Pierre André Senizergues to postać, którą powinien kojarzyć każdy skate-nerd. Jeśli ten gość nie jest Wam znany, to na pewno znacie marki, które prowadzi założona przez niego firma Sole Technlogy. Sole Tech obecnie jest właścicielem takich brandów jak Etnies, Emerica, éS czy ThirtyTwo. Trzeba przyznać, że w skali globalnej jest to ewenement, że firma po tylu latach nadal jest w rękach założyciela, który ponadto swego czasu miał całkiem udaną karierę pro skatera.
Jakimś cudem niedawno udało się nam zamienić kilka słów z Pierre’m. Pogadaliśmy trochę o etnies, 35-letniej historii marki, o problemach w związku z COVID i meandrach biznesu skate obuwia, zapraszamy do lektury!
Skateaffair: Hello Pierre, first of all, I hope you’re ok in these crazy times?
Pierre André Senizergues: I’m doing well, thank you for asking. I’m working more than ever (between 15-20 hours some days) with all that has gone on in the world. It’s been very difficult to witness the impact of COVID on people and families and very sad to see the passing of close industry friends like Mark Waters who we just lost. It’s been an unbelievable time.
On the business side, we have had many challenges with supply chain logistics due to COVID ranging from getting the product from the factory to the boat and then finding the supply of drivers needed for delivery. Every step has been impacted, but along the way, we have found solutions, just like we’ve always done as skaters for the last nearly four decades.
Skateaffair: Etnies is celebrating its 35th anniversary (congrats btw!), we were chatting recently how crazy it is that you entered the „shoe game” when big brands were already there. What do you think helped a European dude create a really successful brand on the other side of the ocean?
Pierre André Senizergues: Thank you! Because etnies is a tribe, we make up so many cultures whether that’s France, Germany or Poland, we are united by our love of skateboarding. So, when we entered into the US, we were just expanding our tribe and integrating with the skate culture in the US. Our mission has always been to inspire youth through a passionate commitment to action sports and it has not changed. I attribute a lot of where we are at today to the early years where I experienced skate culture in such a unique way having a successful pro career where I was in magazines, winning contests and having the best sponsors who truly helped me. All of these experiences prepared me and drove the brand in our dedication, commitment and how we truly do not take anything for granted.
we are united by our love of skateboarding.
Skateaffair: I saw some etnies memories on Instagram being posted daily and I would like to ask what’s your favorite etnies shoe now & then and why?
Pierre André Senizergues: Right now, I love the Marana x Michelin shoe because of its superior durability that lasts 3-5 times longer than normal skate shoes. But, of course, I will always love the very shoe I designed, the Senix – it’s indestructible. ☺
Skateaffair: Many words have been spoken about 2020 being crazy. I am also working in the skateboard industry so every now and then I get some insights from brands, like people having trouble with manufacturing, with materials, etc.. What was the biggest challenge for Etnies/Sole Tech last year?
Pierre André Senizergues: COVID certainly threw us all for the unexpected. Across the industry we all were dealing with less factory workers, factories shutting down, suppliers having challenges getting supplies, and then dealing with the challenges of delivery. I appreciate my exceptional team who worked hard every day to mitigate the challenges that hit us – they did a tremendous job ensuring that we delivered what we set out to do.
Skateaffair: Trends come, go & sometimes come back. I feel like Sole Tech, especially Etnies and éS are taking advantage of that. How long this trend of OG skateshoes being in fashion will last in your opinion & how are your brands preparing for that?
I see that OG skate shoes are for sure continuing strong with nostalgia driving a lot of the bigger shoe trend. Yet, even with the success of the OG returning, we do see that our slimmer shoes continue to perform very well. We keep a mix of product out there in preparation for any trend shifts that may come our way.
Skateaffair: One of the main stories for etnies is surely the cooperation with Michelin which started quite a while ago. You guys cooking anything new?
Pierre André Senizergues: Check out the Joslin Vulc and the Marana XLT. Michelin has been an amazing partner with us and this partnership allows us to continue improving our outsole and address function from cupsole to vulcanized offerings. Vulcanized shoes have traditionally fallen apart quite easily and typically don’t last. But, that is changing. etnies is making a vulcanized shoe that will last with our collaboration with Michelin. We are trying to resolve a long-standing problem together and we really think we can do it. Our new vulcanized shoe will last because it has rubber reinforcement on the upper and we’ve done some special things to the sole.
We are trying to resolve a long-standing problem together and we really think we can do it.
Skateaffair: It’s been a long time since etnies held any big events here in Poland. I would like to let you know that to this day people are memorizing the etnies European Open contest which happened in Kraków in 2005. This is also the year I started skating, I remember how right from the time I started etnies appealed to me as a really cool brand that supports skateboarding. Maybe Eastern Europe is not as a big market as THE US, France, or Germany but man… these events are really impactful here. Are you considering anything similar in the future (ofc after covid restrictions are taken down)?
Pierre André Senizergues: Yes! We would love to do those events again and will have to see what the world looks like post-COVID.
Skateaffair: You guys sell your shoes globally, please tell me which market was a surprise for you and why?
Pierre André Senizergues: Eastern Europe is doing great! For example, Poland and the Czech Republic are strong with the Marana x Michelin shoe, which is also one of the top selling shoes globally for us. We just started delivering the Marana Slip On XLT and we are excited to see how well it does. You’ll have to let me know how you all like it in Poland.