BCG Interviews

[Interview] Sneaker Con Co-Founder Yu-Ming Wu Talks The Evolution Of Sneaker Con And Bringing The Show Back To NYC

As Co-Founder of SneakerNews, SneakerCon and now Stadium Goods, Yu-Ming Wu continues to make the biggest moves —- all for the love of sneakers. New-York’s biggest Sneaker Get Together is heading back to town this weekend and will take place on Nov 5 & 6. We got a chance to catch up with the SneakerCon Co-Founder and talk the evolution of SneakerCon and where it first started, the best kicks to look forward to over the weekend, special guest and what the SneakerCon evolution has done for New York City sneaker culture. He also touches on the topic of shoes he will be on the hunt for this weekend to expand his sneaker closet.

Check Out What SneakerCon Co-Founder Yu-Ming Wu had to say below.

The Source: Hows Everything Going and Are You Looking forward to SneakerCon This Weekend?

Yu-Ming Wu:  I’m Super Excited for SneakerCon this weekend.

The Source: Tell me your thoughts on how SneakerCon has grown over the years since the first Ever Sneakercon? 

Yu-Ming Wu: So SneakerCon started March 2009 and we started the show here in New York City when we first started the Sneaker Culture was still pretty small so just to test out the market we decided to rent out a comedy club in Times Square and it was a pretty small spot about 2,000 square feet and we might’ve had about 20 different re-sellers as we call them vendors but basically it’s shops or individuals who have sneakers to sell and so we had about 20 of those and we had about 600 people who showed up for our first show. Fast forward to today in 2016 we were able to book the Javits center and we are expecting an audience of about 20,000 people this weekend.

The Source: I know SneakerCon is always filled with surprise guest, is there anybody you are excited to see this weekend that may pop-up?

Yu Ming Wu: We definitely have some interesting surprises at any SneakerCon for instance in the past we actually had Penny Hardaway actually at our previous show and what was really crazy was that Chris Rock actually came as a regular individual he didn’t call us up and say hey I’m Chris Rock I’m trying to get in and you know what after we had a special Meet & Greet with Penny Hardaway with some of his fans and Penny decided to walk the show and the funniest thing happened was he bumped into Chris Rock and as we know Chris was the voice of Lil Penny back in the day when they were doing the Lil Penny collection. So it was one of those incredible coincidences where these two individuals showed up. So anything like stuff like that can happen we don’t go out of our way to invite these celebrities but Chris Rock we are big fans so we do hope that he comes again he’s actually been to a few of our shows so but we do know Fat Joe has been confirmed to come by and visit the event so the reason I bring up Fat Joe one of the special activation’s of the show will have something very, very different and interesting we will have a basketball game and it will be played by 18 of the most famous sneaker YouTubers and these YouTubers actually believe it or not are more famous than some of these NBA stars. So if we kind of think about it they have a huge fan base they have millions of followers all combined these people command an audience of about 10 million people so you could imagine that these people have a pretty big fan base that’s probably one of the more interesting one of the newest things we have going on at SneakerCon in addition to the buying, selling and the trading we also have something we call SneakerCon authenticated where anyone can come in with a pair of sneakers and we will take a look at it and authenticate it and see if it’s real or fake that’s definitely something that’s super exciting for us and anyone coming to the show just because it’s free of charge and for alot of these people they just don’t know if they have a real pair or a fake pair. Not that it’s a big issue but it’s definitely something that helps some of these younger kids out.

 

 

 

 

The Source: What Kind of Kicks are you looking forward to seeing in NYC that you haven’t seen at recent shows?

Yu Ming Wu: At almost every SneakerCon yeah, at this SneakerCon we know that we are going to have about 100,00 different sneakers under one roof that’s more sneakers than the biggest foot locker or the biggest store in the planet in terms of sneakers so this is gonna be basically the biggest sneaker store for two days this weekend in terms of sneakers that I’m looking forward to it’s going to be a very hard one I’m definitely going to be out there looking for some deals It’s going to be a very hard one I know a pair of shoes that I do not yet own the White Mountaineering Adidas NMD CitySock a shoe that I will be looking forward to and I’m going to be trying to get second pairs of the Adidas Yeezy Boost 350 V2 I’m hoping to find some rare shoes such as the Supreme Dunk Low in the white and blue colorway but you know it’s really going to be hard hopefully I have time to look through all of these sellers and find something I’m really looking for.

The Source: Is this the first time the show will be hosted at the Jacob Javits Center?

Yu Ming Wu: This is going to be our second time at the Jacob Javits Center.

The Source: You guys choose the location because it was more spacier or what?

Yu Ming Wu: So in terms of spaces we’ve definitely used a lot of spaces as I mentioned when we first started we was at a Times Square Comedy Club we eventually moved to a soho church basement that was pretty big we’ve used Basketball City on the Eastside and since we quickly grew out of that space we were packed so tight in there that we quickly moved from there we’ve also used Pier 94 on the Westside but you know I think Javits is the ideal place for anyone you tell anyone you’re having a show at the Jacob Javits Center you get instant recognition and you feel safe and you know where you’re going it’s also one of the most beautiful convention centers we have or actually the best convention we have in New York City and so choosing the Javits center exactly one for the space it’s a beautiful space just set-up for convention’s like ours and so that’s why.

The Source: Did you ever think SneakerCon would grow this big?

Yu Ming Wu: There’s definitely shows like Comic Con and other Beauty Cons and all all that stuff were definitely inspired what the word convention just means when we first started early in the process this is in 2009 we were pretty far in terms of sneaker culture at that time just thinking about can there be a convention for sneaker heads we thought about it sure absolutely there’s enough of these so-called sneakerheads out there or just sneaker lovers out there that they would come to our show and of course our first show we thought was a decent success have we ever thought that it would be at the Javits center with 20,000 people with celebrities and all that stuff it’s definitely something we dreamed of how quickly we would get there we didn’t know we were pretty young at that time when we first started it but it’s definitely something we had thought about even one day fully taking over the javits center but our dream is to really have something as big as the Car Show or the Comic Con.

The Source: Where are you guys at Next month for SneakerCon?

Yu Ming Wu: We have Charlotte booked for December 10th.

The Source: Will there be any special guest that will come through?

Yu-Ming Wu: For Charlotte, it’s going to be a little bit tough for us to see what exactly will happen. Charlotte is a bit smaller market so we don’t know what’s going to happen. I believe Kanye is going to be in town he’s not expected to show up but there will definitely be alot of people in town for that so I hope some of those people will come but Charlotte is definitely one of our smaller shows actually I wouldn’t call it one of our smaller shows just one of our normal events. When New York City is our flagship store it is by far the biggest show of all.

The Source: Who do you think as far as Athletes, Artist has the best sneaker line?

Yu Ming Wu: In terms of athletes and musicians and all I definitely still think the Air Jordan Line is incredible obviously Kanye and adidas have created an incredible line of sneakers as well that’s very trendy quite a bit more wearable just because it’s something that’s a bit more sleek and slimmed down so it’s been very popular among young teens even down to the fashionistas and people that’s a little outside of the sneaker world and they look at a sneaker like that and say it’s kinda easy for me to wear I can put that on my feet and not feel a little weird unlike the more bulky performance based sneakers. So I definitely think the Air Jordan Line the adidas Kanye Line, the adidas Pharrell line is also incredible, Puma and Rihanna’s definitely incredible I actually just saw Kobe Bryant in retirement he’s releasing a new signature model and it looks absolutely incredible and so obviously LeBron and Kyrie they have great looking shoes and I spent some time with Stephen Curry in the Bay Area about a week ago I saw his new shoe in-person and it’s a great looking shoe it’s definitely very performance based and they definitely have a little bit more work to do but obviously I look forward to their future.

The Source: How did you feel about Complex Naming You 25 of the most influential people in the sneaker world?

Yu Ming Wu: I give blessings to the higher power that I’ve been lucky enough to be in this field but primarily I have a big passion for sneakers I just love I basically eat and sleep sneakers how I built my business in terms of SneakerNews.com, SneakerCon and now we have Stadium Goods as well it’s really like what I absolutely love I can’t imagine me doing any other kind of work when I wake up I’m thinking about sneakers when I got to sleep I’m thinking about sneakers so it’s really something I have a huge passion for and I was very lucky that complex kinda identified me as one of those individuals so thank you to them for doing so but again I would definitely say some of the most influential people out there include Michael Jordan, Kanye West, Pharrell, Rihanna obviously so these people definitely like draw a lot more influence but in terms of sneaker culture I definitely play a big role in terms of influencing of what’s being seen we do have a huge network of people following us obviously we have our website SneakerNews.com that’s read by 8 million people a month and our Instagram following is at 5.6 million right now so we are one of the biggest channels out there so in terms of driving influence sure absolutely I feel that we do have a big influence.

The Source: How do you guys feel about returning back to NYC I’m sure you guys are just as excited to return including me how do you guys feel about the return?

Yu Ming Wu: Once the minute we was able to lock in the Javits Center with a date we just jumped for joy like I said the Javits center holds some of the worlds biggest conventions out there and for us we do consider ourselves on the level playing field but at the same time when we talk about sneakerhead culture which is not as mainstream as for instance as Cars we are definitely excited to be back in New York City sure Sneaker Culture sure has kicked off in the city or in the country possibly in Japan but for us to kinda bring the show to New York City on this level it makes us extremely happy as of right now when we think about sneaker culture we think about Youth Culture alot of it is coming from New York City I would personally say that New York City is the fashion capital of the world people do look to us in terms of fashion you know what’s happening on the streets sure anyone on the planet can kind of set a trend but alot of it, is happening in New York City you know you walk in Soho and you see some of the most trendiest kids and not even Soho like a downtown kid these fashionistas these are the people that’s driving the market of street-wear, sneaker culture and everything else so for us to kind of bring it here it helps move sneaker culture or street culture forward and that makes us super happy and excited about bringing the show back.

The Source: Is there any last words you have for anyone attending SneakerCon this weekend?

Yu Ming Wu:  I definitely would like to thank all of these people they are helping drive forward sneaker culture and fashion at the same time I really thank them all I would definitely say if you are coming out to SneakerCon wear something super hot that’s going to be super important everyone is going to be looking this is our Comic Con it’s where you dress to be the part you’re definitely coming out and saying “im different””I’m fresher than you” I definitely recommend  everyone to try and look fresher than their next peer.

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