During my time as an athlete member of the Jordan Brand family, I had the privilege of being a part of their annual Board of Governors event. I have some amazing memories from these meetings – they would always take place somewhere inspiring, like Aspen or Cabo, and we would spend the week bonding and collaborating (one particular evening playing cards at the Casino where James Bond 007 was filmed comes to mind…). I was a fly on the wall for some incredible conversations, listening to legendary players sharing stories about iconic moments in sports history straight from the source. But the most impactful memories I have were morning meetings as a brand in which we would forecast out the next year’s worth of releases. From the storytelling, to the marketing plans, these meetings were a dream come true for a Notre Dame business major!
In 2019, our Board of Governors meeting took place in Monte Carlo, Monaco at one of the most beautiful hotels I’ve ever seen. We spent our mornings discussing two unbelievable collaborations in the works that made a major impact on me.
First was a partnership with Dior. We spent time with Dior’s Creative Director, Kim Jones, and his team discussing the best ways to position our sporty streetwear brand with his iconic French fashion house. He presented some unbelievable insight on the collaboration, including logo placement, color scheme, and product roll-out, giving us athletes the inside scoop on what would become one of the most desirable shoes ever created.
We spent time developing a world for another collaboration: this one was with rapper Travis Scott. We had several conversations with Travis‘s creative team, discussing the ins and outs of the capsule collection that would revolve around his interpretation of the Air Jordan 1. Travis was incredible! He was such a thoughtful creator, considering every detail of the collection – from materials, to color schemes, to the childhood experiences he used for inspiration. It was clear as day to me how he became one of the best artists in the world. Everything he creates is done with so much intention.
As I flew home from Monte Carlo I realized that while we had devoted a week to discussing these two collaborations, it was nothing compared to the months Dior and Travis Scott had spent in preparation for launching these extraordinary products. And yet, despite all of the careful planning and strategizing, these collaborations would only reach the hands of 8,500 people for the Dior sneaker, and roughly 20,000 people for the Travis Scott design. My business mind began crunching the numbers – 20,000 pairs of sneakers at a $175 MSRP – around $3.5 million at retail, not bad, or so I thought at the time…
A year later I looked back at those Travis Scott sneakers to see how they did in the secondary market. What I found was that those sneakers made about $26.6 million in resale revenue on StockX alone, a $23.1 million dollar difference that represented the true value of what the Jordan Brand and Travis Scott teams had created. I was stunned – I thought about how none of the designers I worked with in Monte Carlo would ever see any of those sales. I knew there had to be a way to give the original creators of these extraordinary products access to the total value they were creating, but how exactly? As I played another NFL season, this question was constantly playing in my head. And then I happened to have a conversation about a $100k hoodie, an exchange that would lead me down a path to the One of None solution and forever change the way I saw the future of limited editions. More on that next week.