There are few sensations stronger than the feeling of home. Familiar surroundings cultivate creativity, as the comfort of belonging—of community—is something truly powerful. Equally powerful is the desire for change, which has been building in the minds of Steven Kimura of United Shapes and Owner Operator, and Joe Suta of Nightmare Snowboards for years. They believe it is time for something new in the snowboarding industry, something that is finally coming to fruition in 2017.
Snowboarding is getting its own place to call home.
Parts & Labor is positioning itself as an alternative to the standard industry practice of participating in the SIA Snow Show, the world’s largest exhibition of snow sports brands organized by the non-profit SnowSports Industries America, a labyrinth of booths occupied by everything from skis, to energy supplements, to software companies. But Joe and Steven would be quick to distance Parts & Labor from the “trade show” label.
“We’re not trying to call it a trade show, because it’s so tainted by now. It’s like using the word ‘core,’” explains Joe. “We want to use the words ‘community’ and ‘marketplace.’”
“Everyone we talk to says this is the new replacement for SIA; this is going to replace something for trade shows in general,” says Steven. “This is what snowboarding has needed. We need to grow this thing to address the broader issues of getting snowboarding together in one place, an annual gathering that we can all be excited about.”
And brands are most certainly excited. With nearly 40 already confirmed, Parts & Labor has tapped into a resurgence of rider-owned companies after the snowboard industry stumbled during the recession following 2008. Brands like The Interior Plain Project, PUBLIC, FIX Binding Co., United Shapes and others have emerged as corporate interest in snowboarding has waned amid economic contraction in snow sports as a whole. “I think the healthiest thing you can do for snowboarding is to stay focused on snowboarding,” Steven believes. “The best thing you can do for the snowboard industry is focus on making it awesome.”
Which is exactly the goal of Parts & Labor. Get this rich community of entrepreneurs, riders and thinkers together in one place. As Joe puts it, “This is about keeping that community alive and active, and understanding where we are in the business world and in our own fucking worlds.”
Now, more than ever, the importance of keeping snowboarding’s destiny in the hands of snowboarders is paramount. Despite the nagging pessimism from outside voices, the culture of snowboarding is as healthy as it has ever been. It can be seen in our perpetual curiosity with new shapes, rekindled recognition of snowboarding’s pioneers, and countless grassroots events that observe inclusion over exclusivity. The bottom line can never be guaranteed, but one thing can be. Snowboarding is fun. It has been and always will be. Parts & Labor is out to remind us of that and set us on a path to the future.
The foundation is set. Walls standing, roof built. A door that never closes is an invitation for passionate individuals to foster innovation and be excited, something that has been needed for far too long. Simply put, Parts & Labor is a place for snowboarding..
The premiere Parts & Labor show will be held January 27–29, 2017 in Denver, Colorado. Steven and Joe would like to personally thank Pete Harvieux, Jeff Keenan and Sean Genovese for their help in making this happen.
Continue below for insight from some of snowboarding’s visionaries.
“For us, Parts & Labor is a marketplace for specialty snowboarding that couldn’t have arrived any sooner. The Interior Plain Project has been informed by two decades of snowboard business, between retail in the 90s and 2000s, repping from early 2000s to now, and brand ownership since 2010. With all the information gathered through experience, I feel it leads us to Parts & Labor being a knowledgeable step in an ever-changing market. Snowboarders are interacting with the marketplace in vastly changing ways. Parts & Labor to me represents a marketplace being built on a mobile platform. As was once represented by NFA, this market has no fixed address and it’s expanding creation by those it’s being informed by. The shear collective of snowboard specialty interest in this show leads to an excitement I haven’t felt in a long time. There are so many interesting brands and to have many of them come together to create a community in which we all participate leaves me very encouraged. I believe the retailers, riders, and brands will truly benefit in the energy this platform is sure to deliver.”
— Pete Harvieux, Founder, The Interior Plain Project
Parts & Labor is a true testament to the inner soul of snowboarding. The founders have the vision to build and create, evolve and adapt, and these are the idealisms of the root. By bending the rules of traditional trade shows, Parts & Labor is offering a high-quality platform for showcasing company line-ups for next season. With daily discussions, seminars, and workshops inside an open trade hall, the overall feeling of this show is about bringing together the community, while building the future of the trade side within snowboarding. We look forward to seeing Parts & Labor evolve.
— Jeff Keenan, Co-Founder, Dinosaurs Will Die
Firstly, I applaud anyone that has the ambition to attempt disruption to the status quo. For many years now—especially post recession—SIA has been under a lot of scrutiny because of the excessive costs of being there in any meaningful form. As the entire sales system in our industry is undergoing technological—and seasonal—change, this puts even more into question the value that SIA delivers for the cost. You could call it the “Agenda factor”, but it remains to be seen if it will have quite that drastic an effect on the industry. I think—although it’s not confirmed yet—that YES. and the whole NDK group will share a small space at Parts & Labor to suss things out. After the two shows have run is probably a good time to revisit these questions.
— Alex Warburton, Brand Manager, YES. Snowboards
I am stoked to be a part of Parts & Labor. I think it is rad when people try to breathe new life into something we all love so much. I think P & L is going to be great for snowboarding and will bring like-minded people together.
— Joe Sexton, Co-Founder, PUBLIC Snowboards
It’s more important than ever for snowboarders—brands, retailers, riders, and customers alike—to be thoughtful and responsible with our alliances, endorsements, and purchasing decisions. If we care about snowboarding, we need to keep our dollars in snowboarding. We need to give our money and support to snowboarder-run businesses, not to corporations and their shareholders. Everyone reading this has the power to do that. Considering the current landscape, it’s important for Independent companies and small businesses to band together, recognize each other, make clear our true motivations—our commitment to and love for snowboarding— and put a little distance between ourselves and our corporate fair-weather ‘friends’. Parts & Labor seems to me a conscious step in this direction, to build a more true and direct experience, to support and help strengthen the snowboard community, and to give home to the independent spirit and the independent brands of snowboarding. We appreciate and support this effort wholeheartedly, because it is in line with our efforts as an independent company that cares about and makes every effort to truly invest in snowboarding.
– Jesse Grandkoski, Co-Founder, Airblaster