West Coast-based retailer Bait has grown exponentially since its inception in 2012, opening stores throughout California, Washington and Oregon. Bait’s owner Eric Peng Cheng appears to have expanded his ownership portfolio even further, with co-ownership of renowned boutique retailer Undefeated.
News of the move was first reported on Nice Kicks after Cheng updated his LinkedIn profile late Wednesday, adding Chief Operations Officer, Chief Financial Officer, and co-owner of Undefeated to his page.
Back in June, Footwear News spoke with Cheng and Paul Baclawski, Bait’s chief marketing officer about collaborations, expansion and the retailer’s keys to success. In the wake of the Undefeated news, we revisited some of the key takeaways from the conversation.
Bait released a shoe with Asics in April inspired by the Golden State Warriors titled Splash City. Baclawski, said the shoe was a dedication to its new Bay Area location, not to capitalize off of the team’s unexpected success. “We wanted to pay homage to San Francisco [because] we were so excited to be there. It’s pure dumb luck that Golden State is on a complete roll and we come out with Golden State-inspired colorway,” he said to FN in June. “We designed this nine months before it dropped, even more, so we had no idea they were going to be in the playoffs. We’re big fans of the team, but we had no idea they’d make it this far.”
Although the retailer plans to further expand its footprint, and New York is a prime sneakerhead location, the state isn’t on Bait’s short list of locations. “We’ve shopped New York a couple times and right now we don’t think it’s the right time for it,” Baclawski told FN. “Extra Butter in New York and Concepts in Boston, we’re fans of those stores. Last thing we want to do is go there and step on top of them.”
Cheng attributed Bait’s diverse customer base largely to where the store makes public appearances. “We go to different conventions as a retailer, like San Diego Comic Con, Anime Expo and Toy Fairs,” he said. “It gives Bait exposure to many completely different group of customers than a traditional sneaker boutique.”
Cheng is also the owner and president of the footwear, apparel and collectibles e-commerce site Pickyourshoes.com. Bait started with its first location in Diamond Bar, Calif., and in three years opened locations in California (San Francisco, Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego), Seattle and Portland.