Black Box Distribution Founder Jamie Thomas and CEO Frank Messmann have announced a collaboration between the action sports distribution company and New Balance, facilitated by Westlife Distribution’s Mike West, whose company has been creating unique footwear collaborations between New Balance and 686 for the past few years.
Black Box says the opportunity presented itself to connect New Balance and Black Box around the skate market, and the
companies have joined forces to create a line of performance-based skate footwear they’ve dubbed New Balance Numeric.
We talked with Thomas and Messmann to get some initial details, although it sounds like the product will be under wraps until it debuts at next year’s Agenda Tradeshow in Long Beach, January 4-5.
How does the partnership help both companies?
FM: Fallen and New Balance Numeric are very complimentary in their design direction and potential customer base. Fallen's focus is to make affordable timeless skate footwear with a traditional skate aesthetic and New Balance Numeric will focus on pushing the boundaries and expectations of performance based skate footwear with more of an athletic aesthetic.
Where will New Balance skate shoes be carried? Which retailers are showing interest?
FM: New Balance Numeric will be sold to specialty skate and action sports retailers. The collection will debut at the Agenda Tradeshow. So far we have only shared this project with a limited number of retailers and they're all very enthusiastic.
Talk about Mike West’s role in this partnership?
JT: Mike West and the creative team he has hired for New Balance Numeric will be responsible for all of the product design and creative development with input on design and footwear technology from New Balance. Black Box will handle the rest.
What are the details on the product? How will you set it apart from other skate shoes currently on the market?
FM: The details of the product will be unveiled at the Agenda show in January. New Balance Numeric will combine our knowledge of skateboarding and skate aesthetics with New Balance's heritage in athletic footwear product excellence through comfort, fit, quality and technical materials.
What are you most hyped on about this partnership?
JT: I am most hyped about the positive energy this partnership creates for the future of our distribution as well as how this partnership enables us to further support skate retailers with a new brand they can trust and depend on.
Click through to page two for the official statement from Black Box Distribution:
Boston, MA - December 10, 2012 - Boston-based New Balance announced today that it will enter the skate footwear market through a license agreement with Black Box Distribution of Carlsbad, CA. Branded as New Balance Numeric® or NB#® Black Box will produce and market performance footwear and apparel for skateboarding. New Balance Numeric will combine the unique requirements of skateboarders with New Balance's heritage of product excellence through comfort, fit, quality and technical materials.
"New Balance is proud to partner with Black Box on the New Balance Numeric skate footwear initiative," says Rob DeMartini, President & CEO at New Balance. "As one of the most authentic and talented skate companies in the industry, Black Box offers industry knowledge and a strong commitment to skate specialty retailers that matches well with our 107-year-old tradition of delivering technical design-forward performance products for athletes."
"I have always found the heritage and integrity of New Balance inspirational, therefore it's truly an honor for Black Box to partner with New Balance on the New Balance Numeric project," says Jamie Thomas, Black Box company founder and professional skateboarder. New Balance Numeric will officially debut at the Agenda Trade show in Long Beach, California on January 4th, 2013 where team announcements and additional marketing plans will be revealed. New Balance Numeric will be available in the U.S. and Canada starting in July 2013 through specialty skateboard and action sports retailers only.
For the creative direction and design of New Balance Numeric, Black Box has partnered with Los Angeles based Westlife Distribution, to ensure the collection will bring a distinct new perspective to the skateboarding market.
"The vision for New Balance Numeric is to bring something unique to skateboarding. We combine the East Coast heritage and supreme workmanship of New Balance with the West Coast lifestyle and culture of Skateboarding," says Michael Akira West, President & CEO at Westlife Distribution.
For additional information please see http://www.newbalancenumeric.com
About New Balance:
New Balance, headquartered in Boston, MA, has the following mission: Demonstrating responsible leadership, we build global brands that athletes are proud to wear, associates are proud to create and communities are proud to host. New Balance is currently the only athletic shoe company that manufactures footwear in the U.S. with 25% of our U.S. footwear shipments produced at five New England facilities. The company also operates a manufacturing facility in Flimby, U.K.
New Balance employs more than 4000 associates around the globe, and in 2011 reported worldwide sales of $2.04 billion.
To learn about how New Balance Makes Excellent Happen, please visit http://www.newbalance.com
About Black Box Distribution :
Founded by skateboarding icon Jamie Thomas, Black Box Distribution is committed to serving specialty retailers by providing only the best skateboards, footwear, apparel and accessories to the skateboard and the youth lifestyle market.
Black Box is the home of Fallen Footwear, Zero, Mystery and $lave Skateboards, Destroyer safety equipment, Mouse grip as well as the US licensee for Insight apparel. Black Box employs primarily skateboarders and sponsors more than 50 professional and amateur skateboarders
About Westlife Distribution :
Independently rider owned and operated, Westlife Distribution LLC is dedicated to designing and manufacturing world class products in outerwear, apparel, footwear and accessories. Westlife is proudly home to the 686® technical apparel company, Matix® clothing and exclusive partner of New Balance® and Dickies® licensed products