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The Funderbeam Blog

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January 12, 2022

A Founder’s Journey – Joe Foster – Reebok

On this week’s Funderbeam Podcast, Oli Harris talks to Joe Foster, the Founder of Reebok.

Reebok is a truly global brand, with humble origins. From the workshops of Bolton, Reebok grew into an international giant, partnering with organisations such as the NFL and the NBA, and sealing endorsement deals with athletes such as Conor McGregor and Shaquille O’Neal.

Exactly how did a brand that started off making footwear for cricketers, and later, runners, become the powerhouse sporting name we know today?

Luckily for Funderbeam, Joe Foster joined Oli on the Podcast to shed some light on the question.

In today’s podcast Oli and Joe cover;

  • Intro to how Reebok came to be the brand it is today
  • Knowing when the right time is to deviate course with a new or different product
  • When Joe saw an opportunity for expansion, what was his mantra?
  • What role did risk-taking play in the growth of Reebok?
  • Looking back – what was his proudest moment for the brand
  • A message for aspiring founders and entrepreneurs

It was a real treat to hear first hand from Joe about the challenges he faced in growing Reebok. From inspiration for the company name coming from a dictionary he won in 1943, to how events outside of his control led to some of the best marketing decisions he made for the company, Joe has some incredible stories.

Some standout themes occur in Joe’s recollections;

  • Customer Service
  • Turning a problem into an opportunity
  • Taking advantage of market forces
  • Improving the product whenever you can

One final takeaway that is a useful piece of wisdom for all;

“Failure is just a lesson”

Joe Foster

To hear the full story of Reebok and Joe’s life creating if, check out his book “Shoemaker” available from major outlets.

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