My friend Nathan West, a mega-talented photographer out of NYC, came down and took some great shots of SXSneaker Fest! And check out the Sneak Attack blog for even more! Or check out the Sneak Attack Austin Facebook fan page.
Cassette Kids came through all the way from Australia
The shop was packed with fans.
Plenty of my friends came through.
Cool kids came...
Sneak Attack was there, duh!
Letting Up Despite Great Faults played two great sets before heading back to LA
Doublethink came from Connecticut to belt out some tunes
Our socks were the happiest
D.C.'s finest, Casper Bangs, rocked our eardrums.
The Spring Standards ushered in the new season.
Danny Ross was a fan favorite.
SPEAK was loud and clear.
Sanctuary Printshop was well represented
The Static Jacks were gassed after a jam-packed set.
And all those hours listening to bands on MySpace paid off!
I don't watch Fox News. No, I'm not a raging liberal, it's just that that fear-mongering, Obama-bashing excuse for a news network has done such a terrible job of building off of the great legacy FOX created with Black America. What's so weird about the whole thing is that Rupert Murdoch, the billionaire behind News Corp., the parent company for both Fox and Fox News, is somehow responsible for giving us the network that brought In Living Color, New York Undercover, Living Single and Martin, four shows that catered directly to Blacks yet his news network does the complete opposite...it'd be like B.E.T. hiring Ryan Seacrest to host 106 & Park...
Don't get me wrong, I love 24 with Kiefer Sutherland and I know Fox News does a good job to balance out the lefties at MSNBC, but when I look back at these shows, it doesn't make sense if I'm putting myself in Rupert Murdoch's shoes. It seems pretty obvious that he used Black America in the mid-'90s to build his empire in order to support his conservative political stances via Fox News in the 2000s.
I've always prided myself on two things in particular: 1) I don't back away from lofty goals and 2) I follow through on my ambitions. This past SXSW was not only a testament to both of those qualities, but also a major test.
Pop-up at Clive Bar.
Last year I moved back to Austin with savings from three-plus years in D.C. and within three months I'd ditched my plans to get a house and decided to open my own business. Sneak Attack was born partially out of my life-long interest in fashion and a childhood spent dreaming of one-day having the resources to afford the best sneakers in the world, but also out of my desire to do something to impact the culture of Austin...I wanted to fully join the creative class and drive this city toward a more complete urban style and way of life.
At last year's SXSW, I spent countless hours researching sneakers, interviewing people wearing the best of them and finding out everything I could from noon to 5am five days in a row to lay a foundation for the business plan that became Sneak Attack. This year at SXSW I put that plan to work.
Letting Up Despite Great Faults at Sneak Attack.
No, I'm not sharing any trade secrets, but I would like to share my intent for this past SXSW with regard to Sneak Attack.
I get bored with people who do the same thing over and over and over. When I was going around Austin talking to people in the retail industry about my vision for Sneak Attack and the pop-ups I'd be doing, I got a lot of these responses, "well...I don't know...the owner has been doing this for a long time and usually doesn't do stuff like that". Basically it was their way of saying two things: 1) they were stagnant and complacent and 2) they were scared to take risks.
If I learned anything in D.C. it's that the people who take risks are the people who enact real change. The stagnant folks sit around and complain about what those other people are calling change (sound familiar?).
So I approached this SXSW willing to take risks and fail in order to learn. I took every cent to my name and created South by Sneaker Fest, a mini-fest in my store that lasted throughout SXSW - Interactive, Film and Music - and drove Coast to Coast, the day party at Clive Bar last Friday. Needless to say, shit ain't cheap. I also doubled the Sneak Attack inventory.
It wasn't all fun and games this year, that's for sure.
Starting Saturday, March 13 and going all the way through Sunday, March 22, I had some of my absolute favorite up-and-coming artists and bands perform in my shop including The Soldier Thread from Austin, DJ Digg (Austin), David Dallas from New Zealand, Letting Up Despite Great Faults from LA, Tje Austin (also from Austin), and fell in love with some bands I'd never seen live including La Guerrila (Austin), Eagle Pritchard Murray Band (Austin), The Spring Standards (New York) and DJ Erik (Chicago). This was done not only to increase business, but also to mix it up for Austin...too often we limit ourselves to what we expect...Aces for hip-hop, Mohawk for indie, South Congress for shopping...but why not branch out and stumble into something great off the beaten path?
So without divulging all the details of how SXSW went for Sneak Attack, let me share some highlights.
1. I had some sick bands play in the shop that would never get the chance to play in sneaker boutiques in other place in the world because they don't rap. This includes The Bright Light Social Hour from Austin, TX, Cassette Kids from Sydney, Australia and DD/MM/YYYY from Toronto, Canada.
2. Sneak Attack successfully implemented the Tom Windish strategy of working the fringes of your customer base...we sold shoes to women in their 40s, teenagers, people from Europe and guys who normally wear boots and sandals...
3. I had the pleasure of working with some amazing people including the GM and staff of Clive Bar, the guys behind Southside Sanctuary, the staff at Red Fez, some great bands and managers including the guys at Playing in Traffic Records.
4. We worked with a dream team of sponsors including the newly-launched Deep Eddy Vodka, Jamie Marx Co., Happy Socks (yay!), Austin Art Garage, Apothecary Cafe & Wine Bar, Austin Convention & Visitors Bureau, TheBLVDMag.com and Hella Tight.
5. I still managed to see some other great shows on Friday and Saturday night at Lustre Pearl (Broken Bells) and Beauty Bar (Craze).
Amanda, myself, Ashley (my gf) and Tje Austin at Clive
6. In hearing from the bands who loved the venue and sound quality, the customers who left with socks, shoes or shirts that they'll now have a story about, and the random SXSWers who came to check out some music, I learned that Sneak Attack played at least a minor, supporting role in making this year's SXSW memorable for a few thousand people.