I just finished reading One Great Shoe, a Kindle Single, by Zach Schonbrun. This is story of a once hit basketball shoe brand, And1, which was the last American brand to truly compete with Nike and its recent attempt to make a comeback. This is the story of a company that forgot what made it successful and diluted its own brand equity in an attempt to chase scale and growth.
I can name a few dozen startups who have done the same, forgot what they were all about and found themselves in middle of wilderness of irrelevance. Schonburn, who is a New York-based sports writer does a great job of marrying business lessons and story of the sport in this single, though I believe it merited a few more details and flourishes.
I am interested in sneaker culture and what it means in context of broader society. This was a good, fast paced story, long but not too long. Simple, tight and full of interesting facts. I am not sure if I will remember any of it, but I am glad I read it.
That said, I found some facts that I highlighted that might interest you/astound you, and give you an idea of how big the sneaker market was in 2014.
- The basketball sneaker market is valued at over $ 4.5 billion today and rising, and shaving off even a modest portion of that would represent a handsome financial windfall. More Americans play basketball than any other team sport, and nearly half are under the age of 18.
- Today, Foot Lockers are veritable shrines to the gospel of the Swoosh, acquiring 68 percent of its merchandise from Nike alone in 2013, up from 65 percent in 2012.
- Nike assumed a dominating percentage of merchandise in chains like Finish Line (70 percent) and Dick’s (18 percent) as well.
- Sneakerheads made more than $ 275 million in gross profit just by selling sneakers on eBay last year.