We all love people who aren't afraid to bend the rules or just burn them down entirely and go completely against the status quo (in a thoroughly lovely way, of course) to get what they want to achieve, and that exactly what footwear veterans, Jon Buscemi and Ryan Babenzien, are doing.
Their aim for Greats Brand
was to take timeless, tried & tested silhouettes & make them up in luxe materials, sound familiar so far, right, well this is where their aim to 'disrupt the footwear industry' comes into play. No wholesaling. They reason for this bold move is easy, Jon & Ryan wanted to but out the trend of the standard 2.5x retailer markup and therefore keeping all of their shoes under the $99 mark whilst still have the super-premium quality such as the likes of Common Projects offer. Jon & Ryan highlight that this idea stemmed from a similar movement by Warby Parker
, the eyewear company aiming to break the monopoly of the artificially overpriced glasses industry.
I can get on board with that.
This is all helped no-end by the fact that the two guys heading the brand are no strangers to the footwear industry, with Jon Buscemi being the owner and chief operator of Gourmet & Ryan Babenzien, whose previous work includes being Entertainment Marketing Director at both K.Swiss & Puma.
Unfortunately, as greats operate online-only
and only ship the US for the time being...
"At this point we don’t, but we’re working on getting our friends across the pond and around the world as soon as we can."
…so unless you have connections in the US, you will have to wait a while before sampling a pair of these. With two styles out currently, the WIlson & the Royale, priced at $59 (wow) and $99 respectively, my pick is the white/white canvas Wilson, with my favourite element being the elasticated lace system with custom springer locker.
Trying to outdo my peers is my biggest motivation - Ryan Babenzien
View a short interview & a selection of photos below.