Biz-Life: The Sneaker Shack

Biz-Life: The Sneaker Shack

Biz-Life is a series where we highlight local businesses, big or small, giving insight into how they operate and succeed in our economy. By interviewing those behind it all, we gain an understanding of pros, cons and what it takes to have a successful business in SA. The bonus is Shelflife get to highlight businesses that we believe in!

We got the chance ask the team behind The Sneaker Shack some questions about how they got started, the crazy sneakers they get to see and more! Check it out below! 

 When did The Sneaker Shack start as a brand? What’s the history behind it? 

The Sneaker Shack was founded in 2016 with the first store opening in the Maboneng Precinct of Johannesburg.

While studying in Boston, USA - I decided to spend my last spring break week on the West Coast, in LA. It’s in LA where I met really great people with a love for outdoors, hiking, staying active and generally hyper-conscious about their wellness. What was super interesting where the types of sneakers they were using for these activities, sneakers that we would consider in the “luxury” category.
This was the beginning of the conceptualisation stage of The Sneaker Shack, the idea being - connecting people to a reliable sneaker cleaning service as they need it.

 What sets you guys apart from the crowd? 

The Sneaker Shack has built itself as an active lifestyle brand in every sense. Built by a team that is really passionate about South African outdoors and active living, we were able to build a brand South Africans from all walks of life can really identify with and build a lasting relationship with.

 Where do you have locations in South Africa? Where is your HQ based? 

The Sneaker Shack currently has Four locations in the north of Johannesburg with another three opening later this year - one of them being in Durban.
We also have a partnership with Virgin Active SA that we are really excited about. We have introduced an in-club Sneaker Shack at the Virgin Active in Claremont with more on the horizon.

 What are some of the craziest sneakers customers have brought to you? 

We’re privileged to have Black Coffee as one of our clients, I think his collections must be the most impressive we have seen.

 Any impressive before and after shots to show off? 

There have been many ‘miracles’ performed - in this case it would have to be post music festivals. (See the Instagram for more miracles.)

 Which rules do you think any brand trying to make it in South Africa should follow? 

Carve your own path, anything less than that is a long walk to failure.

 How big is your team? Do you do everything in-house? 

We currently have a team of 18 across all the branches. And yes all in-house.

 How important do you think marketing is for a brand? 

Marketing is good but a great product or service experience will always tell a better story.

 What do you think about the sneaker culture in SA? How does the scene differ between Cape Town and Johannesburg in your opinion? 

Sneaker culture is definitely on the rise across the board. A true sneaker head will tell you that the Mecca is still in Cape Town.

 What are some of The Sneaker Shack’s highlights as a brand? 

The moment South African athletes started using us was definitely a proud moment for us and a huge turning point. The most important highlights still have to be on a daily basis - putting smiles onto our customers faces, that really is satisfying.

 What are the biggest hurdles/setbacks you have to deal with? 

There have been too many to mention. Early days of negotiating with landlords to believe in a concept the have never heard of before was one that really stands out and one the we have learnt the most from.

 Any exciting plans for the future we should look out for? 

Right now, we’re just really excited about growing our footprint and getting closer to our customers.

 Any advice to those wanting to stand out in your industry? 

Like in any other industry, you have to be doing it for the right reasons. Have a purpose! The rest should take care of itself.

Check out The Sneaker Shack in Johannesburg or Cape Town - see their full list of locations here. Pick-up and delivery options available with a massive selection of cleaning treatments to choose from. 

Follow them @TheSneakerShackSA


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