After 13 years in the athletic apparel industry that included a stint as the head of Reebok basketball, Justin Kittredge founded footwear company ISlide in 2013. ISlide sells sandals decked out with designs licensed by the NBA, NCAA, Nickelodeon, esports organizations, and others. The main selling point of iSlide, however, is that customers have the option to create a pair of custom sandals all their own using the creation tools on ISlideusa.com.
Each year since the founding of ISlide in 2013, the company has more than doubled its revenue. Several NBA players such as Kyrie Irving and Isaiah Thomas collaborated with the company and now have their own designs available for purchase on the site. The company’s sandals have even been regularly seen on the feet of international superstars like LeBron James, DJ Khaled, Conor McGregor, Ellen DeGeneres, Diddy, Dwyane Wade, and Justin Bieber.For reasons like this, Kittredge expects the company to keep growing at this pace.
“We’re living in a time now that people love customization,” Kittredge said. “Our tagline is ‘stand in what you stand for.’ So I think people love to be able to stand for something, and for the first time we’ve kind of given them the opportunity to be able to do it with a really comfortable pair of slides. When you combine that with the growing trend of slides as a whole, I think we’re able to really capitalize on what’s what’s happening in the world right now.”
During 2017’s eighth season of “Shark Tank,” Kittredge ultimately turned down an investment from Robert Herjavec. Kittredge’s boldness has paid off, however, as the footwear company recently signed retail deals with Neiman Marcus, LIDS, Fanatics and Urban Outfitters. Kittredge and the company have also brought in several new investors, including Evan Turner, a small forward for the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers.
Turner has reportedly been a big fan of the company since its launch and even has a small collection of sandals he has purchased from the company over the years. Kittredge believes that Turner and other athletes are drawn to his company for the opportunity to showcase their creativity in their style.
“Evan’s a pretty creative guy. So, I think that was one element that he loved,” Kittredge said. “He loved the fact that we sent him a really cool custom design. After he got that, I think his mind started to spin where he saw the possibilities of what could be created for it. So, I think that’s what really drew him in. He’s been a big fan of us for a while, and then once we decided to open up a round of investment, it was kind of a perfect match.”
“I’ve always admired the creativity and hustle of the ISlide team,” said Turner. “I love the quality of their slides and the message of self-expression behind them.”
As far as what’s next for the company, Kittredge has no plans of slowing down and will likely continue partnering with more great brands and personalities in the future.
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“We’re definitely going to be increasing our licensing portfolio,” Kittredge added. “I think our product kind of leads really well into that world of licensing. Then we just plan on growing our partnerships.
“For us, there’s there’s no reason why someone wouldn’t want to wear a pair of ISlides because instead of trying to promote a brand that they’re not that affiliated with, they can promote something that’s really close to them with our customization options. I think that’s why we’re going to have a pretty successful future, because we’re able to capitalize on that.”