You may think your schedule is busy, but chances are industry veteran Jeff Staple has more on his plate than you do.
In 2017, the founder of the now defunct New York City retail destination Reed Space plans to tackle multiple projects, including resurrecting the aforementioned banner. But that’s not his only major project of the year.
“There’s the reopening of Reed Space that will occur in 2017, as well as helping my brethren over at Extra Butter with their 10th anniversary — I’m sort of in charge creatively of what goes on as well as a massive renovation with their LES store,” Staple told Footwear News. “[And] 2017 is the brand Staple’s 20th anniversary. I’m fortifying all the projects, events [and] collaborations that are going to happen.
“I don’t think there are too many people navigating the 20th anniversary of an apparel brand and the 10th anniversary of a retail store in the same year, while trying to reopen their original retail store. I also try to have a personal life somewhere around that.”
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Staple admitted that navigating the anniversary of his acclaimed Staple Design label — which launched in 1997 — comes with challenges.
“It’s important for me to be able to reflect on those last two decades but not dwell on it too much, either, and not rest on our laurels for what we’ve done for the past 20 years,” he said. “One of the hardest things to do is push forward when you have two decades worth of history under your belt. The natural inclination is to just sit back in your La-Z-Boy and reminisce on 20 years. It’s really important we keep pushing forward.”
To keep on track, Staple said the biggest investments he will make in his professional endeavors are clarity and focus.
“I feel like [after] being in this game 20 years now, I’m only beginning to have razor-sharp focus. It’s like a martial arts master who after doing the same maneuvers for 20 years now finally thinks, ‘I’ve got this maneuver down now,’ ” he said. “My clarity and my mental focus is really sharp — not only in my actions, but also in the barometer of what’s happening in the world. I feel super plugged-in to the temperature of the planet right now. Two decades in, it feels like I’m one with what’s happening in the world.”
But what Staple won’t do is 2017 is make some of the same mistakes he did in 2016 — including underestimating the demand of his sneaker collabs.
The design legend reimagined two of Puma’s most beloved silhouettes in September, the Suede and the Blaze of Glory. The looks were released with an atypical retail strategy: The Blaze of Glory was released worldwide, but the all-white Suede was only available in North and Latin America. The black Suede dropped in the Asia Pacific, and the gray Suede was made available in Europe and the Middle East.
Staple estimated that 5,000 pairs of all four styles hit retail. How many does he think should have produced? Double.
“I’m glad we sold through,” he said, “but there are a lot of people that wished they could get their hands on them. We thought we were being relatively realistic and not conservative with the numbers, but in hindsight we were still conservative.
“When we pre-allocate numbers, we don’t play those games that other brands do, like ‘This is what we think we could sell,’ and then subtract 25 percent just to create stupidity and shenanigans. We actually sit there and say how many we think we could sell through completely so we won’t be stuck with inventory. But you can’t Monday-morning quarterback these things.”