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What’s to Come at SoleSavy: January – April 2022

author
DP

My vision for SoleSavy has always been to deliver an end-to-end experience centered around community that has everything you need in your sneaker journey in one place. From information, release dates, and discussions, to buying at release or on restocks, to post-release experiences through peer-to-peer sales (assists, trades, buy/sell).

That means content, community, point of sale and marketplace come together in one. I find the industry is fragmented, especially as newcomers and veterans try to find their place in the ecosystem. Unfortunately, a lot of that right now is centered around mass reselling. Your membership is part of building a better future in sneakers for yourself and the generations to follow. SoleSavy is a few more months away from delivering the foundation to a complete experience for members and that’s what this update is about.

Before I dive into what’s next, I want to do a quick reflection on what we did well this past year and what we could’ve done better:

What we did right:

  • Build technology + new product to improve the member experience.
  • Community building as we grew the overall membership.
  • Develop partnerships and relationships with key brands and organizations.
  • Donate and give back to our communities (over $100,000!).
  • Drive additional member value outside of buying sneakers.
  • The knowledge, training, and information provided are industry-leading.

What we could’ve done better:

  • Release new tech features quicker and improve them even quicker.
  • Launch COLLECT on time.
  • Consuming the information we provide members isn’t always seamless.
  • Diversify our release coverage outside of the Big 3 (Nike, adidas, Jordan Brand).
  • Focused and consistent showcase of sale, discount and GR product.
  • More always-on member discounts and promotions.

Our focus going into 2022:

  • Growing the engineering and product team by 10 new staff by the end of February so we can iterate on Drop Alerts, Assist, Collect, Slack, etc. quicker and faster.
  • Build more technology to make consuming the information we provide EASY to digest and utilize. Saving you time is key!
  • Grow the SoleSavy brand through collaborations, partnerships, and activations to bring more value to your membership.
  • Simply put: also have as much fun as we all can. We will all look back at the last 2 years as incredibly challenging because of everything going on in the world. I want SoleSavy to be a part of the positive memories you have of this insane stretch we are living through.

Slack x SoleSavy

On January 10th we will complete our Slack migration to grid and build our “city” of communities (as I like to call it). We’ll connect communities to each other using city channels and size channels to help open your networks and relationships within SoleSavy. I want to be thoughtful and careful with this, so just know we are thinking through this carefully. Once the migration is complete you can expect to see a lot of improvements and features come to your experience in Slack as we open up their entire platform for us to build upon. We’ll have more detailed information on how this will all go down sometime next week! From there, more long-term updates from our partnership with Slack will come next.


Release Dashboard

We are a few weeks out from releasing our release calendar and dashboard for members. I want this to be the industry-leading calendar for release dates (confirmed, rumored, and pending). I have the data and info from brands directly but normally we only act upon it one week at a time.  This is the start and part of my commitment to improving how you consume our information. From release dates, guides, raffles, breaking news, etc, it needs to be easier to keep up with outside of just Slack updates. Especially these days when there are so many changes. We have an incredible wealth of knowledge and info here and how you interact with it needs to be super simple and very fast. There is a ton of room for improvement around all of this and the majority of our internal resources are being put towards this in the new year.


Drop Alerts v2 and Assist v2

Both of these features are awesome and have been a welcome addition to the tools at your disposal but they also have room for improvement. We are currently prioritizing Drop Alerts which will see store preferences, size, and country improvements made to limit notifications and improve speeds. Assist we will build upon after, focusing on what we can do in browser for speed and accuracy. Both are key products to the sneaker journey and your success on release day.



Member Dashboard

If you have not logged in on the website in a while, check out https://my.solesavy.com. There are lots of improvements and new features coming to help new and current members stay in the loop with what we’re building and how to prepare for drops. This will also get integrated into our app as well but for now, it is web only.

 


COLLECT by SoleSavy Beta v1

We’re two months behind on Collect due to some challenges with Apple and also wanting to improve upon the order/offer screens. This is the first marketplace of any kind that does all three aspects (buy/sell/trade) and in turn, it can get complicated when juggling all of it. We will be rolling out Beta access to select members in the new year, and then to all members by mid-February. Buy, sell, and trade your hearts out with no fees to SoleSavy! You can learn more about the platform here: https://solesavy.com/collect.

COLLECT by SoleSavy Beta v2

I want to fast follow with a new version of Collect by April. This version we will launch in February is the beta and foundation of the platform and I’m super fcking excited to build upon it. Once everyone has had a few weeks with the app we will take feedback on ideas and features to build next, prioritizing the communities needs. We are working with the incredible team at Latecheckout on Collect and have a team dedicated to this full time.

 


Hiring at SoleSavy

We currently have 8 job postings open with another 5-8 expected in the new year. The primary focus is on engineering and product. If you know anyone or that person may be you, please apply on Linkedin or DM @DP on Slack! We’re committed to building a world-class platform for members and this is a part of making that happen. Take a peek at Linkedin to see what’s posted now:

 


Doernbecher

As most of you know, we are the presenting sponsor of OHSU’s Doernbecher Freestyle 17 that is happening virtually on February 25th. I’m really proud we’re involved in this and we’ll be looping members into the experience as much as we can but for now, catch up on the program here: https://ohsufoundation.org/community-programs/doernbecher-freestyle/


Portland Trail Blazers vs Golden State Warriors – Feb 24

Pending things are safe, we have a big activation and in-arena take over happening in Portland for their home game vs the Golden State Warriors on Feb 24th. If you are in the area, keep that night open ;). You can also expect to see the above Kicks Cam at select Philadelphia 76ers games, big member events, and at NBA All-Star Weekend…


All-Star Weekend – Cleveland

As of right now, we are still planning to go forward with ASW. For the sake of this update let’s assume the NBA allows it to go down. What you can expect is 3 days and nights worth of fun. Activations, live hoops, brands, 2k lounge, podcasts, panels, etc, during the day. At night we will have performances by DJs and popular artists. ASW will be 100% free to members and a +1.

Re: hotels/accommodation. The NBA has everything within 25 minutes of downtown Cleveland reserved. They will release their holds 30 days prior (Jan 17) for the rooms they don’t want. We are in talks with a few hotels + and apartment buildings (Airbnb style) on discount rates for members, stay tuned.


A New SoleSavy Video Series

In January we are shooting the pilot for a brand new short video series. We’ve locked in our host (you will definitely know his name) and he’s currently planning to shoot with his first guest in the new year. Once the pilot is done we’ll be looking for a distribution partner and go into production for a full season. At some point, we’ll let members watch the pilot, likely in late February to give you a sneak peek. I’m really excited to see this come to life with an awesome team behind it and for us to contribute a series to the culture that tells a great story.


SS3 Sneaker Project

The community-designed sneaker (shout out to the 180 of you participating!) is almost ready to be unveiled to all members. A tease of the back heel pullover is above ;). It’s built on a Vibram sole with a custom-designed upper made by the community. The first sample will be ready in a week’s time; once we confirm the materials and shape is all correct we will show it to everyone and take pre-orders. Expect this shoe to come in the $200-$250 range and ship in April (we are taking zero profit from sales).  It’s really exciting to see this come to life as a group!


SS4 Sneaker Project

This shoe is built from the ground up by a talented duo with the guidance of myself and our VP of Content and Communications Marco. We wanted to create a shoe that had everyday appeal and comfort but told our story as a community. Gemo Wong and Justin Taylor are both former Jordan Brand footwear designers with decades of experience. They helped design the custom sole (as seen above) and the upper. We’ve been working on this with them for 6 months now. It’s an awesome design that is 6 weeks away from being unveiled at All-Star.



Sneakers with the Philadelphia 76ers and Portland Trail Blazers

As part of our partnership with both teams, we are co-creating a custom-built Air Force 1 (76ers) and Blazer Mid (Blazers) that will launch in the Spring (using authentic brand materials). The shoes will be made available in limited quantities (76 and 77) and only be available to members, players, and charity raffle winners. We are saving 20 pairs of each for members to win for free! We are currently targeting March 10th and March 30th to release these two pairs.



Web3 / Social Tokens / NFT

I am a big believer that the future of the internet is community-based and evolving into the next era being dubbed Web3. Right now there is a ton of nonsense happening in the space because it is so early in the evolution of the technology. You will see us thoughtfully participate in the space through 2022 and take a “walk before we run” type approach. I’ve said it before but social tokens, DAO-like governance, and overall blockchain technology can help make this community and platform even more. I want to reward you all for your participation in the community + help define what comes next. Some of this will mean nothing to you right now but don’t worry, we’re taking it slow and will educate you along the way!



Tier Zero Podcast with DP

As my life has changed this year and I juggle a 7-month-old and 50 employees, it has been hard for me to get my thoughts down like I used to. Writing is too time-consuming for me and I’m not great at it, but sitting down for a podcast…that I can do! I’m committing time in my week starting in the new year for a new podcast series I am doing. I want to spend 10-15 minutes a few times a week digesting and recapping what’s happening in the industry. I see and hear a lot from all perspectives (consumers, brands, and retailers) and want to share that knowledge with you all.


The SoleSavy Store

The store has always been run as a fun value add for members and we’ve contributed where we can with new products. We buy for retail and sell back for retail but it’s not a sustainable and consistent model for us to continue on.  Right now we’re evaluating how best we move forward with the store through brand relationships and inventory management. Currently, it ships out of my house/my parent’s house and me or my mom ship (sorry, that’s why it takes so long!). I want to take this up to another level and hire staff for it but first, we need a proper plan and suppliers. Jason Markk was the start (our first account!), and we will open discussions up with Converse and New Balance next. Accessory-type brands won’t be an issue for us but big brands are another beast.

I have been speaking with a lot of store owners I respect and the feedback I have gotten is that we shouldn’t become a full retail experience and sell directly for the brands (the why of that is a loaded question which I can save for a podcast). I think a balance will be needed but their advice was to go out and become a collaborator with those brands instead. I sure would love to see us design a shoe for Nike or New Balance, do our own Medicom x Bearbrick collab and clothing with someone like SoleSavy member Richie Le. We’ll see where this takes us but it is on the long-term roadmap.


Member Events

Covid is always a concern but we are looking to do more and more events in the Spring. A mix of big activations like in Los Angeles (400 guests), combined with smaller events (100 in NYC) and intimate member get-togethers (30 in Portland). We have some plans in the works for member-led local events (we can’t be everywhere) in which we provide a budget for members to get together in local areas where we have 10+ of you. Go to a movie as a group, or a bar, enjoy some food and beer, it’s on us!


Community Ambassador Program

Recognition and empowerment within our communities are key and the team is working on this as we speak. I expect to roll something out in January where each community has its ambassadors who represent the voice of their community and help us in ensuring it’s a thriving place to be!


There is a lot more…

I want to do more and do it quicker but what I have learned as a new father and first-time CEO is that having patience and focusing on key elements one at a time is important. I want to give you all the world of features and improvements at once but we’ll focus on the plan for the next 4 months first.

Just know we are always looking to improve and bring more value to your membership.

The above is the focus to start the year!

– dp

quotes

Sole Savy is unreal! With a busy schedule it’s hard to keep up on shoes, and the group keeps me up to date on releases, tips on how to manually cop, and a marketplace with killer deals from fellow like minded collectors. It’s changed the sneaker game for me!

@SoleSavy is the truth. They've helped me cop kicks I never would've imagined getting at retail. Members always willing to assist on drops too. And most of all, a REAL community of REAL sneakerheads. These guys should be the gold standard for sneaker communities! #LifetimeMember

My membership paid for itself three fold by being solely responsible for my union 4’s, mesh sacai waffles, sacai blazers, court purple aj1s, glow in the dark yeezy 350s, travis scott lows (which I traded to get desert ore ow’s), air max 1 londons, bc3’s for way under retail etc.

Can't say enough about SS. The stellar help with copping shoes is a given but it's the community that makes it extra special. Hands down one of the best decisions I made as a wannabe sneakerhead.

The community of sneakerheads and resources available to help manually cop are great and really will help you get more Ws. The Zoom calls for hyped drops like Union Jordan 4 only adds to the camaraderie while providing real time instruction

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