Global giant Nike has chosen South African sneaker store Shelflife for its first collaboration on the African continent. The Jordan Brand, which created its first Air Jordan Sneaker in 1985 with basketball legend Michael Jordan, continues 37 years later to earn an astounding $3 million every five hours for Nike. Resales between collectors on the secondary market fetching up to 500% more than the original retail price.
“Nike chose only three stores worldwide to do a special co-lab with the Jordan 2 shoe aptly named the “International Flight Club” pack. The idea was to shine a spotlight on areas of the world that are passionate about Jordan sneakers but traditionally aren’t represented in mainstream media. Nike selected the Titan Store in the Philippines, Shop Two 18 in Detroit, USA and us in South Africa,” says Nick Herbert Founder and Creative Director, Shelflife.
“When they first called me, I was driving to a meeting. I actually couldn’t believe my ears, and thought I was being pranked. Shelflife had been shortlisted to do a collab and we had to present to 30 members including top execs of Nike Jordan Global. It was a mad experience! I never thought that this would happen. Every sneaker store owner or sneakerhead dreams of the opportunity to work with Jordan to design a shoe.”
The Jordan x Shelflife took two years to develop. “We pretty much had free range on the colours and materials we wanted to work with. We came up with the concept of focusing on the Shelflife team that makes it happen; to capture the essence of the team who show up each day to make sure the product gets to market,” says Herbert. “Often it is only the CEO or owner of a business that is in the limelight. But each member of our team contributes equally. The Shelflife team are the most passionate, knowledgeable sneakerheads around – they understand it and live it and speak about it all day long. When the shoe was being designed, we worked together, asking for input on design, and each employee’s signature is featured on the shoe’s inner sole. The TEAM ONLY shoe acknowledges the role of each member of our team but also the broader community that makes us who we are – from sales staff to social media management, to the employee, to the designer to the client. We represent a collective who understand the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”
Says Nike, “Our collab with South Africa’s leading sneaker and streetwear store Shelflife, this fresh take on the AJ2 grounds you to the spirit of TEAM ONLY. And as Jordan Brand’s first collaboration with an Africa-based partner, it’s a celebration of bridging oceans and finding community.”
Kezia Linderoth, grew up in Retreat, Cape Town, and has been working at Shelflife since 2016. To Kezia, the collaboration between Jordan and Shelflife is mind-blowing, and well-deserved. “For the store to be recognised as such on the global scene will have a positive impact and will show the path for many other stores all over Africa. The time is right, and I am grateful to be part of the story,” says Linderoth.
Continues Herbert, “there are now 35 people working for Shelflife and I am incredibly proud that this business is now supporting 35 families. It has taken 16 years to build the business to this point. The team take their jobs seriously and they work super hard – and I wanted to celebrate that.”
The Jordan x Shelflife range will be available at Shelflife in store on 20 October in Cape Town and Johannesburg and online from the 21 October. In addition to the sneakers, retailing at R3,899, the Jordan x Shelflife range includes a TEAM ONLY range of clothing. The range will be distributed globally through Jordan’s top tier neighbourhood boutique partners and the Nike SNKRS app globally in October 2022.