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There’s much more to this industry than just flipping your favorite pair of sneakers: Co-Author 'Sneaker Law'

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Kenneth Anand, 380 Group Co-Founder & Sneaker Law Co-Author joins the On the Move panel to discuss the sneaker industry and his book Sneaker Law.

Video Transcript

JULIE HYMAN: Well, along with the boom that we have seen in the sneaker business, there is now an accompanying movement to look at the law that accompanies that sneaker business. We are joined now by Kenneth Anand.

He is 380 Group co-founder and "Sneaker Law" co-author. It's a new textbook that looks at the legal questions around the sneaker business. And our Reggie Wade, who covers sneakers for us and wears a lot of them, too, is joining us as well to help us with this conversation.

So Kenneth, when you're looking at questions around sneaker law, one would imagine there's a lot of intellectual property issues. I mean, what's sort of specific to sneakers that you have learned through your career that you wouldn't necessarily see in other types of consumer products?

KENNETH ANAND: Sure, so I mean, sneaker law as a concept is more about just the business of sneakers on the whole. We do have a legal chapter which goes into the intellectual property, trade dress, trade secrets, employment law, all the things that you might see in a typical fashion law book.

But we're also covering the business aspects, marketing, distribution, design, resale, the whole resale industry. So we've tried to create a compendium, or a bible, if you will, for the sneaker business,

REGGIE WADE: Kenneth, Reggie Wade here. I know in your past life as a lawyer, you worked with Yeezy brand. What did you learn from that brand and Adidas at large that helped you branch out and start your new career exclusively in the sneaker market?

KENNETH ANAND: Sure, well, I mean, as a lawyer, you know, I had touched on the sneaker business quite a bit. Going in house to Yeezy was helpful because now I was fully immersed in the business of sneakers and fashion. And so that was instrumental in leading me to my next move, which was to learn more about business and actually create a fashion business.

So, you know, I think anyone at a certain point in their career starts to take a look and say, all right, well, am I doing as much of the things that I love that I would like to be? And I took a look at that when I was about 15 years after practicing law and said, well, it would be nice to make the transition into sneakers or fashion full-time.

So, you know, it was a tremendous learning experience. I learned from one of the best in the business. And it's really propelled me to my next ventures.

REGGIE WADE: Kenneth, we spoke a few weeks ago, and you said one thing is that most sneaker heads really don't know how the sneaker business works. So what is probably the biggest lesson you want sneaker heads to take away from "Sneaker Law"?

KENNETH ANAND: Yes, so the biggest lesson I think you should take away from "Sneaker Law" is that there's much more to this $90 billion industry than just flipping your favorite pair of sneakers. You know, that seems to be the consumer interest right now.

But if you want a career in sneakers, there's many more facets of it that are available and open to you, should you wish to learn about it-- design, manufacturing, all the different topics I discussed earlier. And so, with "Sneaker Law," we're just trying to open up the minds of our readers to this billion dollar industry and to show them that they can have a lucrative profession in it, aside just from flipping sneakers.

MELODY HAHM: And Kenneth, let's talk about the cultural sort of reference points here when you think about the multiracial sort of nature of the big sneaker business, when you think about Adidas. Let's take, for example, and your former colleague, Kanye West, who did say he's going to be wearing Jordans till he's on the board of the Adidas. What do you make of let's talk about the lack of diversity, we could say, at some of the larger athletic brands, especially for folks at the top?

KENNETH ANAND: Well, speaking purely as a sneaker head and not in my former official capacity at Yeezy, I can say that, you know, I think he's onto something. I think we need to see more diversity across the board in all corporations. And I think that it takes people like Mr. West to push for that change.

Unless we have it at the highest level, we won't see it. And I think he's struggling with it as well, in his capacity. So, you know, it just shows what an uphill battle we have to climb. But I'm here for it. I think that we've seen, just in the past several months, the dialogue that's happening around corporate governance and diversity has been something that is overdue.

MELODY HAHM: And a quick follow here-- are you still in touch with Mr. West at all?

KENNETH ANAND: No, we don't talk very often. You know, he's a busy guy.

ADAM SHAPIRO: But-- I missed this, I think. But the book, "Sneaker Law," $99. Is it out yet, or are you still taking preorders? It's a two-part question. What kind of interest are you getting?

And sneaker law globally-- because there's a huge market for sneakers, obviously. I have a niece who's involved in international trade issues. I've got to imagine this is a headache, trying to enforce copyright, or whatever the right legal issues are, in other countries.

KENNETH ANAND: Sure, so first of all, to address your first part, it is available for preorder. It is $99, which some might say is a lot of money to pay for a book. But in comparison to legal books, which normally costs in excess of $200, you know, it's a pretty fair price, and it would cost less than your favorite pair of sneakers. So we think it's a good investment for those people interested in the business.

And then to your second part, we typically examine in the book the US issues because it would be three or four more books to discuss international IP, trade distribution, and all of those things. So we focus primarily on the US business. But we do talk about, you know, some international issues.

The hope is that over time, we expand. You know, there can be volumes 2, 3, and 4 "Sneaker Law," maybe an international edition. You've just given us the idea. So, you know, there's a lot of room for growth. And we're excited for what the future will hold. We're looking forward to printing it.

ADAM SHAPIRO: I'll put you in touch with my niece. She's still at Harvard.

KENNETH ANAND: Yeah, next time. Next time we go back and teach the course, tell her to come through.

REGGIE WADE: Kenneth, you took a tremendous leap of faith from leaving a-- what I would think be a lucrative legal career, to branching out into sneakers, something that people really don't respect much as a career. What advice would you have to other folks who are looking to change careers, especially during these tough economic times?

KENNETH ANAND: Yeah, I think it's a great question, and especially now. So, you know, the legal career was comfortable for me. And what I've learned in my life later on is that comfort doesn't necessarily mean excitement and passion and drive.

So, you know, for me, it was more about there was this thing inside of me, that after practicing law for so long, I said, you know, I have to really do something that really interests me and pushes me to work hard every day.

And so, you know, I don't know that it's easy for everybody. And it's certainly a very risky situation. But I think if you believe in yourself enough and you want to go at something that you've always been excited about, there's no reason why you can't shift.

And especially we're seeing now that opportunities in times of calamity are available if you take advantage of them and think differently. So, you know, it's been something that I've never been afraid to go ahead at. But, you know, there is a bit of risk involved. And you have to be willing to take that on.

JULIE HYMAN: And obviously, judging by the wall behind you, it's also a passion project. It's something you want, Kenneth. Thank you so much. Kenneth Anand is 380 Group co-founder and "Sneaker Law" co-author. Appreciate it.