Conversations Amongst Us
Chicago based designer, Joe Freshgoods, joins New Balance for Conversations Amongst Us. Together with Black Soles, an employee-led group fostering a supportive and impactful space for Black employees, the collaborative campaign will honor the Black community, not only during Black History Month, but throughout the year. Joe is spearheading the concept and inspiration, capturing the conversations amongst the Black community while simultaneously promoting new dialogue amongst all people and communities.
“I wanted to approach this from a different lens
This project is a bit different for me. It isn't just an apparel and footwear collection. It's a timestamp and a deep dive into the importance of communication and community. I wanted to approach this from a different lens from how brands usually celebrate and spotlight Black people. Conversations Amongst Us isn't a marketing blurb, it's simply the truth.”
An employee-led New Balance community focused on increasing representation and amplifying Black voices inside the company and throughout the footwear industry, Black Soles worked together with Joe Freshgoods throughout Conversations Amongst Us, participating in every step of the process, from the designs of the footwear and apparel to the communications surrounding the campaign.
“One of the main purposes of this project is to evoke meaningful dialogue, and to celebrate the things that make our community so beautiful. We wanted to implement features throughout the footwear that highlight the resilience, transparency, reflection and opportunity that the Black community embodies. Joe Freshgoods brought this collection to new heights with elevated storytelling by way of our top athletes and ambassadors. What excites me most about this project coming to life is the inclusion of our associate resource group, Black Soles. This group has fostered a platform for shared experiences that have directly impacted the collection and the conversations that propelled it forward.” - Kevin Trotman, Associate Product Manager, New Balance Global Collabs/Energy
“In the Fall of 2020, I had the opportunity to brainstorm about our commitment to Black associates within the company. We invited the group to a 1-hour session with Joe Robinson, the founder of JoeFreshgoods. Like many of us, Joe was dealing with the systematic social inequalities facing Black creatives, while also navigating the unique challenges of the current retail climate. He was brought in to share his experiences during BLM/COVID and how he was creating change for the Black community in Chicago and beyond. At that time, Joe made a real time decision to “lean in” and be a part of our experience. This was the beginning of our friendship and a catalyst for the work that is being done and will continue to be done for the future. Personally, this has been the most rewarding professional experience I have had in over 25 years of working in the industry. The team who established Black Soles, and those who are a part of it, will forever be in my gratitude. It has shown us what true leadership is. People stepping out of their “day to day” responsibilities to create something better for the whole.” -Yuron White, Vice President, New Balance Global Lifestyle
“When the original Black Soles associate resource group initiated this program in 2019, we always pictured the program to have this level of impact. Telling authentic black stories has been the intention each year. From inspiring the community to chase their dreams, to reminding the community that our story matters. This year we wanted to continue that narrative and emphasize the benefit of group gatherings on the Black community. We find solace in each other’s company. That privilege was stripped away from us due to quarantine period of the pandemic. In 2022, we wanted to tell that story of us coming together and what that looks like.” - Jordan Johnson, Associate Product Manager, New Balance Global Collabs/Energy
In connection with the Conversations Amongst Us campaign, New Balance will support Community Goods.
Founded by Joe Freshgoods, Community Goods is a non-profit organization dedicated to creating opportunities for youth to build skills in leadership, teamwork, and citizenship through creative expression. In 2022, New Balance donated $100,000 to Community Goods to provide students in and from underserved communities with the tools and education to understand the value of art, community and to thrive in the creative space.