Interview by Sneaker Freaker Germany.
Earlier this month Dortmund, Germany was blessed with an all new sneaker store 'Foodt' in the Ruhr area – commonly known in Germany as the 'Pot' on account of its cultural diversity. We recently met up with the store founders, Torben and Benni to talk sneaks and discover the idea behind 'delicious footwear'.
You're no strangers to the 'scene', What made you decide to turn your hobby into a career?
Torben: Two years ago I first realised that the advertising industry is a dead end.
Benni: I'm glad that Torben took the decision for independence and to stop dicking around in an office chair. Sneakers have become our common destiny.
In terms of stores, the Ruhr region was relatively barren until last year's opening of Sole Hunters in the city of Essen. Was the 'Pot' just not ready yet?
Torben: Nobody stepped up. Although the scene is constantly growing, people seem to prefer to remain consumers rather than be retailers.
What's the concept behind 'Foodt'?
Benni: Foodt offers 'delicious footwear'. We want to establish more of a following of premium sneakers in Dortmund and to make people hungry for style.
Torben: Foodt is a concept that aims to serve the senses for aesthetics and beauty, whether culinary, tactile or visual. Not only sell shoes, but rather serve 'delicious footwear' – to view the sneaker itself as food for the soul.
Benni you've been working in retail for a while, but Torben you've made a big step over from the advertising world. How does it feel?
Torben: We complement each other perfectly. My knowledge and experience in marketing coupled with Benni's business skills make us almost invincible. We've both arrived at the same point in our lives at the same time where we want to give something new a chance. The force will be with us.
Which brands are you carrying?
Benni: Right now adidas, Puma, Reebok, Diadora, ASICS and Saucony. More will follow.
We can tell by your private collections that you're also into vintage models. Will you be offering vintage dishes in your shop?
Benni: Not right now, but that is definitely on the menu.
What do you think about the fact that brands release more and more Retros?
Torben: The situation is probably similar across the fashion world in general. Everything comes back, but everything was better back in the day.
Which Retro did you like the most in 2013 – and which left you disappointed?
Torben: TOP: Puma XT-2.
Benni: FLOP: Nike Air Huarache Retro.
Which shoe would you definitely want to have retroed?
Benni: Adidas 310
Torben: Puma Duplex.
Retros are one thing, innovations are another. Which novelty has impressed you the most in the last few months?
Both: Adidas ZX Flux. Finally, a successful innovation, a grenade of a shape, it looks good and is presented in good colourways. And the price is also right.
Sneaker culture has changed extremely with so many models releasing every week. How do you feel about this?
Torben: This phenomenon is overwhelming and it annoys me – you can't look forward to new sneakers anymore, because the day after tomorrow the next mega-collaboration is already coming up.
There are sneaker stores in every medium-sized city by now. What are you doing different from the others, how will you try to score?
Benni: Our personnel differs from the rest, as we employ only hand-picked staff.
Torben: The Foodt concept is to invite our customers to not only buy sneakers, but also to enjoy them, in comfortable surroundings.
Events such as Sneakerness, Kicks'n'Coffee or Solemart bring the German scene together – live. How do you see this, compared to the anonymous internet?
Benni: Such 'get togethers' have a wonderful dynamic. It is always a joy to see people from across the country and also a good opportunity to cultivate friendships.
At the same time, there are more and more web swaps and groups to pursue the passion and exchange ideas and shoes.
Torben: To be honest, there's no longer that many – with the two million Facebook shoe swap groups in Europe, actually only klekt.in has been able to establish itself as a modern sales platform. The rest can easily be ticked off for now.
When is your online store going live?
Benni: There's no date yet ... but sometime in the next few weeks!
Foodt – Delicious Footwear
Maerkische Strasse 62 44141 Dortmund (Germany)
Tel. +49 231 330 484 02
Mon-Sat 11 am – 7 pm