Entrepreneurs Grind

How Michael Mayer, Co-Founder of Windmill, Is Changing Air Conditioning

This week’s edition of The Tartare Project hosted by Phil Toronto features Michael Mayer, the co-founder of Windmill. A consumer electronics company, Windmill is a small business headquartered in New York that focuses on building eco-friendly products that help keep the air clean. The brand’s most notable product is their personalized Windmill Air Conditioning unit that targets better airflow and smoother cooling while keeping away outside air.

Prior to co-founding Windmill in 2018, Mayer had a resume full of business experience, including being the co-founder of smartphone gadget Lookalu, and a three-year stint at Betterment For Advisors in which he served in various different roles.

Toronto and Mayer sat down for a 45-minute interview in which they discussed his career trajectory. Toronto began the conversation by asking Mayer about the decision to start Windmill. “Before Windmill there was no brand association or loyalty when it came to air conditioning. You know the big-name companies, but they haven’t been able to connect with the customer. For that very reason, this is an opportunity for innovation and experience.”

Growing up in Orlando, Florida with Disney World as his ‘backyard,’ education was a huge part of Mayer’s upbringing, attending college at the University of Pennsylvania, where he eventually received a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics. “I actually wanted to be an English major because I loved 18th Century Poetry in high school, “ he tells Toronto before going into the decision to go down the finance lane. “I went from an English major to finance. I spent the rest of those three years doing international currency finance and accounting. I felt the air just get sucked out of me. I wasn’t myself, and I wasn’t vibing on the stuff that I was learning. I ultimately graduated and realized that it wasn’t who I was.”


Like many young adults, Mayer had to discover himself and find his own path in life. That journey was a spiritual one that included lots of meditation and therapy. “I’m a big fan of mental health. Even if you think you don’t need therapy, it’s helpful to dig into your past to figure out why you are the way you are—especially with starting a business. It’s very helpful!”

As the conversation continues, Toronto and Mayer cover his decision to leave banking, trusting your ability to live in uncertainty, and his early career experiences. Naturally, the conversation gets back to Windmill, and how the company values their customer’s experience. “LG, GE, Frigidaire—they aren’t thinking about how to word their installation manual in a way that you would understand it—they have third-party companies doing their manuals,” he says before detailing Windmill’s game plan for the future. Ultimately the vision of Windmill is to expand outside of air conditioning and to think about air care more broadly—especially with Covid and the wildfires out west. Air care is becoming more important.”

For more on Mayer and his business Windmill be sure to listen to the full interview above. You can also check Windmill’s official website here.

Culture Music

Lil Polo Tee Is A Unique Artist Building Buzz

This week’s Monday to Monday episode hosted by Mike Boyd welcomes rapper Lil Polo Tee aka Polo Perks. A unique artist with a speciality for rapping over indie samples, Polo has been steadily building buzz over these past couple months as he continues to gain followers and build his fan base. On the heels of releasing the music video for his latest single ‘YeahYeahYeah,’ the artist is having a pretty good 2021 so far, and tapped in with Boyd to talk about Surf Gang (a group of New York based rappers and producers), his approach to music, and what he has been up to recently. 

Boyd and Polo started their interview discussing the New York music scene, and how Polo is carving a lane for himself in that space. “Everything is going pretty well right now! Places are opening back up in the city, and Surf Gang is taking over everyday. Most of us are based out of New York, but we are really all over the place when you think about it. We just got back from doing a sold out show in L.A., which was crazy. There were about 600 to 700 people, and it was my first show there, so that was dope to experience.”

Pivoting the conversation, Boyd asks Polo about his EP Punk Goes Drill, and what it took behind the scenes to craft the project. “You know it’s funny because I listened to Punk and Drill music growing up, and it’s cool to see people’s reactions,” he tells Boyd. “That type of music is easily forgotten about a lot of times, and not a lot of people appreciate it. I was really just trying to make a drip project that was in the sound of Drill, but still something to set me apart from the rest. I wasn’t influenced by any of the old school samples—these are all up-to-date 2000s samples. Everything is from the early 2000s, and it’s really for the people of my time.”

Ben Oleynik
Lil Polo Tee

As their convo continues, Boyd and Polo talk about Polo’s favorite tracks on the project, working with his go-to producer Goner, and his growing influence in the skating community, which in turn leads Boyd to ask what song Polo would recommend new fans listen to for an introduction to his music “I feel like there isn’t really a song—I’m one of the most organic people doing this,” he says before listeners a rundown of his artistry. “Before you tap in and listen—you can really listen to any song you want to, you just have to know that my sound is going to be my sound. My flow is going to be my flow. So you have to get comfortable with it!”

For more on Polo, be sure to check out the full interview above. You can also keep up with the artist and his future releases on both Instagram and Twitter.

Sneakers Style

The 20 Best Designer Sneakers For Men

We all work hard for our money, and while there are times where we may decide to turn down a purchase due to the ridiculous price tag (or opt for a cheaper alternative), there are times where we should treat ourselves to the finer things in life. Whether you are a self-described ‘sneakerhead’ or not, everybody deserves to own at least one pair of luxury sneakers in their lifetime. Now the mention of luxury might have you automatically thinking of obvious heavyweights such as Burberry, Gucci, and Maison Margiela, but there are other brands worth your time, money, and consideration as well.

We have put together a list of 20 different designer sneakers that you can purchase if you are considering adding a pair of luxury sneakers to your wardrobe. This is a varied roundup with something in there for everyone’s personal tastes and styles. Hopefully we can be of assistance as you take your drip to the next level.

1. Givenchy Spectre Low Runner Sneakers
Givenchy Spectre Low Runner Sneakers

Givenchy—The house of fashion. Givenchy’s foray into the sneaker game isn’t surprising as many of the world’s top luxury brands have changed their mind on making sneakers with its rise with popular culture and entertainment. While Givenchy offers different selections of sneakers depending on your preferences, the ‘Low Runners’ remain among the most popular. The overall design of the shoe is similar to Adidas’ NMD R1 (which has been a classic since the 1980s), and in addition to the ‘luxury specs,’ the shoes are quite comfy. 

The ‘Low Runners’ boasts white perforated leather with a side zipper, alongside heat-bonded white and red band, and a white Givenchy branded zipper pull. If you had any questions as to just how popular this shoe is, the ‘Low Runners’ are currently on back order at Bergdorf Goodman until the end of September (though that could also partially be due to Covid). That said, if these are on your list, you may want to order now if you want a shot at being able to have these in your closet this year.

BUY NOW, $750
2. Dior B23 High Top Oblique Sneaker
Dior B23 High Top Oblique Sneaker

By now you have probably seen these plastered around the internet/social media as just about everybody who is ‘anybody’ have been spotted at some point rocking these. High Tops remain a go-to shoe with just about any brand as they are easily pairable with a large variety of outfits, while still being cutting edge. The B-23’s pride themselves on their white and black Dior Oblique motif and transparent paneling. The contrasting details and patchwork adds to the unique features of the shoe, and are an instant eye catcher with street cred to match.

BUY NOW, $1,150
3. Common Projects Sneakers
Common Projects Sneakers

Common Projects has a vast catalogue of sneakers to choose from on various retail websites such as Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom. The latter seems to have the most diverse collection when it comes to Common Project sneakers, so we’ll go with them when it comes to this article as there are plenty of options available for both men and women.

You really can’t go wrong with any Common Projects sneaker, and you could go with ‘traditional’ colorways such as off-white and denim, or if you are feeling on the bolder side, then you could opt for the ‘Achilles Neon Yellow’ low tops offered on the website. The ‘Achilles Low’ are another classic, and if you were to only have one Common Projects shoe for the entirety of your life, these would be our recommendation.

BUY NOW, $260
4. Gucci Platform Sneakers
Gucci Platform Sneakers

Any designer sneakers list has to include Gucci, and since for some reason it seems like the 1980s and early 2000s (which pulled a lot of its trends from the 80s) is slowly making its way back, we’ve decided to include the ‘Platforms’ as platform shoes as a whole were a staple of both eras. In all honesty, there is no other way to describe these sneakers other than the term ‘Gucci.’

The ‘Platforms’ are an all-white chunky shoe with the iconic metallic gold bee against the Gucci Web and classic branding. You have to give Gucci credit where it’s due as the brand was creating sneakers as early as the 1970s, during a time where other luxury brands didn’t consider sneakers a priority (and certainly not couture). Chunky sneakers may not be everyone’s forte as they can be heavy on your foot when walking, so if you aren’t a fan, Gucci has other shoes available that you can check out.

BUY NOW, $790
5. Fear of God Sneakers
Fear of God Sneakers

Fear of God has boasted collaborations with Nike and Converse, and have their own set shoes that are both timeless and classy. There is no denying the impact Fear of God has had on the luxury sneaker community, and if you are looking to add your collection, then look no further than the Taupe Suede 110s. A low top perforated suede sneaker with leather lining, this is a canvas shoe that is suitable for work and casual/semi casual events.

If the taupe colorway isn’t appealing, Fear of God does have other colors available (though you may have to scour the internet) to select from, and of course, if you looking for a more ‘athletic’ shoe, then you could check out their collabs (Nike has quite few that can be purchased via the resell market).

BUY NOW, $550
6. Prada New America S’Cup Bike Fabric Sneakers
Neiman Marcus
Prada New America S’Cup Bike Fabric Sneakers

Prada does a good job at combining high-end and sporty, and the brand has plenty of styles available at your disposal. Known for their inter-galactic imprints, Prada currently has over 100 (yes 100) sneakers ranging from low tops to basketball style sneakers, and loads of color models that are similar to different Nike variations such as Air Jordans and Dunks. Our only criticism of Prada is that their women’s sneakers aren’t as progressive as the men’s. Many of the futuristic iterations that are available for the guys are missing for girls, and it would be nice to see those variations on the women’s side. Just a thought.

BUY NOW, $695
7. Dolce and Gabbana Super King Low Top
Dolce and Gabbana Super King Low Top

Speaking of sneakers that capture that intergalactic vibe, the Dolce and Gabbana ‘Super Kings’ are one of the brand’s most distinct sneakers to date. While labeled as a low top, the ‘super king’ element transforms these into something of a performance shoe. The ‘Super Kings’ feature a round toe, lace-up front fastening, and a logo patch complete with Dolce and Gabbana themed laces. The evil laboratory design is an added bonus and despite the crazy colors, it is still versatile enough to work with many different outfits (especially during the fall time when warmer colors are in season).

BUY NOW, $567
8. Off White Logo Patch Low Tops
Off White Logo Patch Low Tops

Straight from the fingertips of Virgil Abloh, Off White sneakers automatically give you a street but couture look that you can rock on any runway or sidewalk. Similar to the other brands listed, the sneaker collection is limitless, and whichever one you choose is really dependent on what you are feeling fashion wise at the moment. While Off White has their traditional sneaker model in terms of style, their designs aren’t super trendy, (there aren’t really a lot of sneakers that look like Off-Whites) so rest assured that you will definitely stand out when wearing them.

BUY NOW, $255
9. Louis Vuitton Trainer Blue
Louis Vuitton Trainer Blue

Now you could get the Louis Vuitton low top sneakers with their standard design (or even some of their other trainers), but this blue iteration of trainers just stands out. It literally looks like the shoes were grabbed from the ice blocks of the Arctic Ocean, and in our opinion, they are the most dynamic in the Louis Vuitton sneaker collection. If you are going to spend $1,000 on luxury shoes, why use it on a regular design that you could get in a much cheaper alternative? Why not step outside of the box and go bold? Again just our opinion, but Louis Vuitton does have plenty of other cool sneakers that are definitely worth a glance as well.

BUY NOW, $1789
10. Maison Margiela Black Replica Leather and Suede Sneakers
Maison Margiela Black Replica Leather and Suede Sneakers

Since their debut in 1998, Maison Margiela has established themselves as one of the world’s luxury leaders, and the ‘Black Replicas’ are a pair that any fan of the brand should consider owning. Similar to Gucci, Maison Margiela was also one of the first luxury companies to really put an emphasis on sneakers, and this specific silhouette is inspired by their custom 1970s designs. Made from Italian leather and suede fabrics, the sneakers are clean cut and durable, with the ability to last you for years if taken care of properly. In addition to the black colorway, Maison Margiela also has brown, white, and grey variations that are very much worth the investment.

BUY NOW, $495
11. Raf Simons Grey Suede Antei Sneakers
Raf Simons Grey Suede Antei Sneakers

Never underestimate the importance of simplicity. While the ‘Grey Suedes’ don’t have the super colorful designs as some of the shoes on this list, these still standout with their all-leather fabric, lace-up closures, and velcro. The rubber midsole has a slight dark grey lining that is one of those minor details that may not seem super important, but changes the entire appearance of the shoe if taken away. While you can certainly rock these during the summer, the dark suede gives it a more wintery appearance. Either way the ‘Grey Suedes’ are a suitable transition shoe that makes a statement.

BUY NOW, $386
12. Reebok x Pier Moss Trail Fury Sneakers
Reebok x Pier Moss Trail Fury Sneakers

Let’s not sit here and pretend that we don’t own anything ‘faux’ in our closets. If the fake is done well enough nobody will ever notice, and that is exactly what Reebok and Pier Moss accomplished with their Trail Fury sneakers. The overall model of the shoe is similar to ‘InstaPumps,’ with their color mixtures and chunky outsoles, and the shoe itself is trail sneaker meant for hiking adventures. Reebok and Pier Moss really came together beautifully to create a powerful sneaker that is comfortable, and every hiker should consider these if they are looking for a dope new shoe.

BUY NOW, $250
13. Christian Louboutin Tiketa Slip-Ons
Christian Louboutin Tiketa Slip-Ons

Is any designer list complete without Louboutins? The answer to that is no. These jawns right here are called the ‘Loubisharks’ because, well, look at them. The whole purpose of high fashion is to create fashion pieces that you don’t see in everyday life, and the ‘Tiketa Slip-Ons’ are the literal embodiment of that. Have you ever seen anybody wearing a shoe like this in real life? Didn’t think so.

BUY NOW, $895
14. Balenciaga Speed Recycled Sneaker
Selffridges & Co
Balenciaga Speed Recycled Sneaker

How come more people don’t wear sneaker boots? Granted it can be hard to find the right outfit to wear them with, but when you do it’s a banger look. Now these may not be top of the line in terms of Balenciaga sneakers, but they are solid shoes that capture the grunge high fashion look, while still giving you a casual element that can allow the shoe to be worn to games, the park, etc. Again, simplicity wins.

BUY NOW, $570
15. Saint Laurent Classic Sneakers
Saint Laurent
Saint Laurent Classic Sneakers

Saint Laurent sneakers are pretty basic—you aren’t getting much more than different variations of a canvas shoe. Occasionally they will sprinkle in a couple of high top basketball shoes, but for the most part low top classics are what you are getting. We’ve preached to the choir on the simplicity of sneakers, and these are no different. The quality is excellent and most of the shoes feature a neutral tan/white design, so you’ll be able to work with them for sure.

BUY NOW, $575–in-white-worn-look-fabric-and-leather-809176740.html%3Ftargetid%3Dpla-972816872571%26location%3D9010760%26gclid%3DCj0KCQjwvr6EBhDOARIsAPpqUPHAGJTrNU-KfHJQlK8ewKrhyGimmAgv9LggY7i1CYQJ_BULzCGlVsMaAhCUEALw_wcB
16. Burberry Trainers
Burberry Trainers

Jay-Z once made a statement about “Only wearing Burberry to swim,” and while that may have been true for the year 2002, we’ll plead our case for 2021. When it comes to Burberry sneakers, the key words are trainers and low tops—and there are tons of them. You can choose to get the custom Burberry print, or you could go with a different colorway. It’s up to you.

BUY NOW, $750
17. Steve Madden Maxima
Steve Madden
Steve Madden Maxima

Steve Madden’s Maxima sneakers offer so many benefits that it would be almost insane to not pick up a pair (especially for the relatively low price of $100). The ‘Maximas’ scream ‘designer,’ and they come in a rainbow assortment of colors (Maxima Blush, Baby Blue, and Charcoal), and again they are $100! Sure they may not have the luxury name brand component, but is anybody really going to know at first glance? No. Steve Madden shouldn’t be slept on though, while not particularly known for their sneaker game, they do have some gems.

BUY NOW, $99.96
18. Alexander McQueen Larry Leather Sneakers
Alexander McQueen
Alexander McQueen Larry Leather Sneakers

Have you ever seen a sneaker quite like this? Certainly this should come as no surprise as this is Alexander McQueen we’re talking about. Designed to give a vampire vibe, the shoes have a two-toned upper featuring red and white, and the shoe sports a red gel-like chunky rubber sole to give you that extra oomph. These shoes are definitely different than the norm, but that’s Alexander McQueen for you.

BUY NOW, $560
19. Valentino Garavani Lace Up Low Tops
Valentino Garavani Lace Up Low Tops

Valentino has quite a few sneakers available for your enjoyments, and the ‘Garavanis’ are one of the brands most exquisite. These are sort of like a luxury version of Air Max 90s with their color block patterns and chunky appearance. The shoe consists of a leather upper, and has the Valentino branding towards the top of the shoe. If this particular colorway isn’t your style, then you can definitely go for calmer color as Valentino has plenty of those in stock as well.

BUY NOW, $695
20. Golden Goose Superstar Glitter Sneakers
Golden Goose Superstar Glitter Sneakers

And then there was one. Golden Goose. Whether you are looking for casual sneakers, or formal ones, Golden Goose has you covered. As far as the ‘Superstars’ go, we aren’t quite sure what we would classify them as. They could be casual due to the fact that they are low tops, but the silver and gold tones could technically make them formal too. Either way, at $500 they are whatever you want them to be. So wear them however you see fit.

BUY NOW, $530

Well that is going to wrap up our suggestions! We hope we were able to help you on your designer shoe conquest and that you are able to get your new sneakers soon.

Gaming NFT

Tee Grizzley’s “The Grizzley World NFT” Offers Fans Insane Access to the Rapper

NFT projects that provide ongoing utility to their buyers always rise above the rest. To celebrate the release of his upcoming album, Detroit rapper Tee Grizley is launching a special edition one of a kind effort called the “The Grizzley World NFT Launch.” As a part of the launch, Grizzley fans will have a once in a lifetime opportunity to purchase three golden tickets, which in turn gives the winners lifetime access to the rapper’s GTA server, and a lifetime pass to any Tee Grizzley concert in your local area. The lucky prize winners of the golden tickets will also receive a physical copy of the passes that can be presented at Grizzley’s concerts mailed to them at a later date. 

In addition to the lifetime concert tickets and GTA access, Tee Grizzley die-hards will have an opportunity to bid for a 1/1 Tee Grizzley double sided chain decked out with platinum and rose gold if they are unable to snag a golden ticket. The winner of the auction will also receive lifetime access to Grizzley’s GTA server, and their own personalized avatar version of the chain that can be worn on their characters during gameplay. Talk about utility.
Grizzley World NFT

Ahead of his NFT debut, here is what Tee Grizzley had to say about his first launch:

“I’m excited to drop my first NFT with The Grizzley World Collection, especially because I get to combine my music and gaming. Not only will winners get access to my Grizzley World Server, but they will also get a lifetime pass to any of my shows, and an invite to a special album release party to celebrate my new album Built For Whatever.”

If you are looking to participate in Grizzley’s NFT drop, the auction is scheduled to begin on Saturday, May 1st at 12PM PST on

Sneakers Style

5 Weekend Sneakers To Watch Out For

Well, this was an eventful week of Ls for a lot of us. Luckily we have a few more opportunities to snag some more pickups. Usually, on weeks like this where the biggest drops happen earlier in the week (like Monday through Wednesday), I like to showcase some of the ‘quieter’ sneakers that aren’t making a ton of noise in the sneaker community, and this is exactly what I am going to do this time around as there isn’t anything super major on the calendar except for the Jordan 13s and the new Lebrons. So without further ado, these are my five selections that you should consider checking out over the weekend.

1. Nike Lebron 18 ‘Lebronold Palmer’
Nike Lebron 18 ‘Lebronold Palmer’

Release Date: 4/30

The ‘Lebronold Palmer’ is back y’all! Maybe it’s my own imagination, but I have always been able to see how these shoes look like a lemonade/iced tea blend, and I imagine the tropical vibes take the whole fit to another level. I actually don’t own a pair of Lebrons, and as a lifelong Lebron fan, I’m kinda embarrassed. Maybe I’ll start with these. This iteration of the 18s features a similar tropical colorway and is a great spring/summer transition sneaker that can be paired with a lot in your closet. Y’all plan on getting these?

BUY NOW, $189
2. Air Jordan 13
Air Jordan 13

Release Date: 5/01

Is it truly a Saturday morning without the chaos of SNKRs? One of these days, we will all admit that we enjoy the madness of SNKR drops, but until then, we’ll just keep pretending like this isn’t a toxic relationship we’re all a part of. That said, there is a new iteration of AJ13’s dropping tomorrow morning in a Red Flint colorway if y’all are interested in another pickup.

BUY NOW, $205
3. Travis Scott X Air Jordan 6 British Khaki
Travis Scott X Air Jordan 6 British Khaki

Release Date 4/30

I originally wasn’t going to put these on here, but I suppose somebody will be lucky enough to get a pair. The current retail price is set at $250, but I think we all know good and well that only a few individuals are actually going to get this shoe for that price. This is a beautiful sneaker, though, with its cargo/military theme. Plus, the upper is suede, and I’m a firm believer that suede can really elevate a shoe to the next level.

BUY NOW, $250
4. Nike Air More Uptempo Sky Blue
Nike Air More Uptempo Sky Blue

Release Date: 5/1

Okay, I’m officially sold on the Uptempos. The huge lettering has always been a hard selling point for me, but I’m giving in. The color combination on this one is literally perfect with the sky blue mixture and cloud white. It literally reminds me of flying through the clouds, and I guess that is exactly what Nike was going for. I personally think that there are a lot of great looks that can be styled with these shoes as the color is still on the neutral side. I may try for these.

BUY NOW, $170
5. Nike Air Foamposite One All-Star 2021
Nike Air Foamposite One All-Star 2021

Release Date: 4/30

I had a hard time trying to figure out what I wanted my final entry for this week to be. It was between the Overkill x Adidas collab and these. I decided to go with the Foams because I don’t think I have ever included a foam release on my roundups, and I wanted to change that. Now I must admit that these aren’t the most groundbreaking Foams that I’ve seen, but they are still dope. The black upper and the green outsole are a good contrast, and I think this is another versatile shoe that can be paired with just about anything. It would have been nice if these had actually come out for the all-star weekend, but I digress.

BUY NOW, $390

Well, that’s going to do it for this week. As usual, I’ll be back next week with five more weekend drops. In the meantime I’ve added to my collection, so keep up with me on the gram and twitter!

Entrepreneurs Grind

How Jacob Zuppke Is Changing The Landscape of Petcare

This week’s episode of the Tartare Project hosted by Phil Toronto features Jacob Zuppke, President and COO of Autopets. Autopets is most known for their innovative pet care products such as the ‘Litter Robot,’ and the company aims to deliver meaningful insights through their high-grade products to assist in making better decisions for pets. Priding themselves on their development, marketing, and elite customer service, Autopets continues to rapidly grow their company as they establish themselves as one of the leaders in quality pet care and accessories. Zuppke spoke with Toronto in a nearly 40-minute conversation that covered his early childhood, the beginning stages of his career, and the developmental strategies behind Autopets.

Toronto starts the conversation by asking Zuppke to give a rundown of how Autopets originally came to be. “Autopets is the maker of ‘Litter Robot,’ which is the highest rated self-cleaning litter box for cats, and that is how we got our start. As of recently, we launched the ‘Feeder Robot,’ which is a pet feeder for both cats and dogs. We also have our litter box brand which is the maker of refined cat accessories ranging from modern cat trees, to cat nips, to different litter boxing closure to hide your litter box in plain sight.”

Taking some steps back, Toronto and Zuppke discuss his childhood in Bloomfield, Michigan, how he viewed school growing up, and his very first business venture at sixteen. “When I turned sixteen, my buddy and I started TJ Bagel, which was a Sunday morning bagel delivery route,” he says, reminiscing about his teenage entrepreneurial days. “We would get up early and go to a bagel place near us called Brooklyn Bagel and pack up everyone’s order and deliver them. We did that for about a year-and-a-half, and it didn’t really turn into much. It was a fun hobby business where we could make a little bit of money, but it was the first real business entity that we filed for and learned that process.”

Two summers later Zuppke embarked on a power washing landscaping business with another friend, and it was there that he realized that he had a passion for entrepreneurship. “That’s when I realized that I had this creative marketing approach where we sat outside of a grocery store that we worked at, and gave away free power washing services. We gave out 100 square feet of power washing, which isn’t much, and we were eventually able to book out an entire summer of homes. It was a really cool first go!”

After diving into more of Zuppke’s early businesses, the conversation progresses into Zuppke’s decision to join Autopets and how he has approached each phase of his career. “It definitely wasn’t all rainbows, but I came to a head where I realized that my partner and I were no longer having fun growing the business together,” he tells Toronto. “I recognized that I am somebody who wants to be in business with a partner, and it’s hard to do that if you don’t enjoy each other’s company all the time or don’t want to have some form of a relationship outside of a business one. I was young and really wanted a mentor, and I felt like it was something that I wasn’t necessarily getting a piece of. I want to have fun with what I’m doing, and looking back, I’ve never had more fun than what I’ve had at Autopets.”

For more on Zuppke and Autopets, be sure to listen to the full interview above. You can follow the entrepreneur on Instagram and Twitter.

Style What To Buy

The 10 Best Canvas Shoes For Men

Canvas shoes are a versatile option that comes in handy for work, school, and everyday wear. Stylish and comfortable, there are many different canvas shoes available through a plethora of retail websites, and the shoes itself are lightweight with many different colors and styles to choose from. In every closet, there are a select amount of items deemed as a ‘must have,’ and canvas shoes fall under that category due to their affordability and versatility. As many of us start to return to some form of office life, you may be in need of a new pair of work appropriate shoes, and we have you covered with ten different pairs of Canvas’ that can be used for both work and everyday life. Below is a list to get you started.

1. Vans Authentic Core Classics
Vans Authentic Core Classics

When in doubt, go with Vans. Vans remain a timeless tried and true appropriate for just about any occasion. The ‘Core Classics’ are a shoe that represents Southern California to the fullest, while blending together surfing and skating styles. Vans have been known to be a very durable shoe that can last for years, so you will definitely be getting your money’s worth as the neutral color makes it easily pairable with just about anything in your wardrobe. With lightweight and flexible uppers you won’t have to worry about creases, and the shoes are very comfy. While we selected the solid tan color, Vans has plenty of other colors available depending on what you are looking for.

BUY NOW, $49.95
2. J. Crew Explorer Canvas Slip-On Sneakers
J. Crew
J. Crew Explorer Canvas Slip-On Sneakers

J. Crew is another go-to brand that has offered quality work clothes and shoes over the decades. The ‘Explorer Slip-Ons’ are a lightweight supportive shoe that has received rave reviews since its release. Made from cotton, the shoes have breathable cotton drill lining and comfort counter padding to prevent sweat, and the rubber outsole helps make for a sturdy shoe that can last you many years. Perfect for the spring/summer, the ‘Explorers’ make for a great investment, as they can be used for many casual events and occasions. J. Crew is known to be on the expensive side at times (but very much worth it), however with these, you will be getting a steal as they are currently on sale for more than half of their original retail price. If you decide to order, consider going a size smaller as the ‘Explorers’ are known to run large.

BUY NOW, $29.50
3. Converse Chuck Taylor High Tops
Converse Chuck Taylor High Tops

Converse is another one of those brands that never misses when it comes to adequate shoe options. The High Top Canvas’ are an ‘OG’ shoe that was originally designed as a performance shoe, so you can get plenty of wear and support out of them. One of the most iconic shoes to ever be created, the ‘Chucks’ are made from canvas material, and have OrthoLite insole cushioning to provide additional comfort. Converse offers loads of different colorways that you can play around with depending on what you are feeling style wise, and are a relatively affordable option as an added bonus. Whether you are a shoe/sneakerhead or not, everybody needs Chucks in their closet. So if you don’t already own a pair, consider picking one up as your next Canvas shoe.

BUY NOW, $69
4. Adidas Original Stan Smith
Adidas Original Stan Smith

It would be downright criminal if we didn’t include the ‘Stan Smiths’ on this list. You want to talk about classics, there are fewer shoes on the face of this planet that are more iconic and legendary than the ‘Stan Smiths.’ Period. Originally created as a tennis shoe modeled after, well, Tennis hall of famer Stan Smith, we can personally assure you that they will never go out of style. Clean and fresh, the ‘Stans’ are a simple shoe (which always been the case), but they are eye-grabbing and easily recognizable, so you are sure to get compliments anytime you step out in them.

BUY NOW, $60-$90
5. Nike Air Force 1s
Nike Air Force 1s

There was once a period of time where Air Force 1s were no longer considered ‘in-style.’ To make a long story short, AF1s became associated with negative connotations, and as a result, many people quit wearing them. Fast forward several years later, Forces are now as in-demand as what they were at their peak in the early 2000s, and with the overall trends and styles associated at that time coming back, this is the perfect opportunity to grab a new pair of AF1s. If you are considering updating your Forces, we strongly recommend doing so sooner rather than later, as right now their is a low supply of the shoe due to the rising demands (and Covid). Don’t miss out!

BUY NOW, $80
6. Nicklas Laceless Canvas Shoe
Nicklas Laceless Canvas Shoe

If you are looking for something a little more upscale, then consider trying out the Nicklas Laceless Canvas Shoes. A five-star shoe offered by Banana Republic the Canvas’ are laceless and complete with lightweight OrthoLite inner cushioning alongside comfort technology insoles to help provide extra support and breathability. At the moment, Banana Republic has two colorway variations (blue and tan), and come in a variety of sizes. Banana Republic is another one of those outlets where you will be paying more than other stores, but the price is oftentimes worth it due to the durability of their products.

BUY NOW, $79.99
7. Nike Court Legacy Men’s Shoe
Nike Court Legacy Men’s Shoe

Another iconic tennis shoe, the Nike ‘Court Legacies’ are a household sneaker staple that remains a must-have. A modern streetwear shoe, the ‘Courts’ are deeply rooted in tennis culture, and the shoe blends together classic street fashion to create a plethora of casual classy looks. Comprising solely from leather, the ‘Courts’ feature an intricate detailed design on the outer, and a canvas trim around the midsole to bring that ‘on court’ tennis feel. Nike currently has seven different colorways available with the colors ranging from solid white to black, and the canvas is designed to stand the test of the time. 

BUY NOW, $60
8. Chuck Taylor All-Star Lugged Boot
Chuck Taylor All-Star Lugged Boot

For this next one we’ll go with something different. Nordstrom is an excellent place to find a wide variety of canvas shoes, and one of their products is the Chuck Taylor All-Star Lugged Boots. Boasting a chunky lugged sole, the boots are basically your standard Chucks on top of a platform. Sleek and cutting edge, you can create tons of different styles from casual to formal, and the shoes are a solid fit with not too many complaints about comfort. If the black colorway isn’t your desired color choice, then you could choose to go with either the all-white or grey colors (though the all-white is more expensive). While these shoes are suitable for the spring and summer seasons, these would probably work better for fall/winter as the thick rubber outsole will be helpful for rainy and snowy conditions.

BUY NOW, $70
9. Maison Margiela 22 Classic Replica Sneaker
End Clothing
Maison Margiela 22 Classic Replica Sneaker

We had to include Maison Margiela for all of our luxury lovers. Since their debut in 1998, Maison Margiela has become one of the world’s luxury leaders, with their historic pieces. Now you may be wondering what exactly would warrant spending nearly $500 on a pair of canvas shoes when you can easily buy a pair from another outlet for $50. The answer to that would be that Maison Margiela is one of the most recognized and renowned luxury brands in history, and owning a pair is definitely one of those fashion ‘check-offs.’ Whether luxury items are a part of your regular shopping routines or not, we all deserve to treat ourselves. The company offers several other colors of the classics in addition to the neutral tans, and are truly a handsome shoe that would be worth the investment (especially if you decide to sell them in the future).

BUY NOW, $495
10. KEDS Champion
KEDS Champion

Ranked highly for their arch support, the KEDS are 100 percent canvas that blends style and comfort together effortlessly. A classic tennis shoe, the KEDs are one of the most versatile canvas shoes on the market with tons of colors and styles available at your disposal. Priding themselves on their comfortability, KEDS shoes have cushioned insoles with breathable fabrics to prevent excessive sweating, and thick rubber outsole for outdoor walking. Most KEDs are very affordable too, with prices ranging from $50 to $60. With many different silhouettes to choose from, KEDS is another go-to that won’t let you down.

BUY NOW, $49.95

Canvas sneakers are just about everything you can ask for in a sneaker. They are diverse, colorful, suitable for many different occasions, and easy to clean. Speaking of cleaning, canvas shoes require a very specific routine in order to maintain durability. How frequently the shoes need to be cleaned depends on how much you wear them, but be sure to hand wash your shoes with mild detergent and warm water. Now that you know how to clean your shoes, you are now ready to add to your collection. We hope this list will help you in making your next selection.

Culture News

A 1990s Throwback and Billie Eilish Take Over This Week in TikTok

TikTok just keeps topping itself. Just when we think we may have seen it all on the platform, content creators come up with something else to keep us on our toes. Last week we got a throwback to the 2000s, and this week we are getting a blast from the past with a 1990s hip-hop classic, and a glimpse of the present with yet another Billie Eilish viral trend. We also have some current bops that you should listen to if you haven’t already. Let’s dive into what was happening on the TikTok this past week.

1. Poison- Bell Biv Devoe

Bell Biv Devoe’s ‘Poison’ will always be one of those classic 1990s hits that recycles its way back onto the current popular music scene. This time around, the legendary track finds itself on TikTok as content creators are using the song to show pictures of what their parents looked like in 1990 when the hit single came out. This challenge is super fun if you want to share old school pictures of what your parents looked like back in the day. If not, the trend is still worth scrolling through.

2. Bury A Friend- Billie Eilish

Are you really surprised to see Billie Eilish on this list? She’s the queen of viral challenges! Billie has done it yet again on TikTok with her ‘Bury A Friend’ single from 2019. This is a ‘glo up’ trend where users rotate the phone camera around their head to reveal a transformation ‘glammed up’ look. Not too complicated of a challenge, and still pretty cool if you ask us.

3. ‘Kiss Me More’ – Doja Cat & SZA

One thing has been made clear over the years—people love Doja Cat and SZA, and that is exactly what this challenge is all about. Now this isn’t a dance/choreography trend, all you have to do is make a video telling the world how much you love Doja Cat and SZA. That’s it!

4. ‘Tampa’ – Cico P

You can never go wrong with a good joke, and TikTokers are putting a new spin on Cico P’s 2020 single ‘Tampa.’ This is a pretty simple trend to participate in as well—all you have to do is make jokes on cue to the lyrics “I’m bad news, I’m a menace to society.” Whatever joke you decide to tell is completely up to you. From your corniest to your most creative, just make sure you deliver it confidently.

That is going to do it for this week! As usual we will be back next week with the latest updates on what is happening in the TikTok world.

Sneakers Style

The 15 Best Slides You Can Buy Right Now

Is there a shoe anymore convenient and comfortable then slides? Think about it—you can wear them to just about any place or event that’s casual or semi-casual, and depending on which slides you purchase, you can even choose to wear them as house shoes. With things slowly returning back to normal, it’s looking like we may be outside a little more this summer as opposed to last year, so now would be the perfect time to update your collection. We’ve compiled a list of fifteen different slides that you can purchase for your summer lineup. 

While slides can be expensive (Gucci slides can run you for about $300), you also don’t want to base your purchase solely on the price, as cheaper slides could result in less durable material that you have to replace more often. That said, here are several to get you started.

1. Ralph Lauren Cayson Big Pony Slide
Ralph Lauren Cayson Big Pony Slide

These Ralph Lauren slides are a reasonable start—not too expensive, but also not too cheap. Ralph Lauren products have always been made from excellent materials, and the brand is renowned for its long-lasting products (some people have had their items for 20-plus years). The ‘Ponys’ are good for both casual and pool wear, and have the signature Polo finish with Ralph Lauren’s iconic Big Pony logo at the top. The EVA midsole provides extra comfort, making this a solid pickup.

BUY NOW, $49.99
2. Adidas Adilette Comfort Sandals For Women
Adidas Adilette Comfort Sandals For Women

Stylish and comfortable, the Adidas Adilette Comfort Sandals are a versatile slide for women that can be worn casually, or even cross into the semi-formal category depending on the event. You could pair these with different athletic outfits, or even skirts/dresses for a variety of looks. The EVA outsole makes for an easy walk, and can be paired with other Adidas items.

BUY NOW, $35
3. Adidas Adilette Slide For Men
Adidas Adilette Slide For Men

Since we covered the women’s version of the Adilette, let’s go over to the men’s. While the design isn’t as intricate as the women’s, you can still get a ton of wear out of them. With over thirteen available colorway options, the ‘Adilettes’ have a synthetic upper, durable footbed, and are fast-drying for pool days. While ‘Adilettes’ have always been reasonably priced (they tend to go for about $45), as of this writing, Adidas is having sale where the Cloud White colorway is now half-off. So you can potentially snag a really good-quality shoe for a very low price if you move fast enough.

BUY NOW, $45
4. Puma Platform Slide Tape
Finish Line
Puma Platform Slide Tape

At first glance these might look a bit uncomfortable, but it is actually the exact opposite with the platform sides. The cross straps provide a secure fit and extra comfort, and the platform sole gives the shoe a diverse appearance that can work with just about anything in your closet. The ‘Platforms’ also come in a gray Violet colorway, and the shoe makes for a great wear with its slip on construction and contoured footbed. Not a bad buy at all.

BUY NOW, $45
5. Men’s Arizona Slide Sandal
Men’s Arizona Slide Sandal

While technically labeled a men’s shoe, the ‘Arizona Slides’ is actually a unisex sandal as they are suitable for women as well. The ‘Arizona Slides’ feature an EVA upper complete with adjustable straps, making the foot support solid. The slides can be worn around the house, but are still stylish enough for Airport and grocery store runs. The shoes are also waterproof, so you don’t have to worry about them being ruined if in the instance you get caught in the rain. While we don’t recommend them for work, these could make for a good commute shoe if you have to walk long distances.

BUY NOW, $44.99—mens%2F417638%3Fcm_mmc%3DCSE-_-GPS-_-G_LIA_Shopping_Sandals-_-LIA_Sandals%26cadevice%3Dc%26gclid%3DCj0KCQjwyZmEBhCpARIsALIzmnKlK8StifQ69qClceIdjDVX8PvVKFVV5DwH65unk19LmIi972xKo8gaAgvAEALw_wcB%26gclsrc%3Daw.ds
6. Michael Kors Gilmore Leather Pool Slides For Women
Michael Kors Gilmore Leather Pool Slides

There are literally tons of Michael Kors slides available on different retail outlets, so you definitely don’t have to go with the ones that we’ve selected, but for the sake of this article, we’ll keep it simple with the solid black option. These are all leather, which means your slides will be protected on the beach, lake, water, etc., and the shoes can be worn for different occasions. While the black colorway is a great choice, there is also a red option, and in our opinion the red is more formal, so you can definitely wear those to work, church, and upscale events.

BUY NOW, $41.40
7. Gucci G Slide Sandal
Saks Fifth Avenue
Gucci G Slide Sandal

We get it. There may not be any solid reason as to why you should spend nearly $300 on a pair of slides, and honestly we don’t have a legitimate excuse either, other than sometimes in life you have to go big. Gucci is well…Gucci—one of the most renowned and respected brands on the planet, and having a Gucci item of any kind (even if it’s only one piece) just takes your closet to another level. These rubber slides are highly rated, and remain one of their most popular and best selling items. Again, this all about your personal preferences in terms of what you are willing to pay for slides. If the $300 price tag is cool for you, then this is a worthy investment.

BUY NOW, $350
8. Givenchy Slides
Givenchy Slides

Since we did the luxury Gucci slides for the men, we’ll do the Givenchy Slides for women next. Like the Gucci’s, the Givenchy sandals are $300, and you would pretty much be paying for the name brand element (these are similar to the Nike slides but with the Givenchy branding). If you are a fan of the Givenchy brand as a whole, then the slides are a must have. These slides have been seen on many celebrities through the years, and if there is one thing that separates them from your standard $50 ones, it’s the overall quality.

The Givenchy’s have a much smoother material which in turn gives it a more couture/high fashion look as opposed to a casual/athletic one. These are also very highly rated, so it appears you will definitely be getting the bang for your buck if you do decide to purchase.

BUY NOW, $295
9. Nike Air Max Camden Men’s Slides
Nike Air Max Camden Men’s Slides

Speaking of Nike, the ‘Air Max Camden Men’s Slides’ may be worth a shot if you are looking for a new pickup. The Camden’s are composed of synthetic material, so you likely won’t be able to wear them to the pool, but they can work for casual outings and house wear. The ‘Camdens’ feature the standard slip-on design with an elastic panel, and has a textured footbed plus a cushioned Air Max Heel Unit to provide ultimate comfort. The upper part of the shoe has an elastic strap complete with the Nike branding, and also features a black/red colorway option if you want more design. 

BUY NOW, $—mens%2F465092%3FactiveColor%3D003%26cm_mmc%3DCSE-_-GPS-_-G_Shopping_Sandals-_-New_Sandals%26cadevice%3Dc%26gclid%3DCj0KCQjwyZmEBhCpARIsALIzmnJ5i1y_XRBuMlU22T1vun8egskifb_N5f7ufGMmkXp5vrfAZ5GeDtUaArpmEALw_wcB%26gclsrc%3Daw.ds
10. NIke Benassi Duo Ultra Women’s Black Slide
NIke Benassi Duo Ultra Women’s

Since we are already on the topic of Nike’s, the ‘Benassi Duos’ are different from the other slides we have on this list because they have two elastic straps as opposed to just one, which is neat from a style perspective. These slides have also received compliments from buyers about the perfect fit, comfortability, and material. The Benassi’s have been amongst Nike’s top sellers when it comes to slides, and they are reasonably priced and highly rated as well. 

BUY NOW, $40
11. Banana Republic Men’s Pool Slides
Banana Republic
Banana Republic Men’s Pool Slides

In case you were wondering, Banana Republic offers a decent selection of slides for both men and women. The Men’s Pool Slides are similar to some of the other pool sandals that we have listed, but the toe strap on these is a tad bit wider compared to the others. Made from an all-leather fabric, there are two different colorway options available: cream and black, and the slides have currently have a five star rating on Banana Republic, with buyers complimenting its comfort, and overall fit. At the moment these are the only casual/athletic slides listed on Banana Republic’s website, but they do have a few dressier ones to choose from if you are interested in those as well.

BUY NOW, $31.98
12. Champion Tie Dye Womens Slide Sandals
Finish Line
Champion Tie Dye Womens Slide Sandals

In case you haven’t noticed, 2000s fashion is starting to make a comeback, and nothing screams Y2K more than a good ole tie dye fit. Champion has their own tie dye slides that are both comfortable and colorful, and sure to add some flavor to your wardrobe. Multiple colorways are available depending on which outlet you shop from, and prices tend to range from about $25-40. In general, Champion is known for their tie dye shirts and hoodies, so the slides will also compliment those items (or any other tie dye outfits you have in your closet for that matter).

BUY NOW, $40
13. Adidas Men’s Adilette Cloudfoam Shower Slides
Foot Locker
Adidas Men’s Adilette Cloudfoam Shower Slides

Have you ever been in the shower and wondered how much easier your life would be if you had a pair of shoes to step into to avoid slipping? Shower slides (or slippers) are really an essential item that everyone should have, and yet most of us don’t own a pair. Adidas currently has the Adilette Cloudfoam Shower Slides on their website, and the slides are made with slip-resistant materials to provide safety, and avoid tracking a bunch of water on the floor once stepping out of the shower.

Even though the ‘Adilettes’ are considered a shower shoe, you can also take them to the pool (or any other water location). You can select from five different colorway options (red, black, white, blue, and gray), and Adidas offers multiple sizes ranging from youth to adult. At just $25, these are definitely a steal. 

BUY NOW, $25–_-P-_-Prospecting-_–_-6543179681-_–_-75950663662-_-PLA-_-FY781515-_–_–_-%26gclid%3DCj0KCQjwyZmEBhCpARIsALIzmnKls2nhDQUWHXXj0kAz0vTOI1JEUeOJ1Qp6t7vpd7XZX1nXr-XtF74aAiHhEALw_wcB%26gclsrc%3Daw.ds
14. Tory Burch Double T Sport Slide
Tony Burch
Tory Burch Double T Sport Slide

Out of all the women’s slides we have on this list, these are arguably the most ‘high fashion.’ Cutting edge and chic, the Tory Burch ‘Double T Sports Slides’ are a sophisticated shoe that can be used for work, school, or any casual/semi-casual event. The slides have a soft padded leather to provide additional comfort to the foot, and a cushioned foam insole. The outer part of the slides feature a padded napa leather upper, and a metallic calfskin trim. Stylistically, these shoes are very attractive, and are versatile enough to go with many different items in your closet. Plus, they can last quite a long time if given the proper care.

BUY NOW, $198–KCcu0g0aAh92EALw_wcB%26gclsrc%3Daw.ds
15. Moschino Logo Print Slides
Moschino Logo Print Slides

Moschino continues to be one of the most famous luxury brands in the world, and are most known for their innovative and eccentric designs. While the ‘Logo Print Slides’ aren’t the most ‘out of the ordinary’ compared to other items in the brand’s lineup, they are still unique. Dubbed as poolside attire, the slides are decorated with a gold-tone logo print, and have a thick wide leather strap complete with the iconic Moschino branding.

The only potential negative with this shoe compared to others, is that it may not be as comfortable due to the lack of additional padding and cushioning. If you can get past that, the Print Slides are a great purchase. However if lack of comfort is a deal breaker, then we can certainly understand that as well. That said, the Print Slides are a solid pickup with excellent ratings.

BUY NOW, $195

Slides will forever and always be one of the go-to fashion choices for just about any casual event, and as we saw with some of the luxury slides we featured, they can also be great for work and upscale occasions as well. Obviously this isn’t the ‘end all be all’ for slides as there are a large variety of slides (both luxury and non-luxury) available on many different outlets that aren’t on this list.

As we continue to get back to normal, it is important that we update some of our favorite clothes/shoes to make sure our closets stays fresh. Whether you choose to go with our selections, or make your purchase elsewhere, we hope you find a brand new pair of sick slides to add to your wardrobe.

Culture Music

Music Manager and Entrepreneur Dylan Leazier Talks Business

Memphis artist Fresco Trey is a rising trailblazer who’s name you’ll be hearing a lot more in the future. Behind every artist is an equally dedicated team of individuals who work extremely hard behind the scenes to make things happen. For Trey, one of the people behind the scenes is a young man by the name of Dylan Leazier. An entrepreneur, Leazier is also the CEO of UNKNXWN, a content creation and branding company, and handles all things creative for DJ Clue. The latest guest on this week’s Monday to Monday episode hosted by Mike Boyd, Leazier discussed his entrepreneurial rise in entertainment amongst many other topics in a nearly 20-minute conversation with Boyd that you definitely will want to check out.

Boyd kicks off the conversation asking Leazier about managing Trey, and how the two first met. “I heard about Trey about a year-and-a-half ago,” he tells Boyd recalling their meeting.”It was through my videographer Kenny who is a part of the movement as well. He went down to Memphis to shoot some content, and connected with Trey and his team. He came back and was low-key pitching Trey’s music, and that’s how I heard of him. At that point Trey was moving around for his tour, but when the pandemic hit that slowed everything down, and I got him to New York to meet with me.”

As the conversation continues, Boyd and Leazier go into just how special of a talent Trey is, and how he personally tries to add value when working with the artist. “I’m a person that comes in and tries to add value. I knew from our conversations that they (Fresco and his team) were looking for marketing and branding, so I started there and just kept building out. One of Trey’s visions is starting FTL, which is the label that he is pushing. So I try to come in and use my resources to help amplify their movement. It’s been a journey these past six months, but we are in a great place and excited for the future.”

As the two continue to talk, Boyd goes on to ask Leazier about specific tips he has for putting time and money into something you believe in career wise. “It’s a big thing,” he says before detailing how much of a process management can be. “You truly have to believe in it. Some people are in this because they only want to make quick money or for the fame. I feel like I’m a different breed because I love the grind. Yes it has been stressful and hectic these past four to six months, but some of these memories are the greatest memories I’ll have to carry on with me through life.

I’m able to have a great team around that is like family—you have to have a team that is passionate and believes in what you are doing because you can’t do it by yourself. If you have a strong enough team that believes in the movement too, that is when something truly special happens.

Asking Leazier to dive deeper on the importance of having a good team, the manager gives advice to newcomers looking to build their teams. “I think you have to identify in a sense what your weaknesses are, and what areas you could use help in. You have to see what you need, and then look first at your immediate network to see which people can add value. If you don’t have anyone around you—social media is so powerful. You can get on Instagram and stumble across somebody you can network with.”

Boyd and Leazier went deeper into their conversation and the ins and outs of management. You can listen to the full interview above, and follow Leazer on Instagram.