Osiris is teaching retailers a new trick.
>BOOM buh-boom boom BOOM!
Nope, that thunderous sound isn't target practice at Camp Pendleton gettin' a little too close to TransWorld's office. It's Osiris VP of Design Brian Reid demonstrating the capabilities of the new G-Bag Urban Sound System, and he's about a city block and several walls away from where I stand.
Thinly disguised as a hefty backpack, the G-Bag is Osiris' ticket to that “product future”–the place where gadgets you wish existed dwell. The result of Reid and Owner Tony Magnusson's extensive skate and travel experience, the G-Bag boasts two built-in eight-watt/eight-ohm speakers, a five-watt-per-channel rechargeable built-in amplifier, a dual-voltage AC adapter, a removable holder for your CD player, and enough roomy compartments and pockets for anything else you might want to have along. Plus, the straps and zip closures are tricked out to accommodate the cords that hook it all together.
“We gave our teamriders boomboxes at the The Storm premiere,” says Reid, “and next thing you know, 'Dude, I lost my boombox!' Besides, skating with a boombox isn't the easiest thing in the world, and it looks stupid.”
Cost was no deterrent once Magnusson and Reid decided to make the G-Bag, and even though they've had to cast molds for the plastic parts (a notoriously pricey venture), the final cost of the pack won't be much more than the popular Shorty's Muska pack. “We spent a year designing it,” says Magnusson. “The bag is made of the most expensive ballistic nylon you can get–this is meant to be the best traveling bag to carry music around that money can buy.”
The G-Bag presold 5,000 units well before production began, with a delivery date set for September. After previewing the sole sample at ASR this spring, Reid and Magnusson walked the aisles at MAGIC in Las Vegas, twin G-Bags cued and synched to the same bumpin' CD, and they managed to get more attention (and offers up to 500 dollars) than many companies that'd spent the thousands for a booth.
Even the merchandising of the Urban Sound System will be different than that for other packs–it'll arrive at the shops in a P.O.P.-ready display box, good-looking alone or stacked for volume. It's all part of Osiris' future vision for skateboarding business: “Skate retailers have learned how to sell things they were unaccustomed to selling twice now in the last ten years,” says Magnusson. “First it was footwear, then snowboards. Part of our aim is to have the retailer learn how to sell music and electronics.” The idea makes sense in light of retailers' complaints about slim hardgoods margins.
In spite of all the excitement the G-Bag is generating, Osiris has had a few more breakthroughs lately. Just completed was the inaugural Aftermath Tour, a national skate/hip-hop roadshow that Magnusson envisions giving the Warped Tour a run for the money: Aftermath featured demos and all-ages after-parties with two hip-hop crews, and three DJs (including Osiris Team Manager Pat Simpson), and it was free. Filmers were also hired specifically to document the tour, and the results can be seen at aftermathtour.com. Next year there are plans to take the tour to Europe.
The Osiris skate camp came as a surprise even to Osiris. Ten days before the projected start date, Mission Valley YMCA Manager Ozzie Ausband approached Magnusson about the possibility of Osiris taking over the skate camp. He agreed, and the result has been a win-win situation: Osiris helps solidify the next generation's commitment to skateboarding, and huge banners further increase the company's profile. Campers are encouraged to take up filming and produce their own skate-camp mini-masterpieces. Osiris pros and amms make appearances a few times a week, and Friday afternoons are set aside for fun, including the “Osiris mystery gift” giveaway–a coupon valued at 200 dollars, redeemable for the product in question come September.
Guess what it's gonna be? Full circle, we come back to the G-Bag. Osiris is pretty much on fire right now–so let's see where their bag is taking us all.