Tell me about yourself.
BW: My name is Brittany but everyone calls me B. Will. I am the Owner & Buyer of SoleSense: The Online Women’s Sneaker Boutique (both my first & last name are super common gotta keep it fly lol). I’m 29 from Baltimore currently living in Brooklyn.
How would you describe your personal style?
BW: Cozy & Neutral. You would think I’m a minimalist because I rarely wear prints and I just recently started wearing more colors besides black, white, grey, & denim. I love color stories so I mostly dress in color blocks but I'm always comfortable!
Most sneaker heads remember the time they fell in love with the game. Do you remember your earliest sneaker memory or the moment you fell in love with buying and collecting?
BW: 2005/2006! The Melo 5.5’s! I’m from Baltimore so of course when Melo first went to the Nuggets the city was hype. It was his second shoe on his Jordan deal and they were a hybrid of the Jordan V & VI. I had just gotten my first job at a sneaker store around the time the 5.5’s dropped and they were my first purchase with my own money. I was so hype. Haha. I’m mad I lost them; the Black/Baby Blue/Yellow colorway are my Holy Grail to this day.
Walk us through the buying process. How do you decide which kicks you want to sell on SoleSense?
BW: There are so many deciding factors but it mostly starts with a color story, what colors are hot now or will be next season. After that it’s availability. If you follow me on Instagram it’s like "she stays in a store!" Lol. Most shoes are available in NYC before any other major city in the US so if I can find them in my local Footlocker I try not to stock them. That’s where the exclusivity/boutique part comes into play. The Adidas Superstar Bold's for example were one of our first drops. Classic silhouette with a twist. We had them on the site 4 months before they hit major stores in NYC alone. Then every once in a while we’ll stock something super trendy like the Force is Female SF AF1. But overall we try to have something available for everyone. Whether you like trainers or casual classics in sizes big or small we have something for you @ SoleSense.
How do you feel about the latest releases for women? Whenever brands put out products for women they make it pink and/or purple like those are the only colors we like. Do you think these major brands are trying harder or are they still missing the mark?
BW: I think it’s an active mix of both. It’s like yay real people with real bodies and the sneakers are fly but this matching top is super boxy or why does it have to be cropped? I’m elated that they’re letting more women actively be a part of the creative process. Finally yes utilizing other colors besides pink! Or graceful like the women’s Jordan 1 Season of Her Collection. All very feminine colors in one of the most popular Jordan silhouettes. But then I feel like they cheat us sometimes too since they extended the GS & Women’s sizes on some releases. Most of the sought after sneakers in men’s barely come in a Men’s 6/Women’s 7.5. So why do we have to share?
Brands from Balenciaga to Zara are getting in on the bulky ‘dad’ shoe trend. Are you a fan or are you just as confused as me? Haha!
BW: Honestly I don’t get it! Haha. I understand the idea of the ugly dad shoe just like the ugly sweater but they’re just so heavy! I picked up one of the Balenciaga’s in Barney’s and was so confused how people wore them for hours at a time. I love a funky shoe. The 2 Chainz x Versace versions are slick. I personally just have to have more functionality out of all of my sneakers.
Sometimes you host pop ups in different cities around the country and have some of the hottest releases available for purchase. Tell the readers what they could expect from a SoleSense pop up event.
BW: Bright, fun, and cozy vibes! Our logo is yellow so definitely expect to see a lot of it. Whether it’s the candles or flowers everything is yellow. It’s a personalized shopping experience for everyone that attends even if you don’t make a purchase that day. All are welcome! I try to keep it as interactive as possible. One pop up we had a nail bar and a SoleSense iD color your own Sneaker station at another. My team and I are there answering questions and just talking with customers about the brand in general. New York is next in June with LA & Philly shortly after and ending the tour in Miami in December. Follow @_solesense on Instagram for exact tour dates.
Where do you see yourself and your brand in 5 years?
BW: We’re only 1 year in and the feedback and support has been beyond amazing thus far. Even with big brands shying away from them at a rapid pace now, I still believe a brick & mortar is necessary. So the next 5 years expect to see more pop ups, storefronts, and collaborations.
Follow B.Will on Instagram @_iam_b_will!
Tell me about yourself.
A: Those who know me via social media think my name is Monalissa, but it’s really Alissa (A-lee-sa). I was born and raised in Hollis, Queens but now I’m attempting to live that bi-coastal life between Harlem and California. I’m lowkey a Jane-of-All trades … I used to make hip-hop cards, bracelets and apparel but my career has always been based in Marketing, with my latest venture being at Flight Club spearheading their Marketing & Communications department.
How would you describe your personal style?
A: My style has always been indicative of my roots. It pays homage to growing up in Queens … roaming the streets on Jamaica Ave, adorned in my nameplate, hoop earrings, nails decked out to the T and Jay’s with a combination of Caribbean-influence. My parents were born in Guyana, so you’ll always see me stacked in gold to the most extreme ignorant of levels. It definitely has tomboy flair but it’s important to me to always incorporate some level of femininity because being a woman is, well ….. hella dope.
‘for the Kick of it’ is a sneaker style blog dedicated to dope women who love kicks. What inspired you to launch such a platform?
A: Years back I was gifted a pair of South Beach Lebron 9s. It was during the time when I started my career in Marketing. Our office had more of a casual vibe and I know I wanted to rock this pair outside of a “I’m just running to the corner store” type of scenario. I wanted ideas on how to ‘dress them up’ and while good ol’ Google would show me looks from Rihanna, Teyana Taylor and Rita Ora - while all bomb, their looks weren’t something my pockets could afford; their fits simply weren’t attainable. I remember wishing there was a destination I could go to to get outfit ideas and that’s when the lightbulb went off in my head. A couple of days after, one of my friends came over and we did a ‘photoshoot’ in my parents’ backyard. We even used a cooler as a prop, lol. We tested the idea on Instagram and it grew from there.
Whenever I think about you the first thing that comes to mind is your Queens, NY pride. Queens and sneaker culture go hand, with RUN-DMC taking the shell-toe Superstars to the next level. Does being from Queens influence your personal style or love for kicks in any way?
A: Queens most definitely influences my style (especially with the hoops and the nails) and love for sneakers. I’m often asked ‘How did you get into sneakers?’, which is always difficult to answer because I didn’t get INTO sneakers. Sneakers were a part of the culture. It’s just as synonymous as thinking about New Yorkers and Timbs. Queens made me who I am today: a real, authentic woman who’s passionate about her interests while hustling to get hers.
You worked at Flight Club for a minute so you have to give us the inside scoop! What’s the craziest or weirdest sneaker moment you’ve ever experienced while working there?
A: It’s true, there was never a dull moment at the Flight, however the moment that sticks out the most for me wasn’t crazy or weird, it was actually really touching. One morning, Shane McMahon came in with his son. Now anyone who knows me knows I’m a huge Stone Cold Steve Austin fan, so wrestling definitely has a place in my heart. I went up to him and introduced myself. Very humble and polite, Shane starts chatting with me and I share with him how I grew up watching wrestling with my father and how it was our favorite past time and next thing I know, I start getting choked up. I’ve met so many people before and in this instance, I started getting emotional. I apologized but he was so sincere and wanted to hear more. I talk about this moment a lot as he was genuinely interested in hearing my story. A real human moment that I feel gets lost in today’s world of social media.
Besides your love for rubber soles, your nail art game is insane! How do you come up design ideas? Where do you find your inspiration?
A: I look at my nails as my personal creative outlet. I can be a pretty random individual; my designs are reflective of my current mood/vibe. I’ve recently been in a gem/hardware mood but I’ve found inspiration from children’s birthday parties, costumes, music (one set was WTT inspired) .. really just the world around me, honestly.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
A: It’s quite simple: living that bi-coastal/mainly West Coast life, making movements in the women’s sneaker industry. Might have a dog or a child … let’s see which one comes first ;)
Follow Alissa on Instagram @Yo_Monalissa!
This month we have some dope sneaker heads! Their sneaker game is ridiculous, seriously. Allow me to introduce you to the April #TomboyChicThursday ladies! When they arrived on set wearing the same shades I just knew I picked the right set of ladies AGAIN! They don’t know each other and they’ve never met before but their outfits coordinated perfectly. I purposely pair ladies based on their style, their interests or what they do for living but this type of coincidence happens when the universe believes in your vision! I hear you higher power!
Alissa is the founder of the female sneaker fashion blog @ForTheKickOfIt and Brittany aka B. Will is the sneaker buyer and owner of Sole Sense, the one stop shop for exclusive kicks for women!
Follow them and keep your eyes locked for next weeks first interview of the month with Alissa!
B. Will: @_iam_b_will