Business of HYPE is a weekly series brought to you by HYPEBEAST Radio and hosted by jeffstaple. It’s a show about creatives, brand-builders and entrepreneurs and the realities behind the dreams they’ve built. For episode 20, our final episode for season 2, Jeff sits down with Yassine Saidi, head of PUMA Select, the sportswear brand’s lifestyle and collaborations division, at Sole DXB in Dubai.
Yassine’s résumé reads more like a career dream-list for just about any sneakerhead visiting our digital pages. From interning at Salomon during university, to becoming marketing manager at an action sports brand after graduation, to climbing the ladders of adidas‘ accessories and tennis categories, the son of French-Moroccan immigrants now heads all of PUMA‘s lifestyle initiatives. He kickstarted PUMA Select back in 2013 with product partnerships alongside Ronnie Fieg and Kith, Sophia Chang, BWGH and others, on top of launching celebrity lines with the likes of Rihanna, The Weeknd and Big Sean. What started as a pet project while leading the global sales team, one that was more of a marketing platform to build “brand heat” rather than an actual revenue driver, as helped PUMA propel to the upper echelon of sportswear brands where mainstays like Nike and adidas have long controlled the market.
As you’ll learn in this hour-long interview, Yassine’s rise had nothing to do with who he knew or the level at which he completed the tasks bullet-pointed in his job description. Yassine spent his career going above and beyond, from the time he secured the one-and-only Salomon student internship because he wrote an essay in lieu of a cover letter, to meticulously pitching aggressive new brand strategies even if they were for a different or even nonexistent department. Driving this work ethic were things like innovation, cultural authenticity and working with the authoritative minds to bring the latter two together. As Jeff addresses in his opening, the success of any sportswear brand relies on a recipe of history, legacy, cultural authenticity and potential, and the chef that brings it all to the table.