39 years on Earth. 26 years in product. 10 years feeding a unicorn.
All the words people use to describe what Kith is or what it has become, confuse me most of the time. Over the last decade I’ve noticed that when people can’t identify something, they start comparing it to other things. When I ask friends of mine to give me the first three words that come to mind when thinking of Kith, the answers are always so different. Even I find it impossible to choose three words. I don’t know how to describe what we do or what we’ve built. Whenever I meet someone for the first time and they ask what I do, I still say that I sell shoes. I just can’t find the words. Like this exact moment right now. How can I summarize what we’ve done with a post, a book, a conversation? The only way to look at the last decade would be experiencing the spaces we’ve built, the product we’ve produced, and investing in the stories we’ve told. It’s a lot. So how can people label us when even I don’t know where we’re going just yet? I have ideas. And they don’t fit in a box.
The truth is, I never imagined getting to this point. The original idea of wanting to open the greatest people’s champ footwear shop in New York has evolved into whatever you want to call this. “This” had no blueprint to follow. It’s an example of maximizing potential tastefully and with tact. Tact is one of the most important words in our business. Knowing what to do and when to do it has been the toughest challenge in growing. It comes with experience, but the more I learned, the more I wanted to explore. I’m still exploring.
You hear this a lot: team is everything. Trust this, you don’t hear it enough. This business is difficult to run. The end result doesn’t show the effort every single person puts in. Those that know me, know I am a firm believer in hard work and dedication. The most challenging part was building a team of this many people that believe in those same values. Which only continues to get more challenging as we grow. So, while ten years is a major milestone, building the Kith team is my favorite career achievement.
So, what now? Well, now we celebrate by doing what we do. Remain uncomfortable and continue evolving by exploring the unknown. 6 years ago, it was our first show. To celebrate our tenth anniversary, I felt that a show would have been too short lived. It would have come and gone. I decided a book, a tangible item that people could experience and keep, would work best.
Having great ideas is the easy part. How would we make this book as impactful as our shows? How would we get the book into people’s hands? How could we cover ten years? Will people go back to print? Will they see the value of print? All those questions will be answered soon. We start by showcasing the cover of the book on Madison Square Garden’s digital billboards which went live for this morning’s rush hour. Jim Moore convinced me to be on the cover so here we are.