To the Retail Global Family, Friends and industry counterparts. After a week that I would describe as one of the hardest of mine and the team's career, I felt compelled to pen a letter to you and the wider industry.
On numerous occasions last week you told us we were the glue that holds the industry together, and whilst we appreciate that more than anything and love the e-commerce industry the truth is we do not work in e-commerce.
The hard reality that we do not admit often is, we are an events company, and as an events company, the past 18 months have, excuse my language, been a bit shit.
Retail Global Gold Coast 2021, our first Australian event in 22 months, saw the unofficial overarching theme of ‘Disruption & resilience’ appear, and, boy could that not be more appropriate. The way our Retail Rockstars and incredible sponsors stood up to help us rearrange our agenda and still managed to deliver world-class content on a whim was truly inspiring. A personal highlight and shoutout to Lyres Spirits Co-Founder, Carl Hartmann, reviewing the BigCommerce annual report on his phone providing some real no BS insights that were invaluable for all those in attendance. Our very own Phil Leahy and renowned disruptor Gabby Leibovich with an impromptu Q & A which for many was a highlight.
Sunday night we saw 15 Solution Providers take out the inaugural Australian Vendor In Partnership Awards, with another 60 finalists celebrated at the Star Garden Lawn. The evening was buzzing with anticipation, partnerships were cemented, networking was rife and I cannot emphasize enough the excitement, ‘we were back baby’.
The buzz was not exclusive for the e-commerce industry, with many of the GCECC staff coming in on Sunday to help out purely out of excitement to have people in the venue again. This was the first major event for them since COVID hit. Whether you realise it or not, by being part of Retail Fest, the support you have shown the events industry is not forgotten. Talking with tourism Gold Coast over the weekend hotels, transfer services, airlines, restaurants and tourism as a whole saw a revival, in the current tourism economy the thanks extended were heartfelt. The excitement was so, Tourism Australia was preparing a case study and marketing campaign about rebooting business events, based on Retail Fest.
One initiative we were hoping to launch this year in addition to our incredible Retail ROI Charity Gala was Retail Cares. A big thank you to the teams at Handii, Trademutt, The One Billion Foundation and of course Retail ROI for the support. We will continue our company ethos of philanthropy. For those who had tickets to the Gala please keep an eye on your emails for announcements coming soon.
I do urge you to support not just Retail Global, rather, the events industry as a whole. The teams at Comexposium (iMedia), Reed (Online Retailer), Inside Retail (Retail Week) and Power Retail (All Star Bash) are all close friends, remember we are all in this together and if we stopped disrupting on the back of one setback the world would not be what it is today. Please continue to support the events industry and everyone in it.
We will be back, very shortly we will be announcing one-day Retail Fest Roadshows for all RGGC ticket holders and sponsors in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. Until next time, we have no regrets for taking the punt bringing everyone together, from feedback the connections, conversations and friendships made from the event were at an all-time high. As someone passionate about physical events, the e-commerce industry and people this is all I can ask for.
Chief Fun Officer, Retail Global