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Entrepreneurs Grind

How Nia Symone Is Paving The Way For Change With Purpose To Be Heard

Nia Symone is a trailblazer. A young, gifted, visionary who is only just beginning to bless the world with her talents, while also using her gifts to bless and inspire others. I am also extremely proud to call her my friend. Nia is many things in one. An ex-college hooper now using her basketball expertise to help former, current, and upcoming student-athletes navigate life post-basketball through her company Purpose To Be Heard.

A storyteller and director, and the host of Nike’s Come Thru, Nia has had quite the year, and before leaving for Los Angeles to work on her next film project, she was kind enough to catch up with us to talk about her budding career.

ONE37pm: Thank You for speaking with us Nia! We wanted to first ask you about what you are building with your company “Purpose To Be Heard.”

Nia: Purpose To Be Heard is a digital sports storytelling platform. It’s a passion project that we are building to tell the real and raw stories of athletes, while also changing the way society views athletes. A lot of times the world doesn’t see the human side of athletes, and there are so many layers to us that people don’t know about. There’s a lot of pressure on athletes, and anxiety and depression have doubled.

What we are doing at Purpose To Be Heard is combating this issue through editorial-style storytelling. Outlets like Players Tribune cater to a certain demographic which are retired pros. With us, we are focusing on non-profit efforts, mental health, healing, and community. Most student-athletes are friends with other athletes, and once we’re out of that bubble, we don’t have a direction. Fewer than two percent of athletes go pro, and after college, you don’t really know what to do. It’s sort of an identity crisis that you struggle with.

ONE37pm: We’ve been seeing all the promo going on! When do you guys officially launch?

Nia: We are super excited to be launching in the spring/summer of 2022. We’re going to have Purpose To Be Heard community events. We’re going to focus on the importance of nutrition because food can really affect your mood, and so much more. We’ve got a lot of great things coming with Purpose!

ONE37pm: Tell about your experience with Nike’s Come Thru.

Nia: Come Thru has been a life-changing experience, and I have learned so much. This was my first time hosting a show, and from the first time I stepped on set, it was like I was going into a game. I wanted to show the world my capabilities. I was working three jobs at the start of 2021, and I was at my wit’s end. I was figuring out what I wanted to do, and I was actually considering becoming a flight attendant.

In early January, there was a tweet posted that was looking for former hoopers, and my friend tagged me underneath the post. I thought nothing of it until later on when I got a message from a woman with 44,000 followers on Twitter who was verified that worked for Nike. She said that she wanted me to host a show on the app! It took me a while to process, and as it turns out, they had been watching me the whole time on my social media accounts from the moment my friend tagged me underneath that first post!

The funny thing is that right before I got that message, I had a moment where I had to ask God for a breakthrough. I was a part-time radio producer with a crazy schedule, and I was working at Overtime as well as doing some freelancing stuff. My sleep schedule was crazy, and as I mentioned, a couple of days before I got the message from the woman at Nike, I asked God for a breakthrough. I got the job on March 1st, 2021.

ONE37pm: You mentioned before the interview that you are heading to L.A. to work on a film project. When did you first discover your love for film and storytelling?

Nia: I’ve always been a huge documentary geek. I’ve watched all of the 30 for 30 episodes to get insight on athletes and coaches. I love authentic storytelling, and I’ve always known that it was something that I wanted to do. Issa Rae is a huge inspiration for me in terms of how she was able to go from Awkward Black Girl to Insecure, and now one of the most powerful women in the entertainment and production world. I’ve always been very creative, and I want to write and direct all sorts of projects.

ONE37pm: Final Question for you Nia. Where do you see yourself in five years?

Nia: I love this question! In five years I see myself running my own production company and non-profit organization full-time, writing and directing creative stories, and giving back to the community because it takes a village. I’m just a girl from Decatur, Georgia where there’s so much black excellence. I want to live in my purpose and change the world in some type of way. 

I want to make athletes’ lives easier and change the narrative in the hopes that people will start showing more grace. Athletes are human beings who have real-life challenges. So my goal is to continue walking in my purpose and create art.

You can continue to keep up with Nia and her journey on Instagram.

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Entrepreneurs Grind

Meet Cole Richman: Founder of Bottom Bunk Sneaker House

As sneaker life begins to return to its pretty-pandemic state, there’s one budding business that every sneakerhead should have on their radar. Bottom Bunk Sneaker House is your new home for all things sneakers.

Located in the heart of Melrose, Bottom Bunk is a fully self-funded business founded by Cole Richman. Richman has a very atypical rise to success-the founder and creative director went from sitting behind bars to creating this highly successful sneaker house.

Bottom Bunk
Bottom Bunk Sneaker House

Cole was born and raised in Los Angeles and got caught up in drugs & gang-related activities at the age of 14. After going in and out of the prison system for years, Cole was sentenced to eight years in prison at the age of 27. While in solitary confinement, Cole decided that when he got out, he would turn his life around.

Released from prison during the peak of the coronavirus pandemic, with nothing more than the shirt on his back and $200 from the state, Cole used that money on a pair of “Smoke Grey” Jordan 1’s, which he then resold for a profit. With that money, he purchased a pair of Yeezys, resold them, and began working with various brands, using the same methods & abilities.

Thus, Bottom Bunk (refers to the bed Cole slept in for years in prison) was born. With a bright future ahead, ONE37pm spoke to Cole about his redemption journey.

Bottom Bunk
Bottom Bunk Sneaker House

ONE37pm: What can visitors expect when they visit Bottom Bunk?

Cole: Walking into Bottom Bunk is like walking into your local neighborhood for shoes. We want it to be an elevated shopping experience, and it’s like that with everything. We also deliver exclusivity when it comes to shoes, so that is also something that we are proud of and want our visitors to experience.

ONE37pm: Cool, now let’s take you back. When did you first discover your love for sneakers?

Cole: I’ve always loved the experience of buying sneakers. I think I got my first pair of Jordan 1s around 1991/1992, and I was heavily immersed in sneaker culture. For those that don’t know, I spent eight years in prison, and I got released during the pandemic in 2020. I had struggled with drugs and spent time in a halfway house. My roommate at the halfway house was doing shoes, and when I got released, the state gave me $200.

I used that money to get a pair of Smoke Grey Jordan 1s, and that got the ball rolling for me in terms of getting into the reselling game. I had spent the majority of my life hustling, and now I was using those same skills to hustle in a different way. Now I can really focus on giving back and helping other people through my store.

Bottom Bunk
Bottom Bunk Sneaker House

ONE37pm: That’s a pretty quick turnaround for just a two-year time period! Especially with you opening up your own store. There are some people who started before you in the sneaker game that still aren’t where you are.

Cole: It’s hard work and a little bit of luck. I got lucky that the prison gave us a little bit of a stimulus, and I’m also fortunate to have had people that helped my business along with financially supporting me, even though I had been in prison.

ONE37pm: Right now, we’re in a weird space in the sneaker game. Of course with the pandemic, sneaker buying was primarily online, and people have been getting fed up with the online buying process. Now we are slowly starting to transition back to more in-store purchasing. What are your thoughts on that, and what can sneakerheads expect from Bottom Bunk?

Cole: It’s a couple of different things. I have the relationships necessary to get early access to certain shoes, and I’m not trying to take advantage of people. I definitely think the pandemic played a part in why people are frustrated because we were all cooped up in the house, and you could pretty much only buy online. Now it’s beginning to be more accessible through in-store buying when it comes to new sneakers.

Bottom Bunk
Bottom Bunk Sneaker House

ONE37pm: Are there any specific shoes that sell the most?

Cole: We sell a lot of the Panda Dunks, every type of Jordan 1s, and also the UNC 1s which are very popular. A lot of people like those UNC colorways!

ONE37pm: Where do you see yourself and Bottom Bunk in the next few years?

Cole: In the next 12 months we would love to have one to two more locations. Obviously, SoHo would be nice, and maybe even Atlanta and Nashville. In the next few years, we’ll be able to rival StockX!

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Entrepreneurs Grind

A Conversation With UNKNWN Co-Founder Jaron Kanfer

Since we are now officially in February, it’s time to start thinking about our springtime fashions. On January 14th, UNKNWN dropped their Spring 2022 Sport collection, which is a reflection of the evolving styles of its founders LeBron James, Frankie Walker Jr., and Jaron Kanfer.

UNKNWN
Spring 2022

The collection is inspired by activewear and reimagined with an emphasis on modern sportswear design and functionality. It debuts shirts, polos, jackets, joggers, biker shorts, sports bras, and accessories designed to lend an elevated feel and designer lens to activewear.

Intended for the everyday athlete to be worn anytime or anywhere, the collection was tested by athletes in Fit Clubs and workouts that UNKNWN hosts weekly at its Wynwood store, and focuses on performance, and multi-paneled designs that offer lightweight and breathable materials, along with stretchable sweat resistant fabric.

UNKNWN

The color story offers neutral, cohesive, and cool tones consisting of ivory, chalk, navy, white, and ice effortlessly ready to incorporate itself into a wide range of wardrobes and personal styles. The best part? It is reasonably priced with pieces ranging from $40 to $115 each.

ONE37pm spoke with UNKNWN co-founder Jaron Kanfer to talk more about the Spring 2022 Sport collection.

UNKNWN

ONE37pm: Congrats on the new collection! What was the inspiration for this latest drop?

Kanfer: This collection is active and athlete-inspired. We wanted to create activewear that was elevated through a designer lens and make it functional to be worn every day. 

ONE37pm: You guys had a great 2021, what can we expect in 2022?

Kanfer: Expect more UNKNWN brand collections as well as collaborations with the top sneaker, fashion, and gaming brands. There are so many talented creatives we’re excited to team up with. At our Miami store, we’re hosting weekly workouts and special events in our courtyard. We designed this aspect of the store as a place where the community can get together and be active.

ONE37pm: How has the brand evolved since the beginning?

Kanfer: UNKNWN was founded as a way for people to discover new brands by combining high fashion with contemporary wear. We’ve always wanted that experience to be accessible for anyone. As we’ve grown, we are constantly amplifying our efforts to support new brands with collaborations and special events. We continue to expand the UNKNWN brand with new collections. Most importantly, we’re expanding our community and providing opportunities locally to come together for special events and workouts. 

UNKNWN

ONE37pm: This is a really versatile collection! You can really create a lot of different looks, right?

Kanfer: Exactly. The idea behind the collection, and all of our collections, is to create looks that can be worn together as a matching set or mixed with other collections for individuality. We design collections around a cohesive color story to make building full looks or mixing pieces effortless. 

ONE37pm: We had to ask. Any plans for more retail stores in the future? 

Kanfer: Stay tuned… 

We guess we’ll have to stay tuned. In the meantime, you can check out the collection at UNKNWN’s flagship location in Wynwood, and at UNKNWN.com.

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Entrepreneurs Grind

Athletes Unlimited Partners With Khristina Williams and Girls Talk Sports TV

When we last spoke to Khristina Williams in September 2020, the entrepreneur had already accomplished a lot with Girls Talks Sports TV with plans for more. Today Williams has some big news. Athletes Unlimited has partnered with Girls Talk Sports TV for the 2022 Inaugural Basketball Season, taking place from Jan. 26 to Feb. 26 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Williams, a 2021 Forbes 30 Under 30: Sports selection, founded the digital sports media outlet Girls Talk Sports TV in 2018, providing a place to give women a voice in the sports media industry and has served as a destination for WNBA social and digital content.

Athletes Unlimited
Athletes Unlimited x Khristina Williiams

She will join Athletes Unlimited Basketball for opening weekend, produce content and engage with fans through initiatives such as a live watch party, Instagram takeovers, weekly mailbags and written content for AUProSports.com. Girls Talk Sports TV has amassed 23.5k followers across Instagram and Twitter, while Williams has 20.k followers on her own channels. In 2021, she launched “Women Sports Wednesday” on Spotify Greenroom, where she discusses the latest & greatest in the world of women’s basketball.

We caught up with Williams yesterday to discuss the exciting news. Here’s what she had to say:

“This opportunity with Athletes Unlimited came about because they are launching their pro-women’s basketball league. They tapped me as black women to tell these stories of the athletes. It’s more than just investing, and it’s equally important to invest in the people who are creating the content and the fan projects. We talked about how fluid sports fans are, and Athletes Unlimited tapped Girls Talk Sports TV to be a digital partner. It’s exciting all around the board, and gives athletes a chance to play outside of their commitment to the WNBA.

Imani McGee Stafford is coming back, Kalani Brown who decided to join and is looking to make a WNBA comeback and use this opportunity to show her game. This could be the start of her 2022 contract. Then you have Sydney Colson who is another player as she didn’t play last year. Athletes Unlimited is a great way to get second chance opportunities. You also have Ty Young who has retired but wants to stay around the game, and then you also have Courtney Williams who because of the altercation that happened last year, is gonna use this opportunity to prove why she’s an all-star. This is great all around the bar, and it’s going to challenge me to tell all of these stories, whether it’s writing or the weekly content show.

Girls Talks Sports TV has been the destination space to go to, and this opportunity means more to me than anything else because it’s setting the standard for everyone who comes behind me. If I can do it, they can do it too. The possibilities are endless! We are giving brands a way to focus on digital creators. This is making history and showing that you can be an independent entity, partner with a brand, and make history. This league is changing the way we see women’s sports and basketball.”

In addition to Williams, the league will also be collaborating with Basketball content creators Jasmine Baker, Greydy Diaz, Terrika Foster-Brasby and Victoria Jacobi to give fans an inside look at the first weekend of action.

Athletes Unlimited Basketball’s first season will take place in Athletes Unlimited Arena at the Sport Center of Las Vegas, less than two miles from the Las Vegas Strip. Games will be broadcast in the U.S. on either FOX Sports, CBS Sports Network, Bally Sports or Athletes Unlimited digital channels. Additional international media partners will also be added. 

Tickets are available via AUProSports.com.

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Entrepreneurs Grind

Renee Montgomery and Sirena Grace Talk Montgomery and Co. Podcast

Our 2022 entertainment continues to get off to a hot start with the relaunch of Renee Montgomery’s podcast Remotely Renee. Now dubbed Montgomery & Co., Montgomery is joined by wife Sirena Grace, her mother Bertlela Montgomery, and sister Nicole Young as they speak with some of the top names in sports, culture, entrepreneurship, and entertainment.

Previous guests include the likes of Ros Gold-Onwude, Amar’e Stoudemire, Cari Champion, and more, and the relaunch officially debuted this past Thursday featuring special guests Jemelle Hill, and Bo Han, the founder & CEO of Buzzer. We spoke to Renee and Sirena about the relaunch this past week. Below is the full interview.

ONE37pm: Congrats on the relaunch! You guys already had great episodes and an awesome fanbase with Remotely Renee, so how did you approach the development of Montgomery & Co?

Montgomery: When the pandemic started we were doing a bunch of family Zooms talking about everything. Jemele Hill was really the one that inspired us by letting us know just how impactful it would be to have four minority women having conversations in business and culture. Jemele is an advisor at Meadowlark, and has a pulse for Remotely Renee which was a once-a-week podcast that featured interviews with many different leaders in sports and entertainment. We’ve built this from the ground up!

Grace: When Remotely Renee started it was Renee, her mom, and her sister, and I was the behind-the-scenes person fixing the lighting and doing the producer work. We were doing everything from the house. Now it’s like we have official roles, which is very exciting!

ONE37pm: You mentioned Jemelle Hill, so it’s fitting that she’s one of the first guests. You all talked a lot about NIL and how it’s going to change the landscape for female athletes. Could you expand more on that?

Montgomery: The potential for college athletes to build brands was always there, but we didn’t have that recognition until NIL as you had to become a professional athlete to have those opportunities. You see that so much in players like Candace Parker who have built an empire, and now young players can start doing that in college.

Grace: It changes the landscape for sure. NIL gives athletes the chance to take their brands and make them appeal to the broader masses. With social media anything is possible, and I think in the future you’ll see athletes with clothing lines, starting their own brands, etc. 

ONE37pm: How do you feel this relaunch has evolved from what you guys were previously doing with Montgomery & Co Remotely Renee, and what can we expect in the future?

Montgomery: With Remotely Renee we wanted to keep people involved and share their stories. It’s going to be the same with Montgomery & Co. We just had Larry Miller (Jordan Brand chairman) on the show, and he has a great story and transformation. We focus on topics like building generational wealth and leaving inheritances to your kids. Our biggest mission is to educate and inspire.

We also focus on breaking stereotypes, and the biggest thing about us is that we don’t have a traditional approach to our shows. We take people with us on our journeys and family blogs. We want to show people that we are authentic and all the tricks of the trade

New episodes drop every Thursday. In the meantime, you can keep up with all things Montgomery & Co via Instagram. Be sure to also check out Renee and Sirena and all of their latest updates on IG as well.

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Entrepreneurs Grind

A Conversation With PG Sports Founder Paul Guarino

PG Sports is on the rise. Founded by Paul Guarino, PG Sports specializes in sports marketing and sports management, representing notable athletes such as Jeff Adrien, Crystal Dangerfield, Renee Montgomery, and more. Closing out 2021 on a high note, Guarino is looking forward to accomplishing even bigger things in 2022. We sat down with Guarino last week to talk about all things PG Sports.

Berk Work
Paul Guarino and Chad Dawson

ONE37pm: How did you develop the concept of PG Sports

Guarino: I started a Twitter page back in 2011 because I knew I wanted to be a sports agent. I made these Marshawn Lynch “Beast Mode” t-shirts to promote my business. I reached out to a graphic designer in terms of creating the PG Sports logo, and from there we just kind of had a contest to win the Beast Mode shirts. From there, I just started building relationships with athletes doing things like interview scheduling, making t-shirts, sports marketing, and sponsorships. I have clients in the UFC, WNBA, overseas, and more. The only sport I don’t work with yet is baseball. I currently have about 28 clients on my roster and it’s cool to see all of the connections.

ONE37pm: What does a day in your life look like for you?

Guarino: I’m on my computer pretty much all day every day. I’m scheduling phone calls, handing email, reaching out, and doing virtual calls. I’m pretty busy!

Moses Webb
Anthony Ireland Paul Guarino and Mustapha Heron

ONE37pm: Who are some of the clients you represent?

Guarino: I represent Kimbo Slice Jr., Renee Montgomery, Brandon Copeland, and Crystal Dangerfield to name a few.

ONE37pm: What’s on the calendar for 2022?

Guarino: Right now I don’t have anything special planned. Just more content, partnership deals, and my goal is to add new people to my roster. I also want to build bigger relationships with brands!

ONE37pm: Any advice you have for someone who wants to do what you do?

Guarino: Consistency is key! Make sure you stick with it!

For more on PG Sports you can check out their official website and Twitter.

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Entrepreneurs Grind

ONE37pm Talks To Outshine Talent Founder Barbara Jones

Outshine Talent is the mastermind operation that has launched the careers of some of the biggest social media stars and celebrities in the world including Charli and Dixie D’Amelio, Frankie Jonas, Coco Rocha, and more. Last week the agency announced the addition of their division expanding an exemplary talent roster with the signing of Adrien Nuñez and Carson Roney.  Nuñez is the first NIL signing for Outshine, and the signing marks a monumental milestone for the company.

Shorefire Media
Barbara Jones

Headed by Barbara Jones, Outshine Talent develops and implements strategic, big-picture career plans specific to each of their talent’s roster. We spoke with Jones earlier this week to learn more about the agency, what a day in the life looks like for their clients, and what we can expect in the future.

ONE37pm: Outshine Talent has made some huge moves and signings over the years. Could you just talk a little bit more about the company’s evolution?

Jones: Prior to starting Outshine, I did influencer and social media marketing for brands, and TikTok hired our agency back when it was Musical.ly. That was originally how we started with TikTok, and we saw just how influential it was amongst high school students. My daughter found out about Charli D’Amelio, and it turned out that we both live in Connecticut. I connected with them for an influencer event that we were coordinating, and it was sort of like a snowball effect. I realized the D’Amelio family were going to need a team around them, so I created Outshine Talent, and slowly but surely we began adding new talent.

Social media has evolved a lot since I started at Columbia Records thirteen years ago. That was the beginning of blogging, the early stages of Facebook and Twitter, and before Instagram. I’ve gotten the chance to see it evolve.

ONE37pm: What does a day in the life look like for you?

Jones: Right now we have about 25 talents signed to our roster, and they each have a team around them. This includes a day to day manager, and just an overall support system. Everyone on our roster is at different stages of their careers. For example, we have one that is starting a podcast, and another that is working on an animated series. Everyday is different and about understanding where our talent wants to go. So we’re constantly vetting brands and negotiating deals. It’s super fun!

ONE37pm: Obviously the NIL news this year has impacted so much in the realm of college athletes, and you guys just announced some huge news with the signing of Adrien Nuñez and Carson Roney. Could you talk a little more about that?

Jones: We’re really excited! It’s the beginning of a new time. I’m excited to work with athletes  who are great with social media and have fun with it. The stress of school and athletics can be a lot already, so it’s important that these athletes have good people around them. I’m a mom myself, so I’m super protective! We have a real family environment here at Outshine.

ONE37pm: What do you think the landscape of college athletics will look like NIL wise as we are already seeing athletes secure huge deals?

Jones: I think it will eventually turn into a recruiting tool. Right now schools are a bit unsure because there have been so many rules in the past, and I think there will be some ups and downs, but overtime teams and players will have tons of opportunities to open doors for more up-and-coming athletes. There’s going to be a lot of evolution in the future with helping athletes who have bigger dreams of acting, modeling, etc. The goal is to help them build their brand.

ONE37pm: Can you walk us through Outshine’s other work, outside of NIL?

Jones: We work with talent in comedy, fashion, beauty, and plenty more. We have a lot of different niches and talent signed to those areas. We do a lot!

ONE37pm: What’s on the landscape for 2022? Anything you guys are working on right now?

Jones: It’s going to be a great year! Each of our talent has different goals, and we have podcasts, book deals, music, and animated series on the way. We are also going to be diving into the Crypto/NFT world which is something we are super excited about. It’s going to be great!

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Entrepreneurs Grind

ONE37pm Speaks With Pamela Slaughter, founder of PDX People of Colors Outdoors

Today is National Hiking Day. Also known as “Take A Hike Day,” thousands of hikers and outdoor enthusiasts will be coming together to celebrate the trails that have changed their lives. We’d like to introduce Pamela Slaughter, founder of PDX People of Colors Outdoors. Founded to create a safe, inclusive space for people of color in Portland, Oregon to enjoy the outdoors together, the organization brings awareness to the environmental injustice in the outdoor African-American hiking community while also creating a safe space to pursue their hiking passions.

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), true environmental justice is reached when everyone has the same degree of protection from environmental and health hazards and equal access to the decision-making process to have a healthy environment in which to live, learn, and work. 

Jenna Tittelfitz
PDX People of Colors Outdoors

Focusing on these critical elements and motivated by the experiences of her grandson and nephews’ outdoor experiences, Slaughter established the PDX People of Colors Outdoors community to learn about all things about hiking, trail running, biking, and canoeing. She was also recently nominated for the first-ever Facebook Community Awards for the local category. We spoke to Slaughter about her endeavors and bringing heightened awareness to the African-American hiking communities.

ONE37pm: Great to speak with you Pamela! First, we wanted to ask you about the process of finding and developing PDX.

Slaughter: Last year (2020), I started the Facebook Community group PDX People of Color Outdoors. By then, I had already established a Meetup group called People of Color Outdoors (POCO), which I founded in 2017. I actually never felt the need to have a Facebook group, because our group was growing rapidly. But during the pandemic, the POCO community wanted to share some of the obstacles and issues they were facing in addition to COVID-19. 

Some had dealt with racism from roommates and dreaded going home. Some felt overwhelmed from teaching their children at home. A few were homeowners that felt fearful because their tenants couldn’t pay the rent. Then you had tenants that felt afraid because they couldn’t pay the rent. Some had relationships that were deteriorating. Others felt fortunate and blessed, and wanted to remain that way, and to give back. 

Even though the group members had diverse lives, they had one common thread: to spend more time outdoors. They wanted to maintain their mental health by spending more time in nature with other BIPOC outdoor enthusiasts. During the pandemic, I decided to take a step back from my real estate business in order to plan POCO’S transition from a Meetup group to a new non-profit. I found a fiscal sponsor, the Columbia Slough Watershed Council, and Advisors, Soumary Vongrassamy and Greg Wolley, and wrote a book called “Hi! My Name is Robin!”, to encourage families to learn all about birdwatching, especially home schoolers.

After I published my book, I officially started our Facebook community group, PDX People of Color Outdoors, and in 2020  POCO hosted 30 gatherings, including several virtual gatherings due to COVID safety precautions. This year, PDX People of Color Outdoors hosted 42 outings with more outings set throughout November and December!

Ashley Slaughter

ONE37pm: When did you first discover your love for the outdoors and what kind of impact has that had on you?

Slaughter: I was born and raised in Oregon, which is an incredibly beautiful state. I can’t remember not loving nature since Ive been surrounded by it my whole life but I really grew an appreciation for nature when I visited family in Chicago when I was 10 years old. I found all of the cement, tall buildings, and the lack of forest and trees depressing. Once I returned home, I realized my love and need for nature. I made an effort to connect on a deeper level by signing up for 4-H and Girl Scouts. I’ve been sharing nature with others ever since!

ONE37pm:  What does a day in the life look like for somebody who is actively involved in the outdoor life be it hiking, trail running, canoeing, etc.

Slaughter: I don’t know a lot of athletic outdoorsy people, which is ironic. I’m active, but I work all day like most people. I get my outdoor time in small bites. I pack my lunch, eat in my office, then drive to a favorite natural area 10 minutes away, and walk the loop there , then drive back to work within the hour. When people want to go out for brunch or lunch on the weekend, I’ll sometimes suggest a walk instead. I’m very spontaneous, and will pull over and explore a trail if I have time while I’m driving. In a nutshell, I grab lots of little opportunities to enjoy the outdoors, in addition to going to group events such as the ones offered by People of Color Outdoors.

Pamela Slaughter
PDX People of Color Outdoors

ONE37pm: According to the EPA, true environmental justice is reached when everyone has a healthy environment and the same level of environmental protection. How is People of Color Outdoors working to eliminate racism and discrimination in the outdoors?  

Slaughter: Black ball players, golfers, swimmers, gymnasts, tennis players, have all survived hostility and obstacles from racism. The color barrier was broken and years later, it’s not shocking to see BIPOC professional athletes. People of Color Outdoors is getting BIPOC outdoors into natural spaces on a regular basis. Four years ago we would be stared at when we explored certain trails. I have deliberately repeated our outings frequently. Now no one looks at us twice when we visit those same places, four years later, because it’s normal for us to be there. The very act of going into a space repeatedly is helping.

ONE37pm: Where do you hope to see People of Color Outdoors five years from now?

Slaughter: We would love to acquire our own wooded acreage by then, so that we can train our leaders, teach outdoor skills, host outdoor events, camp, and meet. Ultimately, we will have our own retreat center that will be open to the public.

ONE37pm: People of Color Outdoors has a very close-knit community. What do you guys do for fun and fellowship?

Slaughter: Some of our favorite outings take place when we rent a camp for the day and have the entire day to enjoy each other’s company, good food and nature!

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Entrepreneurs Grind

BEYOND THE STREETS and NTWRK Partner For Their 2021 Event

BEYOND THE STREETS prides itself on being a celebration of society’s most creative misfits. Focusing on talent who’s impacts are undeniable but often overlooked, the iconic company is gearing up for their official BEYOND THE STREETS fair that will be hosted exclusively by NTWRK on December 1st and December 2nd. The second iteration of the fair will be directed by renowned artist Cleon Peterson, and will feature an unprecedented number of artists debuting new work — including paintings, sculptures, limited-edition prints, skate decks, drawings, and more.

The event will also launch exclusive products  across fine art, collectibles, apparel, and home goods, and offer unique content experiences from around the world throughout the event.

We spoke with BEYOND THE STREETS founder Roger Gastman to get a behind the scenes look at what they are putting together this year, while also diving into the world of virtual shopping, the current and future landscape of street art and graffiti, and the future of BEYOND THE STREETS.

ONE37pm: Congratulations on the launch of BEYOND THE STREETS. How has it been putting together this event thus far?

Gastman: Putting it together this year was an entirely different beast. It was a whole new challenge because last year’s festival came during a time where everybody was locked in. Now we are in a time where everybody is slowly starting to get back out there, and it’s been such a positive experience. There were so many days where we were bored, and ended with us creating great content. A lot of great video content as well. We were really thinking from the perspective of everything getting back to normal in the world.

ONE37pm:  Can you give a quick rundown of the event and NTWRK in general for those being introduced for the first time.

Gastman: BEYOND THE STREETS is the ultimate art show. It’s been a passion of mine since I was kid, and now we are really seeing that everything has exploded in the digital art world. We have 100 of the greatest artists in the world, and over 100,000 people have come knocking on our door. BEYOND THE STREETS is a pop museum of some of the world’s most exciting art, and it’s a place for people to collect limited edition one-of-a-kind-pieces.

ONE37pm: Some of the topics being discussed are: Art in the Age of Virtual Shopping, The Landscape of Street Art, and the Future of BEYOND THE STREETS. Anything else we can expect?

Gastman: A Lot of surprises and conversations. We are going to be covering and talking about everything!

ONE37pm:  Renowned artist Cleon Peterson will be directing. How has it been working with him?

Gastman: He’s great! Cleon is not a graffiti/street artist and he is incredible. He’s an artist inspired by magical paintings, who focuses a lot on simplicity. He’s great to work with. Sometimes he’ll be on a call and won’t say anything, and then he’ll pop in with something out of nowhere to show that he was listening to every word the whole time. He inspires a lot of fresh ideas.

ONE37pm: Anything else you want the world to know about BEYOND THE STREETS?

Gastman: It’s going to be a complete new experience in terms of our content. We’ll have our holiday shopping, and our artwork will be accessible for many to see without necessarily having to go into a gallery. We’re excited to be partnered with NTWRK because they give us the technology and opportunity to showcase artists.

We really have a diverse range of people, and our formula is very fast-paced. There will be a new episode every ten to 15 minutes where a new product will become available to purchase, and like we said before, we always have new content continuously rolling out. Each episode will be able to reach somebody with many different curation changes. We work with many different types of artists because we really aim to tell strong and different stories.

There’s also another exciting announcement in store, as it was announced today that J Balvin will serve as the emcee for the event. 

BEYOND THE STREETS will take place on NTWRK December 1st and December 2nd. 

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Entrepreneurs Grind

How eBay and Sneaker Con Are Elevating The Sneaker Community

The 2021 Sneaker Con trail continues to blaze, this time with a weekend stop in the city of Atlanta where hundreds of sneakerheads gathered to buy, sell, and connect with fellow sneaker lovers who share the same passion. ONE37pm attended the event for the first time this year, and met with eBay’s General Manager of Sneakers, Garry Thaniel to discuss the over $21B retail sneaker market, the $2B resale sneaker market, and what makes eBay the number one marketplace for sneaker reselling – including eBay’s Authenticity Guarantee and zero seller fees. 

eBay

With eBay recently reaching over one million items authenticated, the sneaker category continues to explode on the platform with an average of 1.64M sneaker listings each day. Last year eBay sold a total of 7.69 million sneakers in North America with an average of 15 pairs of sneakers bought every minute on eBay, while also boasting their fastest-growing – yet frequently under-served community of female sneaker collectors and enthusiasts in an estimated $80 billion market.

The women’s sneaker category is another fast-growing area on eBay growing more than 80% through the course of 2020, and sales of men’s sneakers bought by female shoppers doubled over that same period.

We spoke with Thaniel more about the continued sneaker growth on eBay, and what we can expect in this final quarter of 2021 and the beginning of 2022.

eBay

ONE37pm: What’s it like being here in Atlanta for Sneaker Con?

Thaniel: It’s great being here! I love Atlanta, and there’s a lot in the sneaker culture that is blowing up from here. ATL is definitely an influential place, and eBay is here partnering with Sneaker Con. We’ve been at the forefront and the OGs to some extent when it comes to the resell market online specifically. This is a great opportunity for us to also show people what we are doing in terms of the authenticity booth we have, and we just hit a milestone of authenticating one million pairs of sneakers which is amazing.

We’re also not charging any fees right now for people to sell on eBay. On average we save people roughly $17 to $20 million dollars in authentication fees. We want to get exposure and show people what we are doing!

ONE37pm: You guys aren’t new to this as people have been buying and selling sneakers on eBay since the very beginning. Can you talk a bit about that evolution?

Thaniel: We’re always trying to make sure that we evolve to meet the market’s expectations. When we first started, authentication wasn’t table stakes and now it is. How the marketplace is going gets us excited in the eBay community. We’re aiming to make eBay the most inclusive sneaker community out there including the older people like myself who bought their first limited edition sneakers on eBay.

Whether you are like me and want to search and find the most rare thing or just a person that wants to look fresh. I’m the kind of person who will go down a rabbit hole of searching for what I want. Ultimately it’s our goal to make the sneaker community as welcoming as possible.

ONE37pm: Is there a specific sneaker you’ve seen in 2021 that’s popping off?

Thaniel: The Travis Scott shoes, Fragment, and Dunks have been huge for us this year. Dunks are up over 300 percent, and then of course the Jordans. Yeezys are up significantly on our platform as well, but then we also have some stuff that you wouldn’t expect. Donovan Mitchell’s adidas D.O.N. is up over 100 percent for us in sales. Kawhi Leonard’s sneaker releases are up over 400 percent.

ONE37pm: Could you give us a little more insight into the authentication process?

Thaniel: We have partnered with Sneaker Con to authenticate every pair of shoes that’s over $100. We have a process where they look at everything on the shoe in terms of the stitching, labeling, smell, etc., but they will also look at smaller things like the box, the picture on the box, and the paper in the box.

For many people sneakers are investment pieces that are an alternative stream of income, and with anything you are investing in, you want to make sure you have the real deal. Sneaker Con has an amazing team, and this process gives us the trust of sellers using the platform while obviously gaining the buyers confidence as well. 

ONE37pm: What makes eBay the best?

Thaniel: For me eBay is the best for two reasons. First because we have anything that you are looking for across our platform. There’s a lot of gems that you can find here that range from brand new to pre-owned rare gems. The other reason is our place in the community. As I said before, we want to make sure everybody feels welcome in our community. This was the first place I found my most expensive pair of sneakers.

When I was in college around 2001 and 2002, I wanted a pair of the Tim Duncan Foamposite Max shoes from 1998. I didn’t have the money to buy them when they came out, but in 2002 I did. I found them on eBay and to this day they are in my closet. When I wear them people pause. That’s why we are the best because we have a platform to allow people to tell their stories. Most sneakerheads will tell you that they got their start on eBay.

ONE37pm: We’re heading into the holidays and the first quarter of 2022. What can we expect?

Thaniel: I think we’ll continue to see sneakers being one of the top sneaker items. Our business has seen triple digit growth. I’ve been in touch with many of the sellers in our buying community when it comes to items people are most excited about, and I think you will still see people buying a lot of the items they’ve always wanted like Travis Scott, New Balance, Dunks, etc. As much as new releases will be super important, so will the things people have been watching for a while that they are finally going to pull the trigger on. We are already excited about 2022, and many of the things that we are working on right now on eBay to better serve our customers.

Be sure to follow eBay on Instagram and Twitter for more exciting updates.