It was a no brainer when sneaker retailer The Athlete's Foot called Tantrum to the table to support the launch of its new diversity and inclusion initiative, StAART.
Also known as the Strategic African American Retail Track, StAART is The Athlete's Foot's response to the growing the racial disparity in the sneaker industry. We were floored when faced with the facts: The sneaker industry is forecasted to reach $95 billion by 2025. Despite this growth, Black people - considered the primary influencers of sneaker culture - only represent less than 1% of leadership and ownership positions within the industry.
Through StAART, The Athlete’s Foot will directly recruit, develop and mentor Black entrepreneurs through its retail franchise model. The program will provide StAART franchisees with access to resources, systems, relationships with its strategic brand partners, and a mentorship network - directly addressing many of the barriers that typically prevent Black entrepreneurs from launching and successfully sustaining their businesses.
Tantrum collaborated with StAART creator and longtime TAF marketing executive Darius Billings to create a visual identity that would help the program get the attention it deserved in the industry and in the streets. The program is on a mission to open 50 new stores owned and operated by Black entrepreneurs in the next five years.
Additionally, The Athlete's Foot will work to promote entrepreneurship, ownership and representation in the sneaker industry with younger generations. Part of that work will include a direct partnership with Tantrum to create curriculum and programming around entrepreneurship and various other roles within the sneaker industry. This based on Tantrum's work with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Public School System.
The Athlete’s Foot, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, was the country’s first athletic retail franchise and continues to be the only athletic specialty lifestyle retailer that operates solely under a franchise model, making it uniquely positioned to launch a program like StAART. All of its stores nationwide are independently owned and operated, with most operators owning multiple stores.