For those of you who aren’t yet familiar with the new venture I’ve been working on, let me introduce myself. I’m DeShone Kizer, the founder of a new startup called One of None.
For the past two years, I’ve been hard at work putting together a team of some of the best people I know to launch a business that is going to change the world of limited editions. Over the next few months I’ll be writing some short notes to give you all a glimpse into the story behind building One of None.
I’ve gotten to live out my dreams throwing footballs for NFL teams across the nation and my professional football journey has been more than I could ever ask for– filled with a lot of amazing ups, as well as some downs. What has remained a constant through the length of my career so far is my love for business off the field. My time studying finance at The University of Notre Dame gave me a passion for problem solving and an entrepreneurial spirit. Many of the lessons learned in the classrooms at Mendoza College of Business, as well as on the gridiron, came to a head when I first encountered the problem that I have relentlessly been trying to solve for the past couple of years.
Just before being drafted to the Cleveland Browns in 2017, I was privileged to sign a shoe deal with Jordan Brand. Suddenly I had up-close access to the work of Michael Jordan and his unparalleled team of brand executives and creatives. The way they consistently launched culture-defining products was truly incredible – not only were they second to none, they were One of None. I was fascinated by the brand’s strategy of launching limited editions that could actually drive demand through scarcity.
I witnessed Jordan Brand grow into one of the most recognizable brands in the world by creating an environment that drives individuals to stand in line outside of retail stores just to get their hands on the latest collectible sneakers. Some buy for bragging rights, while others are simply in the game for the chance to make bank reselling them. And this is where I found the problem that I’ve been passionately trying to solve: after witnessing all the time and effort spent building a world around each of these limited edition drops, it’s crazy to me that the only monetary benefit a brand receives on these collectibles is in the initial retail sticker price of the product.
While spending the NFL quarantine off-season exploring the disconnect between the retail and resale market of collectibles, I found that sneaker companies weren’t the only creators missing out on secondhand revenue. All industries (art, luxury goods, memorabilia) that focus on limited edition drops run into this problem. In nearly every example of these extraordinary limited products, there is a disconnected creator who sits on the sidelines watching as collectors exchange their work and benefit from its appreciation in the resale market.
With all of this in mind, I went to work using every lesson that I’ve learned to find a solution. I’m finally at the point where I can share what I’ve been building: a platform that allows original creators to gain access to the lifetime value of their most exclusive pieces. Introducing: One of None.