Joe and Jeff Foster created their own running shoe company in 1958, borrowing equipment and leasing a dilapidated factory, which doubled as a home for Joe and his wife. They began trading as Mercury shoes, but copyright issues forced a name change. They picked Reebok — the name is Afrikaans for the grey rhebok, a type of African antelope.
In the 1960s, the competition was fierce as Adidas owned the European market. So, Joe set his sights on the American market and the country’s growing obsession with fitness & running.
In this episode of Chatter That Matters, Joe describes banging on the American market door ten times before getting a foothold. As orders started to come in, he began hearing about the new fitness craze in California called aerobics, championed by Jane Fonda. Joe pivoted the business to create gear for women, and in doing so, caught his two biggest competitors — Nike and Adidas —flat-footed. Reebok passed its competitors in sales, and the only way for them to catch up was to acquire him. In 2005, Adidas bought the company for $3.8 billion.
Para-athlete and President of Power Hockey Canada Meghan Hines joins the show to discuss why sports matter.
Chatter That Matters is hosted by the Marketing Hall of Legends and the Canadian Marketing and PR Hall of Fame Inductee Tony Chapman. Tony wants to counter the storm of negativity and a growing sense of impossibility by sharing true stories of possibility and positivity. Stories of people who make things happen, despite today’s challenging circumstances. In doing so, he hopes their life lessons inspire others to do more and to be more. RBC is the presenting sponsor.
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Chatter That Matters: At the Launch of the Founder’s Journey, Bryan Baeumler Shares his own Entrepreneurial Path
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