Ask a Sneakerhead: Jason Faustino of Extra Butter

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words // Gregory Williams:

From the street to the retailers and corporate offices, the sneaker culture continues to thrive in a plethora of ways. Delving even deeper into the footwear-driven world, we caught up with the co-owner of Extra Butter, Jason Faustino, to get his views on collabs, the sneaker culture and share a few wise words as well. Read on to check out all that Jason had to say for our new Ask a Sneakerhead segment and be sure to keep it locked right here with Nice Kicks for more.

Nice Kicks: What does it take to make a great collaboration that resonates with the community?

Jason Faustino: I will always be primarily interested in a collaboration’s inspiration and story although I understand that this is not required for a project to resonate within a community. On the contrary, I have zero understanding why anyone or brand would take what I (and I assume many other people) regard as a dream opportunity, in working on a sneaker collab – only to have picked some colors and materials that they thought looked good. Between the abundance of options we have from brands these days and the customization services they offer, I don’t see the appeal and view it as a wasted opportunity. Can something simply look good, and be beasted over even though it comes without substance or story? Sure, but in other walks of life that formula would be called shallow. I would think our community demands more — isn’t that why most became “sneakerheads” to begin with? It could have started with an athlete or a shoe’s basic colorway and aesthetic, but the passion likely escalated once they got hooked into the soul of a story.

Nice Kicks: How do you feel about the current state of the sneaker culture?

Jason Faustino: I hate it. Like I mentioned in my last answer, this culture was founded on things being special. Sneakers that were overlooked and un-accepted by the masses. Some even hit sale racks or were not ordered in big box stores making the product rare and sought after. Now it’s the opposite. This whole culture went mainstream, which I obviously see how that benefits not just my business, but the business overall, but why it got so lost and less special – that should not be the case. There are still some great things out there, and people that can bring much needed energy into this culture, but I question whether or not they’ll even get the opportunity because the equation has not only narrowly focused itself on big business, but it’s also developed a follower mentality. Having said all that and despite me hating its current state, it allows for much improvement and I have faith it will get better. I enjoy the fight and watching the others that are up for the challenge as well. That is how the culture will evolve.

Nice Kicks: Any advice for those who may be seeking a job in the sneaker retail world?

Jason Faustino: First thing would be to throw out every standard and likely outdated lesson in writing your resume. I just read an article on Forbes entitled Your Resume is a Portable Summary of Your Brand. I guess this can apply to many career pursuits, but I strongly urge people to find some way to show their true self and individuality on paper instead of following this robotic approach they may have been taught. Other than that, my advice would be to get off the internet and your phone. Develop not only your own thoughts/opinions, but your own experiences too. Observe and gain exposure to shops you like, even ones you don’t like, and come up with a strategy to make yourself to simultaneously useful and desirable to the company of your choice. Last thing I’ll add is that if anyone seriously wants to pursue this they should get rid of any notion of chasing any of the glamour or perks that they imagine the world of sneakers has to offer. None of that is possible without serious dedication, commitment and hard work.

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