LAB Talks: Retail Storytelling


Retail Storytelling / 02.14.19

Moderated By Jerrod Sumner of Brandtabulous, Kristofer Bowman of UpState MN and Show + Tell, and Chip Addington of Addington Company.

In a matter of just hours of releasing tickets, LAB Talks was sold out! Set for Valentines day, the February panel was focused on Retail Storytelling. Jerrod Sumner of Brandtabulous was a dynamic moderator, lending insight through conversation. He is known to be an expert brand storyteller, editor and stylist, as well as the Creative Director of Rose & Loon with experience in curating local makers for West Elm. With his genuine appreciation for the maker, coupled with understanding the value of the story beyond the label and logo, Jerrod navigated a compelling discussion.

The conversation featured Kristofer Bowman of UpState MN and Show + Tell - who’s brick and mortar storefronts focus on connecting people while sharing the stories of artists, designers and makers. Alongside Kristofer, was Chip Addington of Addington Company. Chip’s love of nature and the outdoors fueled his passion for handcrafting the most beautiful high-quality gear and bags. The panel was an inspiring exchange between the three, discussing the relationship between a maker, a shopkeeper, and the story behind the products they sell.

As coffee from Parallel Cafe and inspiring conversation filled the space of the Holden Room, the first few rows filled up quickly with designers, artists, and business professionals waiting to hear the secrets behind Retail Storytelling. Over 75% of the room had also attended the first LAB Talk, and were eagerly awaiting to hear from the experts this month.

The panel began with introductions from each speaker - what they do and how their journeys led them to where they are today. Jerrod gave an overview of three types of Retail Storytelling which led to the heart and core of the topic: stories of the store, stories of the product, and stories of the customer.


“I believe that the things that we treasure most are made by hand, and I believe that they have a story behind it. I believe that things that are made by hand honor traditions of the past, and bring value for today.”


Sprinkled with humor, passion and great energy, Jerrod asked Kristofer and Chip how they measured success, and they each had a different answer to how their businesses bring them a feeling of achievement.

Kristofer: “My story has always been one of connection. When people come back and remember the conversation, the experience and the space within the store, that is the thing I love.”

Chip: “I get very excited about seeing people use what I make. I also love hearing stories of how the products have been used by people on their adventures. When people find the details that I put into the bag and they work for them the way that I hoped they would, it’s a really exciting experience. “

LAB Talks
Doug Marshall

Our upbeat and high-energy Mindset LAB instructor, Doug Marshall (@theworldofdoug) frequents the LAB Talks events, and during the engaging Q&A towards the end of the panel, he asked: ”How can you tell the grassroots story of a company, while keeping it polished and modern?” His experience with Corporate Aveda has tested his creativity when it comes to creating new content for a brand who is already so established and well-known.

Jerrod answered: “Always honor the past. Listen to the people using the products from the company. Tell how they use the products, why they use them describe their journey with the products. Tell the real story. ”

LAB Talks

Each LAB Talks, an Instagram Contest takes place where attendees document their experience on Instagram, whether it be on their feed or in their stories, using hashtag #LABTALKSMPLS. The giveaways for this talk were especially exciting. An Addington Co. bag from Chip, a Brainstorm print from UpState MN from Kristofer, a coffee date from Jerrod, and a business workshop from LAB For Business. The winners were…

@katieweigelt - Addington bag
@casie_directly - Upstate MN / Brainstorm Print - Business Workshop
@brennakaye - Coffee Date with Jerrod


  • “Stories are never instant. They are built layer after layer, and they mean something more.”

  • “If you go back and visit something, it should belong to you.”

  • “Retail is alive today.”

  • “Stores are meant to create experiences and to connect human to the stories of makers, artists and designers.”

  • “Your store or product should reflect who you are.”

  • “Your work has to mean something to you before it can ever mean something to someone else.”

  • “It’s less about being perfect, and more about being present.”

  • “Remember why you started.”

Cheers to our speakers and attendees! Be sure to check out more on upcoming LAB Talks.



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Written by: LAB Intern & Contributing Writer Madeline Wichterman. Photography by: Kathryn Eurman