Jennifer Ford, a Houston native, made history in 2004 when she opened the first Black-owned sneaker retail store in America, Premium Goods. Her store quickly became a hub for sneakerheads in Houston, and Ford was praised for building a community of people who shared her passion for kicks.
In 2023, Ford is partnering with Nike to release her Air Force 1 design. The shoe features quilted sides inspired by her favorite purses and a beaded iteration of the signature Nike swoosh. The collection also includes two sets of black and beige AF1s named after Ford’s daughter Sophia and niece Bella.
For Ford, the release of this sneaker design is a dream come true. “There’s this artistic part of me that I never get the time to use or develop,” she said. “I knew I was fully capable, but now seeing this creation I made, I know I can do it. It’s every sneaker owner’s dream.”
But Ford’s journey to success has not been easy. Before opening Premium Goods, she worked in high-end retail and jewelry, and starting a sneaker retail store was a challenging endeavor. The first few years were tough, but Ford persevered, and her dedication to building a community of sneakerheads paid off.
Ford’s passion for sneakers began when she was a little girl, wearing Air Jordans in junior high and high school. She switched to Air Maxes when she went to college, and it wasn’t until she opened Premium Goods that she developed an affinity for Air Force 1s.
Ford, the release of her own Air Force 1 design is a personal accomplishment and a tribute to the Black women who inspire her success. The shoes’ accents, including a metal rose that holds the laces, are a testament to her family’s generational name.
Jennifer Ford’s story is a testament to the power of passion and perseverance. She built a successful business by staying true to her vision and catering to a community of people who shared her love of sneakers. Now, she’s taking her passion to the next level by designing her Air Force 1s. For Ford, it’s not just about the shoes but the community she’s built around them.