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Entrepreneurship Essay

2552 words - 11 pages

The Reebok shoe company is like a streaky jump shooter; when they are hot they are hot, but when they are not nobody is interested. This has been a way of life for the Reebok brand since its inception. They wow the sneaker industry one year, just to turn around and lay an egg the next.

The Reebok brand got its beginnings back in 1958 when it branched out as a sister company to JW Foster and Sons. Beginning in 1895, JW Foster and Sons started to manufacture shoes and sell them all over the United Kingdom. Even though they never garnered much attention, they were successful enough to be worn by the athletes in the 1924 Summer Olympics.

Then in 1958, Foster’s grandsons ...view middle of the document...

5 million in sales; and this was all done by selling simple track shoes.

In 1982, the company made a move that took the sneaker industry by surprise, and sent sales through the roof. Reebok introduced the first athletic shoe for women. This move helped Reebok grab the majority of the market share in the early 1980’s
Then in 1989, Reebok introduced the Pump to the basketball world. These shoes were designed specifically with basketball in mind. The shoe used an air bladder which could be inflated by a small pump that was located on the tongue of the shoe. The pump was in the shape of a basketball, and when pushed it would inflate the bladder so that the shoe would conform tightly around the ankle. This shoe was designed to take on the “Nike Air”, and debuted with a sticker price of $170; nearly double the price of other basketball shoes. But despite the huge price difference Reebok had a hit. Over a four year period they sold over 20 million pairs worldwide.

The history of Reebok in the sneaker industry
These enormous sales numbers were aided by Boston Celtic rookie Dee Brown in the 1991 All-Star weekend Slam Dunk contest. Brown came out for the competition sporting the black, white, and orange Pumps. In a moment that will forever be remembered by basketball fans, before Brown took off for his final dunk he leaned over and pumped up his Reeboks. After throwing down the contest clinching dunk (covering his eyes with his arm) he bent forward and deflated his pumps. The crowd went wild, and the Reebok Pumps gained instant notoriety as kids everywhere felt like this sneaker could take their game to the game level.

But just as quickly as it took off, the Pumps began to fade out of the public eye. This left Reebok without a number one seller, and scrambling for another big break through.

As sales continued to decline throughout the 90’s, Reebok was looking for a way to regain a share of the market that was being dominated by Nike. After numerous efforts failed to produce results, Reebok decided to look for endorsements as a way to increase brand awareness.

In 1996, they pegged NBA newcomer Allen Iverson as a target. From 1996 to 2000, Iverson and Reebok had a lot of success promoting the brand both on and off the court. With Iverson quickly becoming an NBA superstar, his shoe which was known as “The Answer” was selling at a fast pace and helping to bring Reebok back to the forefront of the industry. In 2001, Reebok made a huge commitment to Iverson by signing him to a life long contract which guarantees that he sports the brand until his days in the NBA are over.

Then in 2005, during NBA All-Star weekend Reebok introduced the new ATR (Above the Rim) Pump. This shoe is based off of the same technology as the original Pump, but this time the pump is located on the outer ankle of the shoe. It again allows for the athlete to get a perfect fit. During the 2005 All-Star game, NBA superstars Allen Iverson and Yao Ming showcased the ATR...

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