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Insider Ties: Brand Discussion – And1 Basketball: Part 2

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In part 2 of the series we dive into two more questions with Dallas Stokes the man behind the resurgence of And1. This discussion is not the typical interview. I will ask questions and after the answers I will analyze the response and look at it from the business standpoint of brand and market potential. The sneakerhead community has to be more informed on more than just the latest sneaker drop. To become better flagbearers for the culture we all need to learn the language of business as it relates to what we love.

Brand: And1

Primary Business: Basketball Footwear and Apparel

Website: And1

Best article on the brand: Slam OnlineBall is Life these articles cover a lot of the details on where the brand has been and where they are going.

Question 1: Any intentions to create an off the court/ running shoe to capture the growing running/casual market?

Answer from Dallas: Running is a category and sport that needs to be respected and done right. I’d never want to expand the brand down that path until we spent years researching and developing shoes and a story that fits that culture. We’re a basketball brand first and foremost. However don’t be surprised to see them let me do some Too Chillin casual projects and expand into basketball and street culture lifestyle. 

Question 2: Any details you want to disclose about distribution locations? Is Footlocker or Finish Line considering adding the brand back on the shelves?

Answer from Dallas: Not as of yet, we’ve met with them all but the retail right now is so oversaturated and monopolized we gotta keep pushing at the top level for the right partners and right atmosphere. But expect an announcement fairly soon!

Clarification of questions to improve sneakerhead knowledge (In other words, why I asked these questions and what I think about the answers.)

  1. Question 1 is a question that stems from the shift in trends in footwear. The current market is being dominated be retro and running. The best selling shoe of the recent quarter was the Superstar by adidas. The Stan Smith from adidas was also popular. Retro Jordan Brand shoes remain a solid performer, but for the most part the category of basketball has literally wiped out margins on men’s shoe sales. I understand that remaining true to the brand and the culture is important. I don’t think And1 should stray from its basketball roots… but I’ve seen Dallas’ designs. The guy is ridiculously innovative. I think one running shoe silhouette, based on the Tochillin’ style is only fair since The Roshe and NMD both pulled from the simplicity of the OG product. An innovative cushioning system and the Tochillin Trainer would be a solid delivery to create some interest in off the court sales. Now, I also think a strong focus on Teamwear for Basketball is a route to go in the US, but with an expansion to China in the works (See Part 1) it’s obvious SQBG is expecting big things from Dallas. The brand should definitely do something with its catalog for streetwear and should also consider at least one running trainer.
  2. Question 2 I asked because I was hoping Dallas would dive straight into DTC. If I were to analyze the website, as I’ve done with other companies’ sites, the site is not optimized for sales. When I visit the parent company, the layout there is so much better than the actual And1 site and there is an opportunity here for immediate impact and growth. And1 should be utilizing the website and posting from the site to Social Media outlets. The site should have constant updates on shifts and trends. The site should not have a black background. Black backgrounds create burn in and reduces the time spent browsing the site, unless the visitor is extremely interested. Content should be developed (Interestingly the shop site has mixtape video, but not the homepage). And1 has an extensive background in video and daily content should include videos of Mixtapes, and updates from the brand. Yesterday after looking into SQBG I looked into the stock. This is where I found out about expansion into China. This should have been on the website. The online store should have a header featuring their premier sponsored athlete, Lance Stephenson. The pricepoint is so damn good that by default And1 could disrupt the basketball market. The problem is the click through from the homepage takes you directly to product. This design flaw does not take advantage of the actual homepage where there is a 30% off offer. When you click through it looks like none of the items are marked down to clear out inventory. When I look at the online store the abundance of styles is actually a problem because there isn’t much deviation in design of the shoes. They should reduce inventory and carry the flagship Tai Chi and keep the Xcelerate 2 . The rest of the product should be offered in team sales packs to middle and high school teams at a reduced price or a campaign to push through that inventory should be implemented so that And1 can have a homepage shop with the following products below. If And1 immediately takes a look at DTC for the US, they could actually impact the market immediately. Check for the final part of this series tomorrow.  View Part 1.  Below are the products that And1 should be promoting when the site is redesigned to deliver content which will drive traffic:
M-2 Basketball Training System
The Vertical
The Tai Chi Alpha
The Beta Basketball Training System