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Team announcement

SoleSavy Hires Former Jordan Brand Global Editorial Lead as a Vice President

SoleSavy Hires Former Jordan Brand Global Editorial Lead as a Vice President, SoleSavy

Sneaker startup SoleSavy continues to grow. The community-led organization is driven by bringing back authenticity to the sneaker game by providing tips and tricks on how to cop sneakers for retail. But the company is more than just a tool — it’s a conglomerate of genuine sneaker lovers. The company recently received $2 million in funding and its ceiling continues to rise.

SoleSavy has added yet another key figure to its roster as Marco Henry Negrete, former Jordan Brand Global Editorial Lead, is stepping in as the company’s Vice President of Content and Communications.

Negrete will lead SoleSavy’s content strategy, consumer and corporate communications and creative marketing efforts.

More announcements from SoleSavy

Team announcement

Get to Know SoleSavy's Co-Founder and CEO: Dejan Pralica

Get to Know SoleSavy's Co-Founder and CEO: Dejan Pralica

Sneakerhead Dejan Pralica remembers not having the money for expensive shoes. Growing up in an immigrant family that fled the war in Serbia, the shoes he was used to wearing generally cost around $15. Things have changed remarkably in the time since, and he’s now running the sneaker community SoleSavy. Dejan came to Canada from Serbia when he was six years old, and his family moved in with his uncle. There were no luxuries, and that meant only buying the cheapest shoes when they were on sale. It was only when he started playing basketball in high school that he started to take notice of quality sneakers. “The basketball team was sponsored by Nike, and we got a pair of Nike Shox at the time. It was like my first real pair of shoes, and I still have them in the garage. “I remember the first sneaker I ever bought for myself; a lot of people would make fun of it now. But I got the Nike Roshes for like $90. I remember thinking, ‘Oh, wow, this is a nice-looking sneaker. It's affordable, it's comfortable. It's accepted.’ Because it was very, very popular at the time, even though now they’re kind of the butt of jokes.” Once Dejan got into his 20s and he could afford more expensive sneakers, he started to see how sneakers could be about connections with others, and celebrating moments and milestones. That interest went beyond just casual, and he started his first sneaker company with some friends in 2011. Five years on, he met SoleSavy co-founder Justin Dusanj, and things went to the next level. “Justin reached out on Twitter and said, ‘Hey, I love what you're doing for sneakers. I'm in Vancouver, let's meet up.’ We hit it off from there and stayed in touch, but I didn't really think much of it outside of him being a cool dude who likes shoes as I do. “Then in late 2017, we decided to do something. We just started spitballing ideas. This was an idea that we all loved from the beginning, and once we started looking into it, it just made sense. Everything came together really fast - it only took around a month until we had figured out the name, the brand, and what we were trying to do. We hopped on a plane to Los Angeles for the NBA All-Star weekend in February of 2018 with the confidence of a million-dollar company.” Dejan had studied graphic design since he was young, partly because it had helped him to learn English. He did all the branding for SoleSavy himself, once he and Justin grasped the idea of what they wanted the company to be. “It was just to make a positive impact in the lives of people who love sneakers. We just wanted to make that a better experience for them, where they like what sneakers say about who you are. I feel like those people are not represented in the industry, which is very much dominated by resale.” Initially, SoleSavy was a bit of an experiment, as they tried out different ideas to see what would best help them to achieve the kind of industry change they were chasing. They launched with 400 paying subscribers in September 2018, and things have only grown from there. “The next few years, I want SoleSavy to be that authority and that voice for the people. When brands and retailers, or when the media or senators, whoever it might be, when they need to consult someone on the state of the industry, I want them to look at us and see that we represent the people. Right now, the consumer's challenges and frustrations are being ignored.”

Team announcement

Get to Know Anna Bediones, SoleSavy's Director of Strategy for Women

Get to Know Anna Bediones, SoleSavy's Director of Strategy for Women

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!

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