From the Editor: A Year to Remember

The VMSD team pivots to bring everything you love about IRDC, in virtual form.
Posted August 5, 2020

Anyone who follows me on social media knows that I love to collect and share historical quotes. As a writer, I appreciate the succinct and carefully crafted prose and as a human, I find them meaningful, motivational and often inspirational.

Recently I was reminded of one of my favorites, from author, educator and gifted speaker Booker T. Washington: “Excellence is to do a common thing in an uncommon way.” This simple statement, for me, sums up the challenge before us: to rethink and refashion nearly every aspect of our lives, how we work, how we learn, how we connect.

In June, we tested our first virtual event, an online version of the International Retail Design Conference (IRDC) favorite, the Iron Merchant Challenge. Knowing that holding in-person, live events in the fall might not be realistic, we dipped a toe into the water of online, interactive gatherings and found our participants and competitors rose to the occasion. Thank you Joe Baer and the team at ZenGenius for all of your hard work and unbridled creativity in making this a success, and thank you to all those who competed and attended this hallmark event.

Though it saddens me to report that we will not be together in person at IRDC this fall, I’m excited to announce that we will bring the conference to you this year. In a time when every business has had to rethink some part of their business model, we’ve been working extremely hard to reimagine IRDC 2020 as a virtual event.

We understand that it is both the excellent, focused educational content as well as the unparalleled networking opportunities with the best and brightest in the industry that have made IRDC a success for 20 years. It is our mission to deliver on both of these counts to bring our retail design community together at a time when it’s needed most.

For now, I can share with you our new dates for IRDC 2020: Oct. 28-29. IRDC’s virtual program will include two days of keynotes, lively panel discussions, roundtable networking and, of course, another virtual Iron Merchant Challenge – all delivered to your screen via an interactive, dynamic online platform that can be accessed anywhere in the world. Please stay tuned to as well as our social media channels for details on agenda, activities and more. I hope to see you this fall!