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Solebox Founder Speaks Out About the Parra x Nike Release

Date: July 30 2018

By: Rob Marfell

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Hikmet Sugoer, the founder of Solebox, hasn’t held the reins since late-2015 when he left to work on SONRA, but the way the retailer handled the recent Parra x Nike release prompted him to speak out.

To police reselling, Solebox forced patrons to wear the shoes out of the store. This led to piles of kids scrubbing soles clean as soon as they were outside, and droves of people going in on them for doing so. It was funny, but was it exploitive?

Sugoer took issue with the tactic, and issued a statement with opinions on the ways we view young sneakerheads and resellers.

You can read the statement, spaced over two Instagram posts: 

Part 1 of2: Even if it feels like talking about your EX-girl... But people still think I am at Solebox. I got positive and negative messages about the Nike Parra Release at Solebox Berlin. Thank you for that, but I left the company in December 2015. I repeat: I am no longer at Solebox. I already gave my feedback in a german Facebook Sneakergroup to this topic. But I am still getting messages. Therefore now here is my feedback to this release: The idea to find ways to avoid the reseller ratio is good. But here comes the BUT: I was not there. I got messages about it and I read in FB groups about it. Customers camped for the shoes 2 days. On release day some hours before the sales started the Store dictated new rules: Customers had to wear the shoes or leave the box in the store if they wanted to buy them after spending 2 days waiting. Who would go home empty handed after two days of wait? It does not matter if most of the customers were resellers or not. If this would have been announced before anybody was camping, then it would have been not a big deal I guess. But the biggest mistake in my eyes is to film these kids. They were mostly kids. Yes, sneakerlovers getting younger and they are the new generation. You can think about it how you like. But we all started young and we all resold pairs in our life. But you should always treat your customers right. If you like to change things, then do it fair and with respect. Making fun of kids how they squeeze themselfs in the shoes or clean their shoes outside of the store is not a good way. Maybe it would have been funny if it would have been announced before and the customers tried to cheat and then doing these things. But using your position as a retail store to dictate your customers to wear the shoes and then making arrogant jokes about them and publish this on social media...this is a NO GO! Just imagine your kid is one of these kids filmed and dissed globally in public on social media. 📷 @larolagosta #reseller #nikeparra #release #berlin
A post shared by Hikmet Sugoer (@hikmetsugoer) on
Part 2 of 2: I clearly dissociate myself from this way of treating customers and this has nothing to do with me and my time at Solebox. Back then we tried to find new ways to support "wearing" customers and avoid selling too much pairs to resellers. What we done in 2009 for example for the New Balane "Finals" Release, we communicated before the release, that everybody wearing a Solebox Collab shoe has first access. This was a dream of picture to see nearly 100 people wearing shoes you made. And all at one place. It was a nice cometogether. We done several releases like this. Mostly with the offer: If you wear them instantly, you get first access and you can skip the line. But we always communicated this upfront. And we never disrespected customers. They pay our bills. No customers = no income = no food. And I like food as you might know. Reselling was and will be always be part of this sneaker thing. We all resell somehow. Some more, some less. Yes, you are right if you say brands should produce more to satisfy the demand. But truely, would you still be interested then if there are enough pairs? There are many great inline products. Great colorways sitting on shelves. They are easy available. There are enough pairs to satisfy everbody. And most of them even nicer than some of the limited products in my eyes. Limited is not always a guarantee for a high demand. But seems the truth lies somewhere between "easy available" and "hard to get". Let us keep this sneakerlove a positive thing. Let us find together new ways to solve these problems. How about this: You as a customer being loyal to your local store. Buying not only hyped and resell products at your store. I am sure your store will find ways to care about you on future releases... Nice weekend to everybody. And sorry to my "EX-Girl Solebox" for posting this. 😘 📷 @fotorgasm #resellers #customers #respect #sneakergame #hikmetsugoer
A post shared by Hikmet Sugoer (@hikmetsugoer) on


In related Parra news, see how people styled the sneaker here, and peep some of the sneaker art it inspired here.

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