Agency: Fresh Sales Agency
Brands: Vans, Spy, 2UNDR, Projekt, Bataleon, Lobster, Switchback
Territory: Manitoba, Sask.; Northwestern Ontario
PK’s per year: 30+
How long have you been a rep? 18 years. While I was in college I needed some part-time work, so my brother hired me as his sub-rep. After two years of working in the industry, I knew this was what I wanted to do. The rest is history. Thanks, bro!
Selling seasons per year: The whole year is one big selling season. Outside of the normal pre-book seasons, more emphasis is being placed on count-and-fill and repeat business. Combine this with any after-sales support, like grassroots events and shops visits, and there’s very little downtime throughout the year.
Longest distance between shops: Boardom, Lloydminster, Alta. to Static, Thunder Bay, Ont.; 1,814.10 km, a 21-hour drive.
Most remote account: Overlander Sports, Yellowknife, N.W.T.
Rep vehicle: Heavier sample loads: Cargo van with 10-foot trailer. Lighter sample loads: Honda Ridgeline.
Mileage: 260,000 km
Favourite road grub: Sancho’s Tacos, Huntington Beach; Splashes Restaurant, Laguna Beach for the view; and Tim Horton’s—what I usually end up eating while trekking across the tundra.
Best road-trip story: I survived a couple of Spy trips to Mexico: surfing, marlin fishing and a run-in with the Federales (shout out to Daryl Trinidad). But the craziest of all trips was a Vans sales meeting, where they trucked us out to the middle of the wilderness to a fishing lodge: all the beer we could drink, a couple boxes of Kraft Dinner, and a beach full of motorized boats (with nobody around to police our activities). I’ll let your imagination take it from there.
“More emphasis is being placed on count-and-fill and repeat business. Combine this with any after-sales support, like grassroots events and shops visits, and there’s very little downtime throughout the year.”
Best way to kill time on the road: E-mails. Between driving and being in appointments, not enough time in the day to stay caught up consistently.
All-time highway tunes: Sirius radio. Split time between Backspin, Octane, Faction and ’90s on 9.
Best job perk: Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to shred/hang with such legends as Tom Sims and Jamie Lynn. To be able to rip with these guys and share some beers/stories with them afterwards was a pretty cool experience.
Favourite place work has taken you and why: North Shore Oahu for the Vans Triple Crown—one of my favourite places on Earth.
Most common questions asked by retailers: Accounts are always trying to find out the current state of our industry. They want to know how other retailers and regions are doing, as well as any brand “gossip” that’s out there—who’s healthy, who’s hurting.
Most common retailer request: In stocks and special order requests.
Do you lose or gain weight during selling season? I try to eat healthy while on the road, but it’s next to impossible. Throw in way too many beers and there’s definitely a few pounds added during the heavy travel seasons.
Random story? I had my truck loaded with samples and was driving from Winnipeg to Saskatoon to get ready to show Fall/Winter product. I had just finished passing a semi when my back tire sheared off of my truck. We made it out without flipping or being squashed, but it definitely got my heart racing. Moral of the story is do not overload your vehicles… bad things will happen!
Best thing about being a rep: Meeting and working with such amazing people.
Worst job you’ve ever had and why? Worked in a hospital while in high school. Hospitals scare people normally, so try working in one—it’s the worst.
What is your biggest concern with the industry in Canada? Over-saturation in the Canadian market. With national retailers expanding across Canada and U.S. stores moving into this market as well, it’s making things tougher for the lifeblood of our industry, which is our independent accounts. Everyone needs to work harder just to make a smaller piece of the pie.