GET FAMILIAR: ASPHALTGOLD
As a small, independent brand, almost all our business is based on personal relationships. As true fans of sneaker culture, we are deeply invested in this retail game. We have strong connections to everyone we work with, and to introduce the people behind the tight circle of global Patta stockists, we decided to include retail partners in our Get Familiar series. This time we're sitting down with Robert and Janosch from Asphaltgold, read down below what the guys from the Darmstadt based retailer had to say.
How did Asphaltgold start out?
[ROBERT:] Asphaltgold was founded in 2008, by our CEO Daniel, he studied sports and economics at that time. At this point there weren’t any sneaker stores in Darmstadt yet, however we are close to Frankfurt and the Nike HQ was really close by. This combined with his interest in music and sports, and the general growing interest in sneakers like the Patta AM1 got him pretty excited about footwear and this is what inspired him to open up a sneaker shop, with the goal of being the main spot in the area, since we’re surrounded by a lot of cities here.
What got Daniel into sneakers?
[ROBERT:] Daniel always mentions the Air Max 180 and the Huarache Purple Punch, which he got from his friend in school. These two shoes are seen throughout our office and we did two special activations when they re-released.
It’s one thing to love sneakers, but opening up a shop is a different ballgame, what got him to do that?
[ROBERT:] He basically wanted to get his costs in for college, so it was a passion project. However, the stars aligned and a friend of his moved to a bigger shop so there was an available space and since he did his thesis on opening up a shop the concept was already there.
Asphaltgold, what’s the story behind the name?
[ROBERT:] We did a relaunch not too long ago, but the original story is that your sneakers are your ‘gold’, your prized possession. Asphalt is what you walk and run on with your shoes, so the name is a symbiosis of sports and street culture.
You mention you’ve relaunched, I can also see a change of logo, what’s the story?
[ROBERT:] Initially, our logo was a cat, symbolizing our smooth and swift nature. Now we changed to our stack logo, which is open for interpretation however it does symbolize trinity culture, aesthetics and dedication. Also the ‘A’ for Asphaltgold can be clearly seen. It´s up to the viewer as well!
What do you guys look for in a brand before adding it to the Asphaltgold portfolio?
[JANOSCH:] The most important thing is to be unique as a retailer and stick to your core values, you also have to cater to the needs of your customers, this combination results in us selecting brands with their own identity.
So, what sets of the vibe in your retail space?
[ROBERT:] Music-wise it really depends on who’s running the store that day, it really goes from electronic to 90’s hip-hop to local German talent. The store itself has a café and seating corner, the customer can really explore and ask questions to our staff, while at the same time the customer can grab a magazine and chill.
Darmstadt, tell us about it?
[ROBERT:] Darmstadt is beautiful, it has a major art nouveau influence. During WWII the city was bombed so it went through phases, however it came out great and Darmstadt was actually Germany’s most progressive recently, also because of its large share of students.
I noticed some nice charity projects on your website, what is the thought behind that?
[JANOSCH:] The idea is to de-accelerate the resell market, we want to donate the gap between retail and resell prices to good causes in order to support. We all love sneakers but there’s a limit, we wanted to see what we could do with the buzz certain releases are amassing. We also try to utilize our local Darmstadt community by only allowing people in the area to get access to do this, through a code on a screen in the shop window.
How did you first find out about Patta?
[ROBERT:] We always knew about Patta through trips and parties like Berlin Fashion Week. But back then you also connected through forums like Crooked Tongues and one thing I do know for sure is that it was because of the Patta Gel-Lyte 3 and the Air Max legacy. That´s what Patta always made extra special in the sneaker scene.
If you would have to give one piece of advice for young people trying to set up a brand or open up shop, what would it be?
[ROBERT:] I think we live in times where the possibilities are endless, be as strong as possible and don’t let anyone tell you anything. Find a mentor, get advice and find your own way.
[JANOSCH:] Be patient and be you, that’s the most important