Furthering its mission to uncover the systemic barriers that impact creatives of color, Claima has revealed a new product- and film-based effort, and has recruited a two powerhouse footwear brands for help.
“Claim A Seat” is the latest initiative from Claima, the podcast turned creative content agency co-founded by sneaker industry veteran Bimma Williams and former Interscope Records marketing manager BJ Frogozo. The effort is highlighted by a series of short films that explore the aforementioned barriers, which are accompanied by product launches that feature a philanthropic component.
“Working in product early on during my career at Saucony, I always wanted Claima to figure out a path to encompass product to some degree. However, this dream was placed on hold because we truly wanted to be known for our ability to tell stories through podcasts, films and experiences,” said Williams, who has also worked for other sneaker giants, including Nike and Adidas. “To keep in line with our mission of purpose and storytelling, especially at a time when collaborations have lost their distinction, we wanted our product collaboration to be impactful. If we were going to market for a product, we know placing intentionality above all was a key factor in determining our direction.”
The “Claim A Seat” product will include four releases in total. Each product launch, Claima explained, will include a donation from the partnering brands to support All Hands Raised, a racial equity-focused nonprofit based in Oregon. What’s more, $5 from each product sold will also go to the Oregon-based nonprofit.
Along with the product release, Claima will debut original content that addresses “the flaws, limitations and consistent inequities” that exist in corporate America and rooted in systemic racism.
“We decided to partner with brands that have a desire to make the world a more equitable society. It doesn’t mean that everyone we’ve partnered with is perfect and has all of the systems in place. It means they are willing to take the steps to make the world better,” Williams explained. “We also know our audience and products they care about. Our goal has always been to link the product we create with storytelling, representation and purpose at the crux of it all.”
For “Claim A Seat,” the footwear brand partners are Saucony and Clarks. With Saucony, Williams said Claima is releasing a Grid Hurricane from 1997, and the Clarks shoe is a Wallabee Low.
Aside from footwear, Claima has teamed up with stainless steel drinkware company MiiR, the partner for the first “Claim A Seat” product release. The two will deliver a new-look iteration of the 360 Traveler mug.
With the mug’s release, Claima will debut the introductory film of the series, also titled “Claim A Seat.” This film shows Williams claiming a seat on a chair that does not sit on all four legs, which Claima explained is “symbolic of the inequalities and discomfort Black and brown creatives face even after reaching the top.”
After the first film and product drop, Claima will reveal the second in the series, a silent film titled “Black & Brown Creatives Anonymous.” This film, Claima explained, documents “the experiences of Black and brown creatives in a safe space” that also has intentional product placement with the collaborative MiiR 360 Traveler.
The remaining product release will be with headwear company 47 Brand.
All of the “Claim A Seat” products will be available in the U.S. via Claimastories.com, and products will also be sold on select retail partner sites that vary with each drop. The MiiR collaboration, for instance, will be available on MiiR.com exclusively until May 18.
Williams serves as the protagonist throughout all of the films, and is the only Black person present in most scenes. The reason for this, Claima explained, is to reveal “a parallel to his past experience as a career spanning jobs at Adidas, Nike and Saucony.”
The four other films in the series are titled “No Cap,” “Code Switching,” “Footprint” and “Exit Interview.” Each film is led by Amiri Rose, the first-ever creative director of Claima, who was hired in March. Prior to Claima, Rose had stops at Nike and independent creative agency Kamp Grizzly.
“We want our audience to feel connected to the mission of ‘Claim A Seat,’ beyond just product. We want the Black and brown creatives to know their experiences are seen, heard and felt,” Rose said. “‘Claim A Seat’ content touches on the various layered points of conflict, everyday experiences and hurdles that Black and brown creatives face, from code-switching to tokenism to microaggressions. Seeing is believing, for us it’s the first step to building large-scale change for the futures of Black and brown creatives to be different from how it is now.”
Claima will release chapters of “Claim A Seat” throughout the year, and will reveal its content and product launches in May, June, September and November.