Going to a trade show as a small company is kind of like attending the prom as the kid with the mousy brown hair and the JCPenney outfit.
It’s hard to get noticed.
And there we were, Renoun, a tiny ski company in the back corner of the SnowSports Industries America show — the biggest event in the business.
But we didn’t have mousy brown hair or a JCPenney outfit.
We had a small sign showing the ISPO Gold award we had just won (and our fingers crossed behind out backs).
A few people noticed us, coming over and talking to us about the Gold award. One of them was a super-nice lady named Cindy. She told us she was a journalist, and she seemed really curious about the product and the engineering behind it.
Naturally, we jumped right in, telling her about polymers, damping coefficients, chemistry and generally nerdy stuff.
The conversation slowly turned to more ski-industry-wide happenings — why it was shrinking, who was being bailed out and why we were getting ourselves into a cut-throat business.
After a few minutes, Cindy asked for a card. When she turned to leave, we asked her whom she writes for.
“The New York Times,” she said, completely straight-faced.
“We probably should have been on our best behavior.” we said.
“You did pretty good,” said Cindy.
Fast forward a few months, and damned if Cindy hasn’t put Renoun in the Sunday issue of The New York Times.
Suddenly, it wasn’t so hard to get noticed.