THE MAN BEHIND THE BRAND
WORDS BY BARRON BAZEMORE + PRODUCED BY TINA CATHERINE | THUAN TRAN | THAI TRAN | SEBASTIAN JIMENEZ
It has and will always be Tina Catherine’s goal to be the best. From the product we sell to the way we communicate with our customers and everything in between, no matter how big or small, our goal is to be the best. It is because of this mindset that over the past few months Ronnie Fieg, a kid from Queens who in the past decade has changed the landscape of footwear forever, has become one of our closest friends, spawning the creation of this editorial and a collaborative frame set to be unveiled in early July.
While putting this piece together and surveying various acquaintances of the man who now owns Kith, one of the most well respected sneaker and apparel retailers in New York, one singular notion seemed to repeat itself as if directly from the good book. “Ronnie is a hustler.” “That kid is a hustler.” “Ever since I’ve known him, Ronnie’s been a hustler.” No matter how it was said, the message was relayed loud and clear, and it’s not hard to see why. Ever since his high school days, Ronnie Fieg has been determined to do one thing: provide the highest quality goods at an unmatched value. Ronnie also knew that in order to distinguish himself, he needed to create something different that people wouldn’t be able to find elsewhere. Furthermore, and perhaps most importantly, Ronnie knew that in order to sell product he deemed to be of the highest quality, people had to believe they were the highest quality products available, unmatched by anybody, anywhere. That’s hard to do. Incredibly hard. From research, conception, and product development, to branding, marketing, and finally selling product, Ronnie Fieg has almost single-handedly changed the way a multitude of companies approach and cater to their target market, Tina Catherine included.
The technological boom of the past ten years has ushered in a new wave of communication. Social media giants Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram have accumulated billions of users while the ease of accessibility regarding information in the form of cell phones, computers, and tablets, has opened up unlimited opportunities for brands looking to reach potential costumers. This new wave of communication has doomed some companies unable to adapt to the current marketplace, while others have thrived, using the Internet and its capabilities to their every advantage. Kith and Ronnie Fieg undoubtedly belong to the latter group. With over 26,000 Twitter followers combined, extensive online coverage on popular blogs Hypebeast and Highsnobiety just to name a few, and with media coverage ranging from GQ to The Wall Street Journal, Ronnie and his growing company have become the epitome of 21st century entities that fully understand how to attract potential consumers while remaining true to their respective visions along the way.
So how did Ronnie Fieg become The Man Behind The Brand? How did he become one of the most influential style icons in New York, arguably the most fashion-forward city in the world? And how, despite all of his early accomplishments, will he be able to maintain his success? As much as most people would love long detailed answers, the fact of the matter is, there is no answer. There is no formula, no graph, and no application that walks you through the steps of success. There is no book you can read and no movie you can watch that can make anybody be who they want to be. The only real answer to any of the aforementioned questions is that success, first and foremost, is what you make it. Success for some may come in the form of money, while for others it may revolve around family life, or even a commitment to a belief or set of beliefs. At the end of the day, the way we measure success is in no way, shape, or form, universal. It’s a concept that’s subjective and one that plainly enough, Ronnie Fieg has been able to define. For the man behind Kith, success is the pursuit of a dream and the accomplishment of it’s necessary objectives through hard work and persistence. Success is introducing a product into the marketplace that sells because it should sell. It’s the bond he has with his store, his employees, his fans, family, and friends, and most importantly, success means never straying away from those ideals.
Ronnie Fieg is at the forefront of a new generation of young entrepreneurs looking to change the way we view brands. The inclusion of culture and lifestyle into the product or service being offered has made him much more than just another kid from Queens. It’s made him into a guy living out his dream, and by the look of things, he’s quite the dreamer.
Dream on Ronnie, dream on.