Only 2 more weeks until the opening of the Manulife Place Pop-up space in Edmonton! This past April Beauleigh and Manulife launched a contest for local brands to win a free pop-up space in Manulife Place. We sat down with one of our winners, Ryan Willisko of Nitro Snow to learn more about the brand and what we can look forward to with the Pop-Up!
Beauleigh: Tell us about Nitro Snow? Can you give us some background information on how you started with the company?
Ryan: Nitro Snow as a company has been around in Europe since 1990. Originally, I was previously working for a distributor of Nitro Snowboards in Edmonton, and in 2016 I had the opportunity to start and partner Nitro Snowboards directly in North America. We started the Canadian business out in our garage and a small warehouse that we were working out of for about a year. Nitro Snow North America has been progressively growing ever since. When we started we had the brand in about 25 retailers across Canada and now we have over 110 doors. Nitro Snow is now available coast to coast in Canada, predominately in Quebec, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, and British Columbia.
Beauleigh: We are so excited to have you as one of our Manulife Place pop-up Winners – Why did you choose to participate in the Manulife Place Pop-Up Competition?
Ryan: We chose to participate in the competition because we believed it would give us a platform to express who Nitro Snowboards is and express who we are. It’s hard sometimes for brands starting out – they make all these amazing products, but don’t get to have that direct interaction with the end-consumer when its sold through a retailer. This way people can experience the products in person, get to know the brand and who we are. We want to make this pop-up first and foremost a marketing experience as our goal isn’t just to sell product, but rather highlight Nitro Snow, and the inner workings of the brand. We want to make a statement in our own backyard. We are an international company, and we felt this was a great opportunity to focus within Edmonton and help support the community.
Beauleigh: What do you hope to achieve with your pop-up space at Manulife place?
Ryan: We have a few different initiatives planned for this location, as we want to help give back to the community and support people in need. Nitro Snow will be giving 10% of outerwear sales back to people in need through technical outerwear. We also want to do this ourselves, and we aren’t going to subcontract that out, our staff will actually be handing out our technical outerwear to people in need, it is our way of giving back. As much as we are a business we also want to support the community that has been there for us.
Beauleigh: Give us a preview of what is to come for the Nitro Snow pop-up space.
Ryan: We want the pop-up to really be an experience as well as making sure we have a selection of products so that there is something for everyone. We will have a variety of price levels on products from headwear to more technical pieces like an outerwear jacket. What we are most excited for with the space is integrating the local business culture in Manulife Place with Nitro Snow, bringing people a little bit of fun in their busy work day! I find people often forget to take a minute to themselves, or even get outside and have some fun. #SkipWork, We are trying to create an environment that someone passing by on their lunch break can come in and have a coffee and hang out with us, watch movies, even play some foosball! We are also planning some exciting events for the space including athlete meet and greats, we also want to do nights focused on Women in Snowboarding. We will also be hosting intro to snowboarding nights for kids, who can come with their parents and learn about snowboarding and what to look for when buying technical pieces.
Beauleigh: What can we look forward to seeing from Nitro Snow in the future? Goals after the Pop-up Space?
Ryan: We just finished a very busy Olympic year so the Pop-up space at Manulife will be our main focus for now. After the Pop-up, we would love to do more pop-up locations in collaboration with our retailers, possibly one in the US. We have a couple of film projects in the works right now so we are looking forward to working on those as well.
We can’t wait for Nitro Snow’s Pop-Up to open at Manulife Place and hope to see you all there on Sept 4th!