Dear Nice Kicks Nation,
It’s been a while since I have been open and communicated with you about what is happening and going on in the world of a brand that you have been behind for more than a decade. Trust this, when I am quiet, I’m hard at work for all of us.
Tonight was one of the greatest moments of my entire journey in footwear – the unveiling of the latest Nice Kicks shop in downtown Los Angeles.
This year, Nice Kicks celebrates a decade of blogging and fifteen years personally for myself in the footwear game since getting a commission sales job at a mall footwear retailer in Victoria, BC. Long hours were put in at Athletes World from 3:30 until 10pm nearly everyday in my 11th and 12th grade years. So often I would hear of the complaints of daily sweeping and mopping of the floors, facing of the product, ensuring the shoe wall always looked a certain way – and I remember the associates and I talking of how we would do things had the store been done our way.
I was sixteen years young when I was deep into frustration with the 90-minute closing routines each day that earned me no pay, but I remember making a slight change in my verbiage of my grief. One day I said not “what should be done”, but rather “when I have a store, this is how it will be done.”
These words were said five years before I launched the blog on a WordPress 1.3 installation when the digital publishing universe was still in its infancy. Not many people knew in 2006, but I was working my way through launching the site to learn from other shop owners and build relationships with brands to one day open my own store.
It was in 2009 while visiting Los Angeles on a trip with Nike that myself and one of my first employees met with D’Wayne Edwards (then the Footwear Design Director of Brand Jordan) in his hometown of Inglewood. While standing in the Millenium Shoes, it all came back to me and uttered those words once again – “when I have a store, this is how it will be done.”
“What do you mean?” asked D’Wayne?
“D’Wayne, I’m opening a shop in Austin.” I replied with sincerity.
To this day, I am not sure that even D’Wayne knew that in March of 2009 I had made the declaration that this dream was going to happen. I had spent months thinking and dreaming of it, but at last, the declaration was made. It was going to happen.
Much planning took place over the course of the next few months. Meetings were had with sales representatives from a number of brands and quickly they identified that I was not asking about would I have their support if I opened a retail store, but rather, would I have their support when I opened in Austin.
February 27, 2010 was a new chapter in Nice Kicks. The grand opening of our first store was a mixed bag of emotions for me. The sense of excitement, anxiety, and humility. For in that moment when my team tore down the paper covering the windows covering the inside of the shop at 10AM, Nice Kicks was open for business. More than seven hundred sneakerheads came out that day from all across the state of Texas and as far away as Los Angeles.
While taking a break for lunch on that incredibly busy and tiring day, I remember telling my friend and fellow sneakerhead Shoe Wolf that one day I would be coming back to the state I was born of California and open a shop in Los Angeles.
Much has happened between 2010 and today with so many stories I look forward to sharing with folks over the coming times, but if there is one thing I want to share with all of you, it is this:
What you dream, you can achieve.
It was 2001 that I talked about owning my shop one day that took me just shy of nine years to achieve. It took another six to get a space opened in Los Angeles, but every day of work and wait was all worth it.
It is pretty evident to many who have met me and who have known me over the years is that I love shoes – that’s a given. But what I have learned to love far more than anything else in the entire process of this journey is to share stories whether it be about product, athletes, moments in history, or the story of Nice Kicks that inspire others to change the way they think.
What we tell ourselves is what we hear.
What we think is what we become.
What we dream is what we achieve.
I have made many personal sacrifices during this journey for the past decade as have so many of my team, friends, and family. I can’t begin to express my gratitude to all of them for the support they have provided to me to help all of this become reality.
Above all, I have to thank you. Yes, you. If you are reading this, I am referring to you.
Without the support of Nice Kicks Nation, none of this would have ever happened. Without your loyal readership for the past decade, without the sharing of the Nice Kicks name to your friends, without the expectations and standards you hold myself and my team to each day, it wouldn’t have happened.
Over the course of this incredible journey called Nice Kicks, I have met some incredible individuals. I have talked with Hall of Famers, CEOs of Fortune 500s companies, and many other accomplished individuals in the industry, but above all the greatest part of this “job” is meeting and talking with the people who are fans of Nice Kicks.
If there is one thing I would like to see Nice Kicks achieve, it is inspire others to dream and push forward until one day they too can see that their dreams can become a reality.
Words can’t begin to describe the feeling of humilty and gratitude that overcame me as I stood on the corner of 9th and Main in downtown LA as I looked across the intersection and saw the Nice Kicks name written in white-neon lights.
It was once all a dream, and now it is here in front of me.
Thank you for pushing me every single day. Thank you for inspiring me to keep creating. Thank you for helping me achieve what has long been a dream.
Founder + Publisher