Footwear and Heroes

footwear and heroes   In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.

Albert Schweitzer

  I sit here writing to you in the warm California sunshine.  Ahhh California as I write to you now sitting at round table of a outdoor patio as college youth pass by.  A white Lamborghini is accelerating at, "Hey look at me" speeds as I listen to Electric Guests song Waves on my laptop.  An article caught my attention today. It was an interview of Bobby Hundreds done by Tom Kirby of Breaks Magazine.  There is a Part 1 and a Part 2.  It was Part 2 that caught my attention.  In this section of the interview Bobby discusses The Hundreds Footwear. One of the things that first impressed me about The Hundreds brand is that they made footwear.  I learned that they were making shoes back in 2009.  The fact that they would even attempt to dethrone the kings of footwear, to make their own lane in an industry that was (and still is) so dominated by the big names really spoke to me.  Fast forward to today.  The Hundreds Footwear is discontinued.  I didn't even know they weren't making shoes anymore!  When did that happen?  Maybe I don't pay as much attention as I like to give myself credit. In the interview Bobby states, "In our immediate market, Nike takes like 97% of the space. How can a brand like The Hundreds compete with that?  Nike’s marketing budget alone is over 100 times our company’s value.  Let’s be real, if a guy’s got a hundred bucks to spend, is he gonna drop it on some canvas vulc sneakers by a brand no one’s heard of, or a pair of limited Lebrons constructed of spacesuit material from the future and buttressed with a global advertising campaign?  I can’t blame them."  This line of the interview was so bizarre for me to read.  Mainly because thoughts like this are the kind that make you not get into clothing at all.  I feel this same argument could have been said about The Hundreds making t shirts.  Yes t shirts are a different market, but you are going up against strong competition and monstrous sized advertising budgets as well. In this interview Bobby talks about things that he is not able to do.  The best thing I've found about reading their blog over the years (There's a picture of me on it as well, but it's terrible, don't click it) is that Bobby manned up to fight the giants.  I thought we all got in this game because we believed we could do anything?  He always had a reason why he could beat the corporations at their own game.  It was very different hearing him talk in a defeated voice.  It's like listening to Batman saying why he couldn't beat the joker, or Superman saying why he couldn't save Metropolis.  We are not used to our heroes talking about defeat.  We want them to be invincible. We guess wrong.  I guess wrong all the time.  I posted my first ever true blog post over to my brothers at Mintees and have gotten no response.  I thought other creators and designers in the industry would embrace what I am saying, but they haven't.  According to Bobby The Hundreds guessed wrong with footwear.  I don't think he did.  Through the trial and error of the whole process I gained the courage to try new things with my brand.  Through their ad campaigns (like the one I show at the top of this article), and through their fight to make a stance in footwear I found my own courage to try to push past my limits.  Am I childish?  Too idealistic? Maybe I'm just a kid in his room, walls clad with illustrated heroes of fiction, clutching his battered box of comics normally stored  under the bed.  I still want to believe in my heroes. If my heroes can't defeat any villain, thwart any scheme, conquer their adversity.  What chance do I have?      
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