Outside the classroom, Claire Kooperman (SMBA ’15) is pursuing a career in the sports apparel industry and has been working with Injinji, an athletic performance toesock company.
Sports apparel companies don’t just want to sell their product for revenue; their goal is to sell you on the lifestyle, to make you understand what it means to represent their brand. Once a company has you hooked on their product, they have succeeded in selling you on their brand — they’ve made you a lifetime, loyal customer. Each brand has a unique selling point- from adventure and daring, to chic and comfortable. Oftentimes the selling point reflects a physical activity. A bright, bold jacket reflects a runner’s style and maintains safety, while a rugged flannel shirt reflects the need for practicality on a chilly hike. It’s all about the hook– and how much people buy into that hook.
The opportunity to work for Injinji is perfect because it’s given me a chance to work behind the scenes at creating and selling an experience for the purchaser. Injinji is an African term that describes the point when a drumming circle reaches a climax; it’s the peak in the performance when all the drummers are perfectly in rhythm. That experience is translated to the athletic community, to help each athlete meet his or her peak performance.
So what type of product does Injinji make to help an athlete reach his or her maximum potential? Injinji sells athletic performance toesocks, and is the only toesock company with a certification from the American Podiatric Medical Association. This isn’t meant to be a sales pitch, it’s meant to explain how toesocks are marketed towards a specific audience–primarily runners.
Any long distance runner knows that feet tend to become–for lack of a better word–gross, especially the more miles you start running. There are blisters, hot spots, sweating, overlapping, etc. Who knew your feet were so demanding? But your feet deserve to be demanding; they should still feel great even after a marathon or ultra-marathon. Injinji knows that its core market is runners; they have a toesock line devoted to running, and running alone. While runners make up the main target market for Injinji, the secondary target market includes those who are active and always on their feet; whether that’sfrom playing sports or standing all day at work. Active feet deserve the best, and Injinji caters to just that.
Working at Injinji has taught me a tremendous amount about the operations of a sports apparel company and the amount of work that goes into the customer-facing persona. I’ve been lucky enough to be exposed to quite a bit of the technology and strategy behind Injinji’s marketing department. My daily tasks revolve around the digital marketing side of Injinji, from coding new pages for the website to creating a 3-dimensional press kit. This work has helped me develop a more concrete understanding of the inner workings of a sports apparel company, and I’m certain that as I continue, I will keep learning new skills.