voice. Not just because he’s articulate. Because he’s put time in. He started answering phones at Transworld as an intern in the nineties. He announced every beach, skate, and snow event he could as a side hustle, then became the face of the X Games. And he can actually surf and snowboard. Like, really well. Aside from the athletes, there’s no one more respected in the world of action sports than Selema Masekela. Then he branched out, moving into the mainstream realm with ESPN, and E!, the celebrity gossip show we only watched because he was hosting. But talk to Selema for even a minute and it’s clear, at 49, he doesn’t really give a shit about those accolades anymore. Yeah, he’s good at his job. But he’s focused on something bigger. After George Floyd’s murder, Selema’s role in our world took on a whole new meaning. He’s been there to guide us and to remind everyone that yes, racial injustice really does exist in this space. Not everyone has been given the opportunity to take off on a set wave or ride powder. This isn’t new territory for him. He’s been reminding us for years, putting the work in with his Stoked Mentoring program to get more kids of color involved. Last spring, when things came to a boil socially, Selema was there to disseminate the chaos, to inspire change, which started with himself, taking back his birth name, and leading rallies. He’s not done. Not even close. In fact, he’s just getting started. I ran into him recently in Japan... read more

“BRA Book Review – ‘The Tao of Skateboarding: Rolling Through Life: A Skateboard Philosophy, Volume 1’ by A.E. Gold” by BRA Executive Director Doug Works

Book description: A modern interpretation of the original Tao Te Ching. The meter has been preserved to its original intent, while the subject matter is about skateboarders and non-skateboarders instead of merchants and farmers. May this bring peace, empathy, compassion, and stoke to all who hear it. Short excerpt from Verse 2: Relative “We know style because there is stinkbug. We know good skateboarding by how it feels. We know bad skateboarding by how it looks. Being hurt and not being hurt, create each other. Difficult and easy, long and short, define each other. Just as push and roll follow each other.” Short excerpt from Verse 15: Know Your History “During the steel wheel era skaters knew their board through subtlety and grace. Because this is so foreign to us, we can only describe their skating with great effort. They were cautious to look for any crash inducing crack. Wary of any size pebble that would end in pain, dignified like golfers yielding like rotten wood innocent as a brand new board open like an empty skatepark turning freely like broke-in trucks. But today, who can wait for their trucks to break in?” BRA Book Review Both the Author (Ari Evan Gold) and I have known each other and skateboarded together many times over the past 30 odd years starting way back in the early 90s in Tampa. A few months ago, I noticed a post on Linked-In that contained a link to The Tao of Skateboarding on Audible so I communicated with him about his writing and his skateboarding as well as what he has been doing in... read more

“Exciting New Rx Benefits Added To BRA LIG Association Health Program” via BRA Supporting Vendor Partner LIG Solutions

To the members of Board Retailers Association: We have exciting news to share with you! As you may have heard Board Retailers Association has partnered with LIG Solutions to bring our members comprehensive and affordable health coverage solutions that are designed for individuals, families, and business owners along with their employees across the United States. They have just released a brand-new element to this program that we are excited to introduce to you! As a part of the LIG Association Health Program, our members can now take advantage of the brand-new LIG Solutions Rx, which is a national pharmacy program that is revolutionizing the way you get your Prescription Drugs and their pricing. This is a cost-effective monthly membership program (NOT a discount/savings card or insurance) that has real pharmacists, based out of Akron, Ohio assisting you, the member. They are focused on helping our members achieve the highest quality of life through medication, counseling, education, and adherence to the latest pharmacology standards. The LIG Solutions Rx Benefits include: Set pricing on all medications:Acute medications (immediate need)Chronic medications (maintenance)Over-the-counter medications (ex: Allegra, Advil, Tylenol)Pick up at any pharmacy at a set price for acute medicationsHome delivery service for chronic and over-the-counter medicationsExclusive SaveOnDiabetes program, which includes:No cost meters and a starter kit with test strips/lancetsLow-cost test strips and lancetsFREE oral diabetes medicationsInsulin for $19.88 per vialMost acute medications are $5/21 day, and chronic medications are $15/90 day supply.All medications are American sourced and shipped securely with trackingLicensed Pharmacist coaching to ensure you’re getting the most cost-effective options To learn more about this program, visit and click on the... read more

“How to Retain Workers in the ‘Next Normal'” by Greg Dyer via Total Retail

The dust from the pandemic is finally settling, but a new storm is gathering for employers. U.S. quit rates are higher than ever, with an eye-popping 95 percent of workers saying they’re considering changing jobs. If 2020 was full of talk about how to attract talent during a global pandemic, then 2021 will be about how to keep them during “The Great Resignation” that followed. With the clock ticking, now is the time to re-evaluate your retention strategy and implement these practices to improve your retention. Invest in Mental Health Forty-two percent of adults reported increased feelings of anxiety and depression during the pandemic. When you consider that the global cost of poor mental health exceeds $2.5 trillion annually, investing in the health and wellness of your team isn’t just the right thing to do — it’s sound business as well. The good news is that companies have been rising to the occasion. In our recent next-normal survey, 41 percent of workers told us that their employers had started offering new health and wellness benefits in 2020. It’s a good start, but retaining talent in 2021 will require even greater buy-in from employers. Related story: Ways to Attract Skilled Talent in Today’s Tight Labor Market Recognize Hard Work Studies have shown that showing gratitude to employees increases productivity, but keeping top performers on their game (and at your organization) takes more than just an award or acknowledgement of their hard work. As always, actions speak louder than words: Give them a platform to inspire others through attending events or leading presentations as a concrete demonstration of your faith in them. For newer or lower-performing workers, consider developing a... read more

“Office Depot Exclusive BRA Member Savings Program now available for all BRA Regular (no cost) and all BRA Distinguished Retail Members plus brand new video elaborating on this outstanding Member Benefit”

The Mission of Board Retailers Association is to consolidate the voices, the experiences and the visions of Board Specialty Retailers into a cohesive organization. We do this by identifying ways to lower day to day expenses, to increase profit margins and to create more remarkable customer experiences for our Retail Members. Speaking of lowering expenses, this video may help you realize that there is one place where you can save on a ton of products and services just because you are a BRA Retail Member. Push play to learn what BRA Supporting Vendor Partner Office Depot can provide to all BRA Retail Members As a BRA Retail Member, you will have a voice, you will benefit from BRA relationships and you will have access to a number of BRA programs and resources including the new Office Depot Exclusive Preferential BRA Member Savings Program. The image and video above elaborate on this outstanding Member Benefit, which is available to both Regular (no cost) and Distinguished Retail Members. If you are interested in improving your business, click on the following link to learn about both BRA Retail Membership options: Soon after you complete the following super simple join form, we will email you the link to gain access to this rad program and begin saving on over 20,000 Office Depot Products and Services: #boardretailersassociation... read more

“Best Cross Selling and Upselling in Retail Tips (including instructional video)” by Bob Phibbs (The Retail Doctor)

Cross selling and upselling in retail are the foundation of raising the average ticket. Cross selling in retail is the art of suggesting additional, complementary products to someone who has already decided on a purchase. Here’s one of my examples of upselling. Think of restaurant servers who, when you order a piece of pie or cake, ask, “Do you want a scoop of vanilla ice cream with that?”.This example of a product upsell has been used for years and for good reason. It simply and elegantly illustrates the point and best practices of cross selling. You’ve already decided you’re going to treat yourself. The server has made a sale. Then the server comes back to offer you ice cream too. Why? Because they know that vanilla ice cream goes great with pie or cake. They’ve offered you additional value, while potentially earning themselves extra revenue…and a higher tip, don’t forget. So, you think to yourself, “I like ice cream. Ice cream would be tasty right now. It’s only a little more money to get a lot more out of my order. Ok, I’ll go with the a la mode.” The server has successfully employed the necessary upselling techniques for cross selling, and you’ve gotten an extra treat. Everybody wins. Selling is nothing more than a transference of feeling, because I feel good about products or services, I can easily share that. How does upselling work in a retail business? While the products are significantly different, the selling strategy, techniques, and approach are surprisingly similar. Cross-Selling Tips for Retailers Cross selling is about giving a boost to the foot traffic that already... read more

BRA Book Review of “The Radical Undersea Journey of Mr. Dude by Vipe Desai” by BRA Executive Director Doug Works

A surfer at heart, Mr. Dude is someone who – like so many of us, unfortunately – never put a whole lot of thought into the ways that his decisions and behaviors affected the environment around him. He used plastic straws, he guzzled one bottled water after another, and he carried things around in plastic bags. A local surf hero, he was content not to know the effect that he was having on the ocean that was so dear to his heart. It was not something that he did out of meanness or malice: rather, he lacked any real intentions. He did what he did thoughtlessly. Introducing: The Radical Undersea Journey of Mr. Dude by Vipe Desai In this book, Mr. Dude is in for an awakening – rude, important, and life-changing. The Radical Undersea Journey of Mr. Dude is a children’s picture book that tells the tale, beginning with the local surf hero’s eco-unfriendly exploits and leading into the momentous day on which he finds himself transformed into a fish. As a fish, Mr. Dude sees firsthand just how tremendous is the destruction he has sewn. A fun and impactful adventure, this is one that I am confident will inspire loving hearts and real action, encouraging the next generation to do what is right for our planet by cultivating a sense of awareness and responsibility with regards to our roles in the world. – Vipe Desai (the Author) A portion of the proceeds from the book will benefit Vote The Ocean! Board Specialty Retail Shops can order books by emailing: BRA Book Review Recently, I checked my mailbox and found an... read more


No matter how you feel about skating being in the Olympics, there’s no denying that it’s been an exciting time for skateboarding. Competitive skating may be stale, but one factor that has added some spice into the mix is that sportsbooks have opened up betting for skate events. That means we can all put money down on our favorite skaters and actually have some sort of stake in the game while watching, instead of just twiddling our thumbs giving armchair critiques to a guy in Cariumas. We know gambling’s not for everyone, but for those who are interested in being degenerates, we tracked down a professional sports gambler to ask about how odds are calculated and if the betting world really is as grimy as they make it seem in movies and TV. What’s the deal with the legality of gambling on sports in the USA?We have a situation, like marijuana, where half the states are legal and half the states aren’t. Just the other day, I was in an Uber on my way from New Jersey to New York playing poker on my phone and I was playing up until the bridge. Literally, as you cross into New York the app will turn off and say “your geolocation…” So that’s where we’re at, but it’s changing. You can bet on skateboarding online, but are there still old-school bookies around in person?Yeah, some people bet through illegal bookies in New York still. Many of them have been in the business for a long time, I’ve known one guy for 25 years. We’re from the same town. Is it sketchy dealing with them?I... read more

“5 Cash Flow Tips For Retailers In August” by Bob Phibbs via The Retail Doctor newsletter

Whether you call it your bankroll, your finances, or how much money you have in your pocket, cash flow is its movement in and out of your business. Every retail store owner knows that cash is the heart of their operation but oftentimes you have ongoing expenses that may have to wait until you get the sales in. After the pandemic and with supply lines out of sync with demand it can be more stressful to try to balance the books.  What is Cash Flow?  Cash flow is the movement of money in and out of your business true but it is also available funding to meet your obligations like payroll.  As any store owner who has had to make payroll in a bleak month like January, it’s all about planning ahead and limiting payouts. August is a good month for retailers to pause and look ahead to the holidays and the cash flow they’ll need to get there without too much sweat. While the month may be slow in terms of customer count – unless you do great back-to-school business – August is the perfect time to examine your revenues and expenses through the rest of the year. Many demands will be placed on your cash flow as the holiday shopping season heats up. While these strategies are primarily designed to help you in the last quarter of the year, they must be implemented in August to be effective and improve your cash flow. Here are five cash flow tips that will help you best place your energies: 1. Invest in Inventory – You already know over half your... read more

“Cater to Your Customers — Locally” by Catherine Schetting Salfino via The Robin Report

There’s an old adage: You get what you get, and you don’t get upset. Clearly, that doesn’t apply to retail. For some time now, the axiom has been customers want what they want, when they want it. And Covid-19 accelerated that. Apparel shoppers want choices, and they want the stores and clothes to reflect their local tastes and demands. And they still want what they want when, where and how they want it delivered. Post-Pandemic Paradigms Coresight Research says the pandemic “accelerated consumer disinterest in homogeneous physical retail experiences.” Instead, shoppers are seeking experiences that are local, distinctive and diverse. The firm advises retailers consider localizing in-store experiences and product offerings. Coresight adds that mall owners can support its tenants with localized center experiences. Capgemini’s Smart Retail Planner suggests stores use sales history, industry data, product attributes, and hierarchy structure, as well as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to “help drive the creation of localized assortments.” The pandemic accelerated consumer disinterest in homogeneous physical retail experiences. Instead, shoppers are seeking experiences that are local, distinctive and diverse. Retailers and mall owners can respond by delivering localized experiences and product offerings. Most consumers just want retailers to have what they want, as if by magic. Two-thirds of shoppers (66 percent) say they wish apparel brands and retailers knew more about what they like and how they shop, according to the 2020 Cotton Incorporated Lifestyle Monitor™Survey. Streaming Retail And apparently, that’s quite possible. In a recent webinar titled “Age of Precision Category Management,” Coresight’s Deborah Weinswig, founder and CEO, said stores may want to draw inspiration from the world’s largest streaming platform. “We had talked about this... read more

“Retailers are rethinking mask policies in the wake of new CDC guidance—and it could get complicated”

A “Mask Required” sign at the entrance to a Kroger Co. grocery store in Houston, Texas, on Wednesday, March 10, 2021.Scott Dalton | Bloomberg | Getty Images KEY POINTS Retailers are again contemplating whether or not to reinstate mask mandates in stores for shoppers and employees, following updated CDC guidelines.The National Retail Federation said it is “truly unfortunate” that these mask recommendations have returned for much of the country.Apple is asking both vaccinated and unvaccinated customers to wear masks in many of its U.S. stores.Other businesses are expected to follow suit with revised masking policies in the coming days. Retailers have waded back into all-too-familiar territory that they didn’t think they’d be faced with again, as many are contemplating whether or not to reinstate mask mandates in stores for shoppers and employees. On Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a fresh recommendation that calls for wearing face masks again in areas of the country where the Covid-19 virus is spreading the most rapidly. That covers about two-thirds of all counties in the United States. The decision came roughly two months after the CDC in May said vaccinated individuals could go without masks. The delta variant, however, has driven cases back up and led the agency to reevaluate. The National Retail Federation, a leading trade group for the industry, said in a statement that retailers large and small “will continue to follow the guidance of the CDC.” It added, however, “It is truly unfortunate that mask recommendations have returned when the surest known way to reduce the threat of the virus is widespread vaccination.” Some businesses have been quick to react.... read more

“Retailers Adapting Digital Marketing Strategies for Customer Acquisition, Retention” by Joe Keenan via Total Retail

More time spent at home thanks to remote work, cancelled events and activities, and other pandemic-related factors resulted in consumers bringing more attention to digital shopping. Creating a consistent experience across all channels is what will keep consumers’ attention and business, driving both customer acquisition and customer retention efforts. As a result of shifting consumer behaviors and the impact they have had on retailers’ marketing strategies, Total Retail, in conjunction with SMG, a leading experience management firm, recently produced a new report, The Changing Consumer: Adapting Digital Marketing Strategies to Acquire and Retain Today and Tomorrow’s Customer. The comprehensive report addresses how retailers must adapt their marketing tactics to acquire and retain digital-savvy, channel-agnostic shoppers. To start, brand style, content tone, and other elements of a retailer’s marketing strategy must be consistent across all digital channels. The consumer needs to recognize at first glance the brand they’re hearing from. Emails confirming orders, advertising a special promotion, announcing a new product launch, etc., need to share consistent brand styles and tones, creating a familiar feeling for the recipient. If a customer goes into a brick-and-mortar store, their experience and how it makes them feel is likely going to be the same regardless of what task they went in to accomplish. This can be achieved digitally as well. Social media, text messaging, affiliate marketing, etc., all need to be consistent to ensure customers are associating the messaging they receive with your brand. As mentioned previously, consumers are habitual. Therefore, if they’re familiar and comfortable with your brand, they will think of it when they need something and return to make repeat purchases. Related... read more


Before the world went to shit, we had plans to be in Tokyo for the 2020 Olympics. Flights and Airbnbs were booked, and then, of course, lockdowns hit shortly after and there was no way we were going to get press access with how tight restrictions were across all of Japan. Luckily, we had an anonymous “Olympic insider” who reached out to us saying he would be flying to Tokyo with his country’s delegation and wanted to snap some photos for Jenkem while they were out there. At first, we thought it would just be from the stands due to strict security guidelines, but after a glitch in the system, they were granted full, on-course access. Here’s an inside look at what it felt like to be one of the lucky few to travel to Tokyo and witness the first-ever skateboarding Olympics. Getting off the plane you were met by dudes in lab coats that escorted you through mazes of clearance sites in a completely empty Tokyo airport. These dudes surrounded your every move. If you had to piss, they’d make you go to designated toilets for foreigners. It was wild how tight things were. The whole thing was like a horror movie. I have no idea how many tests and approval stations I had to go through. I had no idea what these snacks were while I waited at the airport so I was just trying them all out. Half of them were either gummies or chocolate. It was a guessing game at that point and I was drunk and had been up for 24 hours. The mandatory Tokyo... read more

“The MLB Player Who Skateboards” video via the Berrics

JON JAY: THE MLB CENTER FIELDER WHO SKATEBOARDS JON JAY: THE MLB CENTER FIELDER WHO SKATEBOARDS Major League Baseball center fielder Jon Jay is a skateboarder. Just let that sink in. Learn about how he started, and how skating fits in with his career, in today’s video. Things change. Boards change, shoes change, tricks change, skaters change. Change is the manifestation of time, and time has shown us that skateboarding is here for as long as we—as individuals and as a community—create it into existence. Although much of the world is trying to stunt skateboarding’s growth, there are enough rogue individuals out there continuing to make it happen. Whether it be by building ledges at a remote spot just east of downtown LA like Jason Hernandez, constructing mini-ramps in our backyards like Mikey Taylor, or buying buildings and constructing skateparks inside them like ourselves, we continue to grow because our will to skate and our will to survive is just that strong and because the only alternative is to quit and die. But we at the Berrics believe that life was made to live out of, not die out of. There’s nothing special about dying. Anyone can do that. Push the future. — Steve Berra & Eric Koston. If you are not yet a BRA Retail Member, you can easily opt in to either Regular (no cost) or Distinguished ($99/yr.) Membership via this super simple join... read more

“Report shows Outdoor Industry has work to do on its online ADA compliance” by OSI (BRA Supporting Vendor Partner)

Image of Jon Comer, pioneer of adaptive skateboarding (courtesy of ESPN) Outdoor Sports Insurance evaluated industry sites for compliance EDEN PRAIRIE, MINNESOTA (Last Monday marked the 31st anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Outdoor Sports Insurance (, the longest serving business insurance broker in Ski, Bike, Board and Outdoor markets, recently completed a report evaluating over 275 outdoor industry retailer and brand websites for ADA compliance. “We often only think about the ADA in our physical spaces, but with so much of our lives now beingconducted online it is important that we ensure that all have equal access to our digital presence,” saidRob Martin, Outdoor Sports Insurance managing director. Using the Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool (WAVE), Outdoor Sports Insurance evaluated thehomepages of 141 outdoor retailers and 147 outdoor brands and manufactures for errors and contrasterrors. Errors include empty links, missing alternative text, and missing labels, among others. Contrasterrors are present when the color of text and the color of the background are low-contrast.The 147 brand websites evaluated included a broad spectrum of the industry in terms of size, reach, andcategory including apparel, footwear, paddle sports, hardgoods, camping, hiking, nutrition, and more. Theevaluated sites on average had 18 errors and 17 contrast errors. About 54% of the sites had 10 or lesserrors and 58% had 10 or less contrast errors. 12 brands received perfect scores with 0 errors andcontrast errors. Of the 141 retailer sites evaluated, on average the sites had 13 errors and 19 contrast errors. About 57% of the sites had 10 or less errors and 47% had 10 or less contrast errors.... read more

“Opinion: Surfing’s Olympic Debut Deserved World-Class Surf” by Alexander Haro via The Inertia

Medina making the most out of sub-par conditions. Photo: Pablo Jimenez/ISA Well, surfing’s Olympic debut is in the books. It’s done and dusted. Duke Kahanamoku’s dream came to fruition. The best surfers in the world competed for Olympic medals in front of a relatively diminished audience, and our very own Joe Carberry was on the ground reporting. The surfing world was joined by the non-surfing world to watch the biggest competition on the planet. And I for one am disappointed. Not because the surfers didn’t surf well. Not because the judging was bad. Not because I don’t think surfing should be in the Olympics. Not because I don’t think competitive surfers don’t warrant an Olympic medal. No, none of that. I’m disappointed because, in surfing’s debut on sporting’s greatest stage, the waves were, for the most part – with the notable exception of the final day – pretty average. I wanted surfing’s great reveal to the world to be staggeringly good. I wanted huge, throaty tubes, blown eardrums, and knee-buckling aerials. I wanted a showcase of what surfing can be, not a showcase of what surfing looks like when you drive by a beach on an average day. Ever since the initial announcement of the contest site, the wave quality was a concern. And when the contest kicked off, it appeared the naysayers were right. Imagine, just for a second, that skateboarding’s Olympic reveal was held in a parking lot with a few curbs, a rattle-trap plywood ramp, and a rail made from a chunk of broken staircase railing. Certainly, the best skateboarders on Earth could do things there that the average skateboarder couldn’t,... read more

“What the delta variant already means for retail” by Daphne Howland via Retail Dive

Rapid development and distribution of vaccines promised to halt the pandemic, but new surges brought on by viral mutations threaten progress. A change in mask-wearing guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Tuesday — urging even vaccinated people to wear masks indoors in areas with “substantial or high transmission” — signaled fresh worry about a pandemic that earlier this year seemed to be on the wane in the U.S., thanks to the rapid development and distribution of vaccines. A stock market dip the week before was also attributed to rising concerns about a mutation of the COVID-19 coronavirus known as the delta variant, which is proving to be even more contagious than the strains that took such a toll last year. Hospitals in some areas are once again under pressure. For developing and poor countries, which have the lowest vaccination rate, the problem is access to vaccines, according to the International Monetary Fund, which on Tuesday warned the delta variant threatens the global economy. In the U.S., nearly all patients with serious illness have been unvaccinated, in part due to vaccine hesitancy. The National Retail Federation took on that issue in its response to the new guidance. “It is truly unfortunate that mask recommendations have returned when the surest known way to reduce the threat of the virus is widespread vaccination,” the group said in a statement Tuesday. “The CDC’s latest guidance underscores the urgency for more Americans to become fully vaccinated so we can all emerge from this pandemic.” While the news is alarming, a repeat of the lockdowns of last year that hit the retail industry so hard seems unlikely. Still, the delta variant is already affecting retailers in three... read more

“American Carissa Moore is the FIRST Olympic women’s surfing champ plus Brazil’s Italo Ferreira wins first surfing gold medal in Olympic history in Tokyo | Tokyo Olympics” via NBC Sports

American Carissa Moore is the FIRST Olympic women’s surfing champ | Tokyo Olympics | NBC Sports Four-time World Surf League champion Carissa Moore defeated South Africa’s Bianca Buitendag to take home the first women’s Olympic surfing title. #NBCOlympics#Tokyo2020#Surfing Brazil’s Italo Ferreira defeated Kanao Igarashi 15.14 to 6.60 in the men’s surfboarding final to claim the event’s first ever gold medal. #NBCOlympics #Tokyo2020 #Surfing Subscribe to NBC Sports: » Watch live Olympic coverage on NBC Olympics is responsible for producing, programming and promoting NBCUniversal’s coverage of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. NBC Olympics is renowned for its unsurpassed Olympic heritage, award-winning production, and ability to aggregate the largest audiences in U.S. television history. NBCUniversal owns the U.S. media rights on all platforms to all Olympic Games through 2032. NBC Olympics also produces thousands of hours of Olympic sports programming throughout the year, which is presented on NBC, NBCSN, Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA, Peacock and NBC Sports digital platforms. If you are not yet a BRA Retail Member, you can easily opt in to either Regular (no cost) or Distinguished ($99/yr.) Membership via this super simple join... read more

“SKATEBOARDING IS A SPORT, SO NOW WHAT? – I Watched the Olympics and It Wasn’t What I Expected.” by Anthony Pappalardo via Artless Industrial

After being announced in 2016 and delayed a year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, skateboarding made its official Olympic debut on Saturday, July 24, 2021. During the ramp-up, my skate-centric social media channels fell into three buckets: 1. Supportive 2. Dismissive 3. Ironically excited. I mostly landed in the third lane because I seldom enjoy modern skate competitions but was curious and also happy for all those involved, especially the athletes. It seemed like the opinion that skateboarding was not a sport and this inclusion was a bad thing was the minority take, mostly because it’s a jaded way to view things and we all need to be celebratory on social media… right? Also, skateboarding is a sport and a physical art at the same time and it’s malleable—you can skate in a contest but also film a VX part and be revered by the “core” community.  If you’re an older person, you’ve seen different waves in skateboarding’s mainstream popularity so the Olympics? Is it really going to change that much and does it really matter?  Think about the notable “big money eras,” such as the X-Games Tony Hawk 900 boom and later, the Tony Hawk Pro Skater video game boom. Both changed skateboarding by making it more monetarily viable while normalizing it to normies. Woodward Skate Camp enrollment grew due to the interest, there was more mainstream coverage and one could argue that board graphics and branding became safer and more homogenized once big-box stores started carrying “real” brands.  We’ve been here before and that’s why most skaters don’t really care about what the Olympics will do... read more

“How To Get Employee Sales Training To Stick” by Bob Phibbs (The Retail Doctor)

Customers go online to buy – frequently replacement purchases – but go to stores to discover. That moment of discovery needs to be crafted, trained, and rewarded because customers respond to a human trusted advisor more deeply than to any webpage. These days the decision between a shopper choosing to visit your store over an online competitor lies in your employees’ ability to know exactly what to say, when to say it, and how to make it count. I call it a branded shopping experience. With fewer employees on your sales floor and shoppers returning to physical stores, you can’t let your retail staff wing it over and over again and expect to survive. While the history of retail was built on product knowledge, today that former ace in the hole is available online. You know yourself, you start the search for something worth more than a few bucks on the web to learn as much as you can, uncover reviews, and compare offers. The ace in the hole for physical stores now must be how to engage strangers. And if those employees can’t talk to strangers, how will they ever use any of their product knowledge to sell your goods? They won’t. And the merchandise will sit until it is marked down. Discover how to create a winning retail sales strategy here So if your training is not focused on people knowledge first but is solely focused on product knowledge, you’re missing the boat. The skills of engaging a stranger is not intuitive nor is it easy. 80% of shoppers entering your store have already researched the features of your products online. And the other 20% will do it on... read more