MEET YOUR NEW GM: Scott Murray-Burrows
For the last 20+ years Scott Murray-Burrows has been actively involved in all aspects of the action-sports, lifestyle and fashion wholesale business. Working with numerous brands and companies during that time, Scott has built up some impressive credentials and is no stranger to KNOWSHOW. Now joining Cube Media as their New Sales and General Manager for the show, Perry Pugh sits down to catch up with Scott on his exciting new role!
Scott, it’s been a while! How are you doing?
I'm doing good, it's been a hell of a year and a bit that's for sure! Certainly wasn’t expecting things to unfold the way they have since I last saw you at KNOWSHOW, seems a lifetime ago now! But, the family is healthy and smiling and that's something to be thankful for and it does feel like we are returning to a sort of normalcy and I'm feeling upbeat!
Yeah, I don’t think anyone at that show would have thought that was the last time we’d all be in the same room for the unknown future. Especially after so many years coming together.
Congrats on your new role with the KNOWSHOW! I think most folks around the business know you, but can you give us a quick rundown of some of your experience in the industry?
Thanks, really excited to be joining KNOWSHOW! I have been around a bit... I grew up skateboarding in London, England and that's really where I got involved in the industry there. My first jobs were in music and events PR and marketing but I ended up as a sales rep for a skate and snow distribution business in the UK and later became sales manager for a number of leading action sports and streetwear brands. It was the relationships made during this time that helped when I ultimately decided to move to Canada in 2004. My first role here was as Marketing Manager for No Limits Distribution.
The good old days! That was the year I headed to Vancouver as well. We kind of hit the scene at the same time, though you came from a bit further. What was it like coming from the UK / Euro Industry to Canada?
At first, It was a bit of a culture shock being in Canada, especially being that much closer to everything, particularly the US brands. I didn't realize until I came here how the UK and European markets are a little isolated from what's going on. After No Limits, I joined the crew over at Wick Winder. Those guys we’re really growing something different, it was a young exciting business and really fun to be a part of. I learnt a lot in my time working with them, the crew at Ultimate Distribution and StepChild Snowboards and will always look back fondly at that time.
I have found myself in a few different roles since moving to Canada, I re-joined No Limits in 2016 as Division Manager for Obey Clothing and most recently in 2018 I joined Stokehouse as Country Manager for Canada managing their Vissla, Amuse and Sisstr sales, marketing and operations. It was a unique experience working directly with a group of brands, particularly with the likes of Paul Naude at the helm, an icon in the Surf industry and I really enjoyed working with the team here and helping them grow their business in Canada!
Working with all of those brands has had you in the show’s orbit for a long time, do you remember your first experience with the show?
I actually remember some of the initial conversations with you about the state of trade shows in BC when I arrived that first year. I was shocked there wasn’t more of a traditional ASR-type show in Canada and what did exist just didn't seem to work at all. I do remember exhibiting at one of those early shows and thinking to myself this is what trade shows are supposed to be like, KNOWSHOW has continued to build and grow on those early roots and it's been great to be a part of.
What have been your favourite memories at or around the show?
I have always enjoyed the activations and seeing how people get creative with their booths and space. I remember bringing up a custom shipping container from California for an art show one year, unfortunately it was winter so I had to shovel all the snow off before we could drop it on the show floor, that was fun! Some of my favourite memories are typically those after the appointments and showings are done. Everyone can relax a bit and hang at the show bars or any of the numerous parties or events typically surrounding the show.
One of the funniest memories I have is at the Vestal Watch party at the Morrisey on Granville Street, to this day they say they have never had a party like it. It’s never a bad time when you have heavy metal bands and smoke machines inside a bar, good times! I think all of the shows and events over the years have been great and it's these kinds of memories including a fantastic show like KNOWSHOW that keep people coming back each year.
The Morrisey night! I still think about Vancouver landmarks in relation to the different parties everyone put together. From that first rager at Beaumont Studios to Venue, the Morrisey, the Penthouse, The Urban Winery, Grouse Mountain, the Fireworks Cruise and definitely all the Fortune nights. So many good ones.
The last 18 months have changed so much about how our business works. What changes do you think are temporary adaptations versus permanent adjustments?
I hope video calling is temporary! Haha, I'm old school, I don't mind picking up the phone but I'm not particularly photogenic so seeing myself on screen makes me cringe. Aside from that, it’s clear that software and video presentations have become a useful tool in helping people sell or buy through the pandemic. Various platforms were around before Covid hit and things were already moving that way but the pandemic definitely accelerated that way of working with each other.
My personal opinion is that while these tools are likely here to stay in some form, people will always want to get together, talk with their reps, see the product in person, touch the fabrics, test the boards or what have you.
I agree. Not to mention the isolation of the last year. My favourite parts of the show were always the time in between showings where you could catch up, and learn from our colleagues doing similar things in different places.
Knowing that everyone’s digital communications have stepped up so much over the last year, where do you see the importance of in-person gathering in our business now?
There is really no substitute for meeting in person and I am sure everyone is looking forward to getting back to it, especially retailers! It’s kind of like video calling with your family, that's great and we all did it the last year and a bit, but I think we can all agree it's far better seeing your family in person! Do we really want to spend the rest of our years only communicating via screens? Seems like the pandemic answered that question for us and people want nothing more than to get back together, in person.
I can’t argue there. What are you looking forward to the most in your new role with KNOWSHOW?
I have been in and around the show from the early days, mostly as an exhibitor and I think that gives me a unique perspective. I want to respect the roots of the show and all of the hard work you and the boys put in over the years. I am really excited to dig in and continue to create and evolve all of the things that make KNOWSHOW Canada’s Premiere lifestyle Tradeshow, great brands and great retailers from across Canada and North America all under one roof!
We’re excited to announce that KNOWSHOW is back! We’re kicking things off on January 11th & 12th 2022 with the Fall/Winter show. Registration will be open in the coming days and we’re looking forward to having everyone back!
Thanks, Scott! I’m excited to see where you take things!