Hustle Mindset

How Jay-Z’s And 50 Cent’s Reebok Reign Led Its Footwear Sales To Jump By A Reported 11% In 2003

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Jay-Z is known for breaking barriers in music. 

However, his secret to reaching billionaire status has been his ability to succeed in areas beyond the billboard charts. Among his various ventures, he reminds the world that the shoe brand Reebok is one of the successes documented in his portfolio.

According to Finurah, Jay-Z signed a sneaker deal with Reebok in 2002. In 2003, the rapper became the first non-athlete to sign an endorsement deal with the shoe and apparel company, per ABC News. At the time, record executive Steve Stoute was working with Reebok and convinced Jay-Z to accept the deal; the rapper signed on as a 50/50 partner with the brand.

“Jay-Z’s not the ambassador of anything except himself. He was a partner. He was a 50/50 partner,” Stoute said in an interview on “Club Shay Shay.”

The first collaboration to result from the partnership was the “S. Carter Collection,” which had a better debut than any of its previous shoes, surpassing the sales of Allen Iverson’s shoe collection, as reported by the New York Post.

“It’s a casual shoe,” Jay-Z told the New York Post. “It’s for a guy on the sidelines that can’t jump but still wants to look cool.”

The partnership went well, and within hours, the shoe collection had sold around 10,000 pairs, Complex states.

The exact revenue from Jay-Z’s shoe sales is still unclear, but the music mogul sold each pair for an estimated $150.

“I didn’t know what to expect,” Jay-Z said to The New York Post. “I know what’s good on Soundscan, but here, I didn’t really have any expectations.”

Moreover, Jay-Z’s tenure at Reebok coincided with the company’s transition toward trying to appeal to younger Hip-Hop talents, Complex further reports. This came after unsuccessful attempts to sign prominent athletes including LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony, who chose another footwear brand, Nike.

The success of the Brooklyn, NY-born artist paved the way for fellow New York rapper 50 Cent, who also found great success with the Reebok, after being brought in by Paul Fireman, the chairman and CEO at the time. 

“When we started selling shoes, the G-Unit shoes and Sean Carter shoes, that was a response to losing the bidding war to LeBron [James],” 50 Cent explained during a 2012 interview with Power 106. “He decided to do lifestyle branding. He brought me, Jay-[Z], Daddy Yankee, and a few other people in. That probably was a huge success for me. I sold over $3.8 million [in] pairs of sneakers.”

The signing of both artists created a lot of buzz for Reebok, increasing sales by 11% and helping the company experience a 20% gain in shares, per another report by Complex.

Ultimately, Jay-Z and Reebok’s business venture would be short-lived. They parted ways in 2006, and Jay-Z later secured a deal with Puma in 2018, which continues today. His latest decision was to revisit the past by wearing his S. Carter shoe at Super Bowl LVIII.

Is a comeback in the works for the future? It may not be too far-fetched. Shaquille O’Neal, now president of Reebok Basketball, showed interest in a resurgence of Jay-Z’s and 50 Cent’s collaborations on Complex’s “Sneaker Shopping” podcast.

“So 50, when I call you holla. Jay-Z, we’ll be calling. We definitely want to give the fans and the consumers what they want, but we also will be coming out with new styles and new technology,” O’Neal mentioned. “Shout out to Jay-Z. Shout out to 50 Cent. We definitely will be having a conversation with them very soon.”





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