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Tales from the shoemaker, Reebok's co-founder

Reebok co-founder Joe Foster shares key stories from his 31 years as CEO.

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December
1, 2020

2 min read

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Joe Foster is the co-founder of Reebok and the author of Shoemaker: The Untold Story, the British family business that grew into a global brand. In this episode of #ThePlaybook, Foster talks to host David Meltzer about Reebok's launch, its early successes, and his advice to entrepreneurs to embrace change.

Foster talks about his family's shoemaking legacy and how he and his brother left the family business to start their own business. He recounts how they ended up on Reebok as a company name based on a review of an American dictionary and how they redesigned the logo after Adidas claimed that their previous logo was too similar to theirs.

Foster talks about the explosive growth of running in the US in the 1970s and how Reebok capitalized on Runner's World by creating a highly rated running shoe.

Foster advises entrepreneurs to accept change and growth, noting that there is no plateau in business – the other side of the hill is downhill. He also illustrates the importance of innovation with a story about the launch of the aerobic shoe by instructors in Los Angeles, which fueled the brand's worldwide popularity.

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