Format: Please introduce yourself and discuss your history before starting Kicks on Fire.
Khan: My name is Khan and I am the founder/creator of KicksOnFire.com – I am a 20-year-old college student majoring in Business Management and Finance. Before starting KicksOnFire.com I was a senior in high school but I was not your average student. Growing up in Brooklyn, NY, I was always attracted to the sneaker culture.
“I noticed I was not just a single blog anymore; I was part of a corporation. I started to notice that Kicks On Fire is a well-respected business.”
Format: What was your inspiration to start Kicks on Fire?
Khan: I wanted to spread the knowledge of sneakers to people around the world. I also wanted to build a site where anyone can go to see an in-depth history of sneakers. Kicks On Fire is always up-to date and it’s my way of giving back to the sneaker community. I wanted to provide a site that would allow other sneakerheads to always have the latest sneaker coverage and release dates.
Format: How do you balance your education and the site?
Khan: Although school is supposed to be my first priority it is not. I spend way too much time on Kicks On Fire in order to expand it and to keep it updated with a steady progression. Luckily school is something that comes easy to me so I don’t stress much about it. I’m always in my classes on my phone checking Kicks On Fire. My friends and family help me and have always been very supportive.
Format: Why is it important to you to educate people about sneakers?
Khan: First of all, there is no other site dedicated to the history of sneakers or with an entire sneaker encyclopedia. It is important that people know how this sneaker phenomenon all began as well as where a large part of their fashion culture came from. As sneaker collectors know, we are not only interested in the looks and appearance of a sneaker. We want to know the inspiration behind the shoe. Where did it come from and why? What was that sneakers history? What is its future?
Format: How difficult was it to develop the encyclopedia on the site?
Khan: Before I even thought of creating the encyclopedia, I knew that it would be no easy undertaking and an ongoing feature as new shoes come out almost every day. As I started creating the encyclopedia I found myself reading many books about sneakers. It has been a learning process that took over a year to complete and continues to go on to this very day. It took a lot of dedication, and many sleepless night’s and of course the help of friends. When I look back I am astonished at the amount of work I was able to put together — and proud!
Format: How important is the social community as a component of Kicks on Fire?
Khan: First of all, the social network component of the site is extremely important. There are major networks such as MySpace and Facebook, but there aren’t many for the sneaker community. There are some well established forums, but there is only so much that you can do in a sneaker forum.
But with a sneaker social network like My.KicksOnFire.com, the average sneakerhead has the chance to show off their kicks, to upload their pictures and videos, create groups, connect with other sneakerheads, add others as friends, and have their own blogs. There aren’t many places where sneakerheads can meet others like themselves or have these opportunities. I think it is a revolutionary idea that the sneakerhead community can enjoy for years to come.
“They are something I’ve been wearing since I was born! I live in New York — the fashion capital — this is where it all started!”
Format: Kicks on Fire recently joined the Complex Media Network. Please speak about this transition and partnership.
Khan: I looked at Complex because the network has similar interests as Kicks On Fire. We both target a younger audience. I actually never thought I would be approached by them and was quite surprised when they asked me to join their network. With the Complex deal, it just took me to another level. I noticed I was not just a single blog anymore; I was part of a corporation. I started to notice that Kicks On Fire is a well-respected business. After joining the network it pushed me to work harder because I wanted to achieve the same standard of excellence. This led me to completely redesign the site inside out and to add useful features for users as well as differentiating the Kicks On Fire brand from the hundreds of other sneaker blogs online.
Format: What does Kicks on Fire have planned for the future?
Khan: Without giving too much away, we are continually expanding our connections and photography team in order to provide as much original content as possible. For those who haven’t noticed, most of the pictures featured on Kicks On Fire are taken by Kicks On Fire employees throughout the NYC metropolitan area. Another thing I have planned is to enlarge the social network by introducing more ways to facilitate interaction amongst members. I’ve started free sneaker give-aways for active members. After receiving countless emails questioning ‘where can I buy these shoes?’ or ‘how do I find these kicks?’ I decided to create a sneaker store database that will help users navigate to the nearest stores in their neighborhood. The sneaker database will aim to include all the sneaker stores around the world and will be based on a mapping system whereby users may click and zoom into their city to view the stores.
Format: Why shoes?
Khan: Why not shoes? They are something I’ve been wearing since I was born! I live in New York — the fashion capital — this is where it all started! I’ve always had a fascination with the latest kicks and styles. I knew something was up when I realized the first thing I ever notice on a person is their shoes! I just decided to take my interest and my passion for sneakers to another level.