Sea Otter Europe 2022
Our first ever Expo
Sea Otter didn't disappoint. It was the first time we were putting up a Gazebo and setting up our wheel line up along with the Axalko team for visitors to check out -more on the Axalko guys in a second.
Sea Otter Europe takes place in Gerona, arguably one of the best cycling spots in the EU. In fact, it's the city with the highest Cycling PROs per capita (including Triathletes) -ok no I'm not 100% sure about this claim but it's right up there!, and your chances of going for a ride and seeing some familiar faces are, well, high.
Many of our NZ PROs are based there permanently or have been based there very recently in preparation for their EU racing season this year now coming to an end as winter approaches.
Let's look at a few stats:
- 3 days (Friday 3-8pm, Saturday 9-8pm and Sunday 9-3pm)
- 220 Brands
- 57,000 visitors
- National Champs in various disciplines took place during the event
- 3 of us // Alex, Felipe and Javi
- 700 visitors checked out the NSC Tent
- We run out of 300 stickers and 300 business cards
- Our #1 Prototype wheelset was in display and we got it signed by many of the visitors (it's looking so good now on Javi's bike! and what a souvenir from Sea Otter)
- We drove 800K on Friday and back on Sunday! (the only part I didn't quite enjoy that much)
Is it worth it attending an Expo?
If you're a visitor 100%. In short, you're going to see the latest and greatest innovations in the industry, will have the chance of grabbing a ton of free (cool and useful too) stuff, and get a load of bike inspiration!
If you're a brand, I'd say it's definitely worth it. At the very least, it's worth a try and see how it goes. Here's the thing, as when you're a visitor, when you're a brand you need to have a couple of good reasons to go there (the 'why' you're going), and for brands that might not be as straight forward as it is for visitors (visitors: 'I want to check out cool stuff'). So, for us, this is what we were looking forward to:
- First and foremost, learn. As simple as that. Learn how to actually run these type of events. There is so much going on in such a short period of time that I think it does take a few experiences to really be able to run these smoothly
- Show our products in a physical set up, away from the online world. Be able to interact, in real time, with real customers -and, for once, not looking at traffic stats in Google Analytics
- Network with the rest of the bike industry, make contact with the real people pushing and elevating cycling in Europe
- Give a little boost to NSC's awareness and reputation, not just within the region but globally. Just being in an event of that calibre, as a small kiwi brand, it's an accomplishment on itself we'd think
- Potentially -it wasn't in our initial set of expectations, have a few conversations with potential clients (bike shops and bike representatives, mostly)
We were not set up, or expecting, to sell. And, really, no brands were. Expos are a place to see and be seen. Purchase decisions are taken much later on in that customer journey -specially when the bike industry is rapidly becoming incredibly expensive in many aspects (e.g. the latest Scott Foil was on display in the Scott's tent at 18,500 EUR -this is close to NZD 30,000)
Will NSC be coming back next year?
Very likely. There were a lot of 'quick' improvements that we can make that will make the second time a much better experience. We also are better connected, and in a better position to get more out of it this time around.
During this year's event we connected with ViciBici, TradeINN, Gravel Planet, Transiberica, Panzer inserts, Kona bikes and many more -with which we're actively exploring ways to do some cool stuff together, and I'm sure we barely scratched the surface, and that there are many more incredibly valuable partnerships and collaborations to chase.
Who is Axalko?
Axalko is a bike designer and manufacturer based in the Basque Country, Spain. They have created the tech to manufacture high performance bikes out of wood (emphasis in the word 'performance' there) -which, comes <too> from the Basque Forests, right at their factory's doorstep. There is quite a list of 'myths' about riding wood that these bikes will erase as soon as you ride them. Starting with how light they can be (their top-end roadie on display weighted just about 7.5kg!), and that unique impact absorption feel.
The production process is highly personalized -it takes an approximate 600 hours end to end to get a frame finished and ready to go.
We don't want to be revealing a whole lot of details about these guys just now -check them out here, all we will just say that they will be soon available in New Zealand and that we'll have to do something with that :)
This is it for now!
Some photos from the event: