Just recently, we had a chat with Kickz founder Christian Grosse about how it feels to be owned by Zalando, how basketball and fashion merge and why stores remain important. Here are his answers...

Kickz founder Christian Grosse about…

… Zalando

“Zalando is a complex and extensive tech-driven-company with about 2,000 software engineers. Our assets at Kickz are our close relationship with our brands and clients, our marketing know-how and our buying expertise. Meanwhile our sales volume is growing and has become so huge that it was time to invest in our technical support, for example in new software or stronger Google AdWords. Now, by cooperating with Zalando we keep our skills and we still can do what we do best. In addition it helps us to develop our retail brand in Europe. Besides that, from our first beginning Kickz has always been an e-tailer and with kickz.com we were among the first ones to start an online shop in Germany."

… stores

"Physical stores are touch-points. We aim to show a very focused basketball-inspired assortment. For example in our Hamburg store, we have reduced product by about 30% to be more focused. We don’t want to create luna parks or event spaces, in our stores it’s all about the product that has to perform. Sure, as a retailer you always want to bring a certain image across, but it doesn't make sense when all stores look the same. That's why we always develop local concepts. The best example is our 25-year-old location in Munich: it's beeing renovated right know, but the typical Bavarian plastering on the wall will remain. Furthermore, we have just reopened our store in Berlin’s Torstraße after reconstruction, more makeovers are following. Until 2022 we plan four more openings across Europe."

… fashion

"The so called premium trend has also arrived in the world of basketball–15 years ago the basketball players looked so different than today. Nowadays they wear a Balenciaga cap and the latest Celine bag on the street. The gold chained-red-neck-rapper-look has lost ground in the basketball cosmos, although huge logos are dominating the outfits right now, but these luxury-label-lasting-looks aren’t something new. On the contrary: A lot of fashion trends worn in the basketball world even emerged from hiphop and rap culture. But this has changed and the basketball maniacs started to invent their own trends. Meanwhile, it's the brands themselves that look out in the hoods to spot the most authentic kids there. That's pretty smart because this clientele has great buying power and is willing to spend a lot of money for their outfits–and in terms of showing off status symbols it's easier with watches, sneakers or apparel. You can wear that stuff in the club, while an expensive car needs to be parked outside and no one might spot it..."

John Elliott X LeBron James collection sold at Kickz
Photo: Nike
John Elliott X LeBron James collection sold at Kickz

…the  future

"We want to heavily push basketball sneakers, they need to be out there on the streets much more than right now. Because, you know, I am sick of seeing all these knitted running sneakers and modern comfort shoes around!”

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