Along with focusing on personalization, Preston discussed working more and more with young talent in order to create fresh designs. The brand has a strong relationship with Pensole Design Academy, creating a co-op program that offers students the chance to work with New Balance in the form of a one-year paid apprenticeship.
New Balance is doing things differently when it comes to its ambassadors, too.
In 2018, the company signed Darius Bazley, the high-school basketball star who skipped out on his Syracuse University scholarship offer to opt in for the 2019 NBA Draft. Despite not being a NBA athlete yet, New Balance offered Bazley a unique contract to be a company intern.
While innovation has been key to the firm’s growth, Preston said speed to market is top of mind. He explained, “What Zara and Asos are doing is a great example of what the shoe industry needs to do. The product life cycle is shorter [nowadays].”
And New Balance isn’t forgetting its roots. “We are making investment on lots of different fronts. We’re investing in equipment, people and manufacturing plants,” Preston said during a presentation on its made-in-the-USA program. According to the CEO, the company is specifically putting efforts behind 3D printing in its American factories as well working with MIT graduates.
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