NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Reebok, the iconic lifestyle brand; in partnership with yellow brick, the online education platform focused on the creator economy; specialist sneaker and fashion retailer APB; and national education and employment association Future Jobs (JFF), today announced the completion of their first collaborative online education and mentorship program. Launched last year, the program worked with 36 people, aged 17 to 20, to develop the knowledge, skills and experience needed to enter the sneaker industry. The program ends with the launch of a Reebok sneaker which was designed, produced and marketed by three of the students: Isaac Reeves, Ashley Hamilton and Ben Gass. The product will be available online starting 4.29 at www.apbstore.com and in-store 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 completed online instruction that ran weekly for 12 weeks. The pro bono instruction, combined content of the popular Yellowbrick program Essential sneakers course (developed in collaboration with FIT and Complex) with live mentorship from Reebok and APB executives. The program covered sneaker development from concept to market, including design, sales, marketing and C-to-C retail. All participants produced a final project that included unique design, production, retail and go-to-market strategies.
“There is a perception in the sneaker industry that the only way in is through design channels pursued through traditional routes – we wanted to overturn that belief,” said Sean Finucane, vice president, wholesale. at Reebok. “With the support of this program, these gifted students now have valuable experience and portfolio elements that will help them demonstrate their talents to the industry, regardless of the path they have taken. We are honored to have participated in this process. »
As a bonus project and opportunity, the three students who submitted the most compelling designs and blueprints 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 future marketing major. Gass is originally from San Diego, CA and attends the University of Oregon in Eugene, OR.
Together, with guidance from their mentors, the students led the sneaker through the final design process and into production, while coping with pandemic-fueled supply chain challenges. The team developed and executed the marketing plan and creative assets that will drive sales of the shoe. The assets can be seen here (high resolution available on request). Net proceeds from the purchases will go towards additional funding for the program, which the partners hope to launch in the coming months.
“We were simply amazed by the dedication we saw from these learners – joining sessions every Saturday and handling challenging tasks during the week while working or attending school,” said James Whitner, Owner and Founder. of The Whitaker Group, the award-winning retail company that owns APB. “We’ve seen real passion and commitment, and we’re extremely happy for these three students.”
“Our Sneakers Essentials course has been enhanced through the work we’ve done with Reebok, APB and JFF,” said Michael Godshall, chief creative director at Yellowbrick. “Students were able to interact directly with Reebok and APB experts representing all facets of the industry. We are immensely proud of what all participants have accomplished. We look forward to working with our partners on future career path programs. »
“At JFF, we partner with innovators who create new models and solutions for social and economic progress,” said Kristina Francis, executive director of JFFLabs, a team that connects traditional JFF leadership on the ground with new relationships, practices and business models. “This Yellowbrick program not only works because it helps people build skills through work-based learning and career exploration, but it also invests in long-term student growth through mentorship, social capital, and network connections that allow learners to access and sustain careers in high-growth sectors like creative. »
To learn more about the program, visit:
Reebok is an iconic pioneering lifestyle brand with a rich and storied fitness heritage dating back to 1895. Founded on athletic footwear that changed the direction of sport, Reebok continues to introduce innovations that propel the industry forward. Today, Reebok stands at the intersection of activity, lifestyle and sport, offering modern, high-quality styles that fit any occasion. The brand strives to provide every athlete, from professionals to enthusiasts, the opportunity, the products and the inspiration to reach their full potential. Reebok currently operates in 80 countries with approximately 400 independent stores worldwide.
For more information, visit Reebok.com or, for the latest news, News.Reebok.com. Discover Reebok on Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.
About Jobs of the Future
Jobs for the Future (JFF) is a national nonprofit organization that promotes the transformation of America’s workforce and education systems to achieve equitable economic progress for all. www.jff.org
Yellowbrick is a global 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 media and cultural influencers 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 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 career paths aligned with the things they love. . Learn more at www.yellowbrick.co
About the APB
All Points Bulletin (APB) is one of the banners of The Whitaker Group, the award-winning retail group owned by fashion entrepreneur James Whitner, recipient of the Retailer Of The Year 2020 award by Footwear News. With locations in Tallahassee, Charleston, Columbia, Greenville and Jacksonville, APB offers an experience and assortment of brands for the evolving young consumer, connecting sneaker and apparel brands with youth culture.