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This post is falling into the Dope S–t I Like Category because it is a new shoe company. If you browse through this category you will notice brands that aren’t featured on other websites. While I do label the brands as “dope” it’s less about the style and look of the shoe and more about my admiration for people willing to take on the power structure. Basically “dope” in this regard is the same as “gangsta” which isn’t to be confused with the “thug” gangsta, but to be admired like a Daymond John gangsta. Confusing? I agree, but I haven’t posted about a new shoe company in a while. As much as I browse the internet, I miss articles and information. This time around I missed Q4 a company started by co-founders Aaron Sokol and Quintin “Q” Williams in 2016. The company is headquartered in Los Angeles and they’ve built out a roster of 5 different sneaker styles. Which is amazing for a startup.
Having gone through this process alone, I know how difficult it is to launch a shoe company so I’m ultimately inspired when I see other people enter the market. It reminds me that you can still dream and build that dream. Am I optimistic for the brand? Is Brandblack still around? Yep… so can Q4 continue to create and innovate? Definitely. The ability for a company to capture a small share of the market is there if the company has the patience to understand that slow and steady wins the race. The brand has been featured on the prominent SLAM Basketball site. It’s a tactic that has been used by legendary designer Dallas Stokes when he has wanted to promote projects. SLAM has a big audience that at its core is the market Q4 is targeting, but at the same time Q4 has elements missing in the presentation of its site that create longevity when social and news post algorithms change.
The brand also has an element of Chinese influence in the design. The shape of the shoes isn’t automatically attractive and thefused panels carry notes of familiarity with styles from 361 and Anta. The most attractive silhouette is the model that help me discover the brand while browsing yesterday. The 495 Lo is a model that takes away the boot like construction of the Hi and carries the knit construction and KOMpress cushioning to a style that is trendy and eye catching in a good way:
The model is also what former And1 sponsor Lance “Born Ready” Stephenson is returning to Indiana in during pre-season. Born Ready is one of my favorite players and with a more prominent role in returning to the Pacers, if the guy is an endorser of Q4 the goal isn’t to get into SLAM or other sites, it’s to create a narrative around Lance. If there are other sponsors those guys should be on the site in some fashion. A guy returning from injury to a team that is basically a shadow of what it was when he first helped lead the Pacers to a playoff performance that was memorable for the “blow” in the ear, is a great story. Not the “blow”, but the fact that Hibbert is gone, Paul George is gone and the Pacers brought home a player everyone is questioning whether he will have the same energy and skill after injury setbacks and multiple teams. It’s the underdog narrative and building the site to convey stories of overcoming, training and skill development with random stories from Lance would really be dope. Below there are a few pictures of Lance from the pre-season. Unfortunately the brand won’t be able to use those images on the site or in marketing due to the NBA’s agreement with Nike. I can show them though. The endorsement makes this brand parallel to Brandblack. This is important because Brandblack has been able to hold steady and grow considerably because of their work with Jamal Crawford and innovative and more modern shoe designs. This is a similar opportunity for Q4 with Lance.
The start of a new brand is a difficult time and everything has to be in order for it to succeed. I realize this and I hope that Q4 leans heavily into content creation for their site vs content for social and other locations. Sharing content from within (Q4 site) to the world (Social) is always better than sharing from the outside and trying to bring the bees back to the hive. I’m pulling for Q4. Visit the site on the source link at the top and drop in let me know what you think.
Side note: As a former head coach in San Diego whenever I get to see neighborhood kids it’s awesome. Rocking the Q4 as a professional is Helix High standout Lance Hurdle. He is playing professionally in Australia and he’s rolling with Q4. That is definitely dope.