When you step into Kicking It ATX, you're not just entering a sneaker store – you're immersing yourself in a culture. That's because Kicking It is a "sneaker social," as co-founder Greg Grovey likes to call it. But how did this unique concept come about, and how did it attract the attention of NFL star Earl Thomas?
The story of Kicking It begins in 2004, when Greg moved to Austin to attend Huston-Tillotson University with the goal of building a career in marketing. He was already a sneaker enthusiast, having discovered his love for kicks in 8th grade, but he had yet to find a way to turn that passion into a business. That changed when he landed a part-time job with NiceKicks.com, one of the most influential sneaker blogs of its time.
Image via kvue.com
As Greg worked his way up the ranks at Nice Kicks, he honed his skills in marketing, e-commerce, and community building. He also built relationships with sneakerheads, influencers, and brands across the industry. When the opportunity came to manage the Nice Kicks retail store, Greg jumped at it. For over six years, he oversaw the store's operations and helped it grow into a destination for sneaker fans from all over.
But Greg's entrepreneurial spirit was still burning bright. He knew that he wanted to create something of his own, something that would combine his love for sneakers with his marketing expertise and his passion for community. That's when he decided to team up with Earl Thomas, who shared his vision of a sneaker social that would be more than just a store.
Earl, of course, is no stranger to success on and off the field. As a safety for the Seattle Seahawks, he's been named to the Pro Bowl six times and won a Super Bowl. But he's also a savvy businessman who's invested in startups and real estate projects. When Earl heard about Greg's plan for Kicking It, he saw an opportunity to support a fellow entrepreneur and contribute to a project he believed in.
Together, Greg and Earl built Kicking It ATX from the ground up. They scouted locations, hired a team, and designed a space that would embody the sneaker social concept. They also leveraged their networks and platforms to generate buzz and attract customers before the store even opened. And when Kicking It finally launched in 2019, it was an instant hit.
Today, Kicking It ATX is not just a physical store, but also an e-commerce destination that ships worldwide. The store's website offers a wide selection of sneakers and streetwear, as well as exclusive collaborations and releases. But more than that, it's a hub for sneaker culture, community, and entrepreneurship. Kicking It's social media channels, email newsletter (the Kickback), and events keep fans engaged and informed, while also providing a platform for up-and-coming creatives and brands.
So what can e-commerce entrepreneurs learn from Kicking It's story? For one, the power of community and culture cannot be underestimated. By creating a brand that resonates with a specific audience and fostering a sense of belonging, you can build a loyal customer base and generate organic growth. Second, partnerships can be a game-changer. By teaming up with someone who shares your vision and brings complementary skills and resources to the table, you can achieve more than you ever could on your own. And finally, don't be afraid to think outside the box. Kicking It's sneaker social concept may have seemed unconventional at first, but it turned out to be just what the community was looking for.