Edson Sabajo and Guillame Schmidt Built Patta on Teamwork and Quirkiness
Patta’s co-founders reflect on 15 years in business.
Business of HYPE is a weekly series brought to you by HYPEBEAST Radio and hosted by jeffstaple. It’s a show about creatives, brand-builders and entrepreneurs and the realities behind the dreams they’ve built. For our Season 7 opener, Jeff sits down with Patta founders Edson Sabajo and Guillaume “Gee” Schmidt.
Before the advent of social media and secondary marketplaces like Stadium Goods, sneaker collecting was a sport of its own, where people traveled great lengths and waited in long lines to obtain coveted kicks. Fifteen years into the game, Edson and Gee have witnessed this transformation firsthand, from a culture that thrived in the streets, to one that now lives in the digital realm.
The two met working at a vinyl store, where they built a strong community of individuals who bonded over fashion and music. Their hobby of collecting sneakers slowly morphed into their business, as friends and acquaintances employed them to help find and purchase shoes that were unavailable in Europe. After years of building clientele and launching a brick and mortar (Patta), brands eventually enlisted the two to help push product in Amsterdam, leading to popular collaborative projects like their Air Max 1 and GEL-Lyte III. Patta’s authenticity enabled them to work with lesser known brands like KangaROOS and Mephisto, ones that may seem “random,” but to Edson and Gee, they fit with the brand’s quirkiness.
“Obviously not everything’s a big hit, so we try to balance. This is an Air Max 1 or this is a Mephisto. The quirkiness is kind of what we are known for. Especially when we did the KangaROOS. For me personally, I’ve learned the most from that collaboration, because we started from scratch. It was two different worlds colliding.”
Fifteen years into their business, the two have built a store, clothing brand, running team, foundation and music component. They hold true to their independence, making sure that Patta’s business model is about authentic collaborations and having the freedom to “learn along the way.” They prioritize working with a tight knit team, ensuring that everyone involved has a voice.
“For us, it’s very important to have people that we trust and do what they are best at. It’s not about me or Gee. It’s about Patta. In a team you can fail. If someone fails, we all fail. Because it’s a team. If we didn’t have the guy who sweeps the floor in the store, we couldn’t do our work. And if you understand that, then you get people on board. It’s about the team effort and that’s why we call it Team Patta.”
They later discuss the current state of streetwear, the importance of self-knowledge and much more.
As always, thank you for tuning into HYPEBEAST Radio and Business of HYPE. You can subscribe to our channel on Apple, Spotify, Anchor or wherever else you get your podcasts. Don’t forget to leave a comment and write a review. Feel free to ask Jeff any questions on Twitter @jeffstaple or via email at email@example.com.
This episode features references to the following:
5:24 – Fat Beats
7:55 – Cafe De Duivel
10:00 – Idea for Patta
12:00 – Buying shoes
17:20 – ASICS
17:56 – ASICS GEL-Lyte 3
20:28 – Getting a loan
25:30 – Nike
27:07 – Nike Tier 0
27:51 – Piet Parra
31:18 – Nike Air Max 1
34:21 – KangaROOS
27:11 – Clarks
41:19 – Team dynamics
42:39 – Patta Foundation, Patta Running, Patta store, Patta Soundsystem
43:07 – Challenges
51:31 – Advice
57:44 – Current state of streetwear