A&O Feature: Herbert Smith, SneakerWeek

SneakerWeek, is the brainchild of Herbert Smith, Marketing Designer at PENSOLE and Megan Davis from Wacom Technologies. After discussing the recent trend and energy around week long industry celebrations in Portland, they realized the irony of not having a celebration of sneakers in the sneaker capital of the world. So Herbert decided to change that.

photo courtesy of ‘Pensole Academy: Behind the Scenes with a dedicated crew + Bamboo smartpads”

With the Kick Flicks Amateur Film Contest and the upcoming AOYP Summer Extravaganza, we decided to chat with Herbert to learn more about his vision for the event. Given his 7 years of experience in the footwear industry and background producing the World Sneaker Championship we are excited to learn what drives him…

photo courtesy of ‘Pensole Academy: Behind the Scenes with a dedicated crew + Bamboo smartpads”

Why SneakerWeek?  

As someone who’s journey began grass roots in retail at Portland’s most prominent footwear boutiques, I was able to connect larger brands and media partners with Portland’s local cultural influencers.

Working with a core group of directors, we were able to program a series of events that helped drive our mission of highlighting the diverse culture and community amongst Portland sneaker enthusiasts.  I’m most excited about laying the foundation for the evolving landscape of Portland popular culture.

SneakerWeek has the potential to showcase Portland as a premier destination for art, music, and design. It’s important to show the rest of the world what we have to offer and SneakerWeek is the perfect outlet.

What are some of the unique challenges of SneakerWeek?

It’s not easy to get competitors to work together, unless you bring them together for a cause that is noble. I believe it’s important to the industry as a whole to support culture on which it’s business was founded.

Portland is home to the world’s largest sneaker brands, so SneakerWeek is a celebration of those people who live here and help influence the rest of the world through footwear.

Diversity has been a huge issue within the city of Portland and footwear industry for years. Our goal with programming events within SneakerWeek was to create opportunities for charities and non-profits to spread awareness on key issues within diversity and community. The majority of SneakerWeek events will have a kickback program to support variety of causes within the city of Portland.

What are you hoping will be the outcomes of this year’s SneakerWeek? 

My hope for this event is to encourage the footwear industry to recognize Portland as a viable market to host influential events such as SneakerWeek in the future. I also hope that other industries will see the community and culture as a worthwhile investment, and the blueprint of SneakerWeek can serve as a model to connect give back to the influencers.

Why are you excited to host this event in Portland?  

I’m most excited to host SneakerWeek here in Portland because it is home to some of the most unique cultural influencers such as Deadstock Coffee and Pensole Academy, who are truly one of a kind in the entire country. Portland is a beautiful city. So many sport and outdoors enthusiasts enjoy what the city has to offer. And many of those sports and outdoor enthusiasts also share a passion for sneakers.

Photo courtesy of @deadstockcoffee and @krayrox vis Instagram

What type of support have you gotten from A&O in Portland?

As an active member in the athletic and outdoor industry, I’ve gained tons of support from the community of professionals and companies of all sizes. Brands have been open to partnerships and collaborations to help bring this event to life and I am grateful for the support of institutions such as Prosper Portland who believe in assisting new programs for the community such as Portland SneakerWeek.

How can someone get involved with SneakerWeek? 

For anyone looking to get involved, I’d advise you to check out sneakerweekpdx.com to contact us directly for partnership and volunteer opportunities.

What advice would you give someone looking to get started in the A&O industry?

We’ll be hosting a series of seminars and discussions of how to enter the industry during SneakerWeek. Be sure to go online and register for these events when tickets are available.