Sneakers are more than just a fashion item for SoleSavy’s new Director of Strategy for Women, Anna Bediones. Anna’s new role with the sneaker community company will be to advocate for the movement of women’s sneakers, and sneakers as an expression of identity.
It’s a highly relevant role for Anna, who immigrated from the Philippines to Canada with her family. She says her Dad was an avid basketball fan, and that led her into the world of sneakers from a young age.
“A friend of mine did a video with the Toronto Raptors about her Dad and his immigrant experience,” Anna says. “I bawled my eyes out watching it, because that's exactly the experience that we got coming here. We didn't know a lot of people, but basketball was a universal language. So it’s always been at the core of all of my interests or choices, and it was my entry point into sneakers.”
Anna says sneakers quickly became part of her cultural identity, along with pop culture icons such as Sporty Spice, Aaliyah and TLC. She started collecting sneakers and got her first job at Footlocker at the age of 16. However, she felt somewhat isolated in the sneaker community because her friends weren’t into sneakers and she didn’t see many other females who were.
“I've never had real mentorship, especially from a woman in this space that I wanted to be in. I've met some really great women along the way, but I never really found someone that I wanted to be like because I was always mindful that we had very, very, very different journeys.”
It’s that mentorship and relatability that Anna hopes to be able to provide to other women and girls in her new role. By promoting women’s sneakers and the inclusive culture that goes with them, she hopes to be able to encourage females to pursue their sneaker goals.
“We talk a lot about having role models that we can look to and promote an awareness of what's possible. For me, when I see another Asian woman who is doing something I've always wanted to do, it's like, ‘Hey, that's really cool that that's possible for someone who looks like me’. That's a big part of the change we can be part of, for women to be able to see themselves beyond the limitations they've been fed in the past.”
“It’s about letting the next generation of sneakerheads know that there are so many possibilities within sneakers beyond just owning them. Being a sneaker influencer is a real thing now, working in media, working at your favorite brands, working with your favorite bands without actually having worked there. You have roles as engineers, within design teams, or even doing things like color design, which is a role in itself. We're just helping people discover that they can use their skill sets to create their own path in the future.”
Anna likes to go running in her spare time and finds it almost meditative. She says running has also been part of her personal development, as it’s helped her to put less pressure on herself.
“I'm a competitive person, and I used to compare myself a lot to past versions of me that were faster and in better shape. And I had to really just let go of all that in the last year and just be like, ‘Okay, you know what, just go outside and go running.’ So if I'm slower today than I was yesterday, that's fine. If I'm not, I had to just teach myself not to care.”
The past year has been a big learning experience and an opportunity to recalibrate. She's learning to slow down and find other creative outlets. She co-founded Extra Goodie, a beauty company making clean products and natural skincare. She formed the company with a friend in 2020, looking to help women become inspired and confident in their natural beauty. She says it’s part of a journey she’s also on herself, trying to become more low-maintenance and self-sustaining in her beauty routine.
SoleSavy just announced a successful $12.5M Series A funding!