01 Dec Boston Got Sole and CEO Mannequin Challenge
On Thursday December 1st, Bryant CEO members listened to Jonathan and Joey DiModica, brothers and co-founders of “New England’s Greatest Sneaker Convention,” Boston Got Sole. Jonathan is currently a high school senior at Weymouth High School, and Joey is a sophomore marketing major here at Bryant University. The DiModicas are from Weymouth Massachusetts, where Boston Got Sole found its roots.
For those who do not know what a sneaker convention is, or haven’t been inundated in the “sneakerhead” culture, a sneaker convention is a venue where sneakerheads from a wide age range and demographic come together at a venue to share a mutual interest: shoes. Due to the great variance in a sneakerhead’s interest (brands, models, colors, etc.), the sneaker culture is very diverse. The culture is not just comprised of the companies we associate with footwear, such as Nike and Adidas. Every sneakerhead knows, in order to complement your shoes, an outfit (everything top to bottom from your hat to your socks) is needed in order to effectively combine what you are wearing with what you have on feet. This is where brands like Supreme have their role in the culture. Supreme is the most well-known and popularized skateboarding brand, and it is most commonly associated with being a “hypebeast” brand; a brand which consumers buy products from, in order to stay trendy with the current style.
If you are interested in learning even more about the culture, these articles by Complex and Refinery29 are both a great read on the history of the sneaker culture in the past ten years and an introduction to the culture.
Before Boston Got Sole, the DiModicas were in the shoe cleaning business. They made a decent profit from it, but they knew there was more that could be done, more money to be made. While attending a sneaker convention, the two brothers thought to each other, “Why can’t we do this?” Living near the Boston area, the brothers knew how big the sneaker culture was in Boston, and that there was a market for not only sneakers, but a sneaker convention, a place where shoe connoisseurs from far and wide can gather and share the passion that brings them all together.
Now that the brothers had the idea, they had to find a way to make it all happen. They spread awareness for their event by word of mouth, and printed out flyers which they put up in various storefronts around Boston. One way to promote yourself is through media, but another (a crucial one) way is by physically shaking the hand of a store owner who is willing to help promote your name, your business. In addition to spreading their name through these various outlets, the brothers utilized social media, an increasingly effective way for promotion, by creating a Facebook Page for their event. They not only promote their events as they appear on the calendar, but in addition they resell shoes through their page. Another great strategy the brothers used was going to various sneaker events, not as attendees, but as vendors, not selling sneakers or merchandise, but rather spreading their name to achieve an even larger following. In sneaker culture, networking is crucial, just like how it is important for anyone looking to create a name themselves; it is about who you know, and creating lasting relationships with those connections. When they opened the doors to their first event, they wondered if their two thousand dollar investment had been for nothing, but not to worry, because when they opened their doors and saw a long line of eager sneakerheads waiting to get inside, Jonathan and Joey knew this was the beginning of something great.
As much as the DiModicas enjoy making money from their event – the general public, vendors, and those buying Boston Got Sole merchandise, it is more than just a money-making sneaker event. It is about giving back: through free and raffled giveaways, customers have the opportunity to win a prize for free; Boston Got Sole has awarded previous winners a free pair of Jordan shoes, just by promoting the event. On the other hand, there is the option of paying a small fee to have the chance of winning something much more valuable than even the $40 arm’s-length of raffle tickets it might take to win; at their event this November, Boston Got Sole raffled off a pair of Yeezy Boost 750, a sneaker which is sold on the resell market at an average price of $887. It is about entertaining the customer: the rap game also complements the sneaker culture through figures such as Eminem and Drake, who have their own player exclusive (PE) Jordan shoes. Boston Got Sole has implemented this culture into their events by featuring Boston’s own entertainers such as Cousin Stizz, Michael Christmas , and Jefe Replay, who help to provide entertainment to the paying customers of the event. It is about enhancing the experience: Boston Got Sole sponsored a basketball tournament at their event at the Reggie Lewis Center, where they utilized the basketball court the event was featured on where teams of two could compete for a cash prize after entering for a small fee. These are just a few examples of how sneaker events, Boston Got Sole in particular, are much more than just a place to buy, sell, and trade shoes.
As someone who has attended Boston Got Sole, and plan on attending future events, I am eager to go to their next event as long as Jonathan and Joey choose to continue, not just because I am so passionate about the sneaker culture, but because I can see the hours of the behind-the-scenes work both Jonathan and Joey have put into to it, the hard work we do not see, but rather the outcome of that hard work. I am very thankful to have had the opportunity to meet Jonathan and Joey DiModica, and I hope I will be able to learn from their example and develop my own shoe venture, because staying true to Jonathan’s closing remarks, go after what you are passionate about, and believe anything is possible when you put your mind to it.
Check out Boston Got Sole on social media, see what all the hype is about, and join the following!
Website – Boston Got Sole
Facebook Page – @bostongotsole
Instagram – @bostongotsole1
Twitter – @BostonGotSole
After Jonathan and Joey’s presentation concluded, Bryant CEO made their own rendition of the new internet craze, the Mannequin Challenge: Check out the video below.