The official story of: Nike
Most people have heard of Phil Knight a middle distance runner who turned selling shoes out of his car into a footwear empire. The business started as a small distribution base selling shoes out of the back of his car alongside Bill Bowerman. They were both athletes who had a natural born love for sport, in fact Bill became the coach at the University of Oregon and that is how they met.
Whilst Knight competed in Bowerman’s track and field team they became great friends with a great common interest: sport. On the side Bowerman was experimenting with shoe creation at home trying to design the perfect running shoe.
Knight completed his business degree at Uiversity and attended graduate school in California at Stanford University. In 1962 he received his Master Degree in Business, and shortly after rewarded himself with a trip to Japan where he discovered Oniksuka Tiger shoes. Knight found they were built with a very high level of quality and immediately ordered a large shipment and began his business at the time called Blue Ribbon Sports.
After both reconvening back in the states they decided to form a partnership at Blue Ribbon and contributed $500 of their own money into the business and towards their dream of creating the perfect running shoe. Bowerman continued his coaching job and served as the designer man of Blue Ribbon, whilst Knight handled the business side of the company.
In 1971 after the immediate success of their shoe the ‘Cortez’ (still a popular seller today) the company had already made $800,000 in that year. They began their focus of creating shoes and in 1972 renamed the company Nike. By 1984 the company sales has hit in excess of $920 million dollars they hired Michael Jordan as their ambassador ad introduced the ‘Just do it’ campaign which is still their slogan today. Then as they say the rest is history.
- Eastside Co Collaborator