Why We Don’t Support Nike SB
We recently posted a roast on Instagram which attracted a rather hateful screed. As you can see above, instead of maybe asking why we don’t carry Nike or why we might drop a roast like this, this person simply shows up after not even saying so much as “hello” in the past three months and proceeds to hate.
First things first. The Nike debate doesn’t need more bluster and ignorant criticism. That just clouds things and turns friends sour. It’s a complex socio-economic skate issue and scholarly papers have been dedicated to the subject. It’s better to discuss it like nerds or at least semi-intelligently. It’s not and should never be personal.
Two years ago a guy named Brandon Gomez wrote an essay titled “How Did Nike Get the Swoosh into Skateboarding? A Study of Authenticity and Nike SB” published in 2012. From the abstract:
“During its early years Nike experienced a great deal of backlash from the skateboarding community, but has recently gained wider acceptance as a legitimate company within this culture. The purpose of this study is to examine the specific aspects of authenticity Nike was able achieve in order to successfully integrate into skateboarding.”
It’s simple and straightforward: after their first attempts at market penetration failed, Nike employed a bunch of skaters, rethought their strategy and tried again. This time, they said they’d only sell to core skate shops and only advertise in skate magazines. They sponsored well-respected skaters. They got involved and remain involved in skateboarding, culturally. In short, they portrayed authenticity.
So why say Nike BS? Well, because it seems like they basically just BS’d us to penetrate the market. This isn’t something I’m just pulling out of thin air, it’s a rather well known aspect of Nike’s history. Their sales and marketing strategies simply didn’t pan out as claimed. From the paper,
“The bottom line was that Nike needed to earn the respect of the core skateboard community. In order to get this ‘street cred,’ Nike SB developed a simple overall strategy: sell only to core skate shops, advertise only in skateboard magazines, and sponsor well-respected professional skateboarders”
Their sales and marketing strategies turned out to be unauthentic. That which is unauthentic can legitimately be called bullshit, hence the roast, Nike BS. So there’s one really big reason we don’t support Nike SB, or Converse (since Converse is a subsidiary of Nike).
As explained here, the fact that we don’t support Nike isn’t a personal attack on anybody who works at Nike, or skates for Nike, or likes Nike. We love Koston, BA, Stefan and everybody else. We acknowledge that Nike sponsors some pretty cool projects like the FTC book. As a core shop, we just don’t think any of that excuses reneging on their distribution model and so we don’t carry their shoes.
Skateboarding used to be one big family, free from the interference of wolves and outsiders, and we’d love to see it get that way again. Core shops need support, now more than ever in the conglomerating world of globally interconnected big commerce! Because of their deep pockets, outsiders are able to entice manufacturers but stuff like this is a knife to the core shop’s throat:
What do you think? Should core skate shops continue to support Nike? Why or why not??
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