Runway PIA

Every 2 years the Parachute Industry Association plays host to the PIA Symposium in the USA. It is an opportunity for ‘companies and individuals who are leaders in the promotion of safety, quality, and accountability in the skydiving industry’ to show who really knows how to close a reserve. It’s the industry version of a World Meet, where you will see the next generation of skydiving products released. Making it to the ground floor of PIA as an exhibitor is establishing your mark in the skydiving world for the next 2 years. Put simply it is an open-to-all skydivers boogie that has no jumping, and all you  do is talk-shop about skydiving. Welcome to Para-Con.

So, whats on show? People walking around in jumpsuits? Jet-fighter helmets and Zoolander-models draped in white nylon fabric? That too, but most importantly – your brand message. Skydiving manufacturers of containers, canopies, jerseys, jumpsuits and even custom pullup cords put their company values on show to the public. Values have never mattered more to a generation of shoppers as they do today.

  1. Reset and Forget

Walking into the Parachute Industry Symposium is like the seeing the Great Hall of Hogwarts from Harry Potter for the first time.  It is like a massive reset button for any assumptions you had about manufacturers. Whether you are coming from a 206 dropzone with decaying posters of skydiving on the hanger wall, or a multi-aircraft commercial airport  that has hosted world champions- you are going to rub your eyes a few times at the excitement of seeing the manufacturers in the flesh. All opinions are left at the door and the slate is wiped clean. This is your chance to meet face to face, and for the first time in 2 years, show who and what you are about.

  1. Kiss Babies – Shake Hands.

Are you attending this exhibition to sell products? Or is it to promote potential clients? Both, maybe? What’s the difference? Decide upon your objectives.

Knowing your audience is critical and will determine what stock you take, how you present it, and whom you invite to see it. How large you need your stand,as well as how much money your willing to put down to entice skydivers to come knocking on your stand wall. Keep in mind that Skydivers are simple creatures. If they are not jumping, they are talking about skydiving. They do this day in-day out, every week and often in the most rural areas, far from glamorous exhibition centres. There are many inexpensive ways to show your products and business, but your personality is what is really on show.  

  1. Big Booth? No need, got the real thing.

The biggest industry event for skydiving held every 2 years means new product releases and learning the future direction of the sport… But most importantly “how do i get a photo of me with Bill Booth?!” Just like the dropzone, everyone wants to jump with the cool kids. So, this is the time to rope in friends and jumpers you know. L&B do this fabulously, they literally bring the skydiving world to the main floor with names like Jeffro Provenzano, Roberta Mancino and Luke Aikins. This is your marketing dollars spent very wisely. They say you are the sum of your 5 closest friends!

  1. 8-Sec Rodeo

PIA 2019 is in Dallas, and what better way to sum up this rodeo than asking yourself: How am I going to stand out in a hall FULL of industry leaders when everyone is competing for the same 8 seconds? Did you know that the average human attention span has dropped from 12 seconds to a mere eight — one second shorter than that of a goldfish. Dressing to impress, (yes… that old chestnut) is about as important as it’s going to get. Showing which brand you are representing goes way past your ‘nametag’. What you choose to wear – should give your entire elevator pitch the second someone looks at you. Black is cool… But black is safe.  No one remembers the guy in the black jumpsuit, they remember the girl in the unicorn onesie.

The demographic of skydivers has shifted to a much younger, online-exposed community – the Millennial – who live on the book, not by it. 60% millennials tend to gravitate toward purchases that are an expression of their personality.

Make no mistake the PIA Symposium is a 4 day event that will live on (line) for the next 2 years.


Are you interested in new employee uniforms for your business or team? Contact Manufactory Apparel and we’ll design a plan specific to your company’s needs


Rob Delaney Manufactory Apparel

Robert Delaney is the creative director and co-owner of Manufactory Apparel. His career in fashion and graphic design has spanned more than 15 years, working for industry-leading apparel companies in sports, street and luxury fashion. No stranger to the sky, Rob has worked as a Camera flyer, LO and coach, and has represented Australia as a competitive skydiver in 2016