Last month, the city of Portland welcomed a new week-long event called "Sneaker Week PDX." Portland is the home to 3 prominent sportswear companies within the sneaker industry, so this type of event was long overdue. For it being an inaugural event, it turned out to be wildly successful. From podcasts and performances featuring DJ Clark Kent, to "Air More Uptempo" couches that went viral, this week had everything to offer for sneaker fans within the spectrum. It was one thing to have the ability to attend the slew of events on the schedule, it's quite another to receive the opportunity to host an event.
Although the city of Portland is bountiful in the amount of quality coffee shops, the community itself is fairly small. It's common to run into the same people at coffee events around town. There are a lot of high-quality people within the coffee industry in Portland, it just so happens those same people provide a quality cup of coffee as well. Ian Williams from Deadstock Coffee is a great person to get around. We met at a "Latte Art Throwdown" some months back and naturally gravitated towards each other. His background as a Footwear Developer at Nike provides as a foundation for his sneaker-themed shop, Deadstock Coffee. We talked a lot about his past experiences at Nike, and how it relates to my current experiences with the same company. Through our many conversations, we started game-planning for a Sneaker Week event that would bring the Coffee and Sneaker industries together. Coffee and sneakers aren't the typical combination. It's not like Coffee & Donuts; this was more of an abstract marriage.
We wanted to outline 3 main talking points: The importance of the product itself, brand allegiance/alignment, and the experience the company provides. At the end of the day, both coffee consumers and sneaker heads want a quality product that focuses on details. Both parties also want to feel as if they can relate to their favorite coffee shop/sneaker brand. Most importantly, everyone wants a good experience when they enter into a coffee shop, and when they cop their favorite pair of shoes. Great experiences can make-up for an average product, but excellent products cannot erase a terrible experience.
These topics were discussed with a panel that consisted of: Ian (Deadstock Coffee), Brian/Zane (Tailored Coffee), and Brett (Barista). Not only do they work in the coffee industry, they are well-versed in what's hot in the sneaker world. Their insight in both realms was valuable to all of those that were in attendance. To go along with the panel, we put up deconstructed shoes and coffee drinks around the shop. We chopped up and broke down some Air Forces and Jordans and hung them up on the wall. We also had several bags of coffee beans, filters, and other accessories that are implemented when making your favorite coffee beverage. To top it off, we dipped a couple of pairs of Nike Flyknit Racers and Vans into a bucket of coffee, to give it a light-brown tint. This was the ultimate sign of tying the two products together after showing both of them in it's purest form.
I want to say thank you to all of those who came and enjoyed the event. None of this would have been possible without the Sneaker Week planning team, who provided the time and opportunity to do this kind of event. I also want to thank Ian for allowing me to host this collaboration with him in his shop. Also, a quick shout out to the media and photographers who came through and allowed me to use their pictures: Sprudge, Jon Trend and Jeremiah Ramirez. Be on the lookout for another event soon from CoffeeFeedPDX.