The Rise of Nike: How One Man Built a Billion-Dollar Brand


Nike: the world’s most popular and biggest
sportswear company. In just over 50 years one man’s dream of
better shoes turned into a global corporation worth over $100 billion. Today, we’re going back to the earliest
days of Nike to figure out how that magic happened and what the ingredients were to
their success. This video is brought to you by Audible and
the story you’re gonna watch now is just one chapter in the awesome biography of Nike’s
creator, which you can listen to for free as part of your 30-day free trial of Audible
if you register with the link in the description. The year is 1962 and Phil Knight had just
graduated from Stanford. As any business graduate can tell you, becoming
an entrepreneur is difficult if you don’t have any good ideas, but Phil had one. He was a distance runner back in university
and in one of his business classes he had written a paper proposing the following idea. Phil had seen how Japanese cameras had replaced
the dominant German cameras in the American market, and he wondered whether Japanese shoes
could do the same to Puma and Adidas, which were at the time extremely popular in America. And by the way, that is indeed how you pronounce
Adidas. But back to Phil. After writing that paper and graduating, Phil
became obsessed with his idea about bringing Japanese shoes to the USA. Of course, he didn’t actually own any Japanese
running shoes and the few he had seen were brought stateside by soldiers who had been
stationed in Japan during the Occupation after the Second World War. But this lack of exposure only reassured Phil
that he had stumbled upon a great opportunity. He knew that to take advantage of it he’d
have to establish contact with a Japanese company and negotiate to import their goods
to America, both of which were actions he had exactly zero experience with. But, as is befitting of the man who’d later
create Nike, he went ahead and just did it. In November 1962 he flew over to Japan like
a tourist and just started exploring. In the beautiful city of Kobe he stumbled
upon a shoe store that caught his eye. It belonged to a company called Onitsuka Tiger
and the shoes they made were (for their time) very high quality, so much so that Phil was
determined to import them back home. He presented himself as an American shoe distributor
and arranged a meeting with the company’s founder. Phil made up a company name on the spot and
offered to become Onitsuka’s distributor in America, a proposal which, probably to
his surprise, the owner actually accepted. With nothing more than his confidence, Phil
had become the exclusive distributor for Onitsuka Tiger in the USA. He received his first shipment of twelve pairs
of Tiger shoes in 1963 and he started selling them out of the back of his car at every running
track he could drive to. Obviously though, his strategy wasn’t scalable,
so he went to the only person he knew who understood more about shoes than he did: his
former coach at the University of Oregon, Bill Bowerman. Now, Bill was easily one of the most famous
coaches in America at the time: he had in fact trained multiple Olympic athletes. He liked the Tiger shoes so much that he wanted
to partner up. Thus, in January 1964 Bill and Phil incorporated
Blue Ribbon Sports, each investing $500 into it. They spent all that money on their first order,
which at $3.33 a pair, amounted to 300 pairs of shoes. The shipment came through in April 1964 and
thanks to Bill’s connections it was sold out by July. In their first year, BRS sold $8,000 worth
of shoes and with that money Phil started hiring salesmen for his company. In 1965 their revenue had increased to $20,000
and pretty soon they opened their very own store in Santa Monica. But while Phil was handling the business side
of the operation, the actual innovation was coming from Bill. He was the guy who single-handedly brought
jogging to America. In 1966 he wrote a book about it that sold
over a million copies, and of course his company was among the first to start marketing the
Tiger shoes for jogging. Bowerman was all about innovation and with
every new shipment from Onitsuka, he’d cut open a few shoes to see how they were made,
and he’d always try to improve them, by for example adding to the cushion or using
more lightweight materials. He’d constantly sent his notes to Japan
requesting changes; he was effectively designing Onitsuka’s shoes for them. It was one of Bill’s designs that catapulted
BRS into the mainstream: the Cortez, as he called it, became one of the best-selling
shoes in 1968, undoubtedly thanks to the 1968 Olympics, held in Mexico. Thanks to the Cortez, BRS sold $300,000 worth
of shoes in 1969. But they had a big problem: the Cortez was
so successful that they couldn’t keep up with the demand. Every new shipment they received sold out
faster than the one before, but Onitsuka kept sending them at the same glacial pace. What Onitsuka were actually doing was satisfying
their local demand in Japan first and then sending whatever was left to America. Phil and Bill knew that to expand they would
have to evolve beyond being just a simple distributor. Then they realized that they held all the
cards: the Cortez was Bowerman’s design so as soon as their contract with Onitsuka
expired, they were free to start making it for themselves. Luckily for them, their contract would end
in 1972, just before the Olympics in Munich. Thus, Phil had plenty of time to prepare for
his big move. In 1971 he started working on the branding:
his first employee suggested calling the brand Nike, after the Greek goddess of victory. Then, Phil needed a logo, so he went to a
nearby university, snatched the first graphic design student he could find and told her
to make him a logo. For the impressive sum of $35 he got this:
the swoosh. In hindsight that was money well spent and
with his branding now complete, Phil was ready for the Olympics. This time, instead of locking himself into
exclusive agreements, Phil established a network of subcontractors across Japan. With production under his control, Phil could
finally spread his wings. You can see in this graph of Nike’s sales
exactly when Phil started importing shoes from his Japanese subcontractors, and yes
he started before his contract had even expired in 1971. From then on, the story of Nike became one
of growth. They became the largest sportswear company
in America in 1989 on the back of brilliant marketing like the “Just Do It” campaign
and by signing rookie athletes that would eventually become famous across the world. The ascent of Nike is a story every bit as
interesting as the early of days of Phil Knight, but don’t take my word for it: Phil Knight
himself released his autobiography in 2016 and you can listen to it for free as part
of your 30-day free trial of Audible. In his book Phil goes into much greater detail
than I ever possibly could in this video, so if you liked the story so far you should
follow the link in the description to get your free copy of the story as written by
the man himself. Visit audible.com/businesscasual or text “businesscasual”
to 500500 to get started with Audible, who, if you don’t know, have the biggest collection
of audiobooks in the world. I’d really appreciate it if you check them
out and I also wanna thank you for watching this video. Share it around if you enjoyed it and consider
subscribing if you haven’t already. You can expect my next video in two week,
as usual, and until then: stay smart.

100 Comments

  • And Michael Jordan kept it going. Ever wondered where nike would be without him?

  • So basically if it wasn't for Asics… Nike wouldn't have happened.
    Ironically enough, not knowing anything about Asics… I walked into my first Asics store today, and so close to buying my first pair… I'm going back to get them.

  • Its not a swoosh it’s a wing one on the left foot and right

  • Nike is Anti-American and profits from child labor & spreading propaganda. Burn it and don't buy it.

  • It’s fucking adidas not ah de das

  • Adidas and puma are not Japanese shoes

  • Lies!! Without Michael Jordan’s name they wouldn’t be shit! Google it

  • Congratulation, i take donations kind Sir.

  • Very impressive! The only web-site I depend upon for weekly paychecks is EZpay100. Com (remove space)

  • I really appreciated your video, fantastic job! don't want to be irritating but this web site EZpay100. Com has actually been an actual blessing for my spouse and children and I am absolutely sure nearly all your subscribers could find it very helpful. Be blessed!

  • Really your videos are motivating me to start my own …….

  • Jordan made Phil Knight a billionaire…….Jordan-Nike

  • PHIL KNIGHT JUST GOT FUCKIN LUCKY 🍀 THE PEOPLE THAT HE KNEW HELPED SHAPE NIKE TO WHAT IT IS….. phil knight just had an idea nothing more phil knight is not that bright go watch an interview of him ITS NOT WHAT YOU KNOW BUT WHO YOU KNOW…..

  • What idiot pronounces Adidas like that just to seem better than everyone

  • To have a successful 👟 line just go to the Olympics with your design

  • Not only jordan carry the bulls he also carry Nike

  • I read "Shoe Dog", Nike was a team effort, not a one person show, a lot of people helped Phil a long way in his pursuit.

  • what applications do you use to make such kind of videos?

  • So is Phil still using children in his overseas sweatshops to make his grossly overpriced products?

  • Child labour

  • Great video really blown away! Sorry for the share however I feel more and more people should try this web-site here MyIncomeSystem .Club (remove space) since it offers simple online based work for every age group and no experience is required. Have fun with it

  • GOOD Shit!

  • Oh so American back then was ripping off country's in Asia for products and ideas 😂 go figure. Now China is doing the same thing to America.

  • nike was a satanist co. don't wonder why they created more 💰

  • It was all Bill Bowerman, he was the guy in a position of influence. Pretty much like an influencer selling things today. It is going to work if you already have a name for yourself.

  • 2 words. Child Labor.

  • Is it Onitsuka tiger's same as ASICS?

  • I don't buy Nike since he remove Manny Pacquiao in contract.. I like new balance and under armor 🇵🇭😃

  • Yeah dude every product and brand what started in war or ocupation whas popular in incominc future

  • me at 6 in the mornong not drunk (people say i was but they where adidas kinda people) with no pants on and 1 nike shoe on my feet wondering where my shoe comes from .. thanksmaan good video 😀

  • My man said ‘adidos’ instead of ‘adidas’

  • He is smart

  • So we have to lie at the start ? 🤔

  • "how one man" yet the thumbnail shows two.

  • Secret of a Successful Business comes from two heros in Nike's history : Micheal Jordan & Tiger Woods

  • I know how to increase profits Nike🙄 Have your shoes made in some Asian country. Oops! My bad , You Already Do.

  • Amazing 😉

  • Oh my I admire his down to earth character and swallowing of pride, he asked his first employee to name to name the brand…NIKE , later outsourced the logo to a university student. ..thus awsome, no wonder Nike sprung up in business. …go Phil

  • boost is life

  • Inspirational! Pls who knows how I can connect reach nike I have a design to sell to them. I am an artist

  • Knight key?..

  • Was a great company until they promoted anti American traitors !

  • Does the title really say « ONE MAN????? » LMFAP

  • ABM Ambro Bank, New Zealand Bank, Australia Bank, Standard Chartered Bank I am coming! Please bank my commission into these bank, thank you so much.

  • And now shoes are made by minor in Vietnam, Cambodia, China …

  • i your wondering craig wilson is know friend of mine

  • He ripped off the Japanese shame

  • AH-DEE-DUSS.

    GET IT RIGHT BRUH

  • I can see how ppl are brainwashed & blindfolded…First creator of Nike has been a black shoemaker..They will never tell you the truth story….Sad

  • Shoe Dog

  • Shout out to those who pronounce Nike as NAYK! not just because it's spelled like mike, bike or like, It doesn't mean it should be pronounced like hike. 6:08

  • No taxes no tariffs also opportunity to travel without sanctions

  • Thank Jesus good nice Nike nation USA 🇺🇸 and world

  • Im muslim…I stop buying nike after i know its greek goddess…..

  • You forgot to mention Bo Jackson, arguably the greatest two-sport athlete in history.

  • Bill Bowerman poured a liquid rubber solution on to a waffle iron, cooked it up and produced the waffle sole. Lots of throwaways then he nailed it, true story. Nike world headquarters is actually in Beaverton Oregon not Portland. Yeah it's only like ten miles away but still. $35 for designing the swoosh logo? God I hope they at least cut her in on some stock.

  • Quit whining about child labor in impoverished countries. What clothing, shoes, furniture, etc, company doesn't do it? Thought Trump was going to end all that by bringing those jobs back to the U.S.? Yeah, nice job Donald you haven't brought one fucking thing back. Ivanka runs sweatshops for her clothing line, so there ya go. That shit won't ever end so you better quit whining and learn to live with it. Now I got to run down to Wal-Mart and buy some socks that are made in Indonesia or some damn place. As America is slowly circling the drain and will go down in the not so far away future.

  • Thanks for the correct pronunciation of "adidas". Greetings from Germany.

  • kloviaclinks com sent $10,000 to my account

  • They sure don't make good shoes today, expensive, but not worth it. Typical stuff one finds anymore.
    Shame how their slave labor is treated.
    Yeah Nikon is way better than canon.

  • Phil Knight is a force! May God keep him longer and longer to enjoy his effort even more.

  • So basically
    Nike = Apple
    Adidas = IBM

  • I kind of wanna know what the public's taste is in the States. 'Stupid Nike on every corner' or do people hesitate upon grabbing the kicks.😀

  • NIKE is what it is because of…Michael Jordan, FACT!

  • very inspiring, well done phil

  • Download the Castbox app < Search for "Success Audio Books" < Scroll through their catalogue and find this book < Download it and Enjoy for free
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  • thanks to japan!lol

  • By abusing third world children. There, saved you 8+ minutes

  • this one man crap is bullshit, like the lone gunman garbage
    just a fairy tale

  • just realized the Nike logo looks a bit like a running track

  • bullshit..tell the truth, how this white devil used cheap children labor in Asia to get richer

  • Key to the success of nike: more exploit

  • Very inspiring

  • Nike = Steal Japan sport shoes design + Cheap Asian labor + Black Athlete

  • corrects Americans on how to pronounce adidas properly * *pronounces Kobe so wrong

  • This version is different from the book.

  • Love my Asics, never bought a pair of nike shoes… quality and innovation over marketing…

  • Put American workers on the scrapheap, move your factory to Asia employ kids on poverty wages, pay big money to Athletes to wear your crap, sell at top prices to suckers, any American wears Nike you're crazy, they're laughing at your stupidity.

  • Facists like ANTIFA hate Nike, they hate Capitalism. Bottom line, liberals hate $$$$ made by private firms. They want to take citizens $$ to become rich and then school you on money matters

  • An idea can change your life

  • Phil Knight didn't just stumble onto Onitsuka. He was introduced by a man named Frank Endo who at the time was importing Onitsuka gymnastics shoes to America. Mr. Endo told me that the first Nike logo was half an arrow. But it was difficult for the sewers to sew the right angles. He said he recommended curves instead of angles and drew a picture of a half arrow into the swoosh. I asked him, are you telling me that you actually invented the Nike logo? He just smiled. I didn't know how to share this story until just watching this video.

  • An absolutely delightful book. Must read!

  • japanese motherfuckers are alienlike freaks.I don't know why people like them.their shitty shoes and cameras are no match for Germans cemeras and shoes.I will piss in those japanese freaks's mouths

  • I would like to share this video with my class. Please advise

  • Worst narration ever – unbelievable for Audible….too bad because there is a ton of great information in here.

  • Ironically the creator went to city called Kobe

  • It’s CorTEZ, not CORtez.

  • Wore Nike since 1983 the meadow max. Never again after the POS Colin k.

  • thank you thank you for explaining so well and for no interrupting ads too

  • Nike should give me some gifts I have all my GYM stuff are nike

  • MJ is the key

  • Democrates/Nike I'll have those negroes voting for us for the next 200 years.

  • less music

  • Because of jordan

  • What a beautiful editing, can you please tell us your video editing process and software. Thanks for sharing information.

  • If these stories were accurate they would sound more like, bill billiamson son of ted billamson of billiamson oil who made his fortune on the back of slaves, one day bill approached ted and exclamied father if you dont give me a 18 billion dollars im going to commit suicide. Bill took that billion dollars and paid lobbyists to make laws to monopilize the fast food industry. He then started jack darnold's and while debt slaves did all the work to grow jack darnolds bill sat at home stuffing his face and snorting coke off of the asses of prostitutes

  • I cant afford Nike shoes there to expensive

  • nike make the ugliest shoes

  • Nikesoweto

  • Basically, he just did it🤷🏽‍♂️

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