Work meets passion for one of the co-founders of SoleSavy, a company empowering sneaker culture and looking to bring it back to its roots. Justin Dusanj started the company with Dejan Pralica after connecting online six years ago, and the pair are looking to grow the company to become “the Nike of sneaker membership.”
“I've been into sneakers my entire life, so it's never really felt like work,” Justin says. “I fall asleep looking at shoes - it's an obsession. I do other things, but my mind will always be like, ‘What's going on in the shoe world? What am I missing?’ I get FOMO. I think it's what everyone strives for is to turn your passion into your profession. I've been fortunate to do that.”
The SoleSavy mission is to make sneakers accessible and affordable. For Justin, it’s about returning the sneaker industry to what it was like for him growing up.
“It’s becoming next to impossible to buy a pair of shoes that are coveted. There's a major shift in this industry going towards reselling and making money off the industry that we love. Whereas I grew up wearing shoes until they could no longer be worn anymore and never even thinking about the cost of them or how much money they could make if I sold them.”
As a child, Justin’s dad ran a sports store, and he considers himself lucky to have had an early introduction to sneakers and sports apparel. He grew to make sure his look was always on point and matching, and always looking his best.
“My dad always made sure I had the best sneakers on. It was his way of marketing; putting sneakers on his kid and hoping other kids saw it. So I was a walking mannequin for major brands my entire life”
His dad’s store grew to have more than 100 franchises across North America. While Justin was able to benefit from such close access to the sneakers he loved, one of the enduring memories and lessons he learned came when his Dad lost his business.
“For me to see how he persevered after that was super inspiring. It really does motivate me every day, because he literally just put his head down and went back to work and built something entirely new out of something that was totally destroyed. That's something that I'll carry with me every day when we're building SoleSavy.”
Justin is SoleSavy’s Chief Community Officer and believes sneakers have an incredible ability to unite people across cultures and demographics, including on issues such as gender and racial discrimination. They’re seeing encouraging growth in women’s sneakers, and are bringing people together through their shared love of sneakers.
“It's so collective and so powerful with the fundraising we've done for charity initiatives, everyone's willing to help out. People want to speak out, they want to speak their mind and tell each other how they feel. The people, the members, they just rally around that. And it's so powerful.”
The power of the movement SoleSavy is creating comes back to the passion of its members, as well as its staff. For Justin, he’s living a dream he couldn’t even have imagined.
“I can't even carry a conversation about anything besides sneakers, because it drains me. But I could talk about sneakers all day long. That is my true passion. It's in my DNA.”
SoleSavy is hiring, come join the team!