NEW YORK–(COMMERCIAL WIRE)–reebok, the iconic lifestyle brand; in alliance with yellow brick, the online education platform focused on the Creator Economy; specialist shoe and fashion retailer APB; and National Education and Workforce Nonprofit Jobs for the Future (JFF), today announced the completion of its first collaborative online education and mentoring program. Launched last year, the program worked with 36 people, ages 17 to 20, to develop the relevant knowledge, skills and experience needed to make their way in the athletic footwear industry. The program concludes with the launch of a Reebok sneaker that was designed, produced and marketed by three of the students: Isaac Reeves, Ashley Hamilton and Ben Gass. The product will be available online beginning April 29 at www.apbstore.com and at APB stores in Columbia, Greenville, Charleston, Tallahassee and Jacksonville.
The 36 participants were chosen through a rigorous national submission process that began in the spring of 2021. Once selected, students participated in online instruction that took place weekly for 12 weeks. The pro bono instruction, blended content from the popular Yellowbrick program sneaker essentials course (developed in collaboration with FIT and Complex) with live mentoring from leaders at Reebok and APB. The program spanned sneaker development from concept to market, including design, sales, marketing, and C-to-C retail. All entrants produced a capstone project that included unique sneaker design, production, and retail and merchandising strategies.
“There is a perception in the sneaker industry that the only way to get in is through design channels followed by traditional paths. We wanted to change that belief,” said Sean Finucane, vice president of wholesale for Reebok. “With the support of this program, these talented students now possess valuable experience and portfolio pieces that will help them showcase their talents to the industry, regardless of the path they have taken. We feel honored to have been part of that process.”
As an additional project and opportunity, the three students who submitted the most attractive designs and plans were invited to work together to develop a shoe for production and sale through APB. The selected design came from Isaac “Ikey” Reeves, creative director and artist from Lafayette, Indiana. Two other students, Ashley Hamilton and Ben Gass, were selected for their additional talents and helped run the production and marketing behind the shoe. Hamilton is currently a freshman at Howard University and a prospective Marketing major. Gass is from San Diego, CA, and studies at the University of Oregon in Eugene, OR.
Together, with the guidance of their mentors, the students took the shoe through the final design process and production, while also navigating supply chain challenges fueled by the pandemic. The team developed and executed the marketing plan and creative assets that will drive sales of the shoe. Assets can be viewed here (high resolution available upon request). The net proceeds from the purchases will go towards additional financing for the program, which the partners hope to launch in the coming months.
“We were just amazed at the dedication we saw in these students – they joined sessions every Saturday and handled difficult assignments throughout the week while working or attending school,” said James Whitner, owner and founder of The Whitaker Group, the award-winning . winning retail company that owns APB. “We saw real passion and commitment, and we are extremely happy for these three students.”
“Our course for Sneakers Essentials has been elevated through the work we did with Reebok, APB and JFF,” said Michael Godshall, Yellowbrick’s chief creative director. “Students were able to interact directly with experts from Reebok and APB who represent all facets of the industry. We are immensely proud of what all the participants achieved. We look forward to working with our partners on future career guidance programs.”
“At JFF, we partner with innovators who are creating new models and solutions for social and economic advancement,” said Kristina Francis, CEO of JFFLabs, a team that unites JFF’s traditional field leadership with new relationships, practices and models. commercial. “This Yellowbrick program works not only because it helps people build skills through work-based learning and career exploration, but it also makes an investment in the long-term growth of students through mentoring, social capital and network connections that allow students to access and maintain careers in high-growth sectors like Creative.”
For more information about the program, visit:
Reebok is an iconic, pioneering lifestyle brand with a rich fitness heritage dating back to 1895. Founded on athletic footwear that changed the direction of sport, Reebok continues to introduce innovations that drive the industry forward. Today, Reebok stands at the intersection of activity, lifestyle and sport, offering high-quality, modern styles to suit every occasion. The brand strives to provide every athlete, from professionals to enthusiasts, with the opportunity, products and inspiration to reach their full potential. Currently, Reebok operates in 80 countries with approximately 400 independent stores around the world.
For more information, visit Reebok.com or the latest news at News.Reebok.com. Discover Reebok on Instagram, Twitter and Youtube.
About Jobs for the Future
Jobs for the Future (JFF) is a national nonprofit organization that drives the transformation of the American workforce and education systems to achieve equitable economic advancement for all. www.jff.org
Yellowbrick is a world leader in online education for the creator economy and career exploration in the arts, media, sports and entertainment industries. The company develops exciting and accessible online programs in collaboration with top brands and world-renowned universities. Many key influencers in media and culture participate as instructors on the platform; including some of the world’s top entertainment industry professionals connected through Yellowbrick’s recent acquisition of Animation Mentor. Backed by the Sony Innovation Fund, University Ventures, Condé Nast and others, the company’s mission is to help a new generation of talent discover, pursue and advance in careers that are aligned with the things they love. More information at www.yellowbrick.co
All Points Bulletin (APB) is one of the banners of The Whitaker Group, the award-winning retail group owned by fashion entrepreneur James Whitner, winner of the 2020 Footwear News Retailer of the Year award. With locations in Tallahassee, Charleston, Columbia, Greenville and Jacksonville, APB offers an evolving youth consumer experience and brand variety, connecting sneaker and apparel brands with youth culture.