Otis x Jeff Staple Launch Investment Shares of the Nike SB Dunks Collection

Sneaker Culture comes with a lot of moving parts. It’s not just about what’s trending and what’s dropping at the moment. The sneaker industry is a booming business and there are a lot of ways to cash in. When you mix history and actual factual epic moments in, these are the things that make sneaker culture what it is. There are many players involved, brands behind the madness and stories to be told. We’ve watched buying sneakers turn into a “thing”, sneaker releases become like holidays and feelings described as being “like Jordans on Saturdays”. When did that happen? Sneaker culture is evident in all aspects of our lives and it is important to keep up with its evolution. Jeff and Otis have teamed up to take sneaker culture to another level. 

Jeff Staple, the founder and creative director of Staple Design, plays an integral role in sneaker culture, and so does Otis. They both are pioneers in areas of sneaker culture that have pushed the needle up on the culture-o-meter. The two have paired up to launch shares of the Nike SB Dunks Collection. 

Wait. Shares? 

Yep. Shares!

The Nike SB Dunks Collection is now available for purchase via the Otis App. The collection includes 5 famed Nike SB lows that have impacted sneaker history in some way shape or form. The NYC Pigeon, Heineken Dunks, What the Dunk, Raygun Dunks, and the first all suede Bison dunks are all available at $25 per share and there are 1,000 shares available for purchase. Jeff is a major Sneakerhead and he handpicked the pairs for this collection. 

Aside from the actual sneakers, the Otis x fnnch collection is also up for grabs. Each share costs $40 and there are 1,000 shares up for grabs. This collection is a series of custom-commissioned artworks by San Francisco’s street artist fnnch. His works include Three Cans of LaCroix, Greatest Hits, and Sneakers. Oddly enough, the Sneakers paintings are his personal rendition of the Nike SB Dunks from the collection. 

Sneakers have become more than just footwear, they are an investment. Whether it’s a purchase of shares on the Otis app or getting a job in the sneaker industry, there’s more to sneaker culture than meets the eye. For more information on how you can turn your passion for sneakers into cash, visit Sneaker Essentials dot com

Student Success: Kade Butler, Nike

Kade works in sportswear and wanted to learn more about footwear to move up in his career. He enrolled in Sneaker Essentials to better understand how the business works. He talks about his student success with Yellowbrick.

The biggest takeaway I have is how many different jobs there are within the industry. There’s truly something out there for everyone.

ON CHOOSING SNEAKER ESSENTIALS —

I’ve only heard good things about the Fashion Institute of Technology. It might’ve honestly been the deciding factor. I enrolled in this online course so I could continue to follow my passion and move up within the sneaker industry. The course covers a variety of topics. They are all essential to the footwear industry and it definitely had an impact. 

 

ON BEING A YELLOWBRICK STUDENT —

My favorite assignment was talking about my grail sneakers. My favorite course was Brand Strategy and Marketing — I loved hearing from Jeron Smith (Chief Marketing Officer, SC30 Inc.).

 

STUDENT SUCCESS IN REAL-LIFE APPLICATION —

The biggest takeaway I have is how many different jobs there are within the industry. There’s truly something out there for everyone. The online course covers every portion of the industry. It sharpened the knowledge that I already had through my work experience.

 

ON THE PAST & WHAT’S NEXT —i

The online course has given me more overall knowledge of the industry. t’s come up in a couple of recent job interviews. I even fell back on my experience with the Sneaker Essentials course in the interview process for my new job with the merchandising team at Nike Headquarters!

Student Success: Michael Pardovany, New Balance

Michael has worked in the sneaker industry for years and saw an opportunity to learn other parts of the business. As part of his student success journey, he’s been able to implement his learnings at New Balance.

I wanted to expand my knowledge as much as possible and equip myself for my next journey within the footwear industry, and this course did that for me.

ON CHOOSING SNEAKER ESSENTIALS —

The Sneaker Essentials online course was right up my alley because I’m a Product Developer for Lifestyle at New Balance. I wanted to expand my knowledge as much as possible and equip myself for my next journey within the footwear industry, and this online course did that for me.

It was huge for me because back in college, I visited the Fashion Institute of Technology to see a guest speaker, and it was motivational and inspiring. FIT has a great reputation. I was also attracted to the program right away because Complex defines and expands on Lifestyle culture, and it’s a brand that I faithfully follow.

ON BEING A YELLOWBRICK STUDENT —

I enrolled in this program so I could further my education and career in the footwear industry on the Brand Strategy and Marketing side.

STUDENT SUCCESS IN REAL-LIFE APPLICATION —

My biggest takeaway was being able to obtain the knowledge that was given and apply it in my current role. There were things that the program covered which I did not know even existed. The course put me in a better position to market myself in the footwear industry.

ON THE PAST & WHAT’S NEXT —

As I was taking this program, I noticed a few things I did not have any knowledge of. I brought a few of these things up to my manager at New Balance and I was able to apply and implement them to my role — not only for myself but for our entire team. This program also solidified my decision for my next career step in the footwear industry.

To keep up with Michael and his work at New Balance, follow him on Instagram @mikenificent777.

Student Success: Ebony C. Watson

Ebony is a digital creator who wanted to combine her knowledge of art with her love of sneakers and footwear so, she enrolled in Yellowbrick’s Sneaker Essentials online course. Here, she discusses her student success.

The program prepared me to actually create a portfolio as I went along with each course. With this portfolio, I can submit to companies and seek employment within the sneaker industry.

ON CHOOSING SNEAKER ESSENTIALS —

The breakdown of the courses had a great deal of information which educated me every step of the way. It’s like a “Sneaker Bible” in encyclopedia form. Great source of information to prepare you for the sneaker game. 

I attended the Fashion Institute of Technology a while back, and I’m aware that the school is known for its phenomenal education curriculum in the fashion industry. The bonus is that I am deaf/hard of hearing, so the subtitles/closed caption solidified the deal of me taking the program. The accessibility feature program is amazing.

ON BEING A YELLOWBRICK STUDENT —

I really liked the course that specifically teaches you how to communicate with wholesale companies and keep a strong relationship with your sneaker design supplier.

STUDENT SUCCESS IN REAL-LIFE APPLICATION —

The program prepared me to actually create a portfolio as I went along with each course. With this portfolio, I can submit to companies and seek employment within the sneaker industry.

ON THE PAST & WHAT’S NEXT —

I’m in the technology field with Apple, but I want to break barriers and change the game in the footwear industry. The future is in a deaf/hard-of-hearing female like me.

To keep up with Ebony beyond Yellowbrick, follow her student success on Instagram @premiumgeek.

A Guide to Complete #SneakerSchool in 2 Months

When Yellowbrick students enroll in our Fashion Institute of Technology x Complex Sneaker Essentials online course, they’re given a year to complete #SneakerSchool. However, you can complete Sneaker Essentials in a fraction of the time. We’ve created a roadmap to help students finish the course over 45 hours in just two months.

Month 1, Week 1: 

Sneaker School

The Sneaker Essentials online course consists of seven modules. By focusing on one module per week, you can complete the course within eight weeks. The first module, Introduction To History And Culture, is an overview of the history of the sneaker and modern sneaker culture and an introduction of performance footwear. While 35 videos, three reading assignments, and two activities may sound like a lot of work, you can complete it all in eight hours. By dividing those eight hours into small chunks over a five-day week, the workload is more manageable.

While 35 videos, three reading assignments, and two activities may sound like a lot of work, you can complete it all in eight hours.

Day 1 (2 Hours):

Dedicate day one to watch the first 13 video lessons. After that, read the first article, “Sneakers Have Always Been Political Shoes,” from The Atlantic. The piece explores vital socioeconomic and cultural milestones in sneaker history. Then, read “Material Matters: Fables Of The Forgotten,” which surveys critical sneaker innovations and unique product milestones. 

Day 2 (2 Hours):

The second day is all about completing your first assignment! The activity, Building A Sneaker Portfolio, asks you to create an account on StockX, which allows students to track their sneaker portfolios. The purpose of this assignment is to enable students to showcase their style while providing context regarding the valuation of sneakers.

Nike SB Dunk x Civilist

Day 3 (1 Hour and 15 Minutes): 

On day three, queue up videos 14 through 30. These lessons feature Gregg Woodcock and Frank Zambrelli from FIT and Complex’s Matthew Welty and Brendan Dunne. Topics include the rise of famed Nike designer Tinker Hatfield and the influence of athletes on sneaker technology.

Day 4 (45 Minutes): 

Watch the final four video lessons of module one and then complete the third reading, “Confessions of a Sneaker Addict.” Written initially for Source Magazine, the essay has been dubbed “the first piece of sneaker journalism” by Sole Collector.

Day 5 (2 Hours): 

You made it to the end of the first week and the last activity of module one, “What’s Your Grail?” This activity tasks students with telling the story of their favorite sneaker and is an introduction to sneaker advertising and marketing.

Student studying

Month 1, Week 2: 

Week two focuses on the second module, Sneaker Design. This module takes through the creative process, from sketching to prototyping. Students learn about the importance of striking a balance between branding and performance.

Day 1 (1 hr 30 Minutes): 

Start week two with videos one through 13. These lessons cover the design brief and the design calendar. After completing the videos, there is written coursework for students to read. “6 Must-Know Tips For New & Aspiring Shoe Designers” offers expert tips from industry professionals for aspiring sneaker designers. 

Day 2 (2 Hours): 

The first activity of module two and the primary focus for the second day is Creating a Mood Board. #SneakerSchool students pull inspiration to create mood boards that document and communicate their design ideas to others. 

Day 3 (1 Hour and 30 Minutes): 

On day three, watch video lessons 14 through 28. During this section, students will learn about sneaker structure, the ergonomics of design, and the importance of the tech pack.

Day 4 (1 Hour): 

Similar to day three, the itinerary for the fourth day of module two is watching videos 29 through 39 with lessons on sneaker sketching, logo application, and branding.

Day 5 (2 Hours): 

Students will use their newly-acquired design knowledge for the final day of week two to complete the second assignment. Designing A Pair of Sneakers is an activity that asks students to sketch their ideas for three sneaker silhouettes. 

Month 1, Week 3:

Week three requires less time than the previous two. Students work in 30 minutes bursts each day, requiring a commitment of two and a half hours total. During this week, the focus turns to module three, Sneaker Manufacturing and Production.

Sneaker Manufacturing

Day 1 (30 Minutes): 

Ease into the week by watching lessons one and two. The videos introduce students to members of the production team and the manufacturing and production process. Afterward, complete your next reading assignment, “Ways to Develop and Support a Sustainable Footwear Industry,” which addresses the growing level of awareness around eco-consciousness in manufacturing.

Day 2 (30 Minutes): 

Videos three through seven guides students through creating product samples and beginning the journey of assembling shoes.

Day 3 (30 Minutes): 

In the first virtual tour of the course, students walk through Brooklyn Shoe Factory in Hoboken, New Jersey. Co-founder Rebecca Heykes explains key components, machinery, and equipment necessary to manufacturing.

Day 4 (30 Minutes):

The next set of videos, eight through 12, is all about the outsole. Students are taught about sole application, engineering, and the benefits of a vulcanized sole and a cupped sole.

Day 5 (30 Minutes): 

The final set of videos, 13 through 20, discusses the final steps of sneaker assemblage and the importance of quality control. Students are also treated to a tour of UBIQLAB in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, led by Brand Director Kyle Riggle.

Month 1, Week 4: 

Week four is all about rest and reflection. Use this week to review the first three courses, refresh notes as needed, and check out other students’ assignment projects.

You’ve officially hit the halfway mark! This week is a bit more intensive, as most students will require 12 hours to complete coursework.

Month 2, Week 1: 

Sneaker School

You’ve officially hit the halfway mark! This week is a bit more intensive, as most students will require 12 hours to complete coursework. However, by sticking to our guide suggestions and breaking time into smaller blocks, 12 hours will be over before you know it.

Day 1 (2 Hours): 

We start the week with module four, Sneaker Distribution and Retail. Watch the first 12 videos to learn about trade shows, retail supply chains, and sneaker shopping. Then, complete your next activity. In this assignment, you’ll revisit the portfolio you created on day two of week one to see how the sneakers you selected have changed in value.

Day 2 (2 Hours): 

On day two, watch videos 13 through 18. These lessons are about sneaker boutiques and their influence on sneaker culture. After watching these videos, there’s a research activity, Exploring Unique Boutiques.

Day 3 (2 Hours): 

Day three continues with the subject of sneaker boutiques with video lessons 19 through 24 by highlighting several case studies of successful boutiques. Once the videos have been completed, there’s an assignment, Planning Your Sneaker Boutique. This activity pushes students to conceptualize their boutiques and present their plans.

Day 4 (3 Hours): 

Videos 25 through 36 focus on sneaker drops and the ever-evolving resell market. The next assignment, Building Your Boutique, is a continuation of the previous day’s activity. Students take their concepts to the next level during this exercise by designing the floor plan and themes.

Day 5 (3 Hours): 

On the final day of the week, wrap up module four by watching videos 37 through 41 to learn about engaging customers through boutique customization. Then complete the Sneaker Con virtual 360 tour. In your final assignment of this module, Marketing in a Consumer Show, students apply what they learned from the Sneaker Con tour to create their booth plan and vendor budget.

Sneaker Store

Month 2, Week 2: 

We’ve arrived at module five, Brand Strategy and Marketing. This module introduces students to core concepts of marketing and sales and teaches them to develop a brand identity that will connect with consumers. 

Day 1 (1 Hour and 15 Minutes): 

Week one begins with the first 15 video lessons. In these videos, Jeron Smith from Curry 30 Inc. and Joe La Puma from Complex share lessons on brand identity and connecting with an audience.

Day 2 (2 Hours): 

On day two, you have your first activity, Brand Attributes. Students conceptualize the brand attributes and essence that will form the backbone of their sneaker brand.

Day 3 (1 Hour and 15 Minutes): 

Watch videos 16 through 31 to learn about traditional marketing, digital marketing, and the value of endorsements. In addition, this section features a case study of Josh Luber on StockX Marketing.

Day 4 (2 Hours): 

Today’s focus will be completing your next assignment, Creating a Customer Persona. In this activity, students identify and determine the characteristics of their target customers. They then create a persona document exploring and highlighting a set of general customer characteristics that will help them understand their target customer’s wants, needs, and desires.

Day 5 (1 Hour):

Wind down the week with the final stretch of video lessons from module five, covering collaborations and nonprofit options in the sneaker industry.

Month 2, Week 3: 

This week, we step into the world of Sneaker Media with module six. Key concepts in this module include recognizing how media is used in product marketing and branding and building your digital brand in the sneaker world.

Day 1 (1 Hour): 

The first ten videos from module six that students watch on day one overview the evolution of sneaker media, from sneaker blogging to film and television.

Day 2 (1 Hour): 

The second day of the week features videos 11 through 21. These lessons cover the shift to online meme culture and social media’s impact on sneaker media.

Day 3 (30 Minutes): 

Take a break from video lessons with a couple of reading assignments. The first piece, “Creating Video Content for Social Media,” helps students understand the basics of the production process for social video formats.

Sneaker Media

The second reading, “The Basics of Smartphone Video Production,” reapplies video production concepts through the accessibility of smartphones. 

Day 4 (30 Minutes): 

The final videos of module six, lessons 22 through 24, unites what students learned about video production to make an unboxing video. 

Day 5 (4 Hours): 

It’s time to complete your final assignment! Creating Sneaker Media is an assignment that asks students to apply the marketing principles they have learned along with the tips from experts to create a video that tells a story, promotes a product, and resonates with the sneaker audience.

Review material from courses three through six, refresh your notes, and be sure to check in on other students’ final projects.

Month 2, Week 4: 

This week is another week of rest and reflection. Review material from courses three through six, refresh your notes, and be sure to check in on other students’ final projects.

An additional module, Sneaker Law, features 20 short video lessons from Jared Goldstein and Kenneth Anand and can be completed in two hours.


Ready to take your career in a new direction? Head over to FIT x Complex Sneaker Essentials to learn more about the online course. You can also download our free Ultimate Sneaker Career Guide to explore which sneaker careers may be right for you.

A Guide to Complete #SneakerSchool in 6 Months

The Fashion Institute of Technology x Complex Sneaker Essentials online course is an immersive learning experience, featuring dozens of video lessons, interactive assignments, and informative reading totaling about 45 hours. Students have a full calendar year to complete #SneakerSchool, but enrolling in this course doesn’t require a full-time commitment that disrupts your work or social life. By setting aside 3 hours or less per week, you can complete #SneakerSchool in six months. We’ve created a guide to help students schedule out their coursework.

Complete Sneaker School in 6 months
Set aside 3 hours or less per week to complete #SneakerSchool in six months.

Month 1: 

The Sneaker Essentials online course consists of seven modules and can be broken up and taken in intervals of one to two modules per month. The first module, Introduction To History And Culture, is an overview of the history of the sneaker and modern sneaker culture and an introduction of performance footwear.

Week 1 (2 Hours): 

Begin by watching videos one through 15 then, turn your attention to the first article, “Sneakers Have Always Been Political Shoes,” from The Atlantic. The piece explores critical socioeconomic and cultural milestones in sneaker history. For this module, the second piece you’ll read is “Material Matters: Fables Of The Forgotten.” This essay examines key sneaker innovations and important product milestones. 

Week 2 (2 Hours): 

The second week is dedicated to your first course assignment. In this activity, Building A Sneaker Portfolio, students create an account on StockX to track their sneaker portfolios. The purpose of this assignment is to allow students to showcase their style while providing context regarding the valuation of sneakers.

Week 3 (2 Hours):

In week three, watch videos 16 through 35 on topics covering the rise of famed Nike designer Tinker Hatfield and the influence of athletes on sneaker technology. When you’re done with the video portion, complete the third reading, “Confessions of a Sneaker Addict.” Initially written for Source Magazine, the essay has been dubbed “the first piece of sneaker journalism” by Sole Collector.

In week three, watch videos 16 through 35 on topics covering the rise of famed Nike designer Tinker Hatfield and the influence of athletes on sneaker technology.

Week 4 (2 Hours): 

Week four concludes with another assignment, “What’s Your Grail?” This activity asks students to tell the story of their favorite sneakers. Overall, the course is an introduction to sneaker advertising and marketing.

Month 2: 

In the second month, the focus switches to the second module, Sneaker Design. This module takes through the creative process, from sketching to prototyping. Students learn about the importance of striking a balance between branding and performance.

Week 1 (2 Hours): 

Start week two with videos one through 13. Lessons cover the design brief, the design calendar, the tech pack, and materials used in manufacturing. After completing the videos, read written coursework “6 Must-Know Tips For New & Aspiring Shoe Designers,” a compilation of expert tips for aspiring sneaker designers from industry professionals.

Week 2 (2 Hours): 

Creating a Mood Board is the first assignment of module two. Students search for sources of inspiration in the world around them, such as art, architecture, fashion, street style, photography, and others, to create mood boards that document and communicate their design ideas to others.  

Week 3 (2 Hours): 

In week three, finish the rest of the video lessons and watch videos 21 through 39. Lectures cover topics on visual brainstorming, the rendering process, sneaker sketching and drafting, logo application, and branding.

Week 4 (2 Hours):

For the final project of month two, students sketch and present their ideas for three sneaker silhouettes in the Designing A Pair of Sneakers activity.

Month 3:

Now that you have gotten through the first two modules and your brain is warmed up and ready to go, the workload increases slightly. During the third month, students will work on modules three, Sneaker Manufacturing and Production, and four, Sneaker Distribution and Retail.

Week 1 (45 Minutes): 

The week begins by watching videos one through seven. Students get familiar with the manufacturing process, creating samples, and assembling uppers. Once the videos are complete, check out your next reading assignment, “Ways to Develop and Support a Sustainable Footwear Industry,” which addresses the growing level of awareness around eco-consciousness in manufacturing.

Week 2 (1 Hour): 

In week two, watch videos eight through 14. These lessons focus on the outsole — injection molding versus compression molding and the benefits of using cupsoles or vulcanization. After exploring the world of soles, take the first virtual tour of the course. Students glimpse the manufacturing process as Brooklyn Shoe Factory Co-founder Rebecca Heykes takes them through the Hoboken, New Jersey headquarters. She explains vital components, machinery, and equipment necessary to manufacturing.

Week 3 (45 Minutes): 

Week three finishes up the video section of module three. Watch videos 15 through 20, which discuss the final steps of sneaker assemblage and the importance of quality control. Then, tour UBIQLAB in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with Brand Director Kyle Riggle.

Week 4 (2 Hours): 

For the final week of month two, begin work on module four. Watch the first 12 videos to learn about trade shows, retail supply chains, and sneaker shopping. Then, revisit the portfolio you created during week two of the first month for your first assignment. Examine how the sneakers you selected have changed in value.

Complete Sneaker School in 6 months
Follow this guide to #SneakerSchool in six months.

Month 4:

During month four, continue your work from the end of month three and focus on completing the fourth module, Sneaker Distribution and Retail.

Week 1 (2 Hours and 30 Minutes): 

During this week, watch videos 13 through 18. These lessons are about sneaker boutiques and their influence on sneaker culture. After watching these videos, there’s a research activity, Exploring Unique Boutiques.

Week 2 (2 Hours and 30 Minutes): 

Continue learning about sneaker boutiques with video lessons 19 through 24. There are several case studies spotlighting successful boutiques. Once the videos have been completed, there’s an assignment, Planning Your Sneaker Boutique. This activity pushes students to conceptualize their boutique ideas and present their plans.

Week 3 (3 Hours):

Watch videos 25 through 36. Each video lesson dives into sneaker drops, and the ever-evolving resell market. The next assignment, Building Your Boutique, is a continuation of the previous activity. During this exercise, students use their boutique concepts to design floor plans for their theoretical boutique.

Week 4 (3 Hours):

On the final day of the week, wrap up module four by watching videos 37 through 41 to learn about engaging customers through boutique customization. Then complete the Sneaker Con virtual 360 tour. In your final assignment of this module, Marketing in a Consumer Show, students apply what they learned from the Sneaker Con tour to create their booth plan and vendor budget. 

In these videos, Jeron Smith from Curry 30 Inc. and Joe La Puma from Complex share lessons on brand identity and connecting with an audience.

Month 5:

Month five covers the fifth module, Brand Strategy and Marketing. This module introduces students to core concepts of marketing and sales and teaches them to develop a brand identity that will connect with consumers. 

Week 1 (1 Hour and 30 Minutes):

Watch the first 20 video lessons. In these videos, Jeron Smith from Curry 30 Inc. and Joe La Puma from Complex share lessons on brand identity and connecting with an audience. Students learn about marketing plans and traditional marketing tactics. This section features a case study of Josh Luber on StockX Marketing.

Week 2 (2 Hours): 

Use this week to complete your first assignment, Brand Attributes. Students conceptualize the brand attributes and core values that define their sneaker brand and set it apart from competitors. 

Week 3 (1 Hour 30 Minutes): 

Watch videos 21 through 41. Lessons focus on digital marketing, celebrity brand endorsements, collaborations with other brands, and nonprofit options in the sneaker industry.

Week 4 (2 Hours): 

During this week, work on and submit your next assignment, Creating a Customer Persona. In this activity, students identify and determine the characteristics of their target customers. They then create a persona document exploring and highlighting a set of general customer characteristics that will help them understand their target customer’s wants, needs, and desires.

Off-White AJ1

Month 6:

You’re almost at the finish line! The primary objective of the final month is module six, Sneaker Media. Key concepts in this module include recognizing how media is used in product marketing and branding and building your own digital brand in the sneaker world.

Week 1 (1 Hour): 

Watch videos one through ten. In these lessons, experts like Gerald Flores from Sole Collector and Richard “Maze” Lopez from Full Size Run provide an overview of the evolution of sneaker media, from sneaker blogging to film and television. Also, carve out time to read the first piece, “Creating Video Content for Social Media.” This coursework helps students understand the basics of video production for social media.

Week 2 (1 Hour): 

In videos 11 through 21, Flores and Russ Bengtson discuss the emergence of online meme culture, social media’s impact on sneaker media, and viral content. Once you finish those videos, there is more written coursework. In “The Basics of Smartphone Video Production,” students read about reapplying the concepts of video production through the accessibility of smartphones. 

Week 3 (30 Minutes): 

Watch the final videos of module six, 22 through 24. These lessons build upon what students have learned earlier in the course about video production, culminating in a tutorial on making an unboxing video. 

Week 4 (4 Hours): 

For the final Sneaker Essentials assignment, Creating Sneaker Media, students apply the marketing principles they have learned along with the tips from experts to create a video that tells a story, promotes a product, and resonates with the sneaker audience.

The seventh module, Sneaker Law, features 20 short video lessons from Jared Goldstein and Kenneth Anand. This module can be completed in two hours.


Do you want to learn about sneaker careers and which one may be right for you? Download our free Ultimate Sneaker Career Guide. Or, if you’re ready to enroll in #SneakerSchool, head over to FIT x Complex Sneaker Essentials.

Student Success: Cyprian Kiswili, Enda Sportswear

Cyprian enrolled in the Sneaker Essentials online course to understand what careers are within sneaker design. This helped him better seek and prepare for opportunities. Today, as part of his student success, he’s an award-winning footwear designer for his shoe “Blossm,” designed for BATA. He also works for Enda Sportswear.

I have built more confidence in undertaking any design project as I understand what the industry expects of me as a designer.

ON CHOOSING SNEAKER ESSENTIALS —

I wanted to learn more about the sneaker career field to understand the opportunities to grow a successful career in footwear design. I consume so much Complex content. So, being a big fan of sneaker culture, it was an excellent opportunity to learn from these sneaker and media icons. My heart is in shoe design, and I could not think of a better course to take! 

ON BEING A YELLOWBRICK STUDENT —

My favorite video within this online course was about performance footwear led by Dr. Thomas Novella. Overall, it was very informative and what I wanted to learn about the performance footwear field.

ON STUDENT SUCCESS IN REAL-LIFE APPLICATION —

I have built more confidence in undertaking any design project as I understand what the industry expects of me as a designer. For me, shoe design is not something that I love or just a hobby anymore but a whole culture that influences my growing career.

ON THE PAST & WHAT’S NEXT —

I have always dreamed of building a career in sneaker or footwear design. However, in Kenya, sneaker design is not viewed as a career but a hobby. Nevertheless, I have grown confidence with each lesson and learned so much to grow my skill set. Thanks to Sneaker Essentials, I am out to prove everyone wrong. As a result, I’m working as a designer in the only performance shoe company in Sub-Saharan Africa, Enda Sportswear. 

To follow Cyprian’s journey and student success beyond Sneaker Essentials, check out his Instagram

Sneakerheads Can Stop Searching for the Perfect Shop Now

Sneaker culture has exploded over the past few years. At the height of sneaker hype, sneakerheads camped overnight outside storefronts and shut down entire street blocks. So when Jeff Staple released the now-legendary Nike SB “Pigeon” Dunks at Reed Space in 2005, the New York Police Department had to deploy a SWAT team to tame the crowd. 

Sneaker Riot

Since then, shops have shifted their focus to internet releases to prevent similar situations. Unfortunately, online drops present their own headaches because the most hyped sneakers sell out within seconds. Part of successfully curating a personal sneaker collection is knowing which stores have access to the most exclusive sneakers and sneaker trends. We’ve rounded up a list of stores that should be on your radar. 

Bodega (Boston, MA / Los Angeles, CA)

“Hidden in plain sight” is Bodega’s slogan. It fits since the sneaker boutique is tucked away behind a secret door behind fake shelves in a facade convenience store. Over the shop’s history, they’ve collaborated with Nike, Vans, New Balance, and Reebok to release their own versions of legendary silhouettes. Those relationships with the biggest brands have made Bodega a reliable spot for exclusive sneakers. 

Pro Tip: Bodega has a calendar on their site that tracks upcoming releases. Click on the icon with the sneaker you’re interested in, and it will list release details. If the item is a QuickStrike, it will be released via raffle.

 

Black Sheep (Charlotte, NC)

Nike SB Dunks have been making a comeback. As resale prices climb, original releases are getting more attention. However, only a few select shops get shipments, or buyers have to try their luck on the SNKRS app. Charlotte’s Black Sheep is one of the few skate shops that have been blessed with a Nike account and even released their own Dunk collaboration in 2019. However, like other small skate stores, they only limit exclusive releases to locals. However, the shop will make their collaborations available for nationwide purchase.

Pro Tip: Black Sheep provides release details on their Instagram. They tend to partner with Copdate for raffles if it’s an exclusive release.

 

Concepts (New York, NY + Boston, MA)

Concepts is a prominent name in sneakers and streetwear. With multiple storefronts in Boston and New York, the shop is regularly at the forefront of hyped releases and is a go-to for sneakerheads. In addition, they have released several collaborations with Nike SB (including the famed lobster series) and have an ongoing partnership with NBA All-Star Kyrie Irving.

Pro Tip: Keep a close eye on Concepts’ release page. They will list upcoming releases with details on how to purchase in-store and online.

Flight Club

Flight Club (New York, NY / Los Angeles, CA / Miami, FL)

Many sneakerheads have found their grails thanks to Flight Club. The store changed the sneaker game when it opened in 2005. With a consignment set up — meaning the store acts as a facilitator of sales between collectors — the shop provided buyers new access to rare sneakers. Many Flightclub’s sneakers are overpriced compared to their market value because resellers set the prices. 

Pro Tip: Flight Club is more of a marketplace for resellers, so there are no raffles or calendars to follow. You can simply check the website to see if the pair you want is in stock, select your size, and browse through price options.

 

KITH (New York, NY / Brooklyn, NY / Miami, FL / Los Angeles, CA)

KITH is one of the biggest streetwear brands in the industry. Its name is short for “kith and kin,” which is an old-fashioned way of saying “friends and family” — perhaps a nod to their ability to deliver the very best to their consumers. Through thoughtful collaborations with New Balance, Nike, and Lebron James, the store has built its reputation.

Pro Tip: KITH’s blog details upcoming releases with full details on how to purchase online and in-store.

 

Premier (Grand Rapids, MI)

Premier is another skate shop that gets a steady stock of sought-after sneakers. Like Black Sheep, the store is a go-to for Nike Dunk SB releases. They’ve teamed up with Nike a handful of times to release several Dunks bearing the Premier brand. In addition, they are one of the very few skate stores that will ship exclusives nationally — if you can manage to win the raffle. 

Pro Tip: Download Premier’s app from GooglePlay or App Store and follow them on Instagram. Premier usually posts exclusive releases 12 to 24 hours before raffles go live on their app. Raffles are only open for entries for a 10-minute window, so make sure Instagram notifications are on for Premier. 

undefeated

UNDEFEATED (Los Angeles, CA / San Francisco, CA / Phoenix, AZ / Las Vegas, NV)

NBA players have become marketing and media moguls, and with that, signature sneakers are often among the most hyped releases. The store, which opened in 2002, has credited its inspiration to merging sports, art, music, and street culture. UNDEFEATED is a primary source for the latest basketball kicks and a limited number of brands that have collaborated with the late Kobe Bryant. 

Pro Tip: Release options vary depending on the sneakers. Follow UNDEFEATED’s news page for details. Additionally, UNDEFEATED may release in-store at their locations, on their own site, and through SNKRS.

 

Union Los Angeles (Los Angeles, CA)

Although Union has only recently taken the sneaker industry by storm, the store has been around for years. Union was initially opened by Mary Ann Fusco and James Jebbia (who would eventually found Supreme) in 1989 in New York. Unfortunately, that store was forced to close in 2009. Its Los Angeles counterpart opened in 1991, but collaborations with Jordan Brand in 2018, 2020, and 2021 have launched the store to new heights.

Pro Tip: You can purchase from Union on their site. However, if you reside in LA County, Union often reserves some stock for in-store purchases for locals. 


If you would like to learn more about sneaker marketing and distribution or would like to explore a career in sneaker retail, download Yellowbrick’s Ultimate Sneaker Career Guide.

Student Success: Harrison Davis, Stadium Goods

As an independent store owner, Harrison had a unique view of the sneaker industry. He wanted to explore different areas of the industry he loves and enrolled in Sneaker Essentials to expand his knowledge. He spoke with Yellowbrick about his student success and how the course helped him find the right career path.

From design to supply chain, processing, management, buying, and customer service, I feel like the sneaker course gave a great overview of the industry.

ON CHOOSING SNEAKER ESSENTIALS —

I enrolled in Sneaker Essentials to get a broader perspective of the sneaker industry, end-to-end. My prior experiences had been as a collector and owner in the independent space. To grow my career and compete in the NYC market, I wanted to expand my design knowledge. I wanted to learn about supply channels, big box, mass marketing, and more.

The partnership with the Fashion Institute of Technology legitimizes shared knowledge. There are tons of sneaker blogs and learning opportunities online; however, the accreditation of the material by FIT is the reason I decided to join the online course. Similarly, the partnership with Complex validates that the course contributors are significant in sneaker culture beyond just knowledge.

ON BEING A YELLOWBRICK STUDENT —

Sue from Rime really stuck out in my mind. Her authentic story about creating a boutique in the early 2000s, her first collaboration with Puma, and the struggles of being independent resonated with me. She gave a great perspective around that era of the industry.

ON REAL-LIFE APPLICATION —

The course gave me a great perspective into the many different avenues you can take within the sneaker industry. I feel like the sneaker course gave a great overview of the industry from design to supply chain, processing, management, buying, and customer service.

My biggest takeaway from Sneaker Essentials is how vast the sneaker industry is. It often can seem like you have to fit into the mold of what major brands are looking for. However, you can truly follow your passions. You can be authentic and find a good fit for yourself if you know where to look!

ON THE PAST & WHAT’S NEXT —

Sneaker Essentials helped me decide what part of the industry I was most interested in pursuing. Having owned a tier-one independent sneaker boutique for six years, most of my vantage point comes from that angle of the industry. As I transitioned from Baltimore to NYC, Sneaker Essentials helped me narrow down my specific interests within a much wider sector and understand the endless opportunities in NYC. Ultimately, I landed a Private Client Services position at Stadium Goods. Being introduced to a more in-depth look into the SG brand and mission while taking the Sneakers Essential course impacted my decision to apply to positions at SG.

Keep up with Harrison and his growing sneaker collection by following him on Instagram @sneakerscoffeechampagne.

Yellowbrick, Reebok, APB, and Jobs for the Future Drops Sneaker by Student

On April 29, 2022, Yellowbrick, Reebok, APB, and JFF will release a pair of sneakers designed by Isaac “Ikey” Reeves, a student from Yellowbrick’s Reebok x Sneakers Essentials. The exciting new student project results from an intensive 12-week online course featuring 36 learners between the ages of 17 and 20. For their capstone projects, students designed a sneaker. The winning design went into production for an online and nationwide APB release. Reeves, an aspiring creative director and artist based in Lafayette, Indiana, designed the winning sneaker dubbed “Duality.” In addition, Ashley Hamilton and Ben Gass were selected to be part of his marketing and creative team. The APB x Yellowbrick x Reebok Classic Leather Legacy “Duality” will be limited to 150 numbered pairs.

Reebok
APB x Yellowbrick x Reebok Classic Leather Legacy “Duality”

Reebok x Sneaker Essentials

Yellowbrick’s Reebok x Sneaker Essentials is a revamped version of their Sneaker Essentials course with the Fashion Institute of Technology and Complex. The online course began in the Spring of 2021 and featured live mentorship from experts at Reebok and APB. This sneaker course took students through all facets of the sneaker industry, including development, design, sales, marketing, and the consumer-to-consumer retail market. After the program, all participants produced a final project that included a sneaker design, production, and retail and marketing strategies.

An on-foot look at the APB x Yellowbrick x Reebok Classic Leather Legacy “Duality”

All of the projects were impressive, but Reeves’s design stood out. The low-cut runner features bright yellow hues accented by blue and a burnt orange ombre pattern. Reeves wanted the design to be multifunctional and drew inspiration from his own life. “When thinking about the project and how I wanted to go forward with the shoe design, I always went back to my experience living in New York,” he said. “The two things that always stood out to me [in the city] were the style and the nightlife. I knew that whatever I created for the project, I wanted it to have two sides. I went through the dictionary to find a word to fit the shoe and came up with ‘duality.’”

About Issac Reeves

The up-and-coming designer has long held an interest in the sneaker industry and spent his time moonlighting as a customizer in college. “Customizing sneakers was an escape for me — I was a computer engineering major [in college], and I hated it. However, I loved art, and I’d been studying customizing sneakers for years. That developed into an appreciation for sneakers and sneaker history.”

Issac “Ikey” Reeves talks about creating his “Duality” sneakers

Reeves found out about Reebok X Sneaker Essentials through Instagram. Despite some initial hesitation, he applied, and the process changed his life. “Over the past year, many friends and family have asked me, ‘how do you feel about your shoe being sold at a boutique,’ and it still really hasn’t hit me,” he said. “Being able to hold my shoe physically, and now it will be sold. It’s truly amazing. This is literally mind-blowing.”

I knew that whatever I created for the project, I wanted it to have two sides. I went through the dictionary to find a word to fit the shoe and came up with ‘duality.’

While the past year has been a whirlwind, Reeves is excited about his future. “I really want to thank the entire Reebok team and the entire Yellowbrick team for this opportunity and for believing in my vision and creation.” He has plans to release a film documenting his first product release and plans to keep working on establishing himself as a designer. “I’m super excited for what’s coming next. I get to see my shoe in the APB store. I got to work with such an amazing team to help my vision come to fruition.”

For more information on the Reebok x Sneaker Essentials course or about Reebok jobs in the sneaker industry, check out Yellowbrick’s Mini-Course: An Introduction To Sneaker Jobs.