IN THE KNOW with Ash Weeks of The Source
The Source has been built on core values since its inception in 1992 and has gone on to become one of the best and most trusted Skateboard and Snowboard shops in Alberta and one of Canada's premiere retailers. Just hitting her 13th year at The Source, Ash Weeks has been an integral part of the business. A workaholic by nature, she has grown her professional life to include several roles at The Source, trying her best to continue to learn and grow along the way. Outside of work she is passionate about food, travel, animals, and trying new things; most recently in an attempt to conquer a fear of heights she completed a 250ft bungee jump!
Back on solid ground, we sat down with buyer and online store manager Ash Weeks to catch up on what is new at the shop and how the last couple of years have been.
Hey Ash, it’s been way too long! How are you!?
Scott! It seems like it’s been a lifetime honestly. I am quite well thank you. I just got back from my first ever three and a half week vacation and coming back was a little bittersweet, but there’s lots going on, so getting thrown into the fire seems to be the vibe.
Man, a vacation sounds nice! What’s the latest over at The Source these days?
Getting ramped up for Go Skate Day, and enjoying life without freezing rain/snow for as long as we can! Summers are always a bit more mellow for us, so we’re taking the time to clean things up a bit and are planning some wicked events for the summer.
I hear you, everyone is looking forward to this summer! Looking back on the last couple of years, what are some of the changes that the business has been forced to make?
At the very beginning of the pandemic, we were looking into changing our website and pos systems, and then during the first lockdown we decided to just go for it. It was a lot to take on and we’re still making little tweaks, but in the end it seemed to help with customer-facing interactions big time. As I’m sure a lot of accounts are reading this went through the exact same thing; we see the work everyone has done and would like to say WOW. Great job!
Speaking of updating systems. How have you found the buying process given that so many brands went digital during the pandemic?
So wild! So many women’s brands did a full redesign over the past two years, and it was very interesting having to buy things when all you have is line drawings for the entire line and couldn’t try anything on. I think everyone has done a wonderful job moving everything to be done digitally now, and I hope this helps make our industry a little greener. It’s been really cool to see what each brand has done, the 360 model shots some brands have are incredible. I’ve been using my tablet for catalogs for years (my back is happy about that) and it’s great to see people using paper less overall!
In your experience working with various brands over the years, what do you see as the biggest challenges ahead?
Honestly, it started with women’s apparel first and trickled down, but people who used to shop local for clothing started either shopping at the mall or at the thrift. With large retail chains hitting all the tradeshows, copying anything on trend and making it themselves it’s been a bit of a struggle for apparel in the shops. Kids apparel took a hit when a certain Supermarket chain started selling their cheaply made gear for way less as well. It more just makes the job a bit unique in adjusting the way we buy each season, which helps things from going flat for sure!
Despite many of these and other challenges in the industry the last couple of years, what are some positives that you have seen?
The past couple of years have been a rollercoaster to say the least, between being closed and not being able to sell anything, to running out of skate for what seemed like the better part of a year. I feel like it made some people realize that supporting local was more important than ever, and the way people started coming together here (for the most part) in the skate and snow communities was really nice to see. It’s given us a lot of time to reflect on what matters most and adjust the way we do things for the better.
For sure, community is important and a big part of what we look forward to getting back too! As someone who has been a big part of KNOWSHOW history, what are some of your most memorable show moments?
There isn’t enough room for this, haha! Seeing everyone in real life and the events that go around the show are always nice times. Video premiers, skate contests, somehow getting all the work done in time for dinner and beers; just being in the same room with so many great minds who share the same passions. IT’S A VIBE!
It certainly is! Great catching up Ash! Looking forward to having you back at the show this summer!
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