Sales Rep Feature: Dickson Li | NLA
**This interview was originally posted on 05 December 2012
I recently had a chance to chat with Dickson Li from NLA just before he took off to Spain and Los Angeles for his fall/winter sales meetings. We chatted about what brands he represents, why he spends so much time on the road, and why beer and chicken are so important for a good PK.
HEY, DICKSON. THANKS FOR CHATTING. WHERE ARE YOU NOW?
I am in Saskatoon, and then I’m rollin’ to PA (Prince Albert, SK) for a few PKs. I am on the road for two weeks and then heading to Spain to see the Dragon fall 13/14 collection, and then I fly right to LA for 32 fall sales meetings.
SO, YOU ARE THE SNOW REP AT NLA. I WANTED TO TALK TO YOU SO OUR READERS CAN LEARN ABOUT WHAT A SNOW REP IS AND HOW IT IS DIFFERENT FROM A FASHION REP.
Yeah, I handle the snow side of things here. I sell 32 Snowboarding and Dragon sunglasses and goggles. These brands are winter sport specific and quite technical. A lot of engineering goes into the design of our products.
To give you an idea of what my season looks like . . . My fall/winter sales season starts with the sales meetings in November. That is typically the kickoff to the season where we preview the product, learn about the specs and marketing, and get hyped on selling the product for the coming season. Once I get back to my office, I wait for my catalogs to arrive, and I am booking appointments for December and January. January is crazy. We have showings in our office, KNOWSHOW, and SIA. Appointments are key. I spend a lot of time and get everyone slotted in so I don’t miss them. If for some reason I can’t see a shop, I will send out a catalogue and go over the line on the phone.
AND THEN THE FUN BEGINS? HA, HA.
You know it! 32 has a deadline at the end of January, so I spend a lot of my time after the shows doing follow-up. My shops are good though. They know if they don’t get their orders in, they won’t get the product in time. I am blessed because 32 is an important brand for many dealers. I have over 140 (Dragon is over 250) dealers that I work with, so it is a lot of time on the phone.
Dickson working the PK at Propaganda Shop - Prince Albert, SK
OK. SO AFTER THE SALES ORDERS ARE IN, FAST FORWARD TO THE FALL. THIS IS WHEN PRODUCTS START SHIPPING?
Yeah, this is when I go into PK/Clinic (Product Knowledge) mode. I travel around to as many of my dealers as I can to meet with the staff and go over all the new features/models of 32 and Dragon over some beers and fried chicken. It’s my job to get everyone hyped on the brands to ensure good sell through on the floor.
VERY FEW APPAREL REPS DO PKS THESE DAYS.
Well, there is only so much you can say about a hoodie or a pair of jeans . . . whereas a snowboard or boots or outerwear or goggles are much more technical.
PKs for me are almost as important as trade shows. I usually start planning my PK tour in July and August. I book the nights at the stores, arrange flights, cars, hotels, everything. Then after the spring sales season is over, I am on the road for a few months doing PKs. And if the resorts are open early, some nights I’ll take staff out and do some turns. We do what we do because we love sliding sideways on snow, and at the end of the day, that is what drives me.
Chicken & Beer time!
HOW MANY PKS DO YOU DO EACH FALL?
DAMN. THAT’S A LOT OF TIME ON THE ROAD.
All part of the game! In the spring, I am on the road again doing count and fill orders for my Dragon sunglasses business.
YOU SENT ME SOME PICTURES OF A PK AT THE BOARDROOM IN VANCOUVER FROM A FEW MONTHS AGO.
That was awesome. Pierre André Senizergues from Sole Technolgy (the founder of Etnies, 32, Emerica, and Altamont) was in town for some meetings with Timebomb, and I was able to bring him in at the last minute to say a couple of words at the Boardroom on 4th Ave. Everyone was surprised. It really makes a difference when the founder of an iconic company can take time out of his busy day to connect with the staff, and it gets them stoked on the brands.
Pierre André Senizergues & Dickson Li @ The Boardroom Vancouver
AND THERE ARE SOME PICTURES OF YOU AND A BARBECUE?
There are actually many pictures of me and a Q floating around on the Internet. I try to support my dealers as much as I can. If that means pitching a tent on a rainy Saturday cooking weenies, then I am there.
LOOKS LIKE A LOT OF BEER IN SOME OF THESE PICTURES.
Yeah, PBR (Pabst Blue Ribbon) was real good to me this season, and I was lucky enough to be sponsored by them. Everyone loves beer, and it makes those after-hour PKs more interesting.
Dickson serving up hot dogs at the Boardroom - North Vancouver
WHERE CAN PEOPLE REACH YOU?
I work at NLA, and my brands are 32 Snowboarding www.thirtytwo.com and Dragon Alliancewww.dragonalliance.com.
I will be at the KNOWSHOW January 16–18 and SIA Denver January 31–February 3. Looking forward to seeing everyone!
- Brian Jenkinson
All images courtesy of Dickson Li