By Jade Boone, Howard University News Service
Anne Herbert, the vice president and general manager for Nike’s North American Division, stepped down yesterday after more than two decades with the company as a result of a Bloomberg Businessweek report revealing key details about a company called WestCoast Streetwear. One of the major details revealed was that it was her 19-year-old son’s sneaker resale business.
Ms. Herbert was promoted to her position as vice president of Nike’s North American division in April of last year. Her job entailed overseeing sales, marketing, merchandising, and more, according to the statement released.
Her son, Joe Herbert, used the credit card in her name to purchase and resell highly sought after shoes to make a profit. According to the report, Joe Herbert was able to obtain a purchase of 600 pairs of Adidas Yeezy Boost 350 Zyon sneakers within seconds of the shoe’s release.
What was his secret to success? Using online bots to buy multiple pairs at one time.
The Yeezy Supply website limits one pair per customer. In order for him to get hundreds of pairs, Herbert used specialized computer programs including Kodai, GaneshBot, and CyberSole to outsmart the Yeezy Supply website. According to Bloomberg, this system cost him about $132,000, which he charged to a corporate American Express credit card that was in Anne Herbert’s name. Herbert was able to earn a $20,000 profit.
Nike confirmed that there was no violation of company policy or a conflict of interest. A Nike spokesperson told Bloomberg that the company had no affiliation with WestCoast. It was also revealed that Anne Herbert shared information about her son’s business with the company back in 2018. The company has also dodged questions about its knowledge of West Coast Streetwear.
Many people aren’t in favor of the sneaker reselling business because they have to pay a higher price. Sneaker resellers drive the prices above retail to gain profits. Many apps and websites have been designed to support sneaker reselling. Stockx, Goat, and many others are global businesses designed to resale shoes.
Sneaker reselling has been popular for years, but has experienced an increase in popularity in the most recent years. Research firm Cowen says that the sneaker resale market could be a $30 billion business by 2030. Cowen estimates Nike sneakers account for 90 percent of the resale market. Popularity in the secondary market translates to primary market sales, Cowen said.
In a statement from Nike, they announced a replacement for Anne Herbert would fill the job soon. An official date for when that is to come has not yet been released.