words // Nick DePaula:
For Herbert Beauclere, sneakers have always provided an opportunity and a platform to bring people together.
After growing up in LA with a passion for footwear, he worked at both of Portland’s top sneaker boutiques while finishing his industrial design studies at the nearby Art Institute. All along, he had a vision of working for a brand one day, though his entry into the industry came sooner than expected.
He was tapped by Pensole founder D’Wayne Edwards to help with the design academy’s wide slate of creative projects, helping to lead and coordinate everything from marketing outreach, partner projects with the likes of Under Armour, Asics and others, and several of the academy’s many classes.
It was during that same time that Beauclere looked to launch his own series of additional initiatives, to help utilize Pensole’s platform and bring even more local creatives together in Portland. The first step of that was SneakerWeekPDX, a series of events, discussion panels, workshops and gatherings in 2017, that’s since become an annual event.
“A weeklong celebration of sneaker culture,” he framed it.
A year later, SneakerWeekPDX helped to launch the first-ever Consumer Summit, in tandem with the Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America (FDRA). The 2-hour forum was made up of a series of conversations between brand leaders and consumers to openly discuss issues in the industry, covering off on topics including creative inclusion, consumer-created products and the impact of diversity.
“Brands will get street-level intel from the most passionate users of their product, which will be invaluable to their design, branding and marketing strategies,” he said of the summit’s mission.
With Foot Locker’s recent $2 Million investment into Pensole, he and Edwards can bring their many ideas for industry impact to a wider audience, on an even grander scale.
As part of the Pensole x Nice Kicks FUTURE 50, Beauclere is looking to shape the future of the industry by continuing to launch programs and initiatives that can help to educate aspiring creatives about the footwear industry, while also pushing for inclusion across brands. Read ahead for more from Herbert on his journey through the industry, as he answers a series of questions from Pensole founder D’Wayne Edwards.
Hometown: South Central, Los Angeles
Job Title: Creative Director of Brand & Marketing
Company: Pensole Academy/ Sneaker Week LLC
Location: Portland, OR
Education: Bachelor’s Degree, Industrial & Product Design at Art Institute of Portland + Pensole Academy graduate
Instagram: @Beauclere / @SneakerWeekPDX / @Pensole_Academy
D’Wayne Edwards: What is your earliest or most memorable sneaker moment in your life?
Herbert Beauclere: The most memorable sneaker moment, which is a great example of my journey, is remembering seeing my best friend’s older brother unbox a pair of White/ Red AJ 17s from the briefcase — which was way out of my league at the time. I later was gifted a pair by my mentor D’Wayne and got them signed by the designer Wilson Smith III, during the first annual Sneaker Week.
What are you most passionate about in footwear?
I’m most passionate about sharing opportunities for problem solving and entrepreneurship. Using footwear to spread a message and change lives through something we all use on a daily basis, to me, is a great example of ingenuity and optimism for our future.
What was the turning point of your career?
The turning point of my career was meeting my mentor D’Wayne. During our very first conversation, he changed my perspective on how I interpret my own goals and how I can accomplish them. At that time, my vision of success was working at a brand. Now, my success is simply measured by my impact.
What is your biggest struggle with the footwear industry as a person of color?
The lack of representation is a huge issue. It is easy to have certain ideas and thoughts undermined or misinterpreted as a minority. The biggest struggle and skill I found is maneuvering through corporate culture, while respectfully honoring and giving back to your own.
What is your biggest accomplishment or legacy you’d like to leave in the industry?
I’d like to establish a legacy of connecting entrepreneurs to a network of creatives that will help solve social and economic issues around the world.
Read more about THE FUTURE 50 here: NiceKicks.com/Future50