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The Fashion Geek Podcast

58 | King Sean Royal Wears Nike Dunks With A Bat On The Side Where The Swoosh Should Be

Reg talks with King Sean Royal of Fly With The Colony about creating a successful sneaker and apparel brand in less than six months. Try this episode on for size. It’s the right fit.



Guest Links

Timestamps

00:00 Introduction and Welcome
00:53 Meet King Sean Rial
02:36 The Evolution of Sneaker Culture
06:10 Challenges and Opportunities in Sneaker Manufacturing
07:44 The Dunk Silhouette and Its Impact
16:30 Customizer vs. Designer
25:02 The Birth of FWTC
27:14 The Lazarus Sneaker: A Unique Design
28:32 Navigating Nike's Legal Landscape
32:14 The Importance of Independent Design
34:22 Rapid Prototyping and Innovation
38:28 Collaborations and Influencer Marketing
39:51 Expanding the Brand Through Strategic Partnerships
42:56 The Power of Clubhouse and Networking
50:29 Final Thoughts and Fashion Tips

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Transcript

Reginald Ferguson [00:00:02]: Yo. This is Reg Ferguson, fashion geek number 1. How are you? Welcome to the ride. Thank you so much for listening. Please tell your friends about us, and share our episode with them. Also, please tell them to subscribe. Please give us a rating and a review on Apple Podcasts. Because when you do all those things, it helps us grow the show, and it helps our rating on Apple. Reginald Ferguson [00:00:24]: A special shout goes to our producer Serge, and everyone down with the Fashion Geeks. If you wake up in the morning and don't know what to wear, or don't know how to coordinate an outfit without somebody else's input, who maybe is a family member, then you probably need my help. Let me improve your look. Email me at regnyfashiongeek.com for a consultation. And if you have a story suggestion, you can email me at podcast@nyfashiongeek.com or hit me up on the insta at New York Fashion Geek. Today, we're gonna talk with King Sean Ryal, who is in North Carolina, AKA North Kaka Laka. We're gonna talk about something that the everyday man certainly should have in their wardrobe. We're gonna talk about custom sneaker brands. Reginald Ferguson [00:01:14]: King Sean in the building. How are you, man? What's good? Hey, man. I'm happy to have you on here. We've been talking about this for a minute. King Sean [00:01:22]: Yeah, man. It's been a long time coming. I'm just glad we, was able to get everything together to make sure it happened. Reginald Ferguson [00:01:28]: Absolutely. Absolutely. So before we go into our topic, please tell us, so what do you do? King Sean [00:01:37]: What don't I do? That's the real question. That's the real question. I'm a graphic designer, clothing designer, shoe manufacturer. I also recently just got a record deal with Empire Records. I'm a recording artist. So I do a little bit of everything. I mix and master on my own music engineer. So just a little bit of everything King Sean [00:02:04]: for the most part. Reginald Ferguson [00:02:06]: So for the listeners, our little background story is I met you on Clubhouse. Right. So, as a lot of the listeners have known, over the past month or so, I've been hot on Clubhouse, I go into a lot of rooms. I've created my own club, classic menswear club, but I was checking out because I'm a member of Sneakerheads anonymous. Mhmm. And you were one of the moderators. King Sean [00:02:33]: Right. Reginald Ferguson [00:02:34]: And you're telling everybody that you have a sneaker brand, And I'm here to tell you as an OG who last was a sneaker head in high school, I was totally, I was mesmerized. King Sean [00:02:53]: Right. Reginald Ferguson [00:02:54]: Because I had no idea that individuals like yourself were creating their own sneaker brands. That's not something I grew up with. King Sean [00:03:05]: Yeah. The times have changed. I think 10 years ago, this wouldn't even be possible because people are so brand loyalties to whatever they buy consistently. So but just the way fashion has moved, I think people are a lot, more, you know, open minded when it comes to wearing brands that they don't know of as long as they like the item that they're purchasing. So I think it created a a avenue to where people like me and other people have, been able to create some sort of a niche within a bigger niche, which is the sneaker community. Reginald Ferguson [00:03:47]: So, essentially, what you're saying is there is an outcry for people to hear a different story. King Sean [00:03:55]: Essentially. Yeah. Because, you know, due to, like, botting and we'll talk about, you know, all that shit, moving forward. But Yeah. Reginald Ferguson [00:04:04]: We definitely want to. King Sean [00:04:06]: Due to botting and and resellers, I think it's a lot harder for people to get the sneakers that they want. I resale as well too, so I know both sides. And because they're not able to buy something that they want at a price that they can afford, they'll look for alternative. And I think that's where brands like my brand and other brands are kind of a void for that particular market. Reginald Ferguson [00:04:35]: So what you know, you're a multi hyphenate. You made that extremely clear. What led you to launch a sneaker brand? King Sean [00:04:44]: Because I was in sneaker culture before. Like I said, I've always been into sneakers. I'm 33. I've been into sneaker culture since I was 14, 15 years old and always, you know, tried to buy the newest and the latest and the most limited stuff. I got a job in high school just to afford things because, you know, my mom was not buying, you know, 200, a $150 sneakers. Right. So I kinda took my destiny in my own hands and, was able to kinda break into the culture. But that was when you could just literally stand in line and get a sneaker. King Sean [00:05:25]: It's not like that anymore. And, you know, everything is raffled and draws and different shit like that, and it deterred a lot of people in the sneaker game. It actually deterred me for a little while. I really stopped, like, focusing on that. And, but just my love for just fashion and sneakers, man, has, just made me do the research and and figure out how I can really make this happen. And with me being a graphic designer for almost 15, 16 years now, it was a lot easy for a lot easier for me to design something, get it to my factory in China, and produce an actual physical garment. Reginald Ferguson [00:06:07]: So you hit on something. Right? We're we're in the good old US of A. And you immediately mentioned that, hey, your suppliers in China. King Sean [00:06:16]: Right. Reginald Ferguson [00:06:17]: So we know in the previous presidential administration, there was this veiled attempt at trying to keep manufacturing back in America, because it's really been gone for decades. King Sean [00:06:31]: Exactly. Reginald Ferguson [00:06:32]: So my point is, did you, just out of curiosity, did you even consider or attempt to consider trying to do this domestically? King Sean [00:06:41]: Hell no. And the reason why Reginald Ferguson [00:06:43]: Yeah. Please explain. King Sean [00:06:45]: Is because, due to the pricing that you can get stuff made over there and the quality and the time that it could take, America wouldn't even be, an affordable option for what I'm doing. And a lot of the things so I took a classic silhouette, and I basically did my thing on it. So they already have those molds. And, you know, a lot of, the shoes that we buy in America are not made in America. Reginald Ferguson [00:07:11]: Correct. King Sean [00:07:11]: From the biggest brands, Nike, Adidas. Only thing only brand that's made in America is New Balance. Reginald Ferguson [00:07:18]: New Balance. Right. In Mass. King Sean [00:07:22]: So, yeah, so you're already ordering from China anyway when you go to your local Foot Locker Foot Action or whatever. So I'm not going to try to reinvent the wheel. I'm just gonna make it work for me, and that's what I did. Reginald Ferguson [00:07:35]: Makes sense. So you hit on something. And I remember when you were on that clubhouse, I immediately went on your gram. You decided to base your sneaker on the Dunk silhouette. Right. And for me, there's a great deal of romanticism because I'm the 1st generation of dunk. King Sean [00:07:54]: Right. Reginald Ferguson [00:07:55]: I had Kentucky dunks. King Sean [00:07:56]: Absolutely. Reginald Ferguson [00:07:58]: I remember that summer. That was an incredible summer. Me and my best friend, who's still my best friend of all time, though we're not really in contact any longer, We both got dunks. I convinced him. We both got Kentucky dunks. Mhmm. If you ask me, it was the best summer of my life. If you ask him, it was the worst summer of his life. King Sean [00:08:17]: Oh, wow. King Sean [00:08:18]: All because of a sneaker King Sean [00:08:20]: home. Reginald Ferguson [00:08:20]: Right. Because to me, he and I buying literally the same sneaker, it was like we were brothers. King Sean [00:08:26]: Right. Creating a bond. Reginald Ferguson [00:08:28]: Exactly. And for him, he was like, oh my God, everyone's asking us why we did this. King Sean [00:08:34]: Right. Reginald Ferguson [00:08:35]: Like a million times every day. I hate this. Yeah. So why did you choose the Dunk silhouette? King Sean [00:08:44]: I chose the Dunk silhouette because it's my favorite sneaker of all time, and I actually skateboard. I really skate, and that's what the shoe is designed for, for skaters. So I wanted to do my first shoe to be authentic to me. So that's the reason why I chose that, and I think it just it just looks good. The silhouette just looks good to me. It's classic. And also due to the, resurgence of Dunks, because Dunks actually took a little nosedive in the community for a couple years. But Reginald Ferguson [00:09:22]: Yep. King Sean [00:09:22]: Now they're one of the most sought after shoes in the sneaker community. So it just makes sense because a lot of people can't get them or can't afford them from Nike to create a similar product, but be able to put my own interpretation on that particular product that they're already buying. Reginald Ferguson [00:09:41]: And to be clear, particularly for the listener, before the dunk became a s b, it was a hoop shoe. King Sean [00:09:49]: Exactly. Reginald Ferguson [00:09:50]: It was n c double a d one, particularly big, particularly biggie. King Sean [00:09:55]: 5, I think. King Sean [00:09:56]: Yes. King Sean [00:09:57]: Donks were college donks. Yes. They were made for college basketball. I believe it was, like, Michigan. Yep. Fuck. I can't even think of the rest of them. But, yeah, they were d one basketball shoes, but, they so Nike was trying to get in, skateboarding because, you know, of the success of, like, Tony Hawk and other, skateboarding brands. King Sean [00:10:22]: And all the skateboarders were basically skating in Jordan ones at the time. And Jordan ones are similar to a dunk as far as aesthetic and silhouette. So Nike took that information, and they actually worked with I I forgot what particular skater it was, but he was, like, one of the first people that signed the Nike SB. And he was like, what do you wanna skate in? And he said, well, I skate in fucking Jordan 1's. So that's when they just, you know, made some minor changes and created the dump, for the skateboarding community. Reginald Ferguson [00:11:01]: I did not know that. I believe the individual you're talking about, I think his last name is Janakowski, I think. Don't quote me. King Sean [00:11:07]: So Janakowski was one of the first ones. I don't know if he was the first, but he was one of the first. Reginald Ferguson [00:11:13]: Okay. King Sean [00:11:14]: Initial, writers for s b. So yeah. I mean, that's basically what happened, and everybody gravitated towards it. And that's why they made the fat tongue because the fat tongue is just for skateboarders. Because when you you, like, when you fall or when you scrape your foot, a lot of it will come on that top part where the laces will be. So they wanted to make that, like, extra comfortable. And, you know, it's a flat surface, so it allows you to give the board a little bit more pop. Yeah. King Sean [00:11:53]: So it's just a number of things that were integrated in to the s b, which made it as popular as it was. Reginald Ferguson [00:12:02]: Do you think it also didn't hurt that Virgil and Off White decided to revitalize the dunk as well? King Sean [00:12:13]: So I got kinda hot takes on Virgil. I'm a fan, but I think he's, I think he's a shoe customizer more than a designer. And why I say that is because he hasn't really created anything new. He's just been given classic silhouettes that we already like and said, put some colors or distress them or, you know, put your interpretation. I don't think he's no more than what people, are doing as far as, you know, the industry that I'm in with customizing their own, you know, sneakers. I don't I think anybody could've had the opportunity and coulda succeeded because Nike is, like, one top brands, and you're basically giving him shoes that people already like. And Off White does have a name to a certain extent, but people are not really buying Off White sneakers. They buy Nike off whites. King Sean [00:13:12]: You know what I'm saying? Because they're already familiar with the brand of Nike. So I think that's more where he got his popularity at, and that's why people like his shit a lot more. But I don't really think he's a shoe designer. I think he's a customizer. So they just got an opportunity with one of the biggest brands, and he made an impact on culture, that way, because I don't see people really wearing just straight off white sneakers. Reginald Ferguson [00:13:46]: Do you feel regardless of your hot take, and I'm sure you have more, do you feel that he has led the dunk to have such a high price point right now in resale? King Sean [00:14:00]: Hell, no. I think the, the person the I think the most iconic dunk in oh, shit. Hold on. The most iconic dunk, of all time, in my opinion, that changed the culture is when, Nikki Diamond released the diamond dunk. I think that really set the market, because I think that was one of the first big collaborations that incorporated the real authentic skateboard culture into, the Ashby brand. And, I think that's what really set the resale market because, that kind that shoe was so sought after because of the collaboration with Diamond. And I think that kinda really set the thing. And then then you had, like, the supreme dunk, and then you had, you know, several other companies that did collab. King Sean [00:15:04]: I think collabs is what really pushed the market up. So, yeah, that's pretty much where I think, where Dunk became the resale that it had. And I think it kinda lost some of its luster when, you know, people were doing air for Air Force Ones and shit like that. So at the end, the popularity of Jordan as well. But because, you know who who really gave the dunk energy again? I think fucking Travis Scott and fucking Kylie Jenner is what made the dunk popular again because they're they're, like, the trendsetters of fashion right now, and everybody in culture really looks to them to see what's going on. You know, anytime Travis puts out a shoe, it's in high demand regardless of what it looks like. So because he's made so many big plays with the Fortnite shit, with McDonald's. King Sean [00:16:06]: You know King Sean [00:16:06]: what I mean? Salute to his team for definitely putting him in position to make those big time plays. And, I think that's kinda what created, you know, the hype with Dunks again. Reginald Ferguson [00:16:19]: So you said something earlier that I'd like you to elaborate, and maybe you'll include Travis in this. You highlighted 2 roles, customizer versus designer. Mhmm. So I'd like you to elaborate, particularly for the audience, because I know it's something you take for granted, and candidly, it's something I'd like to be illuminated on. What is the difference? King Sean [00:16:41]: A customizer to me is when you take a so say, for instance, if you take a Nike shoe that already existed in the world that you could buy in a store, and you change it out, whether it's paint or fabrics or, you know, shit like that. But a designer is a person that actually takes raw materials and creates something, whether if it's, a silhouette that already exists or not. But you're taking raw materials, and you're creating a whole new shoe, to really, you know, push the needle or a different interpretation on something. So, essentially, you can say that, fucking Virgil is a designer, but I just think I think, I just think anybody could have did what he did as far as in respect of just taking something that already exists because it's authorized by Nike. They literally gave him shoes and said, do what you please and do it. And I think that's what customizers do. They just take in a a different shoe and add a theme or add fabrics or add something that's different from the original. A designer is more somebody who, can create a whole new silhouette and a whole another way of thinking, or, like, even changing the Ziffen silhouette to where it doesn't resemble, doesn't resemble the original, that was put out and authorized by Nike. Reginald Ferguson [00:18:16]: So let's get back to you. You clearly put yourself in the latter category. Correct? King Sean [00:18:22]: As far as what? Reginald Ferguson [00:18:24]: As far as your sneaker, you consider yourself a designer? King Sean [00:18:28]: Yeah. Reginald Ferguson [00:18:30]: So explain to me what it took for you to have this vision for this brand all the way through conception? King Sean [00:18:43]: Well, I was at the time, I was working at a restaurant. I'm a chef too. So, I was working at a restaurant. And, previous, like, growing up college years, I worked for myself majority of the time that I've ever had any type of employment. I was a party promoter, so I was always on the scene. And I drew a lot of connections in the music industry because I did parties and stuff, and I was always into fashion. My first brand was called Scratch, and I made that when I was 18. And through, like, high school, I was always taking clothes and, you know, altering them and putting my own spin on them because, like I said, my mom wasn't one of them people who really put value in clothing. King Sean [00:19:36]: She gave me other opportunities as far as, like, I was able to travel Europe when I was in 7th grade because I was a student ambassador. And, I went over there for like 21 days. So that kind of really gave me my entrepreneurial spirit just, allowed me to understand that life is bigger than the area in which you live in. So that's kind of what gave me the push to always say I wanna make my own money. So, I did the party thing for a couple years. Well, shit. Almost 15 years. And throughout that, I was still designing and making clothes and getting them on celebrities and shit like that. King Sean [00:20:22]: And then, I learned how to graphic design by myself out of necessity because I didn't wanna pay people for my party flyers. And that's when I picked up Photoshop. And, so I was doing that. I was doing pretty well. I did a couple of things for, like, Bebop. I did a couple of things for, like, local restaurants and nightclubs and shit like that. Just graphic design work, maintaining well, still maintaining, like, my brand. And, I have went to agenda, I believe, 2013, Agenda and Magic. King Sean [00:20:56]: It's like a big trade show in Vegas that, that you go to as a designer or a brand, and you, you can get, like, a table. And then you have buyers from, like, major retailer, DTLR, Jimmy Chaz, Macy, TJ Maxx, all these other stores, they come out and they look for your shit. And then when they see they like it, they'll write your purchase order. And basically, what a purchase order is, it's just saying that they want x amount of products at this price delivered by this time. And came across French Montana's line called Koch Boys. And, they approached me because I had this process called sublimation. And basically what sublimation is, is taking a polyester fabric and dyeing the ink into the fabric so it doesn't fade. So you that's kinda how, like, you have printed cotton. King Sean [00:22:03]: It's kinda like the same process and shit like that, like, for, like, sheets or, like, jerseys or, you know, anything that has any sort of poly into it. You can dye, And then you can kinda create a all over print, so you don't have to have the same pitfalls of a traditional screen printing, where you have to separate colors and every color of the screen is literally you can put photo quality images with Sublimension. And I had that process before anybody. And when I went to the show, a lot of people were asking me about it. And like I said, I ran across friends from our tennis booth. They like what I was doing. They offered me a position at the company. At the time I was in school, I had, like, one class left to graduate, but it was during the summer. King Sean [00:22:53]: But I had to leave that summer, so I said, fuck school. And I just went and worked for them, for, like, 2, 3 years. I made them, like, 1,600,000. I was supposed to be brought in as a partner. That shit didn't work out. I was on an hourly wage, and the hourly wage wasn't justifying the time that I was putting into it. So I just fucking left. I fucking left the situation. King Sean [00:23:23]: At the time, I had a kid. And I came home for Thanksgiving and see my kid, and I never fucking went back. So that's kinda what happened. There's no fucking bad blood. It's just there was fucking playing with my talent, and I was making them too much money for me to sit around. Reginald Ferguson [00:23:40]: Gotcha. So, again, as this was happening, what led to that thunderclap of inspiration to go, yo, I'm gonna do a sneaker. King Sean [00:23:52]: Fucking 10 failed brands. And I wouldn't say failed, because every one of the opportunity I continue to generate brands. And they were doing okay, but my personality is kinda super aggressive and sometimes demanding. And a lot of people may not like me or I might not be their cup of tea. So that kind of got in the way of business sometimes. And, you know, people would like my shit, but they wouldn't like me as a person. So what I learned is that I kind of gotta hide behind my brand and not really put my face out there. So I was in the music industry. King Sean [00:24:36]: I went in 2019. I was on tour with French again, Wiz Khalifa, Moneybagg Yo, Playboi Carti, for the music. I was, an artist, and I was managing another artist. I got into King Sean [00:24:50]: a little situation, had to do a little time. And when King Sean [00:24:50]: I came out, I had got that job and I just knew that it wasn't something that I wanted to make my career. So my business partner had posted something on the page in regards to a lawn that he's been working on shit. Basically, his whole fucking life, and I've I've seen some potential. And I was like, it looks it looks decent, but it doesn't look good as far as from a design aspect. I like the concept, but I know I could make it better. So I just hit him up and was like, bro, let me help you. And he's already he knows my design experience because I used to do his mixtape covers and shit like that. And because he's a artist as well. King Sean [00:25:35]: And, I've known his father for about, shit, 10 years because he had a retail space in North Carolina, a skate shop, and I used to always buy from them. And, my company that I was working for were French. We actually sold his dad's store. So it was like a lot of shit in common. And, you know, that was just my friend and I seemed like he had a good idea, but I just think his execution wasn't the best. And I knew that I could, help him on that. So I redesigned the logo December 2, 2020. And literally, in 3 months later, we was bought figures and sales. Reginald Ferguson [00:26:17]: So for the listener, describe the logo. King Sean [00:26:21]: Alright. So the brand is called f w t c. And what's that, stands for is fly with the colony. And the colony, if you know anything about, you know, animals and shit, bats fly in the colony, they live in the colony, and they basically, help each other out succeed in life and, you know, prosper. And we kinda wanted to take that that energy and put it into clothing because a lot of people who wear our stuff are entrepreneurs or people chasing a dream. So we wanted to make everybody a part of, a group that had like minds. And we feel like if you purchase our clothes, you're part of the colony, and we're gonna support you in anything you have to do too. So that's kinda where we came up with the, the brand and the branding, and, that's the reason why the logo is with that. Reginald Ferguson [00:27:20]: And currently, your first sneaker that came out, it's literally it's literally labeled after one of the bats. Yeah. So the lazarus. Correct? King Sean [00:27:32]: The the lazarus. The lazarus, because the lazarus is a red bat, and our first shoe was like a flip on the Travis Scott, SD. He did, like, a blue bandana, but we did red, and we did, like, a proprietary, like, wool pattern, like, almost like a lumberjack pattern, similar to what he did. But I designed that shit a 100%, by myself. And so we own that particular flag as well, so we incorporated that. And, yeah, it just took off, due to clubhouse and due to due to, you know, just people wanting to find something new. So, that's it, pretty much. Reginald Ferguson [00:28:32]: So what I'm really curious about, and we talked about this offline once, and I know the listener is gonna be just as interested as I. How does one create a sneaker brand based on an existing silhouette, in this case, the Dunk, without Nike knocking on your door every waking moment? King Sean [00:28:57]: Well, if you know anything about graphic design, if you change something 30%, then you're cool. What Nike is trying to do to combat people like me from making similar products to their product now, is that they're trying to basically patent and trademark panel to panel. So say, for instance, if you have a top panel that connects to panel c, then you're gonna be infringing because they're trying to basically deconstruct the shoe and trademark every part. But, I don't I don't really see them being able to get where where with that because like I told you in the, in the panel that we had did, there was a company named Yum's, and I don't know if anybody's listening to are familiar with that. It was, it was around that time where Bates and Greedy Genius were making similar, products to the Air Force Ones. They actually fought Nike because most companies, when they get a cease and desist or any type of lawsuit, they just bowed down because fucking Nike's lawyers are crazy, and they'll try to fucking scare tactic you into folding. And they said, like, well, we got all the money, and we'll just tie you up in litigation. So you'll just wind up caving. King Sean [00:30:23]: But this particular company didn't, and they proved that, most of these patents on these particular shoes were made 30 plus years ago. And if anybody knows anything about about patents, patents have a lifespan. So once the lifespan is up, they don't own the patent anymore. And that's what happened with the Air Force 1 and the Delta. And that's why you see so many of these, things popping up. But where a lot of people go wrong is they don't change enough. They still try to incorporate, the swoosh in their design. And they say terminology like dunks and Jordan 1. King Sean [00:31:02]: That's why my shoe, even though it's a dunk silhouette, is, 1. We don't associate anything with anything, in regards to Nike. And that's the reason why we haven't had that many issues. And also, we don't do thousands of pairs, we do a 100 pairs. So, we keep our quantity down, and we don't use the terminology to get in anybody's way. So and we change 30% of the shoe. So, that's that's how you stay out of the fire Reginald Ferguson [00:31:44]: of Nike. So essentially, with with the issues of panels, they're trying to essentially make panels intellectual property. Is that correct? King Sean [00:31:55]: Right. King Sean [00:31:58]: Well, I don't I King Sean [00:31:59]: don't think that they're gonna be able to pass that because you can't copyright shit. You can't copyright a fucking shape or trademark a shape. You get what I'm saying? So I don't I don't know how that's gonna go. Maybe they got the lawyers and they figured it out, but I don't think so. And from what I was hearing, and we talked about this as well in the panel, that they're trying to do that so they can give more opportunities for people like me to, I don't know, like, partner with them or some shit like that. I think it's bullshit, but, you know, that's what the talks is, to bring in more independent designers. But my thing is you already have independent designers doing their own thing. Why won't you just reach out to them and just, like, cut the bullshit? Because people are gonna do it regardless. King Sean [00:32:48]: So if you feel like you wanna make money off our designs, then give us a deal. But me, personally, I wouldn't take no deal with Nike because Reginald Ferguson [00:32:56]: I could tell I was about to say in my head. I'm like, you would not do that. King Sean [00:33:01]: I wouldn't take no deal with Nike because I wanna be able to be be able to do anything I wanna do as far as I don't wanna have to ask 10 people to make one decision. Reginald Ferguson [00:33:11]: And King Sean [00:33:11]: that's how it is in Nike. I don't think people under understand. Like, there's not one designer on a shoe at Nike. There's, like, 10 designers. And I have friends that actually Nike. And, there's, like, colorists. There's people who only King Sean [00:33:24]: work on materials. King Sean [00:33:24]: There's people who only work in technology. There's people that only work on, of the actual design itself. So it's a lot of different shit, that I think a lot of people are uneducated on that goes behind a shoe. And most of the shoes that you're wearing were designed and manufactured 2 to 3 years ago. Reginald Ferguson [00:33:50]: Really? King Sean [00:33:50]: So a lot of the stuff that comes out was already in conception or just the thought of 2, 3 years ago. So that's why you have the issue to where when you have a issue with something that they come out with, that was our design years ago. So you're just getting it now, and it's hard for them to pivot when things, go wrong. Reginald Ferguson [00:34:18]: Right. Because they they're not nimble. I mean, how can they be? King Sean [00:34:22]: Well, me, I can design a shoe in less than a day, send it to my supplier, and have a sample back in 2 weeks. You know? So Reginald Ferguson [00:34:31]: Wow. King Sean [00:34:33]: That's the reason I would never work for Nike. It's too many fucking hands in the pot. Reginald Ferguson [00:34:39]: Understood. And you said, which I guess is a testament to your nimbleness, meaning that, you know, you don't have thousands and thousands of people, that you literally have hundreds of different materials and colorways in the chamber. Correct? King Sean [00:34:56]: Yeah. I have, of the 2 in particular, I have, almost 250 colorways already designed, and I did that in the course of a month and a half. So when I used to get off my job, I used to come design, 5 to 10 colorways a night. Wow. Sheesh. Just because, I mean, that's I love to do this. This is really my passion, and now it's became my full time career. So, yeah, I mean, it's really nothing for me. King Sean [00:35:30]: It doesn't take me long at all because, I mean, it only took it only takes long to do the first one. Once you do the first one, it's really just swapping colors and shit like that if you're working on the same model, but I'm actually about to produce a whole new model in the next month as well, something that people have never seen been done before, so super excited about that as well. Reginald Ferguson [00:35:57]: So I know that's on the low, so I'm not gonna probe, but can you for the listeners, can you detail what the 00 twos are like versus the 00 ones? King Sean [00:36:10]: So the 00 twos are already out. Reginald Ferguson [00:36:13]: No. I know. Yep. King Sean [00:36:14]: That's the, that's the Jordan 1 silhouette. But the 3, is our runner. So it's switching up traditional because most people there's other companies that do what I do. I'm not the only person that does, classic silhouettes like the h a one and Dunk. There's so many other companies. It's really like an underground culture that a lot of people don't know about. Reginald Ferguson [00:36:43]: Right. That's why I'm having you guys on the pod because I find this utterly fascinating. I had no clue, let's say, less than 2 months ago. King Sean [00:36:51]: Yeah. It's a whole scene, and there's a lot of people that do what I do similar to what I do exactly the silhouette where everybody has their own little logo or twist or whatever, but with this particular one, nobody has done this silhouette. So it's definitely going to shake up the industry. I might get some shit for it, but I don't give a fuck. I'm gonna do what I wanna do regardless. Reginald Ferguson [00:37:21]: Yeah. I, I sense that. And when what's the target release for the 00 threes? King Sean [00:37:28]: I don't know, man. We have so many 001s and 002s in the can that 3 honestly is gonna be personal until we decide when we want to release it. So we always wear shit, like, even when, like so we wear a lot of hoodies, during the fall when we first created the brand, but we didn't give our customers access to them because we want, to show off the product before we actually release it. So everything that we were wearing 2 seasons ago will be available this coming season. Alright. Reginald Ferguson [00:38:10]: So you're creating your own hype. King Sean [00:38:12]: Yeah. Pretty much. Reginald Ferguson [00:38:13]: Yeah. Just smart. Yeah. King Sean [00:38:17]: And getting getting the products out to the influencers as well, has been very, helpful to create the allure of the brand. Reginald Ferguson [00:38:28]: Can you elaborate on that? Because obviously, as a slightly older cat, you know, understanding influencer marketing, but here you are So can you break that down? So can you break that down? King Sean [00:38:45]: Alright. So we did, we entered a contest with Jack Daniels, and we did a shoe for Jack Daniels, Honey. And the contest was just based on, creating a classics taking a classic silhouette and remixing it with their branding on it. And you had the choice between, excuse me, Jack Daniel's Honey and Jack Daniel's Apple. I just relate it more to the Honey because of the colors. And when I pulled the colors, I actually pulled the colors straight from the packaging so they match exactly. But, the real thing was when you entered a contest, you didn't even have to produce a physical garment. They were just looking for, like, artwork and shit like that. King Sean [00:39:39]: But we went the extra mile just because we have the ability to to actually produce the shoe, itself, and then we submitted it. So that was something that we did. We did a collaboration with, Western Afford. CBD? No. It's, Reginald Ferguson [00:39:59]: The marijuana dispensary? King Sean [00:40:00]: Yes. A marijuana, dispensary in, in, Boston or Chelsea to be exact, Chelsea, Massachusetts, because they were trying to create a way to basically, make money with their branding on it other than cannabis because I don't know if anybody knows, the listeners are aware, cannabis companies, even legal states have a lot of trouble with banking Yes. Because it's not federally legal. Reginald Ferguson [00:40:32]: It's not fed. Right. King Sean [00:40:33]: Right. So a lot of banks won't fuck with them. Right. Right. You create a product that you can that you won't be taxed as much. It's because, you know, cannabis tax is fucking out of this world, but you could still convert customers, to actually come to your dispensary, it's definitely a plus for you. The biggest, example of that is, like, the brand Kookies or the brand Brunts. They had the popularity, of rappers and entertainers that like their products, but they created a whole apparel line that doesn't look like a fucking family reunion cookout shirt like most cannabis brands do. King Sean [00:41:20]: And they made it cool so people were actually wearing the brand in public. So you get a lot more brand notoriety and you're able to put that money in the bank because it's apparel. It's not fucking cannabis. So, that's kind of what we explained to them and told them what we could do for them. So we created a limited 420 shoe within, that dropped, 420 and it's doing pretty well and it has some, hip on the actual shoe to signify the cannabis and, yeah, it just turned out pretty good. And, that's the latest. And, we actually just did a, a photo shoot with Bobby Shrider and some of our stuff. We, Chris Brown will have a pair of our shoes in the next 2 weeks. King Sean [00:42:12]: We're working on something with Gunnar and, Young Thug as well. So different opportunities to put our stuff in spaces that people look for those particular people for what they're wearing, and it just brings more awareness to our particular brand. Reginald Ferguson [00:42:30]: And you've done all this and you essentially launched this brand, King Sean [00:42:36]: correct me if I'm wrong, December. King Sean [00:42:36]: Am I incorrect? 22nd, 2020. Reginald Ferguson [00:42:39]: Holy Smoly. King Sean [00:42:41]: Yeah. We moved a little fast. Reginald Ferguson [00:42:44]: Understatement. You, you are a rocket. King Sean [00:42:47]: Yeah. So we're just trying to capitalize on the trajectory of the brand and continue to, do meaningful collaborations. Also did a collaboration with this dope artist in New Mexico named Chantal. She is I met her on Clubhouse. Fucking Clubhouse is a gentleman because it's put me in so many different spaces. And, she does like, hand drawn art, and when I seen her work, I was just like, I've never seen something like this before. And it's super colorful, super inviting, super just just just dope, and, I met her, and we kicked it off, and we did a t shirt with her. Then we did a lighter with her. King Sean [00:43:34]: Then we're we're in the process. I have a pop up shop, pop up shop, July 3rd in New Jersey at Avenue Black and you can find their on their Instagram check out the details. We're gonna release a one of 10 Shu, with her and, the guy you had on your podcast previously, Shoebaker, is gonna do the box, and, it's gonna be a 1 of 10, and we're gonna NFT it as well, so Reginald Ferguson [00:44:05]: Holy shmole. King Sean [00:44:06]: Yeah. That's on the way. And I also met, Ari Shafar on, Clubhouse, and he is, like, the grandfather of what I do. He created a shoe called the Newport Tens. Reginald Ferguson [00:44:24]: Yep. King Sean [00:44:24]: It was based on the Air Force 1. And, he created a whole fucking uproar in the King Sean [00:44:30]: industry because he did it before it was acceptable King Sean [00:44:30]: to the market. And because he did it before it was acceptable to the market. And a lot of people was like, man, those are some bootleg ass Air Force 1 or whatever the fuck. And he actually got sued, not by Nike, but but Newport, because they said he was marketing their products, to underage kids who couldn't, smoke tobacco. And they did a whole big litigation with him and sued the fuck out of him, and he's not even able to own a suit that he created, anymore. I guess that was the terms of, you know, the the resolution of the lawsuit, and but his shoes, now are worth $10,000. Wow. So I met him, and I talked to him, and he's he encouraged me to keep going. King Sean [00:45:23]: He's the real real real reason why I quit my job and said I'm a chase his dream. And, also met, the CEO of Nice Kicks, and we're about to do something with them as well, Matt Hatfield. So yeah, man. Clubhouse and just being, understanding the importance of collaboration and and, letting basically understanding that when you collaborate, you're putting yourself in a whole another demographic that you may not have touched. We getting orders from Japan. You know what I'm saying? And we've never been there. Don't know nobody there. So I think it's just once once something spreads and it catches and it becomes part of the culture, I think it it could do very well if you manage it right. Reginald Ferguson [00:46:12]: Yeah. I mean, understatement. I mean, all of this I find utterly fascinating, and you know that. And I'm just I'm just so curious because to your point, this is a subculture, but this subculture is strong. And I've been deep diving and I'm gonna continue to, and I wanna say something on this pod that you and I have, discussed. For individuals that are buying bespoke suits, who are buying made to measure suits and garments overall. King Sean [00:46:46]: Mhmm. Reginald Ferguson [00:46:46]: These brands need to be not only explored, but they need to be purchased. King Sean [00:46:53]: Right. Reginald Ferguson [00:46:54]: Because this is in the sneaker world. Correct me if I'm wrong. This is the true bespoke experience. King Sean [00:47:01]: Right. And you know what's funny? When you say bespoke, there used to be a program with Nike that just shut down this year that allowed you to do just that. It allows you to pay a premium price for maybe an air force 1 or a dump, and you were able to kind of create, your own version of that particular shoe and Nike actually made it. So it was giving younger opportune younger designers opportunity to work with Nike, authorized, in a particular way, but you couldn't really, you know, take the shoot to market. That was the only thing about that. King Sean [00:47:37]: Oh. King Sean [00:47:39]: Yeah. So now he had a program in New York. I believe it was in New York, but I think it was other places as well that you could go in. You could pay I think it was, like, 600 to $1,000, and you could take a shoe, and you could basically redo with any materials, way more advanced in their program, like a Nike ID or something. Reginald Ferguson [00:48:00]: Right. Right. I knew this was I was like, yeah. This is not Nike ID. Was it called Nike Lab? King Sean [00:48:05]: Yeah. Nike they changed it to Nike Lab, but, bespoke is the, actual thing to where you can really walk in because there were even Nike designers that did the bespoke program because my friend David, he works for Nike. He did some things with them as well. So yeah, man. It's already been Nike just needs to fucking let people do what they do and capitalize and just partner instead of fucking trying to be the fucking have big dick energy, excuse me, and just, like, try to control everything. You gotta let people fucking put their interpretation on it. And if you were smart, you would monetize it instead of fight fighting everybody. King Sean [00:48:50]: Mhmm. Reginald Ferguson [00:48:50]: They need to they need to hear you, bro. King Sean [00:48:53]: Man, there's so many people like me, man. I'm just a fucking drop in the bucket, man. It's just, you know, they they just have an energy to they feel like they're the big bad wolf and nobody can't fuck with them. And I think they're starting to realize that they're gonna lose a lot of market share because people are gonna fucking do it theirself. We live in a do it yourself era. You know what I mean? Like, if you don't feel like you can find something in the market, somebody's gonna create it. And would you rather work with that person? Or would you rather become in competition without working and there's still some of your market share? So that's the question I think Nike has to start asking theirself, because I think it's them in particular because, you know, look at look at all the creators that's worked for Nike. All the people that's worked for the Nike has either left or been fired because Nike doesn't see the value pass once they get your customers, similar to what I do. King Sean [00:49:47]: But I continue to do collaborations with people that I did work with. Nike, it could be yeah. They'll do one shoot with you. It may sell well, but fuck you after that. And that's what happened to Jerry Lorenzo, Kanye, Shawn Witherspoon, Charles Barkley, Deion Sanders. Like, I can the list fucking goes on. So it's been a problem at Nike, and I don't think they're really addressing that. And that's why you're seeing, people fucking do their own thing. Reginald Ferguson [00:50:20]: Yeah. That's why there are people like you. You may be one drop, but your drop is significant on this mic. So I'm happy to have you. King Sean [00:50:27]: I appreciate that. Reginald Ferguson [00:50:29]: What's the top fashion tip you would give the everyday man so he could look his best, Sean? King Sean [00:50:34]: You said what? Reginald Ferguson [00:50:36]: What's the top fashion tip you would give the everyday man so he could look his best? King Sean [00:50:40]: Wear whatever you feel is comfortable because, even if you got the latest and greatest on, if you don't feel comfortable, you're gonna see that through the person. Right? So they could be Gucci down, Louis down, designer this, designer that, but there could be a motherfucker who went to a thrift store that looks better than you because they know how to put it together. So I think it's really about coordinating and really finding, sorry, my fucking phone's ringing, finding, you know, what you're comfortable with and your boundaries in fashion. Reginald Ferguson [00:51:19]: Makes sense. So what does always be fly mean to you? King Sean [00:51:29]: I mean, shit. Like, it goes back to what's your interpretation of fly? Everybody's fly is different. I think just being true to yourself is the biggest thing. Yeah. So I think you could be flying fucking $20 clothes. You could be flying $600 clothes. You know what I'm saying? It's just what what are you trying to convey to your fashion? What what personality traits are you trying to convey? Yeah. I mean, I think that's pretty much it. King Sean [00:52:04]: Like, everybody has their own interpretation. I because I I distinctly remember that conversation where, one of the customizers on the panel was talking about, oh, I would never wear a fucking shoe with Goku on it. Reginald Ferguson [00:52:17]: Right. Right. King Sean [00:52:17]: Right? Right. I think if you're into anime and your girl or whoever you're trying to pursue or dude or whoever, are trying to pursue into that, they might be more them and stop trying to dress for, you know, people should just, you know, be them and stop trying to dress for what they think is cool or you know what I mean? So just just do you, man. Ultimately, just do you. Everybody's not the same. Reginald Ferguson [00:52:53]: Exactly. Makes sense. Yeah. King Sean Ryle, fly with the colony. King Sean [00:53:01]: You already know. Fwtc.shop is the website. If you wanna, check out the latest things that we have going on, everything is pretty much uploaded, and my IG is kingshawnroyal, k I n g s I seanroyal. And, yeah, you could check out our post more of, you know, the stuff that that hasn't hit the site yet and, stuff that we're just working on. So you can kinda see the trajectory of our brand, and and that's kind of, like, what I feel like I wanna show. I wanna show the behind the scenes and the shit and educate people, who are trying to do this in a way so they can really understand what it takes to, do what I did. So Reginald Ferguson [00:53:48]: That's what's up.
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