When Chrome Industries hired footwear vet Christopher Silverman to helm the San Francisco-based city bike brand, they brought a fan on board.
Here, Silverman tells FN what attracted him to the role and where he wants to take Chrome footwear.
What made you decide to join Chrome?
CS: I’ve actually known the owner of Chrome for over six years and had always watched and kept an eye on what they were doing. I had a ton of respect for the brand, loved what they were about and what they stood for. It’s refreshing to hear the owner and employees talk about their passion for Chrome and its products. They truly embody the culture at the heart of the brand — living in the city. And Chrome has incredible products, too. From local seamstresses and designers to the forging process of their shoes, the quality is outstanding. They actually found these 70-year-old forging machines out in Slovakia that were used to make military boots. From a footwear perspective, it’s incredibly cool and shows the lengths that Chrome will go to make kick-ass gear that means something to them.
What do you bring to the brand?
CS: I’m fortunate to have a pretty wide and differentiated background, from working with brands that are embedded in unique niche cultures like Chrome, to brands that are a little bigger and more mainstream. Having the perspective from both sides is incredibly helpful; however, I’m most comfortable in these core, niche cultures. It’s where I reside and what I live and breathe as well. I believe my professional background and experience are uniquely suited for what Chrome is looking to do. From expanding the product line to opening more retail hubs domestically and internationally, I’ve been there and my experience can help with that, all the while ensuring we never lose the emphasis of serving our core consumer. I’ve also been a part of start-up brands, where I was tasked with expanding the capabilities of the business and creating and developing new divisions, [all] in an effort to drive overall product expansion and global brand expansion. So I come with a lot of insight that jives with the overall mission of taking Chrome to the next level.
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What are your plans to further develop the footwear?
CS: Continuing to utilize our forging process and telling that story is important to me. It’s something that no one else is doing — I honestly don’t even know if those machines exist anywhere else. But for the brand in general, there’s so much more to do from a footwear perspective. Whether it’s new styles or new fabrications, I want us to continue to push the boundaries of what we can do yet still remain core to the Chrome customer and their expectation of the style and functional quality we’ve always delivered.