Revolutionizing Footwear with Blake Brown on The Scroll Sessions Podcast

In an illuminating session on The Scroll Sessions Podcast, hosts Dan Page and Shane Hickenlooper welcomed Blake Brown, the visionary VP of Brand and Creative at Kizik, to discuss innovation in the footwear industry. Kizik, renowned for its hands-free shoes, has been making waves not only in Utah but across various states, thanks to its strategic airport advertising and an expanding presence in five to seven airports nationwide.

Embracing Innovation and Hands-Free Technology

Brown delves into the essence of Kizik, emphasizing how the brand stands out with its hands-free technology. With over 180 patents, Kizik is more than a footwear company; it’s a blend of technology and product innovation focused on simplifying life’s basic tasks. This hands-free feature not only caters to convenience but also to those who physically can’t put on shoes the traditional way, touching lives deeply and personally.

The Kizik Journey: From Function to Fashion

Initially targeting a more mature demographic due to its functional benefits, Kizik has broadened its appeal with stylish designs without compromising on the convenience and comfort that define its products. Brown highlights the shift towards considering psychographics over demographics, recognizing the diverse needs that Kizik meets, from the elderly to the fashion-forward youth.

A Culture of Curiosity and Continuous Improvement

Brown shares insights into Kizik’s culture, driven by curiosity and the constant quest for improvement. This ethos has led to significant product innovations, such as the upcoming launch of the first-ever hands-free boot, further solidifying Kizik’s position as a pioneer in the footwear industry.

The Power of Storytelling and Brand Building

Under Brown’s creative leadership, Kizik has embarked on captivating marketing strategies that resonate deeply with its audience. From airport advertising to engaging collaborations, like the one with Jet Puffed, Kizik knows how to spark interest and conversation around its brand.

Looking Ahead: Expanding Horizons

With a trajectory that has seen Kizik go from selling a handful of shoes to potentially reaching another 2 million sales next year, the future looks bright. Brown and his team are not just focused on scaling up but also on ensuring that the brand’s core message of freedom and convenience is communicated effectively across all platforms.

As Kizik continues to innovate and expand, its journey offers valuable lessons in leveraging technology to meet consumer needs, the importance of brand storytelling, and the power of a team unified by a shared vision for change.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/blakeofthebrown/

https://kizik.com/

Podcast Transcript

0:01[Music]

0:09Blake it’s good to have you here today great to be here thanks for making the drive all the way up here appreciate it

0:15I would drive farther just you oh fantastic maybe a couple more miles yeah

0:20welcome to Southern Idaho yeah exactly pretty close CL lindsy Ivy just said I made the drive up to Southern Idaho and

0:27she was literally talking about here it’s no it absolutely I said that’s an

0:32insane comment you must be from Utah County cuz we’re nowhere near IAH know I

0:37mean closer than Utah County I could throw pigin I know yeah throw football over but Blake very excited to have you

0:45here we’ve got Blake Brown on the scroll sessions podcast today the current VP of Brandon creative at Kizik thank you so

0:52much for the podcast today appreciate and if you don’t know what Kizik is you

0:57should know because everyone in Utah know know they’ve got Billboards yeah and if through an airport where you guys

1:04advertise which is insanely good advertising I think we’ll get into that it’s super cool we were just in Tulsa and I saw it on the oh you saw there

1:10things yeah well the last time we were there it was there too and then I was it in Tulsa yeah it was at the Tulsa

1:15Airport yeah how do you get ads approved by

1:21TSA well it’s through ‘s through the airport it’s through the airport there’s they have the like an advertising kind

1:28of division placements and those type of things how many airports are you in you know I

1:34think five to seven right now five to seven so like Florida it changes we try to mix it around oh really uh a little

1:41bit but it was kind of a and it’s not cheap either oh yeah I don’t doubt it especially just for how many but it

1:47makes it’s like one of those things that’s like a no-brainer of placement it’s like

1:52obviously talk to people about kizik for those that can’t see we’ve got some kizik shoes on display but for people

1:58who are listening on audio tell us about Kik yeah so kizik I mean we’re we’re obviously a footwear company but I think

2:04the biggest differentiator for us is all of our shoes are handsfree so you just

2:09step into the shoe and they pop back on and they stay on so we have different lines

2:16different we have over 180 patents uh patents pending and whatnot so we’re not

2:22just thinking we’re kind of a a mix between a technology company and a product company this is the hand the

2:28handsfree Labs is lab is our parent company um and so we’re we’re working

2:34constantly we’re so curious as a company about like why are things this way why don’t we do that that’s pretty much the

2:41impetus of why the brand started is because why do we have to bend over and tie our shoes and deal with you know all

2:47that stuff when we have more important things yeah you know to worry about in life and so I I think there’s something

2:53about just the idea itself that’s so captivating because I’m Footwear nothing

2:59if you look at Footwear over the last even 2,000 years it has not changed

3:04outside of materials maybe brand love maybe you get Marty mcfli yeah yeah I

3:10mean there’s that but so with uh with us it’s just uh finding a better way like

3:17finding a better way with Footwear finding the you know but also having the style having the Comfort having making

3:24shoes as kind of they should be um I mean we’re we’re really trying to Sparks

3:29sparked the freedom to go uh in a lot of ways and you know historically you know

3:35kiz has been around since 2017 and we really didn’t it started till 2019 and

3:41it’s been a crazy you guys just rocket ship exploded and Shane and I are both

3:46rocking kxs today there’s some of those original original like gift yeah no we

3:53them actually crazy story I bought KX for the first time in like 2021 I would

4:00guess and I bought one pair loved them so much I bought two more before I went on a trip cuz I thought these are going

4:06to be awesome for a trip cuz believe it or not they’re also extremely comfortable they’re really comfortable

4:11shoes they’re easy to put on but they’re also very comfortable so I I wore him on like walking style vacations and my dad

4:20saw him and I showed up at his house a week later and he had a box of like

4:25literally 12 pairs shut up of kid he’s like I just do one this is his dad yeah

4:30yeah yeah sure he’s the type of guy that you know finds a pair of pantsy likes and order a dozen this is my dad too

4:36like I and I feel like I mean obviously you guys know your demographics of like who I think who you got into first and

4:42obviously it’s more or less a universal problem right for the most part but it does fit I think a particular subset of

4:49people but like my my dad loves him too like I just dropped him off of the airport this morning he was rocking

4:55these big red ones that he just bought and yeah he loves them now so so who was the original like Target demographic

5:02well the thing is demographic it was one of those things when I came on you know our shoes were completely different they

5:08were leather they were heavier they were they obviously uh it was about the

5:13function primarily it was function function function which obviously you you have to find that product Market fit

5:20for sure uh because it’s such a unique new thing uh and so we had you know an

5:27older demographic you know aging American demographic because it was like I can’t some people can that’s the cool

5:34thing about kizic in general outside of the demographic is our shoes um some

5:40people can and some and it’s great for those who can but also for those who can’t do it for themselves and even the

5:47emotional stories we’ve heard like from customers saying like I haven’t been able to put on my own shoes for 20 years

5:54it’s like what you don’t think about that but those are the things that I value personally

6:00in the brand that’s like wow there’s how do you find a a product that really

6:05emotionally affects people’s lives and I think that’s the beauty where as a creative and as a brand Builder you’re

6:12just like oh my gosh this is like it is it’s a gold nugget there for us but nowadays we start looking more about

6:19psychographics versus demographics because as you see we have kids we have

6:25there’s different needs there’s you know we have a needs needs base with your pregn or there’s kids or elderly or you

6:32know Parkinson’s um there’s so or like postsurgery there’s so many niches that

6:39you know I get so many messages a day like LinkedIn and everywhere they’re like Blake I’m you know I I’m a big part

6:45I people just come and tell me like stories and I think this happens to everyone in the company we hear so many

6:50Amazing Stories how you know you think like it’s just shoes but it’s more than that and that’s the cool thing about it

6:56it totally is I think all there’s probably so many stories I I mean I know

7:02of people that just uh when I first bought KX my wife was like hey let’s buy

7:07a pair for my grandpa for Christmas because he’s getting old he can’t really put on his own shoes and he’ll love it

7:13and think it’s so cool and he’ll think they’re styling and all that so awesome

7:18awesome demographic that you guys hit outside of just the fact that they also are really cool designs yeah and that’s

7:25the thing is with uh that’s the cool another cool thing with Kik I think is

7:31most people that buy kid you automatically think of someone else there’s kind of a selflessness of like

7:37when you have your we call an aha experiences when you you you look at the shoe and you see you know our videos and

7:43our ads and you see oh that’s cool but when you actually step into them you’re like oh that really worked oh wow how oh

7:51I’m going to think about my dad or my my my sister that’s pregnant or my little

7:56brother or you think you automatically without there kind of a selfless

8:02thinking I mean I have that and I’ve talked a ton of you know because our repeat rates or our our referral rates

8:09are just so high in a compared to a DDC rate even with our returns as well is

8:15significantly lower than the industry average as well and I feel like you solve it it’s a utilitarian problem

8:22where like most DDC companies it’s not necessarily like I guess solving something like that that’s so completely

8:30Universal and is something that like it is just absolutely ingenious well it’s a

8:36problem you don’t think about it’s a problem you’re like oh yeah and when you see and you try and you’re like oh yeah this is a no-brainer but like to go out

8:43I mean Mike Pratt who is our founder and chairman he was the one that started kizik he was the founder of Ogo okay so

8:51if you’re yeah the oo brand in Utah or you’re in a you’re in business somewhere someone there’s a lot of people that

8:58have Ojo bags m golfs yeah golf bags everything and so

9:03he was always one of those entrepreneurs that was just like always curious and asking why like why like what I

9:10mentioned earlier was like why do we have to bend down why do we have to do these things but he was like I’m going to do something about it so he worked

9:17prototyped ton of he worked he worked his butt off oh yeah and uh finally got

9:23to way where we commercialized it and he sold um Ogo to callway golf and it just

9:28went first in the kizik and you know it took a couple years you know to find that product Market fit and then we came

9:35Alex MacArthur Brett swon and I we came on and we were just we saw the potential

9:41we saw uh obviously the shoes weren’t where I think they could be but it’s like the best time to come on in any

9:48Venture is as early as possible to help influence uh try your best to influence

9:55you know directionally where you want to go or where you think it should go so let’s talk about that you’re did you

10:01graduate in design then is that yeah so I have what’s your back so I have a BFA

10:06so I have my BFA uh so traditionally I trained as um on the art side you know

10:13design creative advertising and uh they kind of built

10:18from there so you can go a lot of tracks with creative you know you can go down the uh copywriting you can go down the

10:26art side you can go down multiple facets uh and I just naturally went through um

10:34the art track because when I was in high school uh I had design yeah I I you know

10:39I built my own first computer I think junior senior and these were when computers were barely like a thing this

10:47is like computer 99 2000 somewhere around there um I built one cuz my brother built one and then we also like

10:54this was also a thing where like lime wire and like pirating was at its PE Peak um and uh I downloaded like

11:03Photoshop like two or something like and I started just messing around and I and then I growing up I had a group of

11:10friends we were all into music and bands and we were always going to shows and so

11:16uh we had a couple bands in our group of friends and I just started making posters I started making CDs I started

11:21doing a lot of stuff and then uh so I grew up in Southern California and the scene there was pretty great for for

11:27music totally and then I went to um there was this there’s kind of Po Punk

11:34label called drive-through records um so if anyone recognizes pop ponas as a

11:40continuous uh so like New Found Glory Rx Bandits uh Finch like all these kind of

11:46like uh it was a small label it was a subsidiary of rcer Records so you know I

11:51was just like I called them and I was like hey I’m really into this I really love D and uh it was a brother and

11:59sister owning the record label uh Stephanie and Richard Meyer um and I went up to Sherman Oaks which is

12:05probably like an hour and a half drive from Orange County to to Sherman Oaks

12:10and I would drive up there and I would be like so hungry I just hungry to learn and it’s still I still like that amazing

12:17not everybody has that no and I was just like plus I was music and I was like big you know Fanboy yeah um and I was just

12:25like I’ll do anything you can pay me nothing and you know so they paid me in swag they paid me in like band merch

12:32which was probably cooler than money and there was they had a designer on staff that was doing like CDR albums

12:38vinyls you know Swag and I’m just over shoulder like this like oh my gosh it’s

12:43so cool because I started messing around with Photoshop and other programs back then and I was just I got obsessed

12:51obsessed um and that kind of just kicked it off from right there and most people

12:58at that age you’re like I have no idea what I wanted to do you know I went from wanting to be a history major to a

13:05archaeology you know you just like was this why you’re in high this is like in high school like senior year you get to that pivotal moment you’re like okay I’m

13:11almost an adult now what am I going to do colge what am I going to do but I knew all along I think you just I just

13:17had that anxiety of like do I know if I really want to do this and you have that imposter syndrome you’re like I have

13:23some experience and so when I eventually moved up to Utah uh so I’m the youngest of seven kids oh wow uh oh that’s a big

13:30family yeah I love it I love it so I mean my oldest sister is 58 and I’m 40

13:36and so there was a big Delta there’s like two generations in our household um but my family was a huge influence on on

13:44my creativity uh my mom she’s super creative uh but she also has the biggest

13:49impostor syndrome ever uh but and also my dad he was more of the my my mom and

13:56dad are kind of the right brain left brain my dad super smart thermodynamics Aerospace you know rocket

14:04scientist type of guy um and my mom was just like the creative whiz like she

14:10would do floral arrangements she’ do weddings she’d do all the stuff like she had an eye she had a fashion eye cuz she

14:16grew up with it she used to be a model my mom used to be a model in in uh South La and I didn’t really I didn’t know

14:23that until a couple years ago she just W CU she never talked about it and on her

14:2880th birthday we had we had a surprise 80th birthday party for her I’m like what is this who are these cuz they had

14:35pictures of her like you know as a model in the 50s and those are probably iconic

14:41oh they’re they’re gems they’re like traditional old school madman type of like so good yeah and I’m like who are

14:48you do I know my parents yeah that’s crazy one’s kind of like a spy rocket

14:53science science the other one’s like a undercover model and I’m like who are you like oh that was just a side thing

15:00that was the thing I did for like you met them after they had six kids which was probably a total different to type

15:06of person than the person they were before they had kids oh totally Well after going I I could barely handle three kids I’m like how did you do seven

15:14without losing your mind but it was also a bit a different time it was like he see you see you when the street lights

15:19come on and yeah exactly and you’d be safe playing out toally yeah I’m one of six and I grew up in that big family

15:25situation I love it I love it so I mean after doing that I just really got obsessed and doing got into music more

15:32moved up to here and I was like okay I know what I want to do and my fir when I actually went to UVU for a

15:39semester um and then I eventually transferred to the U but my first uh Professor was like the first project I

15:46did he saw it and he came over to me he was like hey do you want a job cuz I’ve already been doing it yeah like for

15:54maybe a few years at that point and he was like I was like yeah I been doing

15:59kind of design stuff he’s like do you want a job I was like uh yeah I do so I worked they were primarily just doing

16:05MLM kind of stuff welcome to Utah yeah welcome to Utah where it’s like you know what MLM do you want to work on and so

16:13it’s not a pyramid scheme okay but to me it was always about like experience the the way I learned most CU this is like

16:20even pre YouTube this is pre y you know it makes me sound older than than I am

16:25early 2000s but those things are not very old right they feel noral to us now but they’re

16:32they haven’t been around very long no and that’s the cool thing about I mean having those opportunities and like

16:39positioning yourself to have those opportuni and it’s because I’m I’m a pretty extroverted guy um and I know

16:45it’s harder for people that are more introverted and they want to put themselves out there but to me it’s like put me in coach like or you know I’ll do

16:52it like let me do it like like put me in there I want to learn I was that hunger was just Everlasting so so you got your

16:59first job wall in school yeah and then uh I also saw from from school how long

17:06was it before you started working for MX um so MX it was 2015 so I actually so uh

17:17I worked for this this little agency that did like MLM stuff and then I went

17:22to a little couple little Boutique little marketing agencies here and there just to get more experience um and um

17:31and then I went to I had some friends growing up that were also got into the ad program um like at because in LA and

17:40New York there’s a lot of big agencies uh so luckily enough I think part of it was part of talent but the other part

17:46was luck yeah tot was people because people I knew and so I got to work at shy day which was a pretty big agency it

17:54was and there’s um one of the main his name is Lee CLA he’s like an industry

17:59Titan he so they’re the ones that came up with the Apple um kind of think

18:05different campaign back in the day and that massive campaign yeah and a bunch

18:10of other things too and so and by that time I kind of like SE I was like I’ll do like I’ll do spec work I’ll do

18:17whatever just to get in there and over uh over time it kind of served to my

18:23benefit because I wouldn’t just say it and then just bail out I would I there’s

18:28a lot of Heartache in between of just like oh my gosh do I know what I’m doing do I want to do this or I’m play you

18:35know I’m this little fish in a big pond with these industry Titans and I’m like H I don’t know what I’m doing but screw

18:41it you know you have to have that learn creative confidence is a big thing too um and so I got to work and this is

18:49about that time is about 2012 uh where were you working was that

18:54agency it was Freel it was mostly freelance um it was I I I would kind of

18:59go back and forth but not like often like a ton it was kind of working on certain things at the time but I got to

19:06work on like this is about the time I think they landed Gator raade 2011

19:112012 um and I was just they’re working on campaigns and I kept like insisting

19:18like trying not to rise through the ranks to get more money more whatever I was just hungry about learning I was

19:25hungry about cuz cre creativity is and is so broad of

19:33of of kind of those skills between video design writing there there’s so many

19:40different disciplines and I was hungry about it all I was like so throughout my career I would jump from like design

19:46layout the fundamentals color theory and then I would get into like uh animation

19:53so I was a motion desire for a couple years that’s awesome um illustration then I got into Packaging

19:58then I got into like Cinema like video then I got so it just was a compounding thing because I was and it’s over the

20:05years it served me well but it was it was never me what can I get out of it it

20:10was as a as a net benefit of like compensation it was more of me of like I just like oh how did they do that I want

20:18to learn nowadays on YouTube you can just how do they how do you do this University yeah exactly but those things

20:25I was just like trying to figure out how how you know how does this box work cuz as a kid I would I’d rip boxes apart and

20:31be like oh that’s interesting that’s cool not like as a four-year-old but more like 10 or 12y old I was just like

20:37oh how does this work that’s interesting or reverse engineering yeah kind of but I didn’t not it was more subconsciously

20:43than it was like oh this pattern on this uh on this Flip or this this di line is

20:48really cut wrong and I was like I was never to that like but it was was mostly like built off of curiosity in in in my

20:56life and I I think still is have you honed that now cuz like obviously I feel

21:01like as like as we’re younger it’s like always wanted to try new things and try to learn as much as you can and then now

21:07you’re leading the brand at kizik how are you like honing that in for kizik specifically I it comes to a few

21:14fundamental things CU I think there’s it’s not just hard to start a new venture or especially a shoe Venture

21:21like shoes I I mean starting a shoe brand is probably the hardest thing

21:27thing you could do I think other than starting another search engine probably or that too yeah I mean that’s probably

21:33in the I mean I would same realm of like uh what is this but if if we didn’t have

21:39the technology if we didn’t have the differentiation it would be a lot harder to have that product Market fit because

21:45you need to have those reasons to believe the product will be successful at some point uh but for me I’ve those

21:53different aspects of video design and whatnot gave me a big understanding uh soad of how it works of

22:01how it works because because I can really empathize with it with my team

22:07and say like no that I know that can be done in two days or I know this and that

22:12uh but the other thing is I always try to hire people that are better than me on the on the on the on that delivery

22:19side of like the ideation or the video or this or that I have a lot of crazy

22:24ideas like what if we do this what if we do that um so sometimes the team has to like Pat me down and say that’s not

22:31feasible cuz it’s going to be off budget and all these other things but I’m just always on the go so I think the biggest

22:37thing is what I was getting to is the entrepreneurship of starting something new in a market but the other part of

22:43that they don’t tell you about like an entrepreneurship of building a brand is

22:48the scalability that’s kind of the go starting and finding that product Market fit and then scaling it to me scaling is

22:56is sometimes feels like it’s almost as hard it’s a new it’s a new Evolution of

23:01like oh it feels like we’re starting all over again in a different capacity for sure U because we’re opening you know

23:08we’re getting into International we’re getting into wholesale we’re getting we’re getting into these new markets um

23:14of Kit because we primarily been D Toc and so we’re just we’re moving hard and

23:19so it’s just like okay what are the systems what are the processes how do we make sure people don’t burn out because

23:25I think if you don’t have a system systematic way of cuz there’s probably multiple times a week I feel I’m on the

23:31precipice of a burnout but you know you and I think anybody that anyone that works in the cretive space anybody is in

23:38the cretive space because it’s not it’s it’s different than throwing on a and I don’t want to oversimplify this but

23:44there there’s a lot of research thought there’s a lot of there’s a creativity

23:50and sometimes it goes like Ultra planning you can get great stuff but sometimes the the momentum yeah is just

23:57like case in point with the the airport bins it it got brought up through one of

24:04our one of our partners um uh actually our VC firm I

24:09think I got it brought up somehow and we made a connection and it just happened we didn’t plan on it it was just one of

24:15those things I was like oh yeah let’s try it and there’s probably not a day that goes by that someone a friend of

24:20mine texts me and yeah look what I saw at the airport look what I saw this so it’s like how do you get people to talk

24:26about it and that just a no-brainer with people going through the TSA top of mind doesn’t mean that they’re necessarily

24:32going to go to that landing page or you know get out of their phone to scan a QR

24:37code on a band you’re just in frantic mode at that point but you still have that memory of

24:43like it’s psychological you get the well and you had mentioned that earlier and I was just thinking like I I’m a shoe guy

24:51I actually have a shoe wall in my office like I love shoes and I collect a lot of Nikes um I also have a big feet so I

24:57have have like I wear size 15 which comes at an advantage meaning he can get all the cool shoes that other people

25:04can’t get because he’s got the bigger size that’s true but um so I I collect a lot of that stuff but you know what I

25:10put on every single day before I leave the house I wonder tell me isic and and and again like it it comes down to being

25:17like it’s a psychological thing like they’re next to the door when I go out of the house right it’s an easy flip on

25:23flip out and when I now when I get to the office I’ll flip them off and put on some fun shoes for the day and then get

25:30back at Mike kxs and go home but it’s very much like I think yeah you you guys are at that utilitarian but also

25:38psychological and when the two of those come together it’s dangerous yeah and I think that that way I mentioned earlier

25:44too is that emotional the emotional connection you want to have with consumers yeah and it’s hard to have

25:49that with I mean a lot of cons like as a consumer goods brand like a cpg DDC

25:56world it’s just more of like sell sell sell grow grow grow but there’s an emotional connection like as I mentioned

26:04uh earlier it’s like when people are saying I even kids like there was a kid that

26:11had a u she got ran over by a lawn mower as a kid on it was an accident she had

26:17her leg amputated um and just see her like she was one of our commercials and

26:25uh doing like uh before the SHO you know we were showing her her mom was

26:30just crying to us just saying how grateful she is that she can have like

26:35that sense of control and it it was just one of those things that’s a rare thing and I don’t

26:41think they we’re over here looking at like how do we capitalize on this um but it’s just it’s just the impact that the

26:48impct you have when a product has impact on someone’s day even the smallest thing

26:54think about like I can just step into the shoes what’s the big deal but it’s like it’s a big deal when you’re from

27:00that range of like it’s a need you you need it for sure but then also it’s like

27:05my hands are full I’m out the door I’m carrying my kids toys I’m doing all this stuff so there’s a there’s a problem

27:12solution there that I think we’ve leaned on really well in our growth at kizik

27:18and now we’re getting to that point where we’re like who who is that psychographic of our Muse we call it a

27:24muse it’s like who is that person that embod IES the spirit of freedom to go

27:30and move and do the people that we look up to so we’re kind of we’re still having that functional aspect but I

27:36think it’s it’s bigger it’s these things that are bigger than the product that’s that’s why I think Nike and all these

27:42other brands have done really well is because it’s it’s bigger than a product

27:47it’s bigger the stories are bigger than the product yeah and they’ve created that over you know the last several

27:53decades and up building that and I think you guys will absolutely Ely be right

27:58there with them you know what you guys are doing yeah the the comparison is the thief of Joy yeah 100% And I mean I

28:06that’s something I have to tell I literally have to tell myself every day because it’s like oh I want to be like

28:12this person or that that company or this you have to be authentically who you are as a culture in the brand but also the

28:20consumers you want to serve or feel like you’re part of that tribe together um and I think that’s something that’s that

28:27gets you know these brands that are well known they’ve been around for decades 50

28:32years and it it takes a lot of consistency Clarity it takes a lot of like a discipline first of all uh but I

28:40think we’ve been super lucky enough to have the product Market fit have the

28:46right people on the team have all these right things I call them this the stars have aligned in a way um from a culture

28:54aspect but also we have some amazing fans like you like your dad you know

29:00he’s buying 12 pairs you know it’s just like it’s humbling too and I think you

29:05know i’ would be remiss to to to feel like man it’s it’s a you have to kind of sit back because when you’re in the

29:12grind you’re just like okay this campaign this thing retail we got to do all these things but sometimes I have to

29:19force myself and I think the team does it at certain points to really sit back and like it’s it’s so much easier to be

29:26cynical than it is to be positive yeah like and when we’re crazy we were like running around with chickens with our

29:33heads cutting off trying to scale trying to do all these things but you have to kind of sit back and say like would you

29:38want any other way would you really want to would you rather have be scraping for

29:44like survival or trying to solve these problems the good problems the good

29:50problems to have uh and it’s easy to say that and there’s problems everywhere but I think finding that that that balance

29:58between it is hard especially in create in creativity always something to do it’s there’s always something to do and

30:03somebody’s always want something from us whether it’s Acquisitions whether it’s I’m that whether it’s and it’s and it’s

30:10good it’s like I think you in any note to anyone on the creative side in a DDC

30:16there there’s always there’s usually a conflict between a creative and acquisition or there’s always a conflict

30:21you know creative is always like oh no that that’s not brand right and sometimes that’s a case point but when

30:28you’re small enough who cares just like you have there is a there is a sense of

30:34there’s bigger problems to solve and you’d be surprised I think we all know

30:39there’s some ads out there that I wouldn’t love to show but those ads kill it they kill it data says and it’s one

30:46of those things where it’s like you know what moving forward as we get better we have to be more conscientious of how we

30:53show up in the world and how we do those things and but that’ll come in time but but that row ass is you know that is a

30:59four or five or higher it’s like throw more gas on that fire let’s go um and so

31:07it’s it’s one of those things of like finding a balance of like the creative output and the things to it’s it’s a

31:13balance it’s a hard balance there’s no there’s no written path for it it’s just

31:19more you got to figure it out it’s it’s the constant iteration it’s like oh we this one really worked let’s try it with

31:25this shoe and let’s try it with is now we’re getting to that point getting past the functionality of like styling it’s

31:33like how are we going to style the shoe what socks are we going to use what in looking at because people want to see

31:40you know as our shoes get more and more fashionable Trend right cravable I love the work my buddy Ben Oiler from um uh

31:47Enlisted the design agency in Salt Lake in Oakland you know he started using this word cravable which I I adopted so

31:54Bo thank you for letting me use your craveability but it’s it’s so true because you have

32:00to have a product if you saw shoes you know if you go to a wholesale store or any store that have shoes you’re like

32:07how would I know which ones to pick outside of performance or those things but if you’re looking at a everyday

32:14lifestyle type of shoe you know how are you going to be oh that’s a good looking shoe oh and it’s handsfree oh and it’s

32:21this and it’s that it’s like and it looks good and it’s Trend right and all people I know are wearing it so it’s

32:27yeah it’s it’s looking all at all these things that have subconscious Communications of like the style the fit

32:35the the function’s always going to be there we’re always always going to lead into like within the first 3 to five

32:41seconds step in Step In step in but how do we do it in cool bigger ways more

32:47unique memorable ways so we’re always look we’re going to have these more uh ad type you know hook problem Solutions

32:54we’re going to have these things we’re always going to do uh so we’ve been heavily growth mindset

33:00for performance for uh because you have to you have to yeah uh and now it’s like

33:06okay let’s continue that but at the same time let’s build the brand let’s build a brand let’s tell these stories that

33:12really can resonate with people let’s tell these stories that are really going to be bigger than the product them than

33:19the function itself totally and so with those two things together it’s not easy no especially you know when you’re

33:25trying to open up new markets when you’re trying to open up new business lines like it’s hard doing those things

33:31simultaneously but I think we’re we’re uh set up for Success hopefully I think

33:36you’re doing a great like I know like the the Milan which is that model that blue one which is I feel like it’s

33:42definitely a step in a different direction from all your other models yeah um and I feel like in an awesome

33:48way like I really like the I like the look and the feel and it’s it’s a really cool sh yeah I mean it’s we we have

33:54these things so um we we always try to have these things that are like there’s

34:00familiarity with them MH they’re they’re Trend right yeah um there’s there’s but

34:06you have other things like Mar more like trainers like old school trainers yeah they’re old school trainer or you have other things like the Mars RoR right

34:13there the the gray one on the left it’s one of those things we’re going to try some crazy stuff we’re not looking to be

34:19like volume drivers but just more of like what is that cuz what you kind of

34:24you have to it’s kind of like stopping the scroll y there’s a hint wink win stopping stopping the scroll sessions so um but

34:33you what you did to collaboration with jet puffed oh yes yes I mean look like a marshmallow yes I mean we looked at that

34:39you know Brad Johnson our senior director of design on Footwear he had a connection with h buddy at craft foods

34:46and you know it took a while and they were just like oh yeah let’s do it and you know we amazing it was just one of

34:52those things that like the airport bins it just made sense to do it and we got a lot of you know we only did 2,000 units

34:59and we sold we sold out that’s always a good thing to sell out through the product uh we didn’t think we were like

35:04oh let’s order 200,000 pairs of this no it’s it’s risky a it’s a test but it’s a test and I think there was a lot of love

35:11we got from that uh we did I did I built these influencer boxes I don’t know if you ever saw them they gigantic you know

35:18and our buddies at solo stove um S’mores Kit we had a S’mores Kit they they were

35:24awesome and donated like a little solo stove kit with skewers we had so we had

35:29a whole kit and we and then I made a bag that it was a marshmallow bag that you put the shoes in so it kind of had this

35:36cool little thing and we had a ton of people like we give it to influencers sneaker heads uh we had a lot of love uh

35:44from that and probably most people saw that and they’re like oh let me go to kizik oh I’m just going to buy the Milan

35:49or I’m just going to buy the Athens so you gotta find ways to spark people’s interest be like I won’t buy that shoe

35:55but I’m interested enough to see what else they have to offer what are the crazy ideas you have next then oh if you

36:01can share what you what you can share um I mean or maybe describe some of the

36:07things that you guys have done in the past I know you’ve done some you got you guys have done some really cool stuff with um uh like just like the your

36:14motion capture video right with a robotic video you’ve done some really cool stuff that think there’s lots of

36:20from a Content creation standpoint uh there’s a lot of cool cuz there’s a lot of cool things you could do cuz it’s so

36:26demonst that’s the one thing I’m glad we have it is just one of those things when you see

36:31an ad or you see a video you have to do like a double take and you’re like uh

36:36what what just happened especially when you look into and I’m going to bring this out maybe it’s probably a good time

36:43so this this shoe right here this is the Juno that we’re coming out with in um in

36:49probably a couple weeks and the cool thing is this is going to be the first ever handsfree boot so you just step

36:55into the boot and they stay on and boots are the most frustrating shoes to put on

37:01like uh I have actually I think it’s going to be really funny when you when this is being edited edit the name of

37:07this out but I have a pair of Converse that I hate putting on but I love the

37:13shoe and my wife’s always like why don’t you wear them yeah and I’m like because it takes 10 minutes to put them on and

37:1910 minutes to take them off well it’s like Blazers I love I love Blazers like Blazer 77s they’re the most

37:25uncomfortable shoe just for me but they look cool I love them but

37:30they’re they’re the pain I’m out of breath by the time I put them on I’m like this is a plug this is a plug for

37:36another company bread laces it may be on your guys’s radar or may not yeah but

37:41they’ve been blowing up on my Tik Tok my wife just bought them actually yeah they’re stretchy yeah for anyways like I I I

37:49ordered some because I have a ton of more or less high tops and I’m going to try it out but I’ve heard really cool

37:54things about them but this boot is super cool because step in and for those of you that are audio this is actually like

38:01a snow boot this isn’t just a normal like foot boot they actually we have

38:06another example on the table right here that’s more of like a wearable uh it’s

38:12like a fall every day you know we call it the Park City shoe where it’s just like vibing and it’s still breathable

38:19but still has these L soles and but this one you got like a sherpa lining it

38:24looks like or something like a fleece lining in that yeah there’s a fleece lining in this there’s there’s a lot going on this I mean it’s super Premium

38:31Too the materials on it and that’s the thing is we don’t skimp on that kind of stuff either yeah is like oh let’s just

38:36throw a basic textile on this it’s more of like how do I make this shoe the best to comp Poss well and yeah like what

38:43like my how do you guys do the research right because obviously you’re you’re doing a lot of research into the kind of

38:49styles you guys are going to come out with I’m sure you do market research I’m sure there’s a ton of iterations like

38:54talk to us about that process how involved yeah there’s there’s a lot I mean there’s there’s a big program I

39:00mean a lot of people if you’re in fashion or if you’re in Footwear is it’s called wgsn which is a

39:07big catalog of Trends what’s going to be on color because we have to have that

39:12sensibility of fashion you have to whether outside of the functionality

39:18which is always going to be given for us like I said we have to look of like what colors are going to be in season what

39:23things are going to be Trend so WG is saying they have a lot of data they have a lot of uh what’s going to be in next

39:31season or so we have a lot of that in our in our uh disposal yeah there’s a

39:37lot of research in there as well from surveys they’ve done they’re a big conglomerate and a lot of fashion brands

39:43a lot of so we use that tool as well um and when we do wear test we do a lot of wear test sampling so we send our shoes

39:50out to be wear tested we actually had a meeting about these yesterday uh for some shoes were coming out next year

39:57um and there you know it’s it’s nice to see we have our own internal team that does wear test samples of course we’re

40:02probably more hypercritical of our own or was like oh this doesn’t have that same experience or that doesn’t have

40:08this thing but we also give of actual consumers yeah we give it out to actual consumers that’s kind of sign up for it

40:15uh and they’re like hey how much would you pay for these or how do these fit for you or how is this step an

40:20experience so we try to get a lot of data from the consumer and sometimes consumers don’t know what they want and

40:26you give it to you give it to him um so it’s kind of by Steve Jobs yeah yeah I

40:31mean the thing is like no yeah you look at the iPhone no or even with hands-free shoes you’re like nobody knows like yeah

40:40you know that’s the genius of Mike when he came up with kind of that idea uh

40:45years ago and he was like I got to patent this and that was the cool thing

40:51with him he was just like to him it was an because I think that’s where most Innovation comes from is from

40:56personal annoyance or personal frustrations that you want to have fixed and realized yeah we had we had Brad

41:03Parker on the podcast he’s private auto and he he had a a quote that I me it’s

41:09his own quote quoting Brad Parker but basically he said the best ideas are going to come within five feet of you at

41:15all times right the and again it hits that utilitarian the psychological and yeah it’s awesome yeah

41:21I always get upset at uh people that come up with really good ideas yeah

41:27within five I know when I hey remember comparison is the ofar of Jo I know when

41:34a Brand’s G to take off because I’m so smart no because I see it and I think to

41:40myself how in the world had that not already Yes have been done how has that

41:46not already been done yeah how could have these Giants that have been around that was kic for me when I first saw him I was like how in the world has this not

41:53been done I thought of the outfit that I was wearing that day and I was like my pants were so easy to put on my shirt was so easy to put on my watch was so

42:00easy to put on shoes I’m like yeah it’s annoying yeah imagine every party I’ve

42:05ever gone to I hate taking off my shoes as I walk in the house hey give me a minute one second taking off my shoes

42:11and then all of the sudden you come out with design like better Design shoes and I’m

42:16like now how did I not think of that and then all of a sudden I’m seeing this boot sitting in front of me and I’m like

42:21how has nobody thought of that all of these things that I’m not thinking of but you guys are like where is this

42:27coming from well a lot of it stems from the culture of the company from Innovation it’s like Innovation and

42:33product like running side by side U of like and some of the ideas are so crazy

42:40they’re not commercializable there’s just no way but some of the ideas are so

42:45like that’s a unique because we’re not just looking at one way we’re looking at every way possible and I think even Mike

42:52has ideas when it comes to apparel and it’s like hey let’s f Fus on we got to focus on shoes and the shirt I mean

43:00those are the things those are things like he has jet yes and he has that

43:05mindset thinking about it you know he’s not day-to-day but he’s he comes in the office a lot and works with our

43:10Innovation team and it’s like hey what about this or I I had this idea in my garage and he’s still tinkering it’s

43:16hard it’s hard to take that Innovation out of somebody especially when it’s just bread in you like him it’s just so

43:23hard to like n i I’ve had success with oio kix’s going well you know I’m going

43:28you know he still takes time yeah sit back and do no not him he of course he’ll take better vac like more

43:34vacations and do stuff more with family but it’s just when you have the entrepreneurial tick it’s in you it’s

43:41just it’s in you and he’s like oh what about this what about that and that’s the cool thing is and he’s also challenging everybody in the company

43:48still and and our Innovation team is going uh you know we’re working on a Sho

43:54on shoe right now for toddlers I won’t get it into uh that’s probably hopefully going to come out next year that’s like

44:01the frustration you have if for those that have parents or that you’re a parent and you have you know a baby to

44:07maybe a two two-year-old three-year-old what a nightmare putting shoes on them

44:12is yep so there there’s we’re we’re working on some really cool stuff on

44:18that but if I if I had it I would show it and then we would just blur it out yeah so one of the questions I have is

44:26is uh as a brand Brands always start with Concept product Market fit and as

44:32marketers we’re always in this mode of well we want to get a direct row as we want to know what it costs us to acquire

44:39a customer but then and maybe speak a little bit to how you met the kit guys

44:45how you got involved because um but then you move into this okay we’re getting this direct Raz because there is some

44:50demand but now we got to build a brand and spend money on things that aren’t you know things like the airport or

44:57things like out of home marketing um that we not necessarily tracking but

45:04this brand building this brand how did you meet the kit guys why did they reach out to you about brand yeah so I think

45:09so Alex MacArthur is our CMO and if you know Alex MacArthur he is a DC Titan uh

45:15he’d say otherwise but uh because he super humble guy and he doesn’t want it to be about him but he you know he built

45:23he helped build purple purple mattress from it’s a kind of Kickstarter day to

45:29the Harmon Brothers videos that I think everyone’s seen and yeah the eggs yeah

45:35with the eggs all that and um and then he was the opportunity with the kids

45:40that came up and you know because it’s hard when you’re just grinding for years and years growing I mean scalability it

45:47it’s it’s taxing on your soul uh and I think he saw even a bigger opportunity because the mattress industry is

45:53probably I think it was I don’t know if it’s still is but it’s like A1 billion Market Footwear is like $300 billion

46:01Market yeah it’s huge it’s crazy oh my gosh um and if you know you guys are what 298 billion of that yeah right

46:08right right uh you know we’re we’re grateful for the momentum growth we had but so um and I was I’ve been in

46:15advertising in software in SAS for years um you know doing B2B uh doing a little

46:23SAS b2c and whatnot but I’ve always wanted to get back in more cuz in adver

46:29advertising I got to do uh KFC I got to do like uh Gatorade I got to do work on

46:35a lot of like MAC Cosmetics so I got to do those things I loved it yeah but getting early in was kind of like that

46:43was the goal that was kind of the goal was kind of like cuz it’s easy be like oh I want to go to this brand but they’re always well established you’re

46:49going to be another [ __ ] in the wheel um and because I’ve had friends like Blake do you want to come to this big company

46:56with me and oh that’s a sweet brand name but I’m like no I want to build I want

47:01to build I don’t want to be you know from you the movie Office Space Milton in the with red stapler and you get kind

47:07of get lost in the shuffle speaking of our rated movies that was probably the first one I ever saw I actually watched it for the first time in a long time and

47:13I’m like oh man this is so good so good um so I he posted something on LinkedIn

47:20he was like Hey I’m looking for a creative you know Mastermind da d da and for some reason during that time

47:26um I was just doing freelance or I was at a software company called straa who kind of um we were working on marketing

47:32attribution we were trying to solve marketing attribution uh UTM cuz you

47:37know UTM parameters all that kind of stuff was always in spreadsheets we were trying to like systematize it it was a

47:42hard hard problem yeah and it’s still still is a nightmare problem and so we were trying to do online offline

47:48channels we’re we’re um and so uh we we were working on a great product it’s

47:54just we it just didn’t work out and I was like ah that bums cuz I was at MX

47:59before that doing fintech for five or six years building that brand and then I went to stala which was another uh

48:06different type of sess and so he Alex put a message on um and everyone a lot

48:12of people tagged me talk to Blake talk to Blake and I we knew of each other it was on LinkedIn boom yes exactly but I

48:20mean and that was like I feel like LinkedIn the last couple like two three years has had a Heyday but you got

48:26involved in 20 what 2017 2019 yeah I think there was probably linked was just

48:31barely starting to pop off yeah and at kizik there was I don’t think he was fulltime fulltime when we first started

48:39he might have been he was he’s been there coming up on five years I’ve been there four so he was Consulting and yeah

48:46uh and then he came on fulltime but so he came on I talked to him I’m like I knew of him because what he built and

48:52people I mean if I was like if I’m going to my next thing I got to do some some due diligence I got to I got to scope

48:57this out if this is something I’m going to invest because most of my career is like startup after startup after this

49:03Venture and it’s taxing it’s it’s emotionally taxing on my family on my

49:10kids cuz I still I got young kids my wife’s like not another startup please um but it’s that Thrill of the chase man

49:16that’s hard that’s the hard part about U startups but I saw I you know he he gave me a tour we met up had lunch um and we

49:25chatted and we went to the our small little kic office he showed me some of the shoes I was like he’s like do you

49:32want a pair I’m like no they’re not for me because it’s not you know time and I’m and I’m and I’m pretty vulnerable

49:39and honest about like but I saw I saw it I saw the potential and I think we all

49:44did and we still do and it’s more of those things of like nah style is not for me I’m just going to back out no I

49:51saw there was something there and I wanted it and it’s something I wanted to do get back more in that consumer good

49:57space and I just saw like oh my gosh this is if we get our Styles better and better we’re going to hopefully get

50:05better and better better like marrying the Comfort the convenience it’s the trifecta the Comfort the convenience and

50:11the style like those three things are kind of the the triangle of success of

50:18success when it comes to a product uh especially with shoes and I just love the guy he’s one of my favorite people

50:25you know I cuz I work for CMOS and other uh people in leadership that are just like always over your shoulder all cuz

50:33this goes to a testament of him building a great team too is finding great people that want to dive in and dive in hard

50:41and say Hey you own this go to town let’s build this together he’s like he’s

50:46also vulnerable saying like I don’t have all the answers but let’s figure it out let’s do this together and that’s the beauty of

50:52having those type of people with great products with a great technology is a

50:57really Testament to I think our success as a brand in general so totally he’s let you be creative he’s let you he

51:04loves being a part of it too because you know coming from purple with doing these ads and doing a lot of stuff of course

51:09he’s you know he wants to be more and more involved with with stuff and it’s more of like he’s never the type that’s

51:14like oh that’s a dumb idea he he comes up with that’s where creativity comes from is in a staple that we have as a

51:21company it’s we have this thing it’s not like a Cornerstone but it’s more of like

51:27Whoever has the best idea wins yeah and you have to be got get all you have to

51:33Cognizant of Pride because there’s a little pride with creativity like you have like I have all the answers I’ll be

51:40like the thing that I’ve learned is you have to have that sense of removing

51:45yourself and thinking about how is the consumer going to see this or how is a from a top of funnel ad how is someone

51:51going to view kizik are they going to get this are they going to do this and so uh it’s not like my idea my way or

51:58the highway remove ego has to you have to remove it and it’s hard trust me there’s days are just like oh that’s

52:05dumb why are we going to do that and we still do that we banter in a healthy way we’re like oh that’s and it could come

52:13from marketing come from Brand It can come from product come from even sometimes like customer service it’s

52:19just like oh my gosh that was the stupid simple idea that for whatever reason we

52:24didn’t think of now let’s let’s try it and let’s you know and there’s also how do we fit the content to be like that’s

52:30a great idea let’s not do a quar million dollar shoot for this let’s let’s do a

52:36low touch and test it out and see if it works and if it does well let’s do a

52:41bigger let’s lean into it more and that’s and it’s hard because it’s like when you’re trying to launch shoes and

52:47you’re trying to build top of funnel cuz top of funnel is the thing that’s you know doing B mid and bottom funnel ugc

52:54type of stuff yeah for us is like how we keep that top of funnel flowing from the top to the bottom and always be

53:00cascading and trying to hit new new audiences how do we serve the our

53:05current audiences but also how do we bring net new into those U from the top of funnel finding the fit with the the

53:12the people you’re going to work with every day you want to be in the trenches with that product Market fit and then

53:18finding the ability to scale I think ouri things how many I was going to say

53:24yeah what was our last Milestone our last

53:29Milestone oh man I think we hit 2 million pairs probably six months ago

53:36sold two million pairs of shoes it took us four years since Inception to sell a million

53:42and I think it took us about a year to sell a million oh my another million and now I think uh next year we’re probably

53:49looking at next year alone probably around another 2 million so I I mean

53:54milestones for us really come down to like you know like I mentioned we had like maybe we sold 10 maybe 20, we would

54:01be excited like Alex MacArthur Brett Swenson who’s also at purple who’s I

54:06think you guys know really well um and it was just the three of us and Matt

54:12Rogers as well for a little bit and we were just like super excited we sold 15

54:1915 pairs today like yeah and it’s fun looking back now and be like man those

54:24are the you thought things were hard and like difficult but now it’s like well no not

54:31really it was easy then comparatively but uh we worked our butts up to get to that but it took us four years to go

54:38from um from 2017 to I think

54:4421 so around there to go from kind of zero to a million and then I think in

54:49the last year 18 months going from one uh from 1 million to 2 million ion so

54:55the Delta keeps getting getting small or getting wider depending how you look at itess so it’s like you only sold 10 then

55:03you sell you know 10 10,000 to the million and then 2 million next year and so it’s it’s finding multiples in there

55:10so that’s that’s the cool Milestones about that but even I think there’s just little things when it comes to

55:16Milestones are like that’s cool like we saw we started seeing our shoes on like TV shows yeah what TV show like uh gra

55:23gra Anatomy oh really like one of one of the um gosh can’t because I’m not a big

55:29c Anatomy uh Watcher but uh it’s like Meredith was it one of the no no it

55:35wasn’t it’s one of the newer guys but okay he uh he’s a big fan of kizik and I

55:40think he ended up just wearing his shoes and and so we worked with him and he’s

55:45he’s a huge fan like you see he’s big on Instagram as well um his name is I

55:50believe it’s Jake um he you know you see him and his family at Disneyland all his

55:55whole family like little kids like his parent like all these his whole family all wearing kxs so it’s cool it’s cool

56:02to see those things or be like oh we always our our marketing brand we have a

56:08it’s called handsfree homies we have a text you know there’s 30 people on a chat and it gets a little crazy after a

56:13while especially on text message and so we’re always randomly text people look what I saw in the wild look I’m at

56:18Disneyland right now look who I saw so it’s kind of cool seeing those things and I think it helps people give context

56:25especially for the team of like we’re like keep we’re doing something unique we’re doing something uh so like let’s

56:31keep going like it’s it’s easy to see like man I’m so burned out like what’s on the other side of that Hill you you

56:38think there’s always something greener on the side of that grass but it is as cheesy as it sounds I always tell the

56:45team like we had a offsite like probably two months ago I said you got to learn how to water your side of the grass

56:52first instead of being like let’s just do hard I’m going to go to this big company or I’m going to go do like I want people to

56:59be able to want to do that but sometimes it’s more of like when something’s going

57:05well like I know it’s hard but like don’t be hard on yourself if you need to take a break go take a break like if

57:11we’re CR we’re all cranking away if it’s like I don’t expect butts and chairs from like 700 a.m. to 7: a.m. like I’m

57:19condition that way because that’s me that’s me I’m always hungry I’m always reading I’m always trying to find things

57:24out or trying to conceptualize things U but that’s me I don’t put that impetus on the rest of the team I want people to

57:30have a healthy life I think that’s where having the balance of physical and

57:35mental health is so critical uh especially going through a startup at

57:41like starting the startup but then scaling that startup and having that mental capacity and the vulnerability I

57:48think vulnerability is such an un underage un unmatched strength for for

57:54people um I think it’s because I’m like like I told the team some I like I don’t

57:59know I don’t have the answer but hey let’s talk about it let’s figure it out or I’ll tell Monty or CE y i I don’t

58:04know maybe I don’t know and I think we all have that open dialogue which makes

58:10things easier to talk about the hard things when they do happen or hard decisions that do have to happen but it

58:16also makes the easy things a lot easier to talk to because we’ll always be like

58:22no that’s dumb or this is like I don’t get this like explain this more but I’ve

58:28always had in the creative side I’ve Had Creative directors I was working for that would just be rap me they’re like

58:34this is the stupidest idea you’re a piece of uh we bleeped that out yeah yeah

58:41you’ll find those better beeps instead of me actually doing um so yeah that’s that’s kind of the thing is like it’s

58:47like the old school Mad Men style literally it doesn’t happen as much but it still happens depending on how

58:53seasoned the cre director is but I think for me was like what I’ve learned it was like I don’t want to be that person and

58:59so I looked up like I don’t want to be that guy cuz I know how yeah it helped push like the stuff out of you but

59:05there’s always there’s better ways to do pushing and creative like at least maybe I’m generalizing but I feel like

59:12creative people and I’m I I feel like I can consider myself in that realm with phographer needs to consider themselves

59:18creative people even though you don’t know how to do this stuff yeah no 100% but like there’s an there’s an emotion

59:24there’s motion tied as a person to what we create and I think that’s something that like you definitely have to be

59:32careful about be tful about you know there’s days where it’s like there’s

59:37impostor syndrome it’s not just uh solely exclusive to creative

59:42it’s it’s in everything and everywhere yeah it’s a little bit more palpable maybe at times with creativ because you

59:48you’re you’re putting your work out there to be like hey what do you think of this idea or what do you think of that idea and it’s you have to it’s a

59:56muscle memory it’s like the more you do it the more comfortable you are you know you don’t have to be an extrovert to be

1:00:01a Storyteller you don’t have to be or I mean you don’t have to be an introvert to be a Storyteller um I think there’s

1:00:08ways to be able to share ideas totally that are well thought out and you’re like you know what that’s actually a

1:00:13good idea what if we did this or what if we change this and uh and giving people those ability to to present those ideas

1:00:21when open feedback is like key like yeah it’s the only way for you guys to be able to innovate and for anyone to have

1:00:28the like wherewithal to bring up their ideas right we were reading no we’ve

1:00:33been reading together no rules rules I was just going to talk about and I’ll let you take it over from there oh no go

1:00:39ahead I kept interrupting you and I knew you were going to bring it up but no rules rules by Reed Hastings founder

1:00:45Netflix and all like the whole the whole book is really put on the premise of

1:00:51obviously do what’s best for the business no rules rules but it I think even simpler than that it’s creating a

1:00:56culture of feedback responsibility right because that allows no rules rules to be a thing it allows Innovation to happen

1:01:03yeah the two things we’re trying to adapt right now from no rules rules I literally was just going to say I was like yeah kizik reminds me so much of

1:01:10what Reed Hastings talks about because I I was just thinking when you brought up

1:01:16vulnerability that uh Innovation only happens because of vulnerability yeah

1:01:21right like you can’t create Innovation when you’re just belittle people or when

1:01:27you disregard ideas so Reed Hastings talks about how from the top down they’re willing to listen to ideas and

1:01:33the two things we’re trying to take from them right now is uh this is all you need to create like a vulnerable

1:01:40Innovative uh group of people one uh everyone is welcome to give feedback

1:01:47with positive intent mhm and two it doesn’t work if you’re a jerk uh so we literally no brilliant jerks yeah right

1:01:55qu from him but I is that from RE I think it’s from RE yeah no brilliant jerks oh that’s so good cuz in that

1:02:02format Innovation can exist because you’re willing anyone could give feedback regardless of the situation so

1:02:08at kizik I’m sure that that’s like you you it’s over time I’m sure it’sa an

1:02:15idea without executing is a is worthless like you can have great ideas unless

1:02:20you’re going to bring that to life in whatever capacity it’s like yeah everyone can have great ideas it’s like

1:02:27now what are you g to do with that idea how are you going to serve that idea how

1:02:32um how are you going to take this great idea but let’s say for example it’s a video or it’s an ad or it’s whatever it

1:02:38is how how are you going to take from that idea and then how are you going to bring it to life or how are you going to

1:02:44take this idea for a product how are you going to bring that to life and I think that’s one thing is like ideas are E I

1:02:51mean I don’t want to say this cheaply but ideas are easy easy to come by or uh

1:02:56and a lot of people say there’s no original ideas or I think there part of that is true and the other part I don’t

1:03:02really think that um but when I look at this the cycle of like Innovation I

1:03:09think of like really being able to communicate your your idea in a succinct way because

1:03:17I think people are like I’m not a Storyteller I’m like you don’t have to know how to be a I think more people are

1:03:23storytellers or or even creative than they think they are I mean I know people that have are

1:03:28not in Creative that are amazing keynote speakers or just storytellers and they could be telling a story about the most

1:03:35random thing you’re like whoa that’s oh wow tell me more um and I think there’s there’s a there’s a mix between us at

1:03:42kizik is like we kind of like let’s focus on like let’s beat the the ideas

1:03:47to death but still be kind to each other while doing it and it’s hard BEC because

1:03:53we’re we we’re still smallish team on the creative side cuz we’re really trying to serve Acquisitions we’re all

1:04:00doing this together it’s not US versus them it’s it’s more of there’s a through line between hey what’s the media plan

1:04:06going to be and how are we going to serve top of funnel how are we going to how are we going to serve a better

1:04:11experience in retail how are we going to help wholesale really sing so we’re our team is really is kind of I I don’t say

1:04:18like we’re the center of the univers because we’re not but it’s more we’re kind of that creative is typically a

1:04:24service oriented um so if you’re not service oriented and you want to do your own thing you’re in the wrong business

1:04:31first of all um and it’s hard because there’s some days was like I you know

1:04:36you kind of get this feeling where you’re like you know I don’t want to you know be doing all this stuff and but

1:04:42it’s it’s such a critical need to be to like match those touch points and those

1:04:47experiences together and it’s not easy and it’s not like we’re going to hit them a home run straight out of the gate

1:04:53there’s going to be like like learnings involved just like advertising where it’s like hey that ad worked well let’s

1:04:59uh change the hook or let’s add a new this or let’s do this and same with retail or wholesale or whatever it might

1:05:05be it’s like it’s such a new muscle for us or it will be pretty soon yeah to flex where we’re trying to flex those

1:05:11muscles and strengthen them because if you look at kizic as a whole 95% of the company has zero Footwear experience and

1:05:19that’s kind of I like oh man but that’s kind of the brilliant thing about it too is you take new perspec you take a new

1:05:26perspective of like yeah there’s a lot of Industry things that we’ve had to learn over the time but the world is

1:05:32kind of your oyster of like that’s a dumb way to do this like yeah it’s like well that’s how it’s the status quo

1:05:38that’s how we’ve always done it the the you know the product is this and that and you’re like that seems a little

1:05:43archaic yeah because you have that we’ve been built luckily enough from a d Toc mindset first versus like wholesale

1:05:51first um so it’s a different muscle then I mean that’s the premise of D Toc is

1:05:57finding that product Market fit scaling growing now we’re getting to that point where we’re wanting to expand

1:06:02internationally and wholesale and all these other uh markets to really like

1:06:08find um it’s it’s Monty our CEO we talk about this a lot is it’s like starting

1:06:14three new businesses within the organization and so building those muscles yeah it’s going to be painful a

1:06:20little bit but I would not want to do it with any one else in the company and

1:06:26that it’s a testament of find the right team to do it with that’s like number one having the same vision having the

1:06:33same kind of grit and will to like how are we going to succeed together how are we going to do this together so that’s

1:06:39why Brett and I U from acquisition marketing brand side like he man I we’ never we don’t I I say never we don’t uh

1:06:46we sometimes we disagree but then we kind of talk about it sometimes and I’m like oh that’s a good point and he’ll do

1:06:53the same like oh I didn’t think think about that way so there’s a mutual respect of like but there’s other

1:06:58D’s that have a creative Acquisitions like choking session of like I’m going

1:07:04to kill you but for us it’s like no there’s bigger things to worry about same vision same vision it’s like oh I

1:07:11didn’t know that or that’s good to know of like oh the Ros was was garbage on that or like yeah it’s it it was

1:07:18beautiful and it did it looked good but it didn’t perform well okay so how do we make it perform well and still look

1:07:25decent not like as polished picturesque but how do we make it look good enough

1:07:31to be like oh that’s sharp that’s clean that’s these transitions are great and all this stuff representing theand how

1:07:37do you represent the brand a little bit more but still do it at a speed of iteration that’s not hard it’s I mean

1:07:43it’s not easy it’s hard but I think there’s a unique way to to do it and I think of course resources budget all

1:07:50those things matter but I think there’s having that same vision collectively and I think finding the

1:07:57right people to have be a part of that that’s why I mean I just hired a creative director um six months ago

1:08:06Chris and I hire people first and then Talent second I hire people like do I

1:08:13want to be in the trenches with him or the you know these people that we hire do I want to be like and he’s probably

1:08:20the most humble guy super talented great writer um and he’s still learning because he

1:08:26comes from an advertising background as well and uh it’s you have to have a unique p uh sense of uh uh you have to

1:08:36have a unique sense of how you how you’re going to like strip yourself out of it and be like focus on the work be

1:08:43like okay I see we’re trying to do this how are we going to do this because DC it’s it’s it’s Unique beast cpg in

1:08:49general it’s a unique beast but I think finding those right people that we hire is like man I want they’re fun they’re

1:08:56you know cuz if you’re not having fun then what’s the point totally um and I so I think hiring those people CU it

1:09:02took me a year to hire Chris oh wow it took me a year cuz I was looking I

1:09:07wasn’t looking for like the most perfect person because they don’t exist but uh

1:09:12luckily came along and I was like and I did this with with Lane on our video team he’s a creative director over video

1:09:19you know you have in a sense you have a read on people pretty quick you’re like man they’re going to do well here or I

1:09:25get a sense there’s a Vibe of like conversation or they understand what we’re trying to do and are they willing

1:09:32to like throw themselves into the work and like figure this out together this is not my Rodeo this is not Alex’s Rodeo

1:09:40this is this is the team’s the company’s rodeo and and how we’re going to do this

1:09:46and build it together is it’s Unique but I think you know having the discipline and hiring the right people is also key

1:09:53so 100% key um Blake to usually what we do to wrap things up is we ask we’re

1:09:59going do a WP we’re going to do a wrap but we do some we can do a WAP we’ll put you on and we’ll go we’ll go for it

1:10:06we’ll get a beat going um but usually we like to ask a couple wrap-up questions um one one of which is what I I feel

1:10:14like was something you’ve learned recently maybe in the last couple months maybe the last week that you’re trying to implement right now oh man that’s

1:10:22well either professionally personally or at kizik

1:10:28um I I think learning how to I part of me is like I’ve been so hungry and so

1:10:35driven where it’s just like go go go go and I had to do that because I was the only one it was just me Brett you know

1:10:43and Alex and you all very and I was doing packaging I was doing ads I was doing I loved it it was great I had my

1:10:49hands and everything I still kind of do but I think for me is is taking a step

1:10:54back of going from as a tacti like a general of a tacti all these kind of

1:11:01things to be have a step back and look at the processes look at how do the all

1:11:09these pieces that we’re working on the operations the operational side of things how are we really going to unify

1:11:16but to me it comes B down to Team Dynamics and team efficiencies of like I

1:11:23mean I’m Still In The Weeds on but different areas of like strategic side of like okay what are we going to do in

1:11:28wholesale how are we going to do that and then bring the the rest of the team in to help how are we going to bring this to life um but is kind

1:11:37of cognitive dissonance of like removing myself of like there I could always

1:11:44be have I’m I’m prone to have pretty like high functioning ADHD kind in a way

1:11:51where I’m just like go go go and sometimes like and I have to really look at the effects

1:11:57of um being diligent about my own mental health personally um because I have to be

1:12:04conscientious about it yeah you have to be and it’s not like a being selfish but

1:12:10you have to think about like Hey we’re going to get through this and that’s the thing is like that’s where I think

1:12:15vulnerability comes in a sense I’ll tell the team and I’ll communicate and be like um and there are probably days I’ve

1:12:23had personally where I’m just like I’m just fried like and I’m not going to try to force myself to come to work and be

1:12:29like hey I need a I need a day or I need to take a break or I need to I mean my house got robbed a couple months ago and

1:12:37that kind of flipped my whole world upside down yeah and that kind of still gives me a little PTSD in my f in my

1:12:44life but for me the way I I really try to try to look at like okay you’ve been grinding for a long time yeah like take

1:12:51what what are you going to do for your mental health physical health uh and I’ll look at that from that point of

1:12:56view but when it comes to work is really trying to because I’ve been what the rest of

1:13:03the team is going through and that’s the unique empath empathy that I have for the team is is I know it’s hard I was in

1:13:10your shoes uh 12 months ago or I was in your shoes you know 18 months ago and

1:13:15and I know so there is a sense of that and I have an understanding of of that and yeah it’s easy to say those things

1:13:22but also to walk that l and be like you know so my thing is also their mental health and I’m also conscious about

1:13:29making sure they feel valued making sure they feel energized making sure they

1:13:35feel encumbered uh by roadblocks or creativity because it’s hard because

1:13:41you’re you’re being asked six ways till Sunday for something and it’s like okay

1:13:46we can do that but it’s got to be put on the road map or hey we can do this but we have to plan this or hey we got to so

1:13:53it it comes down to really finding um finding that because those are things

1:13:59I think as more lately are more important to me now cuz I’m like man I really want to make sure the team is

1:14:06taken care of the leadership aspects yeah I mean I want to make sure I’m taken care of because it’s like uh you

1:14:13want it’s like being not I’m going to say a parent I I want I don’t I hate that analogy um we’re a family but but

1:14:20there there’s some analogous to it like there is a little bit doesn’t take care of themselves there’s no way they can

1:14:25but like you know put your oxygen Mass on with the kids and you know your the women and children first kind of thing

1:14:32yeah um and because I think I could be a little bit more well equipped because

1:14:37I’ve been through it the ups and downs over the years um but that’s the biggest thing for me is I worry about burnout I

1:14:44worry about because creativity burnout or burnout in general is real is is real and I think I have personally have to

1:14:50look aside it but I also have to look at it with the team um and I think those

1:14:55are the things I I I care about more and more today because we are still heads

1:15:02down you know I I’m probably in 30 easily 30 hours of meetings a week

1:15:08but I still probably have 25 hours of work doesn’t mean I work 55 60 hours

1:15:13sometimes I do because it I can’t remove myself but I’m also not going to expect the

1:15:19team you know some of the team yeah they’ll work cuz there’s like with video it’s as this team knows here they know

1:15:26how deadlines deadlines taxing there’s a lot of pre-production there’s a lot of script writing there’s a lot of post-

1:15:33production is a big beast there’s so it’s like how do we constantly uh set up

1:15:38systems and like systems only work up to a point where it’s like okay let’s blow

1:15:44up that system it worked for a little bit now let’s keep iterating on that system it’s not it’s never a oneandone

1:15:49system so it’s like right now we’re hiring a producer that can help us with production Logistics all that stuff

1:15:55instead of our creative director that should be focusing on the video and the Transitions and the creative output of

1:16:01that video um so those are the things we’re looking at is like how are you making sure we’re we’re spreading

1:16:07content really deep because I want to turn into a Content machine but how do we do it in a way where we’re not

1:16:13burning the team out there’s there’s capabilities of creativity without being

1:16:19in uh cumbered by what this person wants versus what it’s kind of that Spider-Man

1:16:24meme of like who wants what and these things these two things yeah these

1:16:29things don’t drive so it’s just a constant uh reevaluation of you know what works what doesn’t let’s lean on

1:16:36what works uh from a process but also delivery standpoint um so those are things I look at now and also like how

1:16:43do we turn this thing into a beast but all you know how do we make sure wholesale and all these other channels

1:16:50are and and there’s also and it’s it sounds sounds very vague but it’s harder than it sounds like it’s harder than it

1:16:56sounds is like there’s this blue we call it the blue thread how does our reasons

1:17:01to believe our purpose our mission our vision be synced up through every touch

1:17:08Point through ads through inore experiences through customer uh customer service um and we’re actually going

1:17:15through that right now with an agency and we’re going through a big transition in March with the brand and it’s

1:17:21exciting it’s new it’s different uh but I think it’s it’s we’re elevating the brand to a new New Height yeah well I’m

1:17:28excited for what’s next I am too I it’s going to be awesome and we seriously

1:17:34like appreciate you being here today andad giving all giving all of your time and I’m here to proc like kic is it gets

1:17:41annoying real quick but there’s you can’t take me it’s hard to take me off that Soap Box talking about King no

1:17:47that’s awesome man well it makes sense because I think it is one of the most intriguing brands or it regardless of

1:17:55tech space product space anything one of the most intriguing Brands and businesses to come out of Utah in a long

1:18:03long time it’s just so inspiring to see everything that you guys have done over

1:18:09the last four years as this small team that’s grown to over 75 people and to

1:18:15have sold over two million shoes back from four years ago only selling 10 to

1:18:20maybe 20,000 shoes it’s just remarkable so it’s been it’s been humbling and

1:18:25awesome and every emotion in the book so oh everything where can people find you uh find me personally yeah

1:18:33address yeah I don’t want to get robbed again yeah yeah that’s another podcast whole story but uh where can

1:18:41people find you on social yeah so I’m on uh I’m on LinkedIn I’m on uh like Blake

1:18:46Brown yeah um I’m on LinkedIn Twitter uh I’m on

1:18:53I’m I’m not as much on Twitter as I as I used to be but linkedin’s a good spot if people want to reach out about uh

1:18:59learning more about creative I think LinkedIn is probably it’s an un it’s as you guys know yeah you got your job

1:19:05through Linkedin right this this current role amaz yeah I think we got a lot of got a lot of hires at a Linkin too it’s

1:19:12all about who you know amazing totally yeah um appreciate the time today thank you for coming on talking all about kids

1:19:19I’m happy too thanks guys this is a rap a scroll session go get KK go get get get them right now kizik.com

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