Summer is a crazy time of year around the VMSD office. In addition to planning, editing and producing a monthly magazine, it’s also the time of year when the events team for our International Retail Design Conference (IRDC) moves into full-on production mode. Conference calls with speakers, placing orders for mannequin parts, creating PowerPoint presentations – the list goes on and on. But it’s a list I don’t mind tackling because the payoff is so great.
Those who have attended IRDC understand what I’m talking about: the buzz, the energy, the inspiration. It’s three days that leave you with a renewed sense of purpose and camaraderie as an industry.
For me, that buzz starts a little earlier. In June, fresh off a conference call with my rock-star panel of designers that’s going to give you all the ins and outs on the millennial mindset, I was ready to take on the world. And I can’t even get started about the behind-the-scenes planning for this year’s Iron Merchant Challenge because I’m afraid I’ll divulge the secret ingredient.
On a recent phone call with Timberland’s Bevan Bloemendaal (a repeat Iron Merchant champion) and ZenGenius’ Joe Baer (Iron Merchant’s master of ceremonies), I couldn’t help but get excited. The passion these guys have for their craft is infectious – and their commitment to sharing that knowledge with their peers at IRDC is inspiring.
And if that’s not enough, this month’s issue is full of sneak peeks at IRDC session topics. On page 18, Jim Crawford, who writes our bi-monthly column on in-store technology, talks about how augmented reality can transform the retail environment. Our case study on E-Mart offers a glimpse into how the South Korean retailer stepped out of its discount box to create three new standalone brands for its consumers. Chip Conley, the founder of Joie de Vivre Hospitality, discusses his unique approach to getting to know your customers in this month’s Checking Out interview. And VMSD’s London-based editor John Ryan offers a preview of just some of the latest design trends hitting the streets of Europe.
There are plenty more topics rounding out those three days in September, which will be here before we know it. So if you haven’t signed up already, go to irdconline.com today. I look forward to meeting with you in San Francisco and toasting another successful conference (a nice pinot noir will do).