This Man Successfully Built a World Shoe Giant, Here's His Entrepreneur Story – 20 hours ago

Jakarta, CNBC Indonesia – The story of how Nike was able to get the first contract with basketball legend Michael Jordan has become a 'legend'. At that time, Nike had to compete with other shoe brands. As is known, Air Jordan is now the iconic basketball shoe brand in Nike's collaboration with Michael Jordan.

Behind the giant shoe company itself, there is Philip Hampton Knight or more familiarly known as Phil Knight. He started his career like most typical college graduates. He had no money, no clear career direction.

But later, Knight scored one of the world's greatest entrepreneurial stories and a $100 billion sportswear giant. It all started with a crazy idea that became a reality.

Quoting CNBC Make It, this 85 year old man tells the story behind Nike for the first time in his memoir, “Shoe Dog”.

Knight said the idea for the athletic apparel giant came from a running track at Hayward Field in Oregon and came out of a classroom at Stanford's business school. Knight described himself at the time as an average middle distance runner on the track team.

He watched his track coach at the University of Oregon, Bill Bowerman, tinker with athletes' running shoes and the direct impact it had on their performance.

With Bowerman yeah, Knight later pioneered the origins of Nike Inc. Previously the company was called Blue Ribbon Sports, which Knight started on a whim, when he convinced a group of Japanese businessmen to export their popular Tiger sneakers to the United States and gave him exclusivity in selling them. After selling Tigers out of the trunk of his car, Knight saw the demand there.

So he ordered more sneakers from Japan. It turns out that demand is increasing even more. Knight had to hire additional people to meet increasing demand.

But the journey is not always smooth. Knight's shipments from Japan were rarely on time, and he often faced major financing problems. Although Knight continued to double his sales, banks were reluctant to provide the necessary loans, and two banks eventually dropped him as a customer.

Big problems came over the Japanese company's exclusivity agreement, Knight was forced to leave the factory. Blue Ribbon Sports had to start over from scratch.

Knight and his 45 employees at that time had to look for a new factory to produce their shoes, even creating a new name for the company. Knight originally wanted to call the company Dimension Sixth.

“When Jeff Johnson came up with 'Nike', I don't know if I liked it too much, but it was better than the other names. It turned out to be quite good,” he added, quoted by CNBC Indonesia, Saturday (6/1/2024).

After years of strong growth for Nike met with challenges, Knight and his team decided in December 1980 to finally take Nike public.

“We were worried about losing control,” Knight said.

But he admitted that the decision was one of the best things the company had ever done.

Knight's share ownership of Nike makes his fortune reach US$46 billion.

Nike has sales of more than US$ 30 billion or Rp. 447.2 billion, represents the best athletes in the world and has achieved a truly global footprint. Like Cristiano Ronaldo, Tiger Woods, Serena Williams, and many more.

[Gambas:Video CNBC]