Nike's 21 Mercer Street Store & NIKEID Bespoke Program
July 13, 2011
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New York City is chock-full of retail stores ranging from small unique pop-up shops to massive flagship stores. You name it and you can find it. So standing out in this landscape takes ingenuity mixed with a large dose of cool. Its not surprising that Nike has done just that with their 21 Mercer Store. This is sneaker enthusiasts' version of Heaven. Tucked away in the middle of Soho, the store feels like a diamond snuggled in the rough. As you enter the store and wander through the various rooms, you feel like you've arrived to a very special sneaker palace. 21 Mercer is home to the exclusive Nike Bespoke program, where customers can design their sneakers from scratch with almost unlimited design elements during a NIKEiD customization session.
BNQT got a chance to chat up Head Coach of 21 Mercer Dave Vericker and 21Mercer's Bespoke Design Consultant iZ Mateo about their jobs, the Nike customer, and what's new for the fall season.
Head Coach of 21 Mercer Dave Vericker
How do you see 21Mercer presenting itself to the average customer in NYC?
DV- 21 Mercer is a Nike Sportswear flagship store where shoppers can find our top footwear and apparel under one roof. Our customers are an athletic, stylish, confident, influential, aware and curious bunch.
"Our customers are an athletic, stylish, confident, influential, aware and curious bunch."
What makes 21 Mercer unique to other retail stores in NYC?
DV- One unique offering is our Bespoke customization program around the Air Force 1. Consumers can book an appointment with a designer and build an Air Force 1 from scratch using a vast selection of materials from iconic Nike colorways, patterns, stitching, midsoles etc. Each shoe is 1/1 and unique only to that consumer.
"Each shoe is 1/1 and unique only to that consumer."
Everyone is curious about what's new for the upcoming season. Can you give us a sneak peak?
DV- I see Tech really making a comeback in footwear, worn on and off the court/field. Performance silhouettes are crossing over and being worn as lifestyle pieces. One of the biggest examples of this is the Free Run, which is a staple piece in our consumer's closets.
What's in store for 21 Mercer for the fall season?
DV- We have some great new Destroyer jackets coming in Fall. We also have a capsule NSW Collection dropping around the U.S. Open of Tennis which will be exclusive to 21 Mercer in the U.S. We always have some exciting new footwear and apparel so stay tuned.
Nike iD Bespoke Designer iZ Mateo
What has been the most inspiring shoe/project you have had a chance to work on?
iZ- As cliche as it may be, every Bespoke appointment is an inspiration for me. To see other peoples ideas/ concepts for creating their shoe and, helping them bring that to life, is truly inspirational.
"To see other peoples ideas/concepts for creating their shoe, helping them bring that to life, is truly inspirational."
What was the hardest challenge a client has ever brought to you?
iZ- A very high profile athlete came in for a session and it didn't go as usual. He introduced himself and made a shoe for a friend who sent him over with instructions. That was the easy part; for his own shoe he looked at me and said, "For mine, I want you to design it, anything you want."He paid for three shoes and left.
I was taken back, and nervous, and thought, "What if he doesn't like it, what colors does he like?". When I expressed my concerns while as he was walking out the door, he answered with,"I trust you, do your thing". This was one year ago and they are his favorite pair to this day.he still wears those shoes today.
Who was your favorite person to work with and is it which shoe are you the most proud of?
iZ- I'm most proud of the Say It Loud Air Force One. The young lady I worked on the project with got a chance to say that she designed a shoe for Nike, which when released sold out in an 1 hour! The shoe meant something to her personally and spoke volumes to what it represented overall which was striving through adversity.
The shoes that are created each day are special not only to the people who come and design them, but they hold a place in Dave's and iZ's hearts.
CLICK HERE FOR FULL GALLERY of some of their favorite kicks that have been created through the NikeID program.