We're back with the next installment of our monthly series! Every month we will be highlighting a Reshoevn8r retail partner in our blog. Today we're hanging out with The Shoe Lab from Costa Rica!
R8: Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started? (a couple of examples would be how long have you been in business, what made you want to open a sneaker store, etc.)
The Shoe Lab: Our company started by wholesaling the world's top sporting goods brands such as Nike, Reebok, and Fila. We have long-standing business relationships since 1987 with our distributors from Panama. Eventually, in the year 1999, it was time for retail and we started opening family footwear shops called Penny Lane Sport. In the year 2016, our retail evolved into PLS Sportscenter more catered to a special consumer-focused in a more lively Sporting goods experience at retail.
R8: What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
The Shoe Lab: Our company stands out as innovators ...we've created multiple retail concepts, starting from PLS to PLX. This includes skate and streetwear shops and ultimately Shoe Lab; a complete sneakerhead shop catering to the most exclusive and picky customer. We've contributed deeply to the sneaker culture in our country and our customers love us because of it. As a story we can recall our first Nike Worldwide Launch, same day, which included the AJ1 Obsidian...we only had access to 48 pairs and we sold out in 15 minutes...after that, We can recall people sleeping outside our Shoe Lab the day before the J Balvin AJ1 released. We had access to 288 pairs and the line of people turned around the block...more than 600 people ... After that the rest is history.
R8: None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
The Shoe Lab: I'd like to thank my mother (RIP), founder of the company. She taught us how to think big and believe in our dreams. She always knew the way...persistence and hard work pays off in the long run.
R8: Why sneakers? What made you open a sneaker store? What are the biggest moments in your store’s history?
The Shoe Lab: We knew there was a quite strong market waiting to be exploited. Our biggest moment was the launch of the AJ1 Balvin Shoe by Nike.
R8: What was your first experience that you can remember, at a sneaker store? Or a sneaker convention?
The Shoe Lab: The experiences about this world are always impressive; the first thing is to understand and process the importance of having knowledge of the subject. Also observe how art, music, and creativity play an important and influential role in all this.
R8: Tell us about your closet… What are some of your favorite sneakers you own right now? Was there a pair that got away, that you wish you would have snagged when you had the chance?
The Shoe Lab: One of my favorites is the AJ1 High OG Obsidian UNC because it was our first major release and also one of the best colorways. A pair of Uptempo are imposing, they carry all the energy of their history and they challenge you to think a little more about how to dress them. A 990 UV5 NB, cause I was running out of money, that was a shame but it’s true, maybe someone will understand this exact feeling.
Thank you for sharing your story. Can you tell us a little bit about your business?
R8: How long have you carried the Reshoevn8r line?
The Shoe Lab: A year and a half ago.
R8: What is your store’s biggest Reshoevn8r seller?
The Shoe Lab: Our biggest seller is the Sneaker Wipes.
R8: What are you having a hard time keeping on the shelf? (product or specific items?)
The Shoe Lab: Repellent and Air Jordan 1.
R8: Do you have multiple locations? If you only have one, what is the major significance of it?
The Shoe Lab: Yes we have two, AV Central and Mall San Pedro.
R8: Can you tell us about your stock? What do you see moving? What are some upcoming trends that you’re stocking up on?
The Shoe Lab: We currently have Nike SB Dunks and Air Jordan 1 and for the future for now we believe that Nike SB Dunks also the Blazers will remain with a lot of hype.
R8: What are some ways that your store connects with the city?
The Shoe Lab: The most important way we connect with the city is because we are located in the middle of SJO DownTown, which represents the true spirit that connects us with the city.
R8: We know the pandemic is affecting the retail climate. Can you tell us how it has affected your business? Have you changed your business model because of this? What precautions are you taking to keep your customers safe in your store?
The Shoe Lab: We have to be thankful that our business was temporarily hurt in the first 4 months of the pandemic. This made us react quickly and had to open our websites to start selling online. Today we are a multi-channel selling at retail and wholesale.
Let’s dive into sneaker culture, really quick.
R8: Where do you see sneaker culture going in the future and what are your thoughts?
The Shoe Lab: We think the name of the game will always be leaving people short of breath and wanting more. Exclusivity is everything and then some. As long as artists and influencers are wearing our products it will always be full of hype.
R8: What is a sneakerhead? If you could describe this type of person to somebody who has no idea… what would you say?
The Shoe Lab: Someone who expresses appreciation for the design and history of each pair, wearing them, collecting them. He is also the one who does what he can to get the kicks he wants.