Sports & Outdoor

The Brewery , 52 Chiswell Street, London, England, EC1Y 4SD, United Kingdom (Directions)

Sports & Outdoor

Deploying digital to harness a passion for exercise

Sports & Outdoor 2019 focused on how brands in the sector should be using blended digital and physical programs to better engage with and monetise those who take their sport seriously. The Sports sector has seen significant growth in audience reach and engagement using digital - from participants sharing their activities and acquisitions through social to brands creating their own mixed media events.

In 2019 the strongest brands and retailers in Sports & Outdoors will be those who truly understand the motivations and behaviours of their audience - how often to communicate and how to differentiate online.

At this years full day conference we heard strategies from industry professionals across 4 dominant sporting areas; Cycling, Outdoor, Fitness and Team Sports.

Our line up of speakers included:

Upma Vermani, Senior Manager, Consumer Insights, Analytics & Operations, Adidas
Siggy Simon, Digital Innovation Leader, Decathlon UK
Calvin Cox, Head of Marketing, Sigma Sports
Daniel Kogan, Content & Social Media Manager, Sigma Sports
David Alexander, Category Leader: Turbo (E-Bike), Specialized Bicycle Components
Adrian Nash, Digital Experience Manager, Life Fitness
Ian McCaig, Co-Founder, Fiit
Ronnie Legg, Design Manager, Alpkit
Andrew Denton, Chief Executive, Outdoor Industries Association
Giles Chater, Managing Director, Tough Mudder
Christian Dorffer,
Co-Founder & Exec Chairman, mycrew
Richard Philip, Marketing Director, Stance Socks
Rob Wilson, Head of Marketing, Soar Running
Hollie Weatherstone,Marketing Manager UK/IE, Canyon Bicycles

OIA Primary100.jpg

Sports & Outdoor is working in partnership with the Outdoor Industries Association.

Topics we covered included:

  • What will the role of physical retail be with the digital world continuously evolving, particularly for speciality sports? 

  • How do successful sports and outdoors retailers stand out from the crowd to both sell goods that help their customers compete and to out-compete their own competitors?

  • What approaches to digital marketing are being employed by brands and retailers, with an emphasis on developing social awareness and building a community.

Who attended?

  • Founders, CEO's & Owners

  • Heads of eCommerce, Mobile, Digital, User Experience & Brand

  • Chief Marketing Officers

  • Chief Digital Officers

  • Directors of Brand Loyalty, User Experience, eCommerce


Upma Vermani

Upma Vermani

Senior Manager, Consumer Insights, Analytics & Operations, Adidas

Upma Vermani is working as Senior Manager, Consumer Insights at Adidas. She has been responsible for designing and managing the point calibration system and analytics for Creators Club, the recently launched Adidas membership program in the US.

In the past, she has worked as a Data Scientist with Singapore-based NTUC Link, which operates Singapore's largest consumer rewards programs. Upma has more than 7 years of experience in analytics and market research and would be sharing some insights about her work at Adidas today.

Upma’s LinkedIn
Adidas Website

Calvin Cox

Calvin Cox

Head of Marketing, Sigma Sports

Calvin is Head of Marketing at independent cycle retailer Sigma Sports. Calvin has been involved in the development of Sigma Sports marketing strategy over the past 6 years, supporting the business as it has grown from a single store retailer to a multi-channel, multisite operation, reaching customers around the world. 

Calvin has over 15 years marketing experience, having previously lead UK marketing programs for Kelly Services, the multi-national recruitment services organisation and also working in the tech industry at the world's largest job search engine,

Calvin's LinkedIn
Sigma Sports Website

Daniel Kogan

Daniel Kogan

Content and Social Media Manager, Sigma Sports

Daniel is the Content and Social Media Manager at independent cycle retailer Sigma Sports. Over the last five years, Daniel has spearheaded the content and social media strategy, creating content for both Sigma Sports and the brands they work with. Growing Sigma Sports' social media channels, the investment in the photography and videography team is an area Daniel is extremely passionate about.

Daniel comes from a cycling background, with over 20 years experience on two wheels. Racing both in the UK and abroad, as well as, more recently, tackling events around Europe, he always has an eye on the ever-changing trends in customer behaviour and the professional racing aspect of the sport.

Daniel’s LinkedIn
Sigma Sports Website

Juliet Barratt

Juliet Barratt

CMO & Co-Founder, Grenade

Grenade’s Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Officer, Juliet Barratt, has had a fascinating career which has spanned education, charity and training, before she succeeded in the world of marketing and sports nutrition, joining her husband, Alan’s sports nutrition distribution business and then launching market-leading sports performance and active nutrition brand, Grenade®.

Officially trademarked in 2006, Grenade® has grown at an accelerated rate thanks to innovative marketing tactics, and a fresh approach to sports nutrition. Industry recognition has followed, with the brand listed in the Sunday Times Fast Track 100 for the last 5 years and entering the SME Export Track 100 in 2017. Grenade were regional winners and National Finalists of GBEA Entrepreneur of the Year in 2018. Grenade® are now leading innovators in the wider lifestyle and Active Nutrition space, renowned globally for their product range which includes Carb Killa® bars and shakes, Hydra 6, and Thermo Detonator. Juliet still has a passion for education and spends a lot of her spare time mentoring young entrepreneurs and assisting them with start-ups. She loves business and is hugely proud of Grenade®’s growth and position in the market.

Juliet’s LinkedIn
Grenade’s Website

Rob Wilson

Rob Wilson

Head of Marketing, Soar Running

Rob is Head of Marketing at London based performance running wear brand SOAR Running. Rob joined SOAR at the start of 2017, with a focus on driving both the brand’s direct to consumer growth and targeted wholesale presence. Rob has worked to cement SOAR’s position as the UK’s leading premium running apparel brand via its unique events, partnerships, content and grass roots activations. Rob’s role has seen SOAR grow its credibility amongst the dedicated running community in the UK, establishing its unique and market leading offering in terms of both performance and style.

Rob is a competitive distance runner with over 10 years experience racing at a national level. In recent years Rob has been increasingly involved in race organisation, team management and coaching, giving him a keen eye for the nuances and trends of the wider running community.

Rob’s LinkedIn
Soar’s Website

Adrian Nash

Adrian Nash

Digital Experience Manager, Life Fitness

Adrian is the Digital Experience Manager at Life Fitness, the global leader in fitness equipment and solutions. Adrian lead’s the strategy in the UK for Digital supporting the business in providing their customers with new, innovative solutions that get the world moving and help people lead active and healthy lives.

Adrian has spent the last 6 years working for Google and Apple within sales and product management and with Customer Experience always at the forefront of Adrian’s mind he brings that background and expertise with him to Life Fitness.

Adrian’s LinkedIn
Life Fitness Website

Hollie Weatherstone

Hollie Weatherstone

Marketing Manager UK/IE, Canyon

Hollie is Marketing Manager UK/IE at Canyon; the fastest growing, most awarded global bike brand with an industry first direct-to-consumer business model. Joining Canyon at the end of 2016, Weatherstone has quickly developed the brand’s UK events programme with demo days, ride outs with pro athletes and expos to make the online business more accessible to those who want to see and try their bikes. Having built great relationships with the cycling press and a keen eye for what works on social media, she has made sure that Canyon is the brand on everyone’s lips.

Hollie’s LinkedIn
Canyon Bicycles

Andrew Denton

Andrew Denton

Chief Executive, Outdoor Industries Association (OIA)

Andrew Denton has been working in Outdoor Recreation since 1984, starting in outdoor education then moving to a series of senior management and business ownership roles with brands such as Rohan, Mountain Equipment, Sprayway, Ronhill and many more. He is best known as the founder and co-owner of the modern Mountain Equipment brand where he worked for 17 years.

Today he is CEO of the Outdoor Industries Association the non-profit body that represents the UK Outdoor Recreation sector to government and across the world. He is Secretary General of the European Outdoor Group Coalition ‘Its Great Out There’ - based in Brussels to increase Outdoor activity in Europe. He is the Chair of the Sheffield Outdoor City project, sits on The Wild Network council, the OutDoor by ISPO Advisory Board and is the Outdoor Representative on the UKActive Membership Council.

Andrew’s LinkedIn
Outdoor Industries Association Website

Ed Waterston

Ed Waterston

Head of Marketing, Specialized UK

Ed is the UK Head of Marketing for the leading global bicycle brand Specialized, having joined the business in 2017. With 10 years of experience working in the Cycling Industry, Ed has held senior brand marketing roles in the UK and Asia-Pacific for a number of large cycling and sports brands, including SCOTT Sports and Cannondale. He also worked for Adidas on their partnership with Team Sky. Since joining Specialized, Ed has redesigned the brand’s UK marketing strategy, and led planning and activation, with the UK marketing team launching a number of campaigns and products to market.

Ed is a keen cyclist and passionate marketer with a particular interest in the evolution of consumer psychology. His UK team cover the entirety of the marketing mix, both inbound and outbound, from traditional and digital media and PR, through to events, Ecommerce and retail marketing, including both the SBCU education and Retül bike fit programmes.

Ed’s LinkedIn
Specialized UK Website

Ronnie Legg

Ronnie Legg

Design Manager, Alpkit

Ronnie has worked in the outdoor industry since graduating from Leeds University with a degree in Sports Science (Outdoor Activities) in 2008. Initially focussing on her love of mountain activities, she spent 15 months working at Plas Y Brenin where she gained several outdoor instructing qualifications, and experienced more than her fair share of rain. After deciding to keep outdoor activities for fun, she shifted career focus to her second passion: performance textiles and design.

A Masters in Clothing Product Development at Manchester Metropolitan University followed, including a dissertation based on research during an expedition to Svalbard. On her return to the real world, she was offered a job as a Garment Designer at Rab. After nearly five years with Rab, the fresh challenge and opportunity to take on a bigger role at Alpkit tempted her away. Starting as Senior Designer for Clothing in 2015, and now as Design Manager,

Ronnie has responsibility for expanding Alpkit’s range while maintaining focus on functional design in clothing and other product categories.

Ronnie has been actively engaged in wider industry projects (including the EOG Microfibres Consortium) and most became a member of the newly formed OIA Development Board.

Ronnie’s LinkedIn
Alpkit’s Website

Giles Chater

Giles Chater

Managing Director, Tough Mudder

Giles is the Managing Director at Tough Mudder Ltd, market leader in the obstacle course space and home to an incredible community in Mudder Nation. Since joining the team in 2014 he has helped establish TM as a brand which delivers unconventional life-changing experiences; growing a tribe that lives courage, personal accomplishment, teamwork & fun.

An early career in the outdoor industry is where Giles developed his passion for the transformative power of adventure. Initially based out of residential centres he enjoyed a variety of roles in coaching, education and management before transitioning into the Live Events space.

Giles LinkedIn
Tough Mudder Website

Siggy Simon

Siggy Simon

Digital Innovation Leader, Decathlon

Siggy is the Digital Innovation Leader for Decathlon, UK with over 12 years experience in digital marketing and digital platform deployments. He is a data driven professional who has worked both on the Agency side and the Brand side to make sure businesses can thrive in the digital world. In Decathlon he is responsible to lead all the technical strategies around connecting the ecosystem of sports to offer a seamless experience for users in the digital and physical space. 

Siggy’s LinkedIn
Decathlon Website

Gareth Crew

Gareth Crew

Social Media Manager, Garmin

Gareth is currently the EMEA Social Media Manager for Garmin, where he works with Garmin’s individual countries in helping spread Garmin’s message in social media. Previously, Gareth has worked at Burt’s Bees, TUI and Microsoft and is a social media, sport and fitness nut, enjoying bringing all of these things together within Garmin.

Gareth’s LinkedIn
Garmin’s Website

Rich Philip

Rich Philip

Marketing Director, Stance

Rich has had an incredibly varied career spanning over 15 years in marketing and brand development. He started out within the world of FMCG moving quickly across to the music industry where he was heavily involved in the relaunch of the former Millennium Dome, rebranding to The O2 and marketing the artists for the Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG). He decided to follow his passion in sports and moved over to Amer Sports where he headed up the Marketing division for Northern Europe. There, he was responsible for their premium portfolio of brands including Salomon, Suunto, Wilson, Arcteryx and their lifestyle portfolio including Nikita and Bonfire. Alongside this, Rich has been involved in co-founding a number of businesses, Beco an environmental business and Guevara, an insurance brand with an alternative approach.

In 2016 Rich joined Stance as Marketing Director for the EMEA region. Stance is an apparel brand that, in the last 5 years, become one of the world's fastest growing lifestyle and sport businesses. They have done this through bringing life into something that had been overlooked, igniting a movement of art and self-expression that has drawn athletes, performers, and iconic cultural influencers to the brand. Rich has been responsible for launching their sports and performance business and in 2018 expanding out into DTC channels with bricks and mortar retail and online stores.

Rich’s Linkedin
Stance’s website

Nick Hussey

Nick Hussey

Founder, FRAHM

Nick is an Entrepreneur, Apparel Sesigner and Consultant, with a bias towards eCommerce, creative and content. He is best known as the founder of urban cycling brand Vulpine, one of the most talked about British apparel startups of recent years, due to it's innovative product, inclusive brand and an explosion of creative marketing.

In 2018 he created FRAHM, making super tough, stylish yet technical jackets for men. He wanted to create a kinder men's brand, more open to talking about men's mental health. FRAHM is "In Aid Of" mental health charity Mind. Purely an online brand, it sells most of it's stock in advance.

Nick started racing bikes aged 13 and now slowly potters around Somerset with or without small children in tow."

Nick’s LinkedIn
FRAHM’s website

Christian Dörffer

Christian Dörffer

Co-Founder & CEO, Midnight Runners

Christian is a serial entrepreneur and investor. In 2014, Christian co-founded the Midnight Runners, now one of the world's largest urban fitness communities with chapters in Europe, America and Asia. In 2015 he co-founded Sweet Capital, the founders fund, and Christian has invested in more than 35 consumer-mobile companies, the majority in California, and sits is a board member of a number of fitness and wellness-related companies; Wave TV (the 4th largest sports media company on social with 1bn monthly page views), Springmoves (an app that delivers running and walking playlists based on BPM), and Caura (the first continuous and effortless tracker for glucose and lactate to optimise your training regime). In 2017, Christian co-founded myCrew, the world's leading social network for fitness, on track to host 20k urban fitness events worldwide this year. 

Christian’s LinkedIn
Midnight Runners Website

David ‘DA’ Alexander

David ‘DA’ Alexander

Category Leader: Turbo (E-Bike)

David ‘DA’ Alexander heads up the Turbo (E-Bike) category for Specialized in the UK Market. With a long history at the brand, DA has an exceptional amount of knowledge in cycling and, specifically, in Specialized. Prior to taking on the Category Leadership role, DA spent several years managing the SBCU Education program. In his current role, he manages the entire strategy for E-Bike in the UK, including consumer analytics, product ranging, distribution planning and marketing activation.

David’s LinkedIn
Specialized Website


08:45 - 09:30

Registration & Networking Breakfast

09:30 - 09:40

09:40 - 10:10

Welcome from Commerce Futures

Keynote Speaker -
Siggy Simon - Digital Innovation Leader at Decathlon UK

2 Industry Streams - Cycling & Fitness

10:10 - 11:40

Cycling Industry Stream

Fitness Industry Stream

10:10 - 10:30

Keynote 1 -
Calvin Cox - Head of Marketing at Sigma Sports
Daniel Kogan - Content & Social Media at Sigma Sports

Keynote 1 -
Juliet Barratt - CMO & Co-Founder at Grenade

10:30 - 10:50

Keynote 2 -
Ed Waterston - UK Head of Marketing at Specialized Bicycle Components

Keynote 2 -
Adrian Nash - Digital Experience Manager at Life Fitness

10:50 - 11:20

Networking Coffee Break

2 Industry Streams - Outdoor & Team Sports

11:20 - 12:00

Outdoor Industry Stream

Team Sports Industry Stream


Keynote 1 -
Ronnie Legg - Design Manager at Alpkit

Keynote 1
Giles Chater - Managing Director at Tough Mudder

11:40 - 12:00

Keynote 2 -
Andrew Denton - Chief Executive at Outdoor Industries Association

Keynote 2 -
Christian Dörffer - Co-Founder & CEO at Midnight Runners

12:00 - 13:00

Networking Lunch & 1-2-1 Meetings

13:00 - 13:40

Cross Industry Panel Discussion Moderated by Nick Hussey - Founder at FRAHM Jacket

  • Robert Wilson - Head of Marketing at Soar Running

  • Hollie Weatherstone - Marketing Manager UK at Canyon Bicycles

  • Richard Philip - Marketing Director at Stance Socks

13:40 - 14:10

Keynote Speaker 2 -

Upma Vermani - Senior Manager, Consumer Insights at Adidas

14:10 - 14:30

Final networking & event close



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Q: Is there a fee for attending the Commerce Futures event?

A: Events are priced individually, they range from £0 - £99.00. We take great care in how we curate the audience, the event is invitation only and you must register in advance to attend. If you have not received an invitation but would like to attend, please register via the website and your place will be confirmed subject to approval.

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A: Senior professionals in eCommerce, entrepreneurial brand owners, marketing leaders including directors and leaders of omni-channel, multichannel, digital marketing, brand, social, strategy, customer experience (CX) and content.

Q: What is the address of the venue?

A: The venue for 2019 will be confirmed shortly.

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A: There is no formal dress code. Please come dressed in comfortable attire e.g. business casual. 

Q: Who is Commerce Futures?

A: Commerce Futures is an independent online community for retail leaders and Commerce professionals. We provide a round up of the latest news and information relating to the key challenges in Commerce today, as well as insights into future trends and technologies that are shaping the online retail landscape. And because we believe it's important to learn from our peers, the regular Commerce Futures event series brings in expert speakers from leading brands to share case studies and industry know-how. 

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