It’s like a sneaker head’s dream come true. “When I grow up, I want to work for Nike” was probably the line Jason Mayden told his classmates when asked what he wanted to do as a dream job. Well, it came true as he’s the Senior Designer at Nike.
His acute attention to detail when looking through magazines for Nike associates to calling the number on the back of Nike shoe boxes paid off during his BA in Fine Arts at the College of Creative Studies Detroit, Michigan. He landed a Summer Internship at Nike HQ and ended up interning there after he graduated…in the laces department. The lowliest of the low the job may have been but he gained respect from his other colleagues and was finally offered a job there.
In an interview with Complex Magazine:
Everything I’ve ever done since’I wanna say about 4th grade’has been geared towards designing the Air Jordan. Every single decision, people that I have befriended, shoes that I strategically wore to school to get attention, just all types of things. I grew up in Chicago on the South Side so Jordan, and the Jordan brand, has been a part of my life. It’s bigger than me just doing this shoe.
Growing up I wrote a lot of letters to Nike. I would read names in articles, and then I would just call up the Headquarters over there and pretend that I knew them, just to get in the system any way that I could. This was before the Internet when you could just Google a name or something like that. I’d call and say, “Hey remember me?” They’d say, “No” and would hang up, but I would still get a few minutes just to pick their brain, ask them questions.
Jason Mayden: Well, when I got the internship my main goal was to one day do this shoe. I just got in there and grinded, did the things no one else wanted to do, did the dirty work, and learned everything. All of the side jobs taught me the fundamentals of footwear design. I learned about foot morphology, biomechanics, manufacturing, materials standards, graphic design, package design, footwear design, industrial design, product design. All these different things went into preparing me to design this type of product.
Definitely proof that dreams are worth pursuing, and when you do have your foot even a little of the way in – you have to work your ass off to get to where you really want to be. I only recently found out about Jason and I’m glad I did, he’s definitely an inspiration when it comes to work ethic.