The skucamp Experience

7 min read

ace-2You arrive.

It’s an October winter where you come from, but you are now in the land of palm trees and iridescent sunlight. The temperature is ideal: not too cold, not too hot.

Stepping into the Ace Hotel, you realize this is no ordinary crash pad. It’s a bit weird with a touch of nostalgic fun. Eclectic, but inviting.

After a warm welcome, you step into the small crowd gathering around the pool. Across the patio, you see one …. twothree … no, make that four … people you know, but many you don’t. You make a mental note: this is a who’s-who of some of the coolest brands I respect, but not just boutique agencies, there are some great companies here.

The workshops begin soon. Don’t worry: nothing to think about, no classes to decide between (you’ll attend them all), don’t even look at the calendar. It has all been planned for you. Just relax.

Join the bright smiles, open arms, laughter, and encouragement.

Welcome to skucamp.

When we first started thinking about skucamp, the idea was simple: gather the most admired people we know, assemble them together under one roof (in an environment that fostered intimate sharing) with one non-negotiable:

Those leading the workshops would be practitioners: exemplars who have made our profession the essence and elegance that it can be, whose lives and businesses are worth emulating, but also, those who are willing to share openly and honestly the secrets (and failures!) that led to their success.

Two other priorities:

  1. We wanted a holistic curriculum, one that wasn’t merely sales focused but one that peeked behind the curtain of all aspects of business success: ops, e-commerce, branding, communication, team building.
  2. We wanted to provide plenty of time for connecting. (After all, some of the best “teachers” at skucamp are your fellow practitioners, everyone has something to teach; everyone has something to learn).

Following is a brief overview of the workshops and panels provided at skucamp:

Learn How to Make Intimacy a Marketing Strategy with Danny Rosin

Marketing has become too sanitized. Social media is not social enough. Branding has been reduced to cosmetics. Branding must be more than a cute jingle. Pitching on social does not work. What marketers need to do is spark and sustain a connection: Connect clients with your passion. Connect colleagues to your vision. Connect profits with purpose. Connect people with each other. No one in our industry has mastered the art of connecting more than Danny Rosin. In this session, Danny will demonstrate that connected branding is not an afterthought; it’s prescriptive, proactive, personal, and it’s a honed skill.

Learn How to Build a Purpose-Driven Brand with Denise Taschereau

How do you differentiate in an industry with thousands of distributors selling the same products? What does it take to compete and stand out in today’s marketplace? As consumers are increasingly looking for authenticity, transparency, and collaboration, where do you fit? How do you fulfill that demand? Denise Taschereau of Fairware (a Vancouver-based distributor), leads one of the most respected brands in the industry. Fairware has created a unique purpose that serves their clients and fulfills their brand promise. In this workshop, you will learn how a purpose-driven focus can lead to success, how to differentiate your business, and how to connect with your clients through purpose and values (and not just price point and products).

Learn How to Build Authentic Brand Experiences for Lasting Connections with Ted Church

You live in a world that is driven by design-thinking. Your clients have become increasingly design-centric in their demands and they want to emulate fashion-forward brands and retail trends. Ted Church has built Anthem Branding through excellent design that delivers on a brand’s strategic objectives. In this workshop, Ted will demonstrate campaigns that he has developed for clients and will share the thinking process that goes behind aligning a brilliant campaign with a brand’s message, a brand’s audience, and a brand’s objective. Ted will be bringing some examples from some of his best work, an excellent hands-on chance to learn!

Learn How to Master the Art of Selling with Matty Toombs

It takes a tremendous amount of drive to significantly grow your sales. To move from where you are to where you want to be takes a strong strategy and a hard, critical look at your current tactics. In this session, you’ll learn selling secrets from one of the most successful salespeople in the business. From your own personal development, to growing a sales team, Matty Toomb will take us through the labyrinth of sales growth options and share shortcuts that he has devised that will help you map your own strategy for success. Come prepared to adopt new ideas, and to bootcamp your way to sales-fitness.

Learn Business Growth and Scaling Strategies with Catherine Graham

Scaling a business is one of the most rewarding and difficult challenges an entrepreneur can face. In a deadline-driven, transaction-oriented industry, the temptation is always to focus on the urgent at the expense of the important. Often, we sacrifice long-term growth planning in favor of getting the next order out the door. To scale in a sustainable and effective way, strategic planning is required in the key areas of organizational structure, operations, and finance. In this workshop you’ll learn how to begin the planning process, how to identify your vital metrics to monitor, and how to implement your future growth plan.

Learn Enchanting Secrets to Creative Storytelling with Bobby Lehew

Storytelling is the magic by which we move people: prospects, buyers, employees, colleagues. Behind any successful sale, behind every successful business, there is a story. Learn to tell this story effectively and you’ll learn how to enchant your audience and attract more of the right kinds of customers. In this session on storytelling, we’ll take successful sales experiences and learn how to translate them into stories that are compelling. You will learn how to take your unique value proposition and shape it into a story worth telling and how to unpack an ordinary transaction and turn it into a story worth remembering.

Learn Emerging Trends in e-Commerce with Eric Granata, Casey Schorr, and Todd Pottebaum

e-Commerce is for everyone. It’s no longer the sole domain of the giants in the business. Innovative distributors are carving unique niches with e-commerce and connecting with their customers in surprising ways. They are also developing tactics and a multi-digital approach within their e-commerce environments that lead to big opportunities. In this session, you’ll hear from some of the leaders in the commerce space whose tactics and success will both surprise and inspire you to think different about ecommerce. It’s both a glance into the future (chatbots, AI, voice recognition, uberization possibilities, and more) as well as a practical discussion on how digital selling opportunities are all around us, if we will look, learn, and apply.

Learn How to Drive Authentic Change with a Millenial Mindset with Nicole Hite and Stephen Musgrave

Millennials drive $200 billion in buying power and lead a majority of our trends, from fashion to fitness to technology. They also have healthier work life balances, a tremendous work ethic, a strong sense of purpose, and a desire to belong. This session isn’t about how to speak down to a younger generation, it isn’t about how to manipulate social media as a communication ploy to reach young professionals, it’s about driving real change in your business by connecting with the powerful millennial minds of your customers and colleagues.


ace-1The late afternoon sun hangs low against the desert sky. A whirlwind of a day. The workshops were fast-paced but deep. Your mind is tired, but your energy for the business has never burned brighter. You’ve met a few new friends, and now you are eager to discuss the day’s ideas, to unwind. There are one-on-one sessions you can participate in; you also overheard a group heading to Pappy+Harriet’s to take in a live band. But you decide to go on a short hike at Joshua Tree with a few of your new friends, there’s a full moon, and it would be nice to close the day sitting under the starry sky, contemplating the year ahead.

You breathe a sigh and smile: 2018 is going to be a year worth remembering.

You can register for skucamp, here.