When I was around 7 or 8 in 1998, my father opened up a shoe, makeup, and clothing store on Canal Street in Chinatown, NY. It was quite a big project, and he was the sole investor. He paid two people to help him get connections from brands such as Yves Saint Laurent, Chanel, Crocodile, Fly Flot, and many other comfort shoes--leather shoes, sneakers, you name it, we probably got it. I also distinctively remember a Chinese brand named PEAK. PEAK was the brand my father invested in the most, and we had heaps and heaps of boxes containing styles from kids to adults, shoes and sneakers for both women and men. Because of state regulations, we were required to label the shoe "Made in China." We spent about a month putting in a golden sticker inside every pair of shoes. It was taxing, and a lot of family members came through to help out.
The store lasted for about two years max. Nobody came in the store; we subletted the store to a jewelry shop; and the two helpers my father had dropped out or quit completely. Nobody believed in my father, not even my mother. I was too young at the time to give any opinions of my own, but I do remember the times spent there... playing the Chinese airplane game with my mother, running around like it's nobody's business. Time went by slowly, and the day the shop closed down, we had so many boxes of PEAK shoes, we scrambled to find a way to store them. We finally decided to sell it at the bakery and store most of it in the basement of our home. We didn't sell any, and when the bakery closed in 2002, we shipped everything back to our home.
It sat in the basement of our home for three more years. There were leaks at home, and so, my mom finally decided to donate all the PEAK shoes to Salvation Army. I remember it was a sigh of relief for my mom, all those years of sitting around, these shoes finally have a home, and my mom wouldn't have to worry about leaks anymore.
Today, May 12, 2014, I saw an ad for PEAK sneakers in Times Square NYC. I was in complete awe and took a video of it immediately. How did they end up there? Did they finally find investors that truly believe in their dreams? Was it persistence that carried them through for all these years?
It felt surreal. But it definitely put a lot of things into perspective. They believed in their brand and never gave up. That's the spirit I have to embody.