#495 – Vince Lebon On Building A Global Shoe Brand/
- October 24, 2019
Vince Lebon – Design Thinker & Founder, CEO & Designer at Rollie Nation
Vince is one of the top shoe designers in Australia and is the founder, CEO, and designer at Rollie. Vince won the Pensole Scholarship at D’wayne Edwards’ design academy and took out the Pensole x Footlocker x Asics ‘Future of Footwear’ Competition.
Vince has worked with Adidas to help set their design direction and vision, and his company Rollie has been named in Power Retail’s top 150 online retailers and labeled as a brand to watch.
Rollies are sold in leading shoe stores around the world, including Australia, New Zealand, Italy, France, and the US.
On today’s episode of The Daily Talk Show, we discuss:
– Starting Rollie
– The Pensole Design Academy sabbatical
– Lace Up: The Ultimate Sneaker Challenge
– Building a global brand from Australia
– Misconceptions starting a company in the US
– Being vegetarian
– How to get started in the industry
– Fashion advice
– Designing and manufacturing shoes
Vince on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/vince_lebon
Email us: firstname.lastname@example.org
Send us mail: PO BOX 400, Abbotsford VIC 3067
The Daily Talk Show is an Australian talk show and daily podcast by Tommy Jackett and Josh Janssen. Tommy and Josh chat about life, creativity, business, and relationships — big questions and banter. Regularly visited by guests and gronks! If you watch the show or listen to the podcast, you’re part of the Gronk Squad.
This podcast is produced by BIG MEDIA COMPANY. Find out more at https://bigmediacompany.com/
It's the daily Talk Show Episode 495 with five away from the big 500. Baby. Vince Lebon. Welcome to the daily talk show. Thank you.
It's great to have you in studio. He is my fresh from the States. Well, not too fresh.
Yeah, a couple months in now.
How? How was your experience? We're heading over next week. I mean, you live there for quite some time.
Yeah, yeah. It was a crazy experience. I was there for two years. But I've spent quite a bit of time there the last couple years. And it's very different when you're living there for sure. I'll go to young family, two kids. So it was a crazy, crazy experience.
So people might know your shoe brand here in Melbourne, Raleigh. Yeah, I've definitely seen a bunch of people walking around with them. You started that? How many years ago?
Seven years ago now.
And it's morphed into something bigger than you thought it would or
Yeah, like I always had faith. And sort of where I could put my energy and I thought it was a fun brand that I wanted to create that was much bigger than me. It's not cold Vince the bond, you know, it's the rolling nation.
That's actually my wife's nickname. Yeah, it's rolling. Yeah. Did she get the nickname?
Something I really talk about?
Makes it look really bad.
I assumed I had somebody because she was a worked as a flight attendant for quantum so I just assumed the storey that I had created was Rowley. It's like she's got like a real long bag over there. And she's got Yes,
definitely not a real storey. But I mean, that's a lot of people are saying that it was just a cute nickname that I sort of had for her. Yeah, that we developed it. I never really told her that. But like all the passwords were always rolling. And so I got him to change them. Yeah, and actually, so yeah. So they're all changed. But yeah, that was I worked on the the business model for six months, and then I worked on the actual shoe for six months. And so, yeah, it just felt like the right fit, you know, and we wanted to create something that was much bigger I mean, we I think we've done that, like communities super super engaged.
Did it feel like a luxury to spend six months? So there? Is it literally like a pen and paper
type of deal? or? Yeah, I mean, well, I had like a couple different options of what I was trying to do. And because what I didn't want to do is just create another shoe, the world doesn't need another shoe. So I was I was really looking at the the actual model itself and going, I don't know money. So how am I going to launch a business and how we're going to do in a way that I can scale up without trying to bring on, you know, some other partners if I could. And so, it was about going okay, I looked at you know, that a lot of the businesses and the Australian market they were doing well and Dunlop and you've got, I guess, you know, Converse Toms and thought, how can we create one product that we just sort of keep updating the colours and build out a community from there and collaborate with all these artists? And that's sort of how I guess the idea just came about so but it felt right to sort of work on the model first and then product, you know, the product is an outcome of the model and all the other way around. Do you
think no Having money to start something is actually a great stress or pressure to create something great.
Yeah, totally. I mean, I think it's one lens to look at starting a business. I think the problem with that is a lot of people will say, Well, I haven't got much to lose. So they don't think things out too much either. Yeah. So it's a mix of both right? Yeah, I think what it does is it makes you really think about shit, how can I make this work? How can I really, if I had lots of money, you just probably throw a lot at it and go, Well, that didn't quite work, and then you pivot. Whereas if you don't have money go, Well, every dollar counts. So, you know, a lot of thought went into how we're going to make this work. And for me, I've been in the business for 10 years at that point by that point. So it was like, what happens if this doesn't work? How do I get rid of the inventory? And then how do I go back in? How much you thinking about things like margins? I mean, because I had been in the business for a while I knew commercially what the margin should sit at. So for me that was like baseline. I didn't have to think about I just knew that's what I had to Hit. But what I did notice it like looking back is you get what you focus on, right? So if you focus on building a business, it's very, very easy to build a business and not be profitable. So in you know, my first wholesale account was the world's largest shoe store in Dubai. You know, I sold 500 pairs in less than five weeks at the South LA market. And so like it really started taking off pretty quickly. And we, you know, we had distribution Netherlands and in the first two years, I picked up nostrum in the US because I did a trade show up there and everything was really, really taking off. But, you know, we weren't overly profitable. I mean, it takes, we're in the inventory business. So you need money to make money, right. And even though we're making money, our orders kept getting bigger. So that then went on to the next run. But it wasn't until I really focused on how do we because I want a successful business and that means they're measurable brand that's also profitable. And the minute I focus on both of those, it happened within six months.
And that's from the South Melbourne. Markets being stocked, you know, around the world is this is this part of that six month plan? You know, that time you spent planning out with? Absolutely,
yeah. Yeah. So that that six months I took out. Like I said it was the business model. So okay, forget about the product, what is it was a shoe that stays the same, same last, you know, I'd worked in. I worked with a trading company prior to that. So I'd been spending two years in China a month on a month off with four kids. So that was definitely doable. And so I got to the point where I'm like, let's design the same shoes, same outsource, same lace, same socks, same shoe box, everything just set up a material changes. So it will was very easy to sort of go back and keep updating, you know, the shoes and so that whole concept, and the go to market strategy was also created from the beginning. So I knew I wanted to do international trade shows. I already went and travelled to the US and checked out a trade show there. I went to Japan checked out a show there. So I actually end up bringing some partners in pretty early in because they I've got a full time job because I was like, I'm about to have my first child. I'm not. I'm not trying to start a new business right now. But I told them, I called them up and said, Look, I'm looking for a job, but I have a business that I've just launched is doing really well. And they said, Yeah, cool, no conflict of interest. I came in a couple of weeks, they offered me a partnership with that business. So that was really good. That was a leading independent for a company at the time, or still are actually. And so yeah, I said, cool. I'm willing to partner up but here's my three year plan. And I had it all staged out. And they were all for signed up. When So I sort of had two jobs at the same time was doing Rowley and doing this other designing for this other company. About a year in the business. Raleigh business was getting too big and I'm like, I gotta gotta do this full time. So I transitioned and did that full time we brought on an assistant and it was like grassroots man, like, you know, we had one desk and I was working here in my city. was working on the same desk. My hip hop music blaring out and in this office and it was cool was really fun times man like we did a lot with three people. But in the end it was like we had a we did a lot with three people were in 11 countries and just like it was crazy busy.
And so how do you go from there to end up on reality shot?
That's a good question.
It wasn't big brother.
I was Naked and Afraid.
So what happened is after so I ended up buying out and exiting from that original partnership culturally, we just went aligned. You know, I'm trying to build a brand now we're trying to sell shoes. So I bought them out. And then we went from, you know, within, within a year we basically tripled our business, right? We went from three people to 10 people, right? It was crazy. How
did you manage like knowing when to bring on a staff member? Do you say, if we're getting X amount of revenue, we can afford one more? And then one more? Or how does that work?
Yeah, a little bit like that. I mean, it was very, it was much easier in the early days when you have no money, you make good decisions. Yes. If you're not, if you're able to sort of disconnect the emotional side. So if you go right, you know, when we were three people, my next hire, which a lot of people think was was nuts at the time, and like, I mean, even starting a concept, like rolling was nuts at the time, right? Like it was quite groundbreaking at the time, just because no one had the white souls super lightweight shoes. It looked like a unisex shoe is crazy good. Anyway, at three people might my fourth hire was an online specialist, right? And you would think, oh, what about a production manager? Or what about a lot of people focus on things to make their life easier? And I'm like, No, no, let's at this stage. It's about hiring people. They're going to add more money to the bottom line, right, who can cover their own cost? And then that's how we just kept building and building every single person we hired had a direct impact to their to their revenue.
So that's the I think the best way to grow,
and how much naive these in those early days, upon hindsight, I'm in making those decisions to sit, you know how it plays out be like, Oh, that was a bit too early, but it worked or, you know, I felt it,
to be honest. Like it always, it always felt quite, I felt very good with the decisions that I was making, because they felt very calculated and like, well, I knew exactly like you said, like how much revenue they had to bring in to cover their costs. Yeah. And I'm like, we can already see that this is working most of the time I try to make the money and then bring them in to support that baseline and then continue to grow. Anyone who's sort of know me or followed, I guess, my journey is always like when they speak to me, like are always doing really well. I'm like, we're not even close to where we need to be. Yeah. And so I'm ready. I'm always thinking, cool. I'm happy where we are, but we need to be here and we need these steps to get there. I guess the Navy was around. It's just a crazy idea. I'm just Yeah, yes. quite ambitious. And I think New York was probably where I thought I think I've gone A little bit too far now.
Yes. And so what came first moving to the US or getting the opportunity to do the reality show and I feel like the reality show is it's sort of under underselling what it was because it was also like an intensive horse. Right? Absolutely. Yeah.
So I think the way I got to the reality show was basically I had scaled up to the I think we were 10 people at the time. And I just felt like all I was doing was running a business, right? And I'm a creative at heart, even though you know, I know how to run a business. I'm looking at paint owls, and I'm an Excel geek. I love it. But what's your favourite formula? It's never just, like just mixing all of them together. I make I have this obsession with making everything dynamic. Yeah. On the same sheet, and it's like now what I want to link to the content not you know, I'm paying a table if I use it was great.
I had one issue with a dynamic thing when I was working I'm in an office and it was one of those shared spaces where there's like, four creatives, like oh, we should all have an office together, which ended up being a little bit of a cluster fact, but it just took not selecting, like five cells to at the end of the year being like, Oh, God, I
don't want to go too deep in the, into the dynamic stuff. And so, so you're 10 people. Yep. You're, you're spending a lot of time doing the profit and loss stuff.
Yep. And I was just like, I needed to take a design sabbatical.
I'm like, that feels like a luxury at the time.
Now like I said, I mean, I'm a I'm one of those guys that I feel pretty confident my decisions and that can work against me at times, but it's like, I was like, the business is not going to die if I'm not here for two weeks. And if it is going to die, then I've done a bad job. was setting up my company right like I believe in my team and at the time. So the design sabbatical was actually for pencil so pencils, a sneaker design Academy, right and they have little, they have my classes and the master class was actually three weeks the first one I applied for was three weeks. And this will lend into the TV show so bear with me for a second. So I was like I need to I need to take a break I needed like have a design sabbatical so I applied for I can't remember what the first class was. But anyway, I applied for one of the classes and I did a dope sneaker design and now got rejected I was like,
what I was like this is dope, dope sneaker design.
For me, it was just like it was innovative as original You know, I'm not one of those guys are trying to jack like the trends out that are out there and just do my own version of a shoe and I that looks like a Ultra Boost or a Balenciaga sneaker like and try to have my own vibe and and so I did the sneaker design and sent it through and then I got knocked back. I actually got shorts shorts, shortlisted but then I got knocked back and said all because they're only they're very small that you can get I think 12 people per class and they have like, you know 1000 People were applying. And so I wrote to the main guy, Dwayne Edmonds, who's my mentor now and was like, hey, just want to get some feedback. You know, he's like, I look great design, just, you know, it takes people three or four times. Sometimes they just keep playing. Like, okay, cool.
And how much time went into doing the design? I know much time. Okay. Yeah.
You talked about the knives.
And also, was there a part of you? Like, what was the relationship with having to apply or getting picked or that sort of thing did having a successful business that sort of running and then playing that game? Did you have to put your ego aside?
Yeah, I think. Yeah, like, I didn't realise it until I actually got knocked back that there was a level of that. I just thought was, like, I'll call like, I'm a don't think design, got a business that's working. Why I did. And like when I reached out, it wasn't out of anger. I was like, yeah, I'm trying to actually learn here. What was it? And and so he's like, No, just keep applying. And so what happened was, they come You know probably every quarter every six months so I designed the next one the next class it was funny when I finished that sneaker I decided to sorry I did that I did the snake I submitted it and before the third one even came out I started designing the next one I was like so it was a really good mind like shift for me I was God this is not about getting in the class isn't about me being better as a designer and so as last
challenge that you like I'll get it okay designing and you guys
know is beyond that honestly it was it was like cuz I like I didn't look at Raleigh as a full blinds naked brand right so it's a it's a casual fashion. Yeah.
People my phone on silent if you're 97 what an absolute nightmare. Yeah, gone. full blown
Street. It's not a hype sneaker brand or anything like that. So it was like cool. I want to play in this space now. So let me just do this for myself. And as soon as that mental shifts happen, you know, I got into the class and So I actually applied for colour materials because that's, you know, one of my strengths. So I went to the class I was three weeks in Portland, they flew. They paid for, you know, all the combination. And in the class it was with footlocker and a six. And so they put you in groups of three. We went through and one of my guys got kicked out, because he was mentally a little bit unstable.
which plays well for reality show. I guess they make it.
This wasn't a reality show.
This wasn't even in the point.
Yeah. No. So this was just the first masterclass
and so, certain type of person like I guess you're getting the Yeah, there is the creator sort of persona that you can imagine it is it a bit like that, where you end up with just a bunch of creative directors in the room butting heads, pretty much. Yeah,
yeah, they, they, they have a marketing the business. So it's business and marketing. Then there's a column materials designer, and then there's a actual designer.
So column materials is So the colour of the shirt and then like material
is like what is that? She's very insightful.
It's almost like picking between like ah like how many different materials could you use in a shoe like
so many millions you know I think the thing about colour materials is that the reason why I love it so much is because I have a holistic view to design and go well the coloured materials actually dictates the storey and the feeling and then how that translates to a shoe and actually informs the design and so for me I guess yeah, I'm not just picking colours and materials I'm like going okay what's it you know, working with because I have the business experience and footwear design and the car materials I try to have a holistic view and so that would that I think really worked you know in both so we I end up winning the competition even with a one man down with I want a six and footlocker so that launched with them. And like it sold sold out in a day, which was awesome. It was a global Release and so then pencil reached out with our Hey, we're going to do a reality TV show I would love for you to apply and said that's how that all happen. So originally it was just meant to be three weeks yeah and then I get you know the knock on the shoulder going Hey, please apply for a reality TV show and for me I had no desire to do that.
The best people for TV though Yeah, it's like the people that fight missile 97 he doesn't like talking
Yeah, I think you should set him up next time.
what's what's the application process for reality TV hence
crazy crazy intense like
it was a song was called licence for lace up the ultimate sneaker design channel and it was was it always a YouTube original or was it made and then sold to YouTube? Yeah, yeah,
it was. So it was the the guy who ran the whole project was the guy who did America's Next Top Model. So I mean, you what he's doing. Yeah, it's been running that ever since. And my the word is that was meant to be sold to Fox. Which would have been great for us. But then YouTube was trying to launch a YouTube channel and obviously paid more and that was the start of the thing not really working to be honest you know they put a lot of money into it and they had you know all the right people associated to it you know, like that crazy celebrities and the head you know data so added s really sort of back the whole thing
is it because like I was writing the comments, and it's like a snake afraid community, a certain type yet very sort of like, there's all these like status games that are playing and it's just like people calling out like if I can get in behind everyone and what sort of stuff was that? Were you used to that world? Have you had you experienced that?
I mean, I wasn't so deep into the sneaker world until I started pencil. You know, I always appreciated sneakers, you know, the Jordans back in the day it was like my first love for sneakers. And so, I mean, I had known a bit about I think the the show What they tried to do was go a little bit too wide, they tried to get a bit they tried to get everyone and I think the sneaker world, it's got to be super authentic, right? You gotta be super dialled in. And I don't think they sort of achieved that. And that's probably why it didn't work.
So you got your, you know, the the place where you feel most comfortable. I could imagine designing and yeah, and being your creative self. And then to have a crew on top of what was the most confronting thing about having your space where you love and you can do anything? Yeah, and then that
it's super weird at first, like, you know, there's there was seven full time cameras on you, man cameras, there's hidden cameras everywhere, hidden mics everywhere.
And then you've got people that have been hand picked to mess with you.
Like the I mean, they have talent like everyone that was like super talented. But I think the way that they've put the groups together and the way that everything happens, you know, there's a lot that the show doesn't show you because they were Trying to stay quite professional and give you the best leg up. But you know, there's a lot of stuff that happened behind the doors. And I think that because you, your group went on to win the competition. Do you think that, given how produced these things are? Do you think that you guys are actually engineered to win all along? No. No, yeah, definitely not.
And so from a narrative point of view, what's the Yeah, what were the different storeys that they were focused? Like, what was the reality of what was happening? And what was some of the things that they would pick up? Yeah, so
they tell storeys within storeys, and I think because, so there were two, you know, executive producers, right, that was Dwayne admins who's really focused on giving us the best chance of life in the creative space. And so you know, he's an incredible guy. And I think he did a really good job in removing and making sure a lot of the bullshit didn't go through, you know, and then you have the executive producers on the other side well, that we wanted to time it mobile.
Any like props or things that like scenarios that crashed all
of my seasons? The producers knew.
Was there any of that sort of shit?
No didn't feel I mean, just yeah, I mean, it's it's a it's an unscripted, scripted reality show TV show. I mean, you know, you have to say things over and over again. Like, we talked about TV magic, because you've got to walk in the door for time. People saying certain things and making sure everyone's and what happens is, I mean, over time, we're trying to be creative and your cameras in your face and like people just lose their mind. Right? Like, I don't I don't even listen to you like, yeah, and then it becomes tension between, you know, the, the guys on the cast and the crew. So as a as a very interesting dynamics, but I think like after, because I'm I was, you know, one of the older contestants, and there were a few people that are similar to age to me, but, you know, I'm a dad, I'm already a professional in the space. And I was like, oh, and I'm not trying to act like before right now. Yeah, yeah. So, you know, I was quite reserved for the first week and a half, two weeks. But then what because I and that's the first show, so you're not sure how How they gonna betray you? Yeah. But then you get tired then you just lose your mind. You know, like you've been working nonstop. We had three, three dark days which die offs. And we worked every other day like we would get it. We would get a brief in the afternoon. We'd have to pitch the idea the end of the day. start designing the next day, make the next day pitch to the celebrity in the next day, and then you're back on it again.
It's crazy. I was watching Episode One and like the first montage has a lady falling off a bunk bed.
I mean, incredible people. Yeah, yeah. That's not that's not set up. She just felt tired. Hello. She felt twice
maybe at that point. You should get the bottom bunk. Yeah.
I know reality shows are known for paying Well, they usually just cover your your costs.
So pain point.
It was in Portland was Yeah, it was in Portland. And he's Portland. When it comes to Cost of living like the Odin stuff.
They pay for everything. Okay? like living through the programme, it was meant to be $100,000 prize money. And like you can imagine having a family like my cool, man, let's let's make this happen. Yeah, that made a lot of sense. And then I got there and they like switched it up on us on camera and like, hey, the winner gets a free year of swag and gets a job at Adidas as an intention. I'm like,
Well, I mean, the reality shows usually the successful ones, you know, when you come in having a bit more it's almost to lose or you're risking a bit by tight. So what was that sort of?
What that what a piece may have mentally that killed me? Yeah, I was like, Damn, I'm like giving them being taught me to have my family. Yes. And
because it's not like I just need I want the money, but it's like, I'm
not putting it on the line. I mean, I think for me, it was like the money was one element, right Mike? And I think the one of those mindsets to of being able to To win in both times is like I didn't go there with the intention to win. My bar is about creating great work. And I believe we create great work will either win or I'll just be happy with the work that I create. And that's enough for me. And, and I think like when and so you don't have the added pressure of going shit I need to win, right so that that really helped us sort of get through where we're at. But definitely I you know at the beginning mentally it wasn't really hard to go okay now we don't there's no money here. So now it's all about the platform.
Did you have a conversation like a hard conversation with producers and stuff when you the
contractually, they can change anything? Yeah. You know, there was a lot of talk about it at the beginning. But then what happens is you end up realising that this is an incredible opportunity, regardless of the money right and like to be able to be in a space where you're designing non stop every single day. challenge to the max. You know, what was it nine weeks with celeb Is it was just cool. What happened to your business with Rowley at the time? were you doing all of this stuff? And then having phone calls with the name? Or what? Were they took our phone? So we weren't allowed to talk to people?
For nine weeks for nine weeks? Yeah. How many days did you say,
three dark days? I was, um, you know, anyone who had a family was able to check in, I think every two days, like 10 minutes. You will film when they were checking in so you couldn't like you couldn't do stuff about stuff, like everything that was being talked about would be on camera essentially, in like, you know, I had my my to IC actually, at the time, tried to resign at the end. I was like, are you serious right now? Like, trying to focus on getting through right now and you're like, I don't know if I could do this. And so that was that was a challenge mentally. But it's, you know, like I said, I genuinely believe that I this company needs to be set up that I can go out and do the things That I want to do. I don't want to be a slave to this business.
Yeah, there's the every day creating the, you know, spending that time on your craft. Yeah. What I mean has did it take something like the reality show for you to enter into that?
Oh, yeah, for sure. Like, I remember that one of the biggest key learnings that I got at the end of it was like, man, we just did eight weeks here. And we did a project, every four days. project that either went to market or coulda went to market and it was like, in full blown. It wasn't just product it was we had a physical sample, we had to go to market strategy. We had everything done ready. I was like, I could do this every single week. Now, I would have 52 projects at the end of the year, and I'd have three days off every week. Like mentally like you just imagine if someone released 52 products. The End still felt like they only worked half the week. Yeah. Like no one thinks about designing at that level.
And so we're Reflecting, reflecting now that you're not in that sort of pressure cooker, yeah, being in the real world, what's, what's the learning? Why don't we do it? Why? Why don't you do that? Well, I mean, I'm
back. Sorry, I'm gearing up to sort of have little sprints where I do that. Definitely, like, that's something that I've taken on board and go. Cool. How do I bring that into my daily life? I think we just get so caught up on in living, and like, you get caught up with like, just the regular day to day that it feels like everything's intense. But it's nothing like controlled, focused,
creative expression. Do you think yes, that is living? Important, do you think?
Yeah, of course, I mean, designing you know, it's, that's not everything I think. Like, I love design, right. But the ultimately, like even my business, like I love my business, but I do it for my family. Right. So it was very easy to sort of go I'm doing this for eight weeks because I'm going to go back to my family and hopefully I'll have my goal like Aside from winning the money which got taken off with a day one,
but you had some great swag Yeah exactly. I likes looking at it right yeah, absolutely bola. It looked like you had 100 grand. Just
exactly yeah hundred grand. Grand of promo. I mean release we got to pick
it yes good buddy snapback so you got
I got one favourite day. Yeah, you know what are you guys on four or five which
So yeah, it was a, it was a lot of split, you know and like at that point I so after the show aired on filmed, I was like speaking to Dwayne my mentor and he was like, you know, if this show does really well, you know, you got to be ready and available to take all these interviews and opportunities arise. So it was like, okay, that's where the moving to the US was like, if I moved to the US, if the show blows up, I could do all my interviews, I can build a platform and a profile and then have rolling Take off in the US. That was the goal. But yeah, the show Didn't you know, because they they did it through YouTube Red. And then they did a deal with complex, which complex is an amazing, you know, they got a cool really good sneaker platform, but then genuine sneaker heads. Yeah. Right. And so the show, you've done a broad show, given it to like in a narrow audience that have very specific taste. And the worst part about it is no one wanted to cover it press wise because why would they promote competitor? Yeah. Like it was literally the perfect storm in the wrong direction. Yeah. So, but it's cool. Like, you know, it's sort of reset my expectations of, you know, sort of where I was at, you know, mentally and go Okay, well, now what do I do? You know, I think a lot of times, you know, we we focus on I finally got a partnership, my business, you know, if I got if I will hand it off with Australia's biggest company, this would blow up. Yeah. And then it doesn't work out. You're imagining falls on a TV show. It's like, it just makes you happy yourself.
Yeah. Well, let's give him the power. Ivor Josh saying, you know, auditioning or submitting and being knocked back. I've created all this shit. Why am I Why am I facing this now? Did you? Did you actually sit down and strategize, moving forward without all that stuff yet might have happened?
Yeah, for sure. I'm, like I said, I think even like coming back here, like, this was a real lifestyle decision for us. It was like, Okay, how bad do I think I was so focused on building an empire just because I felt like I could, as opposed to going, what do I really want in life? And so, mentally, that was a really big shift. And so you know, I'm looking, I'll eventually release my luxury sneaker line next year doesn't need to make money. I'm doing it for myself. Right. And so just understanding what and why you're doing things, I think was really important. So now we bought we came back we bought a place in the country I've been, it's near Delfin, right. And so like, I'm going to have a little sample design studio there. So you know, I'll go up there every week and just design shoes and we'll just design stuff.
What do you think of the storey that a lot of Australians sort of spin around? If I was in the US completely different storey by Akin sides that would be it'd be the biggest fucking thing if we weren't stuck in this ship the fucking beans going out and I guess I probably be louder in New York but what Yeah, what how did your experience challenge that storey?
Yeah, it challenge it real quick. Because when I first got there, complex comes on, you know, complex. Okay, it's a big design, big sneaker convention. They had like limited drops. It's a big deal in the sneaker world, but that was like literally I think, okay, that week I came it was New York Fashion Week. So I was out nonstop for two weeks. My wife stayed with me which was, but that show stress the relationship when we first got there. And then I went to complex con I got invited there.
Were passes that
that's in It's in California. What is it?
And so that was really cool, you know,
as a really, really cool space. But when I was there, it was sort of, we had we had everyone there was the first time we all sort of got back together as a crew and it was just, it was crazy to see it all sort of come together and go and shit is this really what I want to be a part of. And when I was there, I met Jerry Lorenzo, Ronnie, Faye, and Virgil. So I met three of my idols in the basically the first month or two have been there. And what I realised real quick was I didn't have the work to back what I was wanting the space I was wanting to be in. So you go there and going if I was only in the US, and credible to be on metal is people that you like, I think it's much better to just create amazing work and have them come to you. Instead of trying to go there and say yourself to them right and so what I've noticed is when when my when my you know the James Highlands got released in the old it's the sneakers and the stuff I was working on I was getting people reaching out to me as opposed to it being you don't need to go to the states to blow up you just need to create awesome shit here that when people come to you like you know if you look at you know p nation what she did? She's living in Sydney and killing it.
Yeah. So how do you think that I think it's quite common to think like that we need to be in the hustle and bustle we need to be in New York City or
it's also like that scale thing everyone says like Australia's not big enough to do X, Y and Zed.
Yeah, but that's I'm not saying that.
Not to focus on the international market. But you could do that from here. Yeah, that's the misconception. So when you live in New York, so I mean, like now that I've lived there, you get a real fresh perspective. Like I live in Brooklyn, right? The idea of going to Manhattan was so painful. Really. Yeah. You'd organise all your meetings in one day. So you Like quality Manhattan next week on Thursday, let's and I'd literally have three four meetings on that one day because that's the only day I go to city. Like, you're like, dude, you're it's literally across the water. Yeah.
It's almost like when you when I was a kid we had Paul and my life back when we get a call, we're going to use it every single day doesn't matter what the weather is number four, you know, it's like, yeah, mom's yelling at me kids. I haven't been in six months.
Did you think you were gonna go to the island of Manhattan more than you do? For sure. You think like
I we chose New York because it was like, everyone comes to New York. And so we'd be out of arranged meetings all the time would you know, LA is incredible place to be, but it's so big. And it's been most of my time and traffic. So I was like, This makes a lot of sense. I can get around easily. But what you find is that like a lot of if you live in Brooklyn, particularly like people don't go to Manhattan and a lot of Manhattan people don't go to Brooklyn. So you build this in your head that it would be so easy and then like states is massive, right? And so a lot of the time we're on conference calls between here in LA, or we're doing something with San Francisco, we're doing someone with Seattle, like, you know, when I was launching with Rowley, we had customers all over the country or collaborators. And it's like, so you're not actually seeing them anywhere. Right? You may as well do that, like, if you really, really want to do this from here, just changes changing working hours.
Is it almost like a brand perception as well? Like, what do what do you think about when you think of personal brand?
Yeah, I think you can be international and just go like, if you if I, if I committed in this way I hope to do is I'll just go, I'm going to be in the New York and LA every single quarter. So you just book all your meetings in that time frame? Yeah. And I think I think you almost need to do that, actually, if you want to really be relevant, globally. And you know, you might pick Europe and the US but if you if you set a time that you're always there and then people know to book those meetings in those times, and from a personal brand perspective, really definitely helps being global. Like, when you talk about just being in Australia, like they switch off mentally ill so yes, it's like it's too hot.
Yeah. The we had an experience where with with LA, we decided to go down the route of getting media visas which we straightaway regretted because we had all this like, you had to go to the US consulate and what sort of a process Yeah, but I can only imagine the process that you went through with yours what was what was that all like?
Yeah, so I got a one
which I love you can say you're exceptionally tell you
know, I just thought I like saying it but it's like
alien with extraordinary talent. Oh, really?
And yeah, it was I was very lucky because the when I got my r1 it was done through the TV show. And so they did everything for me, but I had to give them a lot of stuff like they obviously wanted like all press clippings. You had to prove that you are the best place person to basically be there. You're expert in your industry. Do you remember the like the US like going to the consulate? Did you have to do all that and have an appointment? Yeah, of course, actually. So before the show when they when you fly out, they fly off a week early. And you're in solitude for a week. So you can't talk to anyone. And it's basically to mess you up.
So fucked up. The whole thing is just pretty outrageous. Yeah.
So he did do it to Mr. 97 when he first started working with
And so, yeah, so you got there. Wait, how long do you say I was
lucky. So it's normally everyone gets there a week early. I was the only one I think was me and one other person actually where we had issues with our visa, like, everything was left sort of not to the last moment, but they make everything difficult. And so I got my visa after like going and doing two appointments, and it was it was painful. Like it really was, but I was lucky that they did most of it. Yeah. But the painful part was like they like if you're not here in a day's time. I'm like, you're not in the show. Oh, right. So I was already confirmed again, but I had no visa. So I like they expedited the whole thing for me. And then I flew out. The day I landed, I did my interview with the whole executive board. And then then the next morning like you're in, and like there was some people that spent a whole week there and got sent home. I know. That's about four people.
Yeah, EOE auditions are horrible. Like it all that kind of stuff. Because it's, it's, you could you could easily identify that it's like, I'm not actually just right for that. So it's not about me and who I am. It's just that I don't know, right fit.
Yeah, he also saying the opportunities when you got Dwayne saying like, Man, you got to be ready for it. Like if I can brace yourself? Yeah. You know, you don't know why it's potentially. You're going home. Yeah. Yeah.
Early. You said the partnership you had when you had Raleigh happening, but you're working with that other company. You said they were selling shoes and I was
gonna build a brand gonna build a brand?
Yeah. What's the distinction there between what you do and what they were on a mission today?
Well, one short term and one's long term, right? And so if you're just focusing on selling shoes, that's easy to do, right? Copy everyone else, put your own logo on it. Or if you have your own brand, and your own shoe that you've done flog it and sell it to any anyone who's wanting to take it, do deals, and don't care about where it's being placed, and who you're selling to. What's the biggest compromise that most brands or people selling shoes make? I mean, most businesses fail in the first three years, right? So what generally happens is the first year you're spending so much time on building relationships and you've got this You're so bars, you've got this awesome idea that you think's awesome, and most other people don't. And it takes a good year to sort of get things in motion and then by the second year, all of that hard work in the first year starts to pay off and then generally will have the reason why played, they fell in the second third year is that by the time you get there, that's where you see all the mistakes that you've made. And so whether you're not commercial enough, or whether you haven't factored in, that if you miss a delivery or, or something goes wrong with your manufacturer, you just can't want that cost or loss. And so that's really where it comes down. Whereas for us, you know, we will get up and running out the gate almost immediately. And that was because like I said, I'd been in the game for 10 years prior. So I already knew who I could go out to what customers I could see it was just a matter of whether they wanted it or not. And with the guys that I was partnered up with, I just knew culturally, it wasn't a good fit. So I was like, instead of using your sales team, I'm going to get my own sales team. And that was like that tough conversation to have with partners to go well just because you you have you know, the ability to sell shoes is your it's not the right people or I'm not going to use your marketing team because they're not doing
What's something outside of the selling of the shoes do you think is extremely important?
You need to have unique selling proposition, right? You need to mean something, you need to be authentic, you need to genuinely be adding value into people's lives. Like, the way I look at, you know, selling anything is if you really want someone to give up their hard earned cash, like someone is literally work nine to five to make money to then exchange it for something that you're offering. There's no value to their life. Just focus on that stop focusing on yourself. Like, I have so many people like pitching ideas to me or you know, wanting advice. They're like, you know, I've got experience in this and I've done this and I've done that, like you're just talking about yourself, like what value are you adding to the people that you're wanting to take their money from? Like, I believe you do the right thing and you have the right values and you're adding value to their lives. They'll willingly wanting to spend the money and give it over and buy into it. You think it's something that needs to be known from day one, that value proposition or is it something that you iterate on and actually evolve into I think you can evolve into you can adapt and pivot but you need to from day one you need to be thinking about what the value exchanges between you and the customer if you don't have that then you know you're probably just leveraging you know your existing network and they're just by helping you out because their friends or family and like no one buy something that I need like this guy
I bought this coin which was a dumb purchase but yeah, it was a coin to remind him yeah all right, the whole exchange right and worked out to be 75 finding around the house it's slightly annoying
but if provided you value in maybe storytelling Yeah, you know what I mean? Like
I don't validate
it's a fucking weird
it is I ended up in the fucking cycles. Now it's on the on the smart space speaker at home, just sitting down the bedside table.
So it's it's kind of balanced the terrible Anyway
nice socks. How important socks to a shoe brand
Well, we have we have a thing that we say no socks. No problem. Okay,
I like that. I think like I had what were the shoes 97 that I had the one on ones that I gave to
the news. Yeah made a wall orbits over it's over it Yeah. So
I don't know what like I love I get into hype Yep, I'm not cool enough to get into Supreme Court like shit like I don't have the street cred but all birds was the perfect type where it's like that's your that's your bar. Yeah. Yeah, that's sort of like from a if I think about it from a marketing point of view. It was playing into this sort of status of sort of San Francisco Silicon Valley people wearing these things and it was the New Zealand will win. It was a great storey couldn't get him in Australia. So I didn't I can proxy shipping. Things like
you went through a bit of effort. Yeah.
And then I ended up fucking I was walking on a beach and the fucking tide came in and the shoes got wet, you know fact? Yes. So I gave them to Mr. 97. But they so that was, is that what what they were doing using warm and all that sort of thing? Is that something that's super innovative or is it innovation from a marketing perspective gimmick?
Yeah, yeah, I'm gonna go for more the second.
I think all birds is a unique business. I think what they've done is incredible, right. So they've ticked every box, right? You know that you use an incredible avatar, or they did use an incredible agency, you know, read out loud, they just create incredible experiences. They were like taking the innovation box, taking the price point taking the branding, like it feels very calculated. Whether I think they have longevity or not, you know, I'm yet to sort of be convinced if they focus on material and product innovation. Yeah, sure. But you know if you think about like what Tom's Did you know? If we're talking about shoes I'm in terms of incredible business model. Yeah. But the shoes don't stack up. Right and I think all birds, they feel incredible when you first put them on. Yeah, but they look like shit.
Yeah. They like lose their shape, shape. They
people see people sliding in them all the time. They don't come from a real shoe background. It's just, you know, material science and marketing.
But not trying to talk them out. They've done a really good job. I just find it interesting because there's there are people who have told the material storey Yeah, to the consumer. So I don't like you know, you buy normal runners or whatever. And there's not outside of like, you know, growing up and he knew that if you had like the fucking gel at the bottom of the shoe that you're going to pack and jump high.
Yeah. Yeah, but it's funny because the reason why you bought it is probably reason why most people buy, like they're VC backed, and yet they have so many celebrities and it has a real like attitude attached to it. And so in Brooklyn, Like it's not the coolest shoe but you have people wearing it. Yeah. So it's um, it's funny how they've been able to cut through.
Is it a business play a brand? Or is it a company just selling shoes? Are they?
No, no, it's definitely a brand play. Definitely a brand play, I think product alone. Like if you just sold that product with no marketing, no storytelling, it definitely wouldn't be what it is today.
Yeah, because you could imagine the different sort of if that was say, made by a farmer it like you could change the whole storey that you could imagine it being sold at some market
is absolutely it could be retiring market show and you just would look we wouldn't look twice at it.
Yeah. Well, you look at all these Kickstarter is that they conjure up an amazing store all Burton started. I did. Yeah.
That's right video to their first Yeah. They knew what they were doing.
Yeah. And so the Kickstarter thing, crowdfunding. Have you seen it work well within this?
Yeah. Totally. There's a few brands. There's a kid actually. A pencil to that I did one called think the brand was called kuti or something like that, Cody, you know, he did a really good job to, you know, small infrastructure. And he made it work. He's launched his brand through that. I mean, all birds is a great example of it. Yeah, I think that I mean the crowdfunding, I don't know how much small legs it has like it seems to be a bit dated now as a sort of go to market strategy. But if you've got a cool product to show and one of
the shoe dog book has been a mainstream raid, how is how is that storey shaped? Do you think the industry the public perception on what you do? And the interest factor of when you you know, had a family event people asking you questions,
you know, I've got three copies of that book. Yeah.
They're all GIFs.
I'm not really good at reading biographies. I'm more of a business book kind of guy. I'm very practical, and it's a great I've started reading it. It's a great, great book. I just struggled to get three books like that. I'd rather watch Video. Yeah, maybe give me two hours and
get a lot of all I listened to the audio book it was how long is it? It must be 14 hours. The thing is with audio books, I put it on my go to bed. So I end up missing huge chunks.
There is a company that does this sort of it's like they take the notes. So yeah, just listen to the best bits of it all.
Yeah, I've had my best mate. He's obsessed with blink. Listen, I pay him out all the time. Every time I see him. He's got like this whole core news. read this book. I'm like, dude, it was taking 15 minutes just to read it.
But it's good. He gets a lot out of it. I mean, I can't do that.
Yeah. What's the value in Melbourne coming back? And being here for three months? Yeah, we have a big Melbourne audience. If we're speaking to entrepreneur, entrepreneurs or people who are just getting started, yeah, and they've got the storey around the US thing or all those sort of limiting storeys or the stuff around, you know, tall poppy syndrome or that sort of thing. The money yeah, money. Yeah. Customer sighs what are some of the positive things about being in Melbourne.
I launched Raleigh and during a JFC right, I did it with no route. I didn't do my MBA, like you can make it happen regardless, anytime, like you just have to find a way so I just do it. I think thinking that you need to be in the states to make stuff happen. That's it's all a lie. Yeah, right. Like you could do it from here. You could still focus on the international market, just do it from here and like I said, just book regular trips. I will say like, the one thing the main main thing that I've learned is like, it's not about selling yourself, right? Just create great work and they'll come to you like build up. It's not about like what you think you're capable of doing in your head. It's actually what you're putting out into the world Missoni like people that are made that are like, you know, I've got all these cool sketches, but it's never been made into a shoe or even
confusing parties, right? It's like you see some cool designer on Instagram that has a shitload of followers, no business model business skills behind it. And so we're so On the entrepreneur who sells himself really well, and we buy into him, but there's nothing behind it. Absolutely.
Yeah. So how do you bring into the real world? How do you have a more holistic view? And it's funny, like I, you know, I had a successful brand role he was doing really well. And it wasn't until I, you know, when I said, I worked at the data Brooklyn farm for six months, you know, what is that? It's addresses like innovation, creative centre, really cool. The guys from Nike that got sued, that went across it. So it's really cool. Like, you know, we'd be in there and I'd rock up and you know, Alexander Wang is just sitting there scratching and you've got, you know, ti and Beyonce, his team coming in, and it was, you know, you could get really caught up on the hype of it all, but I'm like, I don't want to fight it with, you know, design with, you know, work with you. So, for me, it was a lot of politics and it didn't really serve what I wanted out of it. But, you know, it was, it was is an incredible experience but it's like here we've we value and look up to international brands so much that people think that I was a successful designer because I worked to edit as opposed to going I've got a successful early brand yeah it's really funny like I'm making a shitload more money during Rowley yeah then working at data's bit that's what people value mall
was no social status in the in the to the big brand
well rode microphones their logo they have this sort of like weird sort of thing in on the top of the hour let's just
cross through the
end is basically to make it seem like Scandinavian all that euro euro but they were fucking Sydney based company or the
race yeah really well my
greatest Australian bread like that has gone International.
Yeah, like they like by the manufacturing gear and do like most of the manufacturing in Sydney and stuff but it's that is such a clear example. People think Talking about brand and then trying to make it look less Australia.
Yeah, like you look at a soft and you look at some really cool Australian brands and Alex PNH. I'm a big fan of what she's doing because she's connected to culture, right? And she's doing it from Sydney. I think that that was a real upset meeting my three idols in the first month and going shit, I didn't capitalise on that opportunity. Because I didn't have like, yeah, I can show them the stuff I did for James Harden in this. And then it's like, Yeah, but they don't want to either don't want to go cool. Let's hook up and start designing now.
And so I had it because Tommy and I were talking about this the other day, we were at an event. And we're talking about our did we talk about like, most people don't know what we do from a production point of view. And we're we're debating on the difference between saying it and having to say, are we doing this thing? Yeah. versus being noisy enough through just the product itself? Exactly. That they don't need. We don't need to do any of the talking. Yeah. Do you think it was that a shift? Was there a time Because I know having been to conferences and stuff in the US being at South by and all that sort of thing there are, there is that style of person, especially like you look at Gary Vee and sort of the tribe that he has. And it's like q amp a session and people like doing that. Like everyone's told that they need the elevator pitch. Yeah. What is the reframing to the elevator pitch based on that idea that it's not about necessarily saying what you do.
I think the elevator pitch becomes your work, right? And so if you just keep putting work out there, then you're selling yourself through that medium as opposed to, you know, there's we had a pitch from a design agency couple weeks ago who were trying to do our marketing strategy. And it was like, we do, you know, we do UX, we do centred design, we do this and I was like, none of your slides. Show me that you do that. Right. Whereas the next pitch that we were to the agency, everything, they didn't say that to do these certain things, but you're like you already knew they do it. presenting it. So I think that's sort of more of the mindset, like, instead of me saying I'm able to do a luxury snake line just
make one. Is there certain redundant language? So for instance, within the video production space, yeah, saying high quality video doesn't mean anything, because every front like the shooters video production company will say that they're high quality. Yeah. Is it? Is there certain phrases like that within the sneaker space, like comfort? Or like, there's certain words that are just universal that you don't sell on?
Yeah, I think, you know, like I said, the sneaker world and the shoe world are very different things. I think the sneaker world is a little bit like if you're a self proclaimed sneaker head, you're not part of the culture shock. like to be called a hipster.
So just one day you wake up and you have a beard with a beer.
Yeah, very good. I love pushing I love. I am one of the people who says I'm a hipster being sort of a bit ironic. But yesterday I went to read sparrows Pizza Place on me straight. It's like all vegan. I'm trying vegetarian because I watched a documentary.
Yes, I didn't watch that. Listen to that episode of vegetarian sorry I empathise.
Yeah, so what's that? So I went to red Sparrow, it's all vegan and I'm some hipster and shit. But then I said can I have a diet coke please? And the guy comes down to my level and he says, We don't sell anything that you can buy it calls like fat and then so he had like this fucking cold so I had that but it was 12 bucks. Yeah, it was it was the copy brand making sure that you can get Cappy on quarter so he's fine I'm trying to find calls online Kathy so we yeah is that every time I click protocols online, it was like not showing up so I think the only did the sparkling
that I mean what do you like it with the all the different, like the sneaker head, the main GJUV No venture.
Now. I'm definitely vegetarian. My wife's vegan, but she hates being called vegan. She says, Yeah, she has a plant. Was it plant plants? Because she wears leather products and so I get it. It's funny because like, vegetarians and vegans, they, they most of them are doing it for that. I mean the either drink for animal cruelty, but a lot of them are doing for like to have a, you know, a better world in the environment. But they harp on people that are trying Yeah, they make you feel like I'm vegetarian and you ate meat like once. I thought you were vegetarian. And I was like, dude, I said, Yeah, I'm on your side. Yeah, not that I eat meat now, but I remember during the transition, it was it was hard because you end up getting cheated on by everyone. Yeah, you know, the meat. People are like, why are you doing that you change you know, I used to be a fried chicken burger kind of guy.
So what are you eating now? Because I'm at the state I weighed myself. I'm fighting on the edge of giving this shit out because I'm like, put on a kilos. Maybe but I'm thinking that maybe it's because All the bread that I've been,
what do you mean your legs look really? Like? I think yeah,
it actually happens I think most people know I find that fat people tend to have really lean legs because like they're doing a leg day every day. Right, right. Seriously. So
yeah, so what do you ate? I wouldn't be vegetarian if it wasn't for my wife. My wife's an awesome cook. She never used to be the state's made her an awesome cook. Yeah, the food is very hard to live on that food if you're not from there.
salty. Feels like over processed and hormones and everything.
Pancakes have to come with eggs.
Yeah, we think we're so cool when we go there because we always go to Chipotle a witch
And so it's cool when you find that great
product like that. Yeah, don't skimp on the walk or anything. So what do you so what do you wait and so I
like you, but I'm sorry. Let me be clear. I'm vegetarian. I'm not necessarily healthy vegetarian, right? Like, I didn't do it for that reason. So I have like buttermilk, oyster mushrooms, and I had, you know, went to the market lane and took that mushroom burger the other day. Everyone's been raving about that's really good. But yeah, I like beans, lentils, things.
Like, I love Mexican food.
Mexicans great yeah, if you're vegetarian. It's like one of the things I used to when we were in the states that Israeli food is incredible. So that's where I like falafel and eggplant. I love eggplant, Columbus, yeah, homos. And so
fine if the old me hit and listen to this now I'd be like this, right?
How long has it been two years? Okay.
Absolutely. And I actually don't like talking about it too much. I don't like to be a preacher.
Yeah. Whoever is on their own journey.
Yeah, absolutely. And so I don't judge anyone that's not you know, I'm not that kind of guy. If you had your blood work done, like yeah, that's We're actually really saw a huge impact
for what specifically?
Well yeah, I mean, you know, running a business, there's a lot of stress that comes with that and the stress shows up in your blood you may not see it.
Yeah, it's it throws everything off and so all the inflammation on the inside like when I went to a vegan or vegetarian, I'm pretty i mean, i a lot of vegan food to be honest with you, but I'm vegetarian. It's huge improvements in energy. Donnelly, predominantly energy and just like not feeling so full, like, you know, when you're eating meat, you just, you know, like, when you finish lunch, how many times you've done I wanted like sleep. Yeah, that doesn't happen when you're vegetarian.
That's why you have to catch it. Yeah, but yeah, I also feel that there's so many different things you can do nowadays, and so I do this like weird combo of all of them. So I'm like, high carb keto with a bit of intermittent fasting. It's like, absolutely not, man. It's like Okay, today I'm just gonna eat fast, but I've never done One longer period of
So my girlfriend was doing their job because they were coming on two weeks of the video thing. And she was in Sydney yesterday. And she said, I slipped up and had a steak. Yeah. And so like, I've been pretty good, like, Tommy, fat Fridays brought all these fucking things which we thought you would think of vegetarian. Yeah,
I looked at like, what do people think of vegetarian but yeah, yeah, like pumpkin soup that has chicken stock in it. Oh, yeah, he's favourite.
mode. Yeah, Janssen comes from a lot. Yeah, my phone's crazy, right? Yeah.
Yeah, I mean, this is what I like about I'm not even doing it. But what I like about it is it's sustainable. It's not a fad diet. It's a lifestyle change that you can do it and it just rules out a bunch of stuff.
Yeah, let's just clear all that much. product. No, not not too much. See? That's what I'm trying to avoid. Yeah. And then at the pizza place, my mate was saying it's like, I'm like, oh, what's the fucking pepperoni? Like, this is pepperoni pizza. Yeah. And they actually say like, salami or they say, bacon. Like they don't actually tell you what it is. Yeah. And he's like, it's not like the early 2000s like fo hot or whatever. But then I was eating the pepperoni. Um, I just want to know, he keeps saying it's plant based. It's plant based. Doesn't mean it's healthy. Yeah. And so I'm like, does that mean plant based? Are we talking like, if they've done something with a plant to make it taste like pepperoni? I'm bored. But they're like, that's like soy protein. So yeah. That sort of shit.
Did you know In New York, that I've seen a YouTuber you went and got these like sliders that a vegetarian or vegan? Yeah. Did you try any of that stuff? Yeah, yeah, anything. You know?
Now like a lot of it. They're trying to, like emulate me and I just I don't want any of that. Right. Like I'm beyond that point. I started being vicious. was like I'm going to do there was a TED documentary that I saw on talk where he's like, just try and vegetarian five days and do meat on the weekends. And that's like, awesome for me. I'm like, I can hang out with my boys and still get steaks and and just during the week, I can make my life My wife's life a bit easier and just keep she's eating. And I did that for about three weeks. And then I was like, I don't even want to touch me anymore. Yeah, and so then I became vegetarian for like, a month, and then it just gets worse and worse, like, everything all of a sudden, like once you stop eating meat you're like, Oh, well now seafood ties I made and then you're like, now cheese ties like I'm talking off accounts.
It just gets worse and what's so funny
and because I start to relate to people because we've had a few people tell me about not having a cape cap and using Well yeah, I get it and I but I get it even more now. And how these little things dumb things can be triggering all you know if I can go into an instance storey and then like this week, I You say fried chicken. Yeah, yeah, it moving forward. It's it out like, Yeah, but I do love a good bandwagon. So um, but I've been doing it for two weeks. I haven't
yet. Got to get through the. It took like three months once I hit that three month mark. Yeah, I was like, I didn't look at any of the meat products. Now I'm going to eat that. Like I
truly don't have that sugar because this is the thing I said to a friend. Her father in law is like, really lane, older guy, and he sort of fluctuate, but he's vegetarian. I'm like, What is he? When he's really lame? Yeah. And she's like, vegetables, like salad. No sugar. Like it was very fucking
cooked a meal since you've been a vegetarian.
Yeah. I had. I had the mango the other day. That was a whole food.
Yeah, I think that's important. Just getting into cooking shit. Like it's, it's actually the most easy thing to vegetate Cut some visuals put him in the pan.
Thinking like an Uber rates for videos or something.
Yeah, that's a good
Yeah. Cuz, like, specific so you're not trying to guess you know,
they had a section where it was like vegetarian and there's like an app called Happy cow, which shows you like you're there. That's good. Yeah, I think my wife's got a Instagram page called food medicine which is all vegetarian and vegan based foods and she puts out the recipe there. How long has she been vegan? for probably four years now. So that when she got what you want for dinner, I'll go to Instagram. I want that one. Yeah,
they're not charging a delivery charge.
That Well, that's it. They don't know if they have had it in the US. But they've got a free delivery carousel now on Uber eight. Oh, cool. So it's like I stopped preparing lunch, preparing lunch at 1130. Right. And every four minutes, it updates with different options that you can like for free delivery. So that's what I've been Been doing a little bit. I see a lot of time here
at the office. I know you're releasing a range of vegan rallies in the next couple of weeks. Yeah. What I mean it inspired by WAAF Is it something you you've been wanting to do for a while?
Yeah, I think we just I don't like to do me tues like you know when Tom's came out had so many people hit me up like can you just like this is doing really well can you do a charity and like you know just ride this trend I might know the shoe for shoe the shoe for shoe or give away 10% to charity. I just don't like doing that. I'm like, how do we own that space? How do we do it? So it feels really and if anyone saw the we did a collaboration with the McGraw Foundation, and like we had a shoe where we had women different types of women's breasts on there was called the titty committee shoe. Got a lot of press and and that just felt genuine right and it was connected to breast cancer when we created a platform where women can tell their storeys and it felt very authentic. And so with vegan now that it's a trend, you know Very careful on how we play in that space. And when I was at pencil and you know working with the data's and some of the brands that I've worked with, I've got great connections with some like leading vendors. And so we're using a material called Kareena which is the same material using Sal McCartney's like thousand dollar shoes. And so it just felt like cool. It's not a compromised, you know, it actually, if anything, it may even be better than leather. It's four times stronger. It's breathable.
Yeah. You want to do it right. You don't want to do it as a reaction.
Yeah. What about people who are wanting to get started absolutely no network. And they're on Alibaba and they think of doing an order of 200 shoes. Yeah. Like I would say run Yeah, yeah. What's the main How do you get into this into this game? at you know, you're in your living in the burbs? You have no connection? Yeah.
I mean, starting at Alibaba, and during that I think you're going to learn the hard way. You know, like, like said I'd been in the business for 10 Before launching my brands, I'd recommend that I'd recommend working for someone learning the ropes, adding as much value as you can to that business. And then starting your own, I think a lot of people come into businesses and go, I'm only going to do this so I can launch my own brand. And they think about like stealing information instead of going, how do I provide value to that business? Because then you get exposed to a lot more and ultimately everybody wins. Right?
Do you think that's how do you 3636 do you think that's a product of today's environment? younger people, you know, who hear the words of, you know,
passive income, or a con status shot, you know, I'll get people to buy it, and then they, then they go, because all you're saying is build some hard skills, dude, yeah, and actually earn your place, which is an old school approach in my mouth. It's the infinite game rather than the finite game and everyone's like the finite game is What you were describing, with the just shout selling shoes, you're just doing all that sort of stuff rather than being like, actually run this earth for a chunk of time. Might as well like actually go slowly, rather than the constant want for hockey stick, like
add some value to people's lives become a master in your craft. Like I think it's so easy to do things now, like, you know, people who want to start a business can go, I'll go, I'll go to Alibaba open up, I'll open up a Shopify site for $29 a month, opening up a shop on an online store and not doing marketing and having some real online expertise is like opening up a store in the desert and hoping people go there. You know, like, it's crazy. But it's just so easy to do now that people think, yeah, I'll just I'll just set it up. And that's how a lot of people fail. How do you find people to hire like,
what are you looking for?
is very much around a cultural fit and a mindset, you know, like, I'm not trying to be build a business. That's the leading company in Australia and footwear I'm trying to go. I don't really aspire to any footwear brands in Australia, I aspire to a global space and go How do we become a global brand? How do we do stuff that? You know, I always say the work that I want to create is how do I create work that I'm proud of that I'd put my portfolio? Right. And so we're still chasing that.
What about like the, I guess at the executive level, when you start going sort of the more senior route? Yeah. Potentially. It's a different it's a slightly different game, because in one perspective, you want them to treat it like it to their own. Yeah. But then a bunch of people who want to do that will just start their own business. How do you find the entrepreneur that's happy to play the employee interpreter game? You got to be flexible. You got to understand what every employee is coming in to do, like, you know, what do they value and
play to that? You know, there's certain people that I would love for them to work for me for five years and then start their own business. I'll help You right? There's no point holding back people. You know if that's why I say like focus on employees that are looking for jobs and make sure that it's a two way street, like a lot of people go, I'm only here for 95 and I want to get paid and then I'll do something if you're a four out of five, my business in the right feet. And I don't want you to work beyond five. But I expect I'm going to be dedicated to
that, isn't it? Because we're like, I think that's the it's like, we want you to be able to have like normal hours and also think but you don't want the person who wants the normal hours working because then it's constantly time checking and playing that game.
I don't count hours like you know, I've got a big shout out to Deb my marketing girl but you know, she she's got she's a mother of three she's a superwoman, right. Like she's got so much shit on a mind. But, you know, there's days where kids sick and she has to work from home or she's running around like, I'm not going to count your hours. I can't the output. Yeah, right. So I think you know, she could if she capable of starting her own business, absolutely a good chunk of the people in my business can But if they understand what we're trying to create, and we do this together, there's a lot of value in that. And if I give them the flexibility and they feel like they're a part of something,
it becomes bigger than them. So it becomes, you know, easier for them to buy into the storey
to finish up, I'd like you to analyse our shoes, and maybe get some feedback on in regards to our personal brands where we could go with it. 97 while we do that, can you see if there's any comments or things that you might want to bring up from Instagram?
But first, firstly, how do you say the brand of Josh is?
I appreciate that. You did a bit of Bogan translation before we
Is it? I mean, I trust you over myself, but I've just been saying. I mean, so I think it's
in the sights. Yeah, I think it's I mean, this is the company that works with it. Yeah, for sure that we released really cool crew actually. And so the I always say assets, and I've got a data centre here. Data CI like the rep in the international
is an absolute truth. And so, in regards to so the reason I got this show was because I had to I still have two herniated discs. Okay, once I'm comfortable that I can walk, I like walking, walk to and from the office every day. Yeah. And so this is basically like a shoe that people would potentially use if they were running a marathon.
Yeah, it looks like you've gone for comfort. Yeah.
A lot of comfort and
you've actually got one pair of shoes and that's him.
Yeah. So the thing is I
in in your entire
I went to a party that was white only you had to wear white like it was a it was actually dumb because it was long balls without shoes. So I think I can so whatever. Anyway, so they're all clean. But I wear them for one day and I feel like I'm at my fucking knees about to dislike Hey, so what if I was wanting to look a little cooler? Obviously I wouldn't wear the running shorts, but I'm going I'm trying to complete the look. What sort of shoe for comfort? Yeah, plus style should I go?
Well, I mean, that sounds like a plug because I mean, I'm gonna plug my friend. I could make you a custom pair of wise but
what I'm curious because I've tried like, remember like, volley Dunlop volleys? Yeah used to be like in school that was the sort of the thing, but they didn't they would fuck my back because I've got no support you on the end so your shoe is light? Yep. Good for light travel. Do you have to compromise that? There's certain people where it's like, actually you need fat and orthotics if you're going to use it or what's the dinner? I mean, we have removable socks so you can put off Alex in there. I mean, it's games have been it's been awake,
to be honest. So we're actually relaunching men's properly About, it'll probably launch around April.
Well, I'm not vegan.
But I can go into red Sparrow and look like a boss. So I
reckon I've got three pairs of shoes in total. Really, Josh is. How many pairs of shoes do you actually have?
I mean, he was tied in shoes. I was trying. Yeah, let's keep
that in mind. Yeah. I've easily gone 150 reasons. Where are they? I can say I've got a country house. Okay. Yeah, yeah, that's why. Yeah. And I give some to my family. Do you have to you gotta dial in your insurance and shit for all of that? Yeah, absolutely. I've got like, so I've got my like, my hate. So I've got like, you know, I don't know, maybe 2030 shoes on the rotation that are like special occasion shoes. Yeah. And then I've got my betas. And then I've got sort of just gym stuff that I collect.
Yeah. What's up What do you think of canonise range that he did that he does?
You mean uses the easy's?
Yeah, I mean, I think the first ones
you know, all the 350 years and he's done a great job in boosters an incredible technology. Right and you I think you're wearing boots right now. So what is that technology? Is this Smith dismissal? I mean, it's sir come to a real covey. Yeah, so I think I think he nailed it. You know, I think he's got to do something new soon because you know we haven't seen anything lately it's just been dropping the same shoe and different colour ways for probably two years now. But yeah, he's he's legit. I mean, he wants sure the couple years back it's an incredible show.
Why aren't they good style is choosing to a was to a wide so I feel like the other thing is I my guys, I got a foot lock on my gun to a Well, I've got Josh, you got the fucking Essex for marathon. sketches up their
foot. I didn't know that. The
What do you call it like the negative connotations of sketches? Until so I I went to Yeah, I went to the US and they do like, Buy one get 50% off and so I went to the states with my mate nice and who's not that it was polo shirts every day and he's like, Man, you're not these are this is America man these are the comfy shoes you can you can buy and so I bought like six pairs of sketches
I wouldn't have a great
day like, like it's like
a tease. Yeah.
Like the memory five more to the fuck they using is amazing. So if I was if you had to advise us based on having a wide forte Yeah. And keeping in mind that like the you know, the converse ones. I tried wearing them as a kid, but they're so narrow. I'm gonna fucking break my foot. Yeah. Are there any cool shoes that are designed for white feet?
Yeah, I mean, I think a lot of the basketball boots are always called wide
so I'd have to wear more shoes. Well I mean
like this this is I mean the Jordan Jordan ones are they called the 90 what I
I bought some A while ago that I think they had 19 or something 90 or something the MX 90s Yeah,
yeah, that's not these ones. These are the Jordan ones.
Yeah, and sorry they expensive game like he was looking in Nike the other day. So these great pair of shoes. I haven't bought a pair of shoes and I just announced I got to spend $190 Yeah, just to look cool, but they're not even that functional. So
always give you like nine weeks of your life and go on a reality show.
I wish it was for Nike though.
And so the price of shoes,
yeah. Has it changed much Is it is it getting cheaper and cheaper to make shoes? Well, the shoes at retail are getting too cheap. I mean for the amount of work, you know, once you can be touched by 40 people, you know, there's probably, you know 20 to 30 components in every Single shoe. So the amount of work that goes in shoes relative to the price, you know, is pretty crazy. Yeah, they should be more expensive.
Yeah. Interesting. And so what's the Is it bad sort of labour for like, is it accessing like cheap labour? Is that what's happening?
Yeah, I mean, that's why she was still made in, you know, cheaper countries that were like, you know, China and Vietnam. You know, I think, when you look at it at the time shoes, and people are why they're so expensive, because like I said, there's so many components, there's so many that are the cost of opening up an ounce, or, you know, it can be anywhere between five and $20,000. So that's before you've sold a single shoe. What
did you say? What is it called opening up and outs?
Yeah, so I do the tooling for now. So if you want to do your own custom design, that's why I said the barrier to entry into sneakers to do your own brand is really high. So that's why I say like, go out there, get your build up your networks, build up your your technical experience, and then do it again, again. Alibaba anyone can go there and just get an outsourcing designer show on it. But, you know, design your own souls. Sign your own up is go pick all your materials do all of that.
And so if you're a because 97 How much did you pay for your shoes?
Yeah, this lady rockin
look us just like,
if you have like $5 shoes The problem is they're not breathable. So your features smell like shit. Yeah, so but like, these are like 70 bucks. I had
like 30% off on the iconic Where was the what was the shoe brand? The one that was like literally like 10 bucks.
Yeah, it was came out, wasn't it? It was from the same place. You got the hoodies. Was it from there? Yeah, it was literally like 10 bucks for a pair of shoes. Yeah. And so I mean, what's the
just 40 people still touch a pair of $10 shoes or whatever, in most cases. So
yeah. Cheaper labour.
This guy finding that shit.
Yeah, I think I mean we live in. We live in over
Consume sort of worldwide like we overproduce, we need the amount of products that we do it. It's like, Man, you got 150 pills. Yeah, you're right. The funny thing is right, like when you think about the way the design space works, right? There's companies out there designing shoes eight months in advance, hoping that they can design something that you actually want.
Right. And then it goes into a retail store and sits on the shelf until it gets sold. It doesn't get sold. It then goes on sale. And then someone buys it because it's on sale. Like you probably wouldn't have bought it was at full price. Yeah. So the whole lifestyle is completely broken. Right. Like, I'm cool to have 150 pairs, but it's hundred 50 pairs of shoes that I want. Yeah. As opposed to going I bought it because it was cheap. Yeah. Right. And I think that that's where as designers, we need to start to shift the dial and go, how do we start to design with people with people's insight lot earlier in the process, so that You know, we're not designing so far out. And so I think the future is really exciting and the way we can disrupt supply chain models, and like, I don't think everyone should be able to have an opinion on design, like, you know, there's a lot of people who are not designers, like she's afraid failed, because not everyone wants to design a shoe. But they should be able to have an input. Like, if you've got a wide to a fault, like, cool, why can't we? Why can't you pick any shoe and say, I want it
in my side and white? And so at the moment, that's just because they're like, we'll have to do more tooling or something. That's gonna
Yeah, yeah, essentially, that's the main reason too expensive. You'd be paying 500 bucks for you. Yeah.
Yeah. And so like, companies like New Balance or whatever that do it. They just seeing a gap in the market and saying, I like this wide feet. We can sort of own that one.
Yeah, pretty much. Yeah. But I think that, you know, as the world starts and their production process starts to evolve, you know, if we can work on 3d printing and, you know, rapid prototyping and we get in a way where I'm a big fan of innovation, ization as opposed to customization, so you should be able to buy products that fit you specifically, as opposed to sort of going I want to change this to a particular colour. So I think once that shifts, you know, we will be producing less and producing what people want. And I think we're all going to benefit from it.
Because I remember Nike, I feel like maybe 15 years ago, had like some crazy flash website where you could pick the colour and the ID and like your ID. And so
I remember stores in New York, there's one that can go into la Oh no, there's one. Yeah, customising taking bits from this shoe and putting it over into this course this epic video. This snake afraid. Brendan Schwab? berzin sharp is a podcaster in America. He's got probably more shoes than you any other company. He's an absolute freak. But he went into this place where they rip apart a shoe from over there and put it on to this. Yeah, so swaps. It's so
cool. Yeah, really cool. That's a whole different world. Yeah, the customization world. Yeah. Cool what they're doing?
It's 97 Oh, yeah, sorry.
I was just gonna say just finish off. I know you probably be good at looking at a shoe and saying that's probably a 12 or 11 between Josh and I who, who's got the bigger foot here?
You got a bigger foot around wrong
Yeah, I'm at 12 and a half and 11 and a half. Did you got an actually step?
Yeah, yeah, the athlete's
foot. But we've actually got
we've got Nathan you know why it was actually the legs in my face got
surprised how tan my legs I give
the you know, I missing I saves, ya
know? So I was I was just curious, like, you were saying like 40 people have like a hand in sort of producing this year in terms of like the design process? How does that work when you're collaborating with someone else? Do you do you know the front of the shoe? Or does someone take care of the soul?
It depends like what company you're working for. So if you're working for a big company like Nike and Adidas, you've got a creative director that passes on to a design director who then passes it to the brand designer who works with colour materials and a marketing and a PM, right? So that's sort of, but generally, the designer itself does the entire sketch. If you're in like an innovation department, then it may, they may work on the actual concept first, and the outs all and then work their way up design office for that out. So but generally, it's like a designer that design something but then the designer doesn't necessarily get it made. Like there's a lot of technical people that will go and actually get them made from there. So how much of the stuff
you don't have like a front design,
the front of the
design, just outsource though. Absolutely. Because outside is is a whole different like it's very very technical so
and so do you just end up with like these brands? Do they just have the libraries of all the different bits so they can say let's take the out of soul of this 2007 thing that we did yeah and then put the fucking mesh on the top assumption and
yeah I mean the most important part of shoe is the what they call the last so if you've gone to a vintage store and you see those wooden things like the whole shoe is built around that so like when I was at Adidas they had like six last that we built off essentially the whole entire collection of six loss
so I need a wider one is what he's saying for the to a
funny sort of thing.
I've been smoked Thank you for coming on the show be good to get you back in six months and get an update on how things are all tracking.
Yeah, cool in winter when you're wearing pants.
Yeah, you should say my I finally got one pair of
shoes. I'm wearing pants today. Hey, it's Kristin. I
didn't find the temperature in the room by the way.
Very good. I was looking for the nest little device because it's on point. Now,
we appreciate you thought we had a nest.
Very high tech, Silicon Valley it
always has to be cooler wearing old birds. Daily talk show. If you've enjoyed the show, leave a review on Apple podcast. You can email us high at the daily talk show.com otherwise, have a good one. Catch you tomorrow.