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For Brian Reid, founder of Osiris, incredible sneakers are not a commodity. Each pair is a piece of art. And to continually find inspiration for his art and craft, he travels the world, watching, listening, and most importantly — skating.

It’s the only way he has discovered to stay true to the “16-year-old” at heart so he can continue to connect with his customers even at age 40. The beginnings of the 20-year-old brand were humble, built on the trust of a small, founding team, and a “just go for it” mentality. There to help build a solid foundation was a trusted advisor, thanks to one of the founders’ family members. Even so, Reid knows that every company has a honeymoon phase and should be prepared for the slump that inevitably comes after several years as the hot new thing. There will always be a next hot thing after you, so as a brand you have to be prepared, ready to find new ways to stay fresh. It is storytelling and necessity that intersects with each Osiris design, like the stash pocket created for professional skaters constantly on the go, or the collaborations with local artists to express themselves with very few limitations. And to keep the brand accessible, Osiris doesn’t shy away from big box retailers like Journeys or Zumiez. Keeping contact with consumers is a higher priority than buying into any myths about big-box stores being completely impersonal; in fact, Reid has been able to work closely with top leaders of these stores and “cool buyers” to make quick, smart decisions together and better understand the user.

Key takeaways

  • It takes a great team to build a great product: Brian Reid credits his four partners and a savvy mentor at the start.
  • Every brand has a honeymoon phase – founders can age but their audience may not. Stay fresh by understanding the individual customer.
  • If you want to stay 16 at heart, don’t let age stop you from activities you love — and let those things speak to the products you create.
  • Starting with lower expectations can lead to great business decisions and outcome. Let the right people dictate the direction.
  • Create a product that creates community; brings different people together with common passion instead of treating the product as as commodity.
  • Necessity leads to great ideas = stash pocket.
  • Great design through storytelling; letting local artists create designs without any input or judgment from the business.
  • Trend forecasting and traveling + quick execution keeps ideas fresh. Brian can design while traveling, and have a prototype ready when he returns.
  • Bigger chains being oblivious is a myth; they also need market research and forecasting and have “cool people” as buyers.

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