17 Tim Brown – The Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Allbirds on Building a Brandless Brand

17 Tim Brown – The Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Allbirds on Building a Brandless Brand

As a professional soccer player, Tim Brown was used to receiving and trying out lots of free shoes. Somewhere along the line, he started to notice that all sports shoes were beginning to look the same. So, with that in mind, he set out to make his own.

Tim grew up in New Zealand and was familiar with the great qualities of wool – it’s not only good for minimizing odor but also for regulating temperature. The benefits had been applied to clothing, but not yet to footwear. Alongside co-founder Joey Zwillinger, he went through hundreds of prototypes before putting the shoe up on Kickstarter, where they reached their $120k goal in just five days.

Allbirds now has more than 80 employees, recently landed $17.5M in series B funding and was named “The most comfortable shoe” by Time Magazine. In this episode, Tim talks about his decision to use a no branding strategy — something that’s unheard of the footwear industry, and reveals the core values his team lives by that have been crucial to his team’s success.

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“There was a big shift in the way that people were working and planning and it felt like fashion had caught up with it and there was a sort of understated, unbranded, casual comfortable apparel options. And footwear hadn’t seen that trend.” – Tim Brown

Show Notes:

  • The story of the Allbirds brand
  • The challenge of actually making footwear
  • What is the production time for shoes
  • The benefit of making fewer quality products
  • How a cult following starts
  • Why he doesn’t believe there is a tipping point
  • The importance of being careful with every dollar
  • Why you have to find the perfect investors
  • What it’s like having a co-CEO
  • Where the purpose and mission behind Allbirds came from
  • Why they decided not to use branding on their shoes
  • What are the challenges of building a brand
  • How to figure out fit in hiring
  • What the plans are for Allbirds for retail
  • Why feedback is so important

“The real point of difference is that we’re whispering while everyone else is screaming.” – Tim Brown

Links Mentioned:

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“I certainly believe that the evolution of brand isn’t about logo and mark, it’s about story and feeling.” – Tim Brown