Well Made

62 Moving the Rock from Zero to One with Ryan Babenzien, CEO and co-founder of GREATS

Episode Summary

We sit down with GREATS co-founder, Ryan Babenzien to talk about building an enduring shoe brand.

Episode Notes

After leading Entertainment Marketing at Puma and K-Swiss, GREATS co-founder, Ryan Babenzien built his own brand of premium footwear, online. Four years in, Ryan is sharing how GREATS is toeing the line of tradition and trend in retail.

On this episode, Ryan talks about scaling influence (4:16). He shares how finding the razor’s edge in growth is an exercise in brand building (10:54) and managing marketing collaborations tightly (11:30). Ryan explains what all great brands have in common (12:56), and how he found the right wholesale partner in Nordstrom (15:51). He talks about GREATS’ design ethos (18:11) and how classics will always drive volume over trends (21:09) — arguing that hype is the enemy of brand (28:27). He shares how they leverage Single’s Day even when they don’t sell overseas (35:30) and their biggest design learning (36:46). Lastly, Stephan and Ryan evaluate cost per wear (47:11) and Ryan’s own set of “greats” (49:20).

Links and images from this post are on the Lumi Blog.