Look Back, Go Forward

A couple of times a year I browse through back issues of AQUA and Spa and Sauna, AQUA's original incarnation. Our oldest volume is from 1983; a generation ago.

I look at old magazines partly because I just enjoy magazines so much, but I also read them because it gives me a real sense of continuity. How different were things back then? Or how much the same? When did a new trend first pop up and was it possible to predict its course?

This time when I looked through the pages, I was struck by how much has changed, yet hasn't. For example, one reader was pleased at the work the industry was doing to bring safety issues to the forefront — in particular a recent Spa and Sauna story on the topic.

Isn't that funny? I've frequently been told that the industry doesn't like to talk about safety because it hurt sales.

Another reader expressed his frustration with manufacturers who were selling direct to the consumer and bypassing retailers. Does that sound anything like the concerns we have about Internet retailing today?

And yet another reader urged the industry to share it's collective intelligence and put more effort into cultivating consumers — making the pie bigger, rather than squabbling over the existing pieces. Hopefully the Hot Tub Council will make a big dent in solving that long-standing problem.

So if you have some old issues of AQUA or other relevant magazines gathering dust in your office, take a fresh look sometime. You'll be surprised at what history can teach you.

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