The ‘I Can Play’ Movement
SLAMonline checks in with PEAK execs.
SLAM: Like you just said, different people have different opinions with their footwear, are the athletes on the roster in tune with the design aspect in letting you know what styles they like, where they want certain colors go and what materials are used?
Carroll: Yeah, we want them to be a part of it. That’s a great relationship that we have in that we’re still small and nimble, that we can adjust and adapt to their needs. We can adjust and adapt to any type of resources from a brand-story or relationship-telling story so they do get a chance to look at design CAD’s [computer-aided design] and review CAD’s before they are sent off to Asia for development, so they have their hand in that aspect.
SLAM: Going back to All-Star weekend, you had Dorell Wright, Kevin Love and JaVale McGee all part of the festivities. What type of opportunity did having three guys under the brand take part of the weekend present to you?
Carroll: I think the opportunity that we had was one of validation. I think that a lot of people got exposed to the PEAK brand in pretty legitimate ways over that weekend. The opportunity for us now is to not let that that story go. We have to ride that story for the next year. We’re going to ride that when it comes to validating the success of our brand thus far. We feel like the opportunity for us is huge. We had people like yourself wanting to talk to us and many people want to know more about the brand, be part of the brand and it’s just been fantastic.
We’re definitely going to ride that wave as long as we can ride it. As we start to get in the marketplace and get into retail because the kids now are asking for us over the internet and we want to be there for them and we want to be ready to sell them shoes and give them great products to play in.
SLAM: Probably the greatest part of the weekend, next to the release, was having McGee in the dunk contest. He changed shoes after every dunk with each one being as colorful as the next. Was that something that was collectively decided for him to do or was that something he wanted to do?
Carroll: We collectively decided that. It’s kind of funny because we had a conference call with him and it was really, “What’s the inspiration and what are you looking for to really get you excited about being a part of it?” It was special thing for us. We knew how strategically the footwear conversation would be around that one event. Obviously, it probably wouldn’t be as big a story had he not made it through all those rounds but he was on board with it. He loved it, we all thought as a team that it was a great idea because no one has ever done it before.
We couldn’t have a better guy represent us in that because he was all over it. With all the camera angles, every time he got the chance to say PEAK, he did and he got all the guys talking about it. It was great because he got the chance to kind of lace them up and the cameras caught that. We couldn’t have asked for a better tool around him and that’s why we really came out so high on him because he was fantastic for us as a brand.
SLAM: With those five different colors of the “Relentless” model, came different themes and inspirations. I know about the Wolverine inspired ones with that being one of his favorite characters growing up, but could you explain the ideas behind the other themes?
Carroll: Some of the other ones that were after the “Wolverine’s” were when he got talkative and we got his juices flowing about those and he shared to us about when President Obama came to one of his games, he did a dunk and in honor of Obama, he saluted him and that kind of became his trademark. The second shoe was the “Commander-in-Chief” shoe which obviously was symbolic of the military inspiration where we had camouflage, his logo with him saluting. The third shoe, we wanted to build the relationship with the United States and China. We really wanted to make sure it was known that PEAK is all about relationship-building and we’re a brand that’s really international.
That third shoe, him raising those up was kind of a shout-out to the country and how we blend together to make one incredible story. The last one was the “Gold Medal” shoe. We still feel like he won so that gold medal shoe was the final pitch, which was kind of his of his idea. He was like “This is my podium shoe, my gold shoe because I’m going to win this thing.” We feel like he did and it really kind of played out great.
SLAM: With PEAK being all about building relationships, how would you describe the relationship between the brand and the players?
Zhou: It’s a great pleasure and honor to work with the best basketball athletes in the world. They are working so hard every day to improve themselves and show the world how great the game is. As a brand, we truly feel obliged that we are honored to be able to work with the top athletes as a performance brand.
SLAM: Shane Battier was the first athlete, but some of the more recent signings are younger, up and coming players. Did you feel that was a way to draw a younger crowd?
Zhou: Absolutely. Shane was the first one. When he joined us, he had been with other brands before and now since we came over here to the United States and set up office here, we have had the opportunity to meet with the young guys like Patrick Patterson and Gordon Hayward before the NBA Draft and afterward. When they have the opportunity to play in the NBA, we feel like it will be great to grow with them and they feel the same way. We just came here and they are starting their career and we feel the same way about coming to the United States. I think now we can develop the relationships with the younger players now and become partners. We also have Dominique Jones who plays for the Dallas Mavericks. We are absolutely looking forward to having more young and up and coming players to represent us in the future.