Brown: “I am the global merchandise director for Brand Jordan – This means I am
charged with choosing the right amount of products, footwear, apparel, and equipment that are distributed around the world to our retail partners. My main projects are to constantly look at product to ensure it is sold to the right retailers around the world. I also work on projects educating new merchandisers at Nike to ensure a common language is used and best practices are followed.”
Why did you choose to work at Nike?
Brown: “I knew I always wanted to be in some type of sporting goods industry
business. I was sponsored by Nike when I was an athlete in college and worked at the retail
Nike store right after I graduated. Things just kept working out and I have been there ever since I graduated from college—now working on 26 years with the company.”
Corradini: “I spent my high school years as an avid athlete—I played volleyball and soccer, and was a ski racer. That was back in the mid ’80s, when Nike was really starting to gain ground in terms of being a well-known athletic shoe company based on this sort of fun, wacky, irreverence around the idea of ‘Just Do It.’ I was addicted to the brand from the start, and well, when the product lived up to the promise, I wore nothing else. So throughout college, as I continued playing sports and started really running my freshman year, I could not wait to get my hands on the newest product to put on my foot and feel the ability to play better, run faster. I think it was the first Air Max that got me most excited—white and bright purple. I can remember taking them out of the box and putting them on my feet . . . what a run I had that day! Combine that with my favorite campaign ever, “If you let me play,” I knew Nike was the company I wanted to work for. So it was probably my freshman year in college that I set aside my goals of being a lawyer and replaced it with my dreams of working for Nike.”
What do you like about Nike, and how is the brand different from other companies?
Brown: “We are a unique company because I believe we have never lost our way with
our consumer. We are always trying to create product that helps make our athletes better. Nike was founded by two men who believed that there are always ways to make things better, lighter, stronger, faster. Performance and innovation are at the root of all discussions that we have. We never veer from our principles and are grounded in those two words, innovation and performance. Also, we have a unique culture because the people are such an important part of the company. Nike has an amazing saying: ‘If you have a body, you are an athlete.’ We never stop working together to make things better. Nike is also very committed to the environment and all the communities we are associated with. Including the way all our products are made—apparel, footwear, and equipment—always looking to make sustainable and environmentally friendly products and services.”
Corradini: “I believe that it’s two things. First, that we put innovation first. A product has to be the most innovative product in its class before we take it to market. And innovation can take many forms. Just look at the Flyknit shoe we launched at the London Olympics. It was an innovative masterpiece in terms of lightness and sustainability. Secondly, our storytelling. I don’t believe anyone can really gut check someone’s emotion like Nike does. A perfect example of that is our greatness message (again, during Olympics) of an overweight boy running straight towards the camera for 30 seconds while the narrator speaks of the greatness that exists within all of us. The message ‘Just Do It’ is known globally as Nike’s call to action that to do something, you just have to do it. It’s pretty incredible.”
What kind of new products can people get excited about from Nike in 2013?
Brown: “One of the great things about Nike is that every 90 days there will always be a new and exciting product. Because of Nike policies, I cannot disclose new product offerings. But there are always performance attributes built into our product and some great new style and fashion cues to create excitement around the product.”
Corradini: “Unfortunately I can’t give away exactly what is coming, as the competition is always watching and we need to be careful what we divulge, but rest assured you will see some amazing innovation in footwear, equipment, and apparel. You will see new fabrications that keep you warmer when it’s cold, cooler when it’s hot. You will see footwear that continues to be lighter and faster, without compromising durability. And of course you will continue to see colors that lead the trend of where consumers are going!”