Quick morning coffee chat with Mr. Kenneth L. Norman - our founder to understand why every pair of ZESPIK is not less handsome & comfy than a sportswear one.
Lilian Hayes: Morning, Mr. Norman! Thank you for squeezing us in your coffee time schedule! May you tell us what brought you to ZESPIK?
Mr. K.L. Norman:
I started my first job as a construction journeyman in Pittston, Pennsylvania. It’s about 12 years before I thought of something like ZESPIK.
My mates loved hanging out at my place for dinner and some beers back then, you know!
What I noticed was that my colleagues always dropped by in unchanged pairs something like Thorogood or Carolina. We, men, didn’t have many options back then.
So I thought of making them surprising Thanksgiving gifts that would meet our employer’s safety requirements but also looked handsome.
ZESPIK’s first pairs were actually my mates’ Thanksgiving gifts.
Hayes: How did you continue to develop the first prototype?
I have many friends who are shoemakers, which was awesome since you could always have a customed pair when people didn’t. I talked to them and said “Hey, let’s make something that is military-graded and looks f*cking casually handsome. I don’t just want brown or black leather boots”. They all laughed at my face and deemed this insane, except one.
Alexis agreed to my viewpoint that working communities deserve a fashionable outlook while staying safe. We changed the design of my “Thanksgiving gifts” a bit. But we yet didn’t how the pair would work or not.
One thing we were sure. They were a DASH!
So I, again, gave out free prototypes to colleagues that were not as well-off as I were and apprentices who were lowest-paid. They never had a roomy budget for such a thing. I bet.
Hayes: How was the result?
I told Alexis that we set our expectations as low as we could. But things were beyond. Those people loved our pairs and even recommended their friends to buy from us.
My employers heard the news. To my surprise, he encouraged me to commence my own business, gave out advice on where to loan money, who to ask for partnership and so on, on one condition that we must have a permeant discount program for his trade.
Hayes: Now ZESPIK has over 30 lines of different products, what do they have in common?
While SAFETY stays at our core, COMFORT & STYLE will never be sacrificed. Most of our pairs should look & feel just as cool as sportswear.
Hayes: Thank you for your time, Mr. Norman!