AGAINST THE STAIN – Jason Markk Interview
Meeting up with Jason Markk at Bread & Butter Berlin
A recent Complex list about cleaning techniques for sneakers ends with the wisdom of all wisdoms: “Forget all those tips, just go buy a Jason Markk kit.” Of course there uncountable ways to clean footwear, but Jason deserves a huge credit for having established a product that simply does its job very well and for continuing to innovate on this field. His latest product is called “Quick Wipes” and consists of disposable tissues to prevent the well known dirt tragedies that happen on the road or right before a party. We met Jason – the real life person – to speak about cleanliness, his new t-shirt collection and the impossibility of leaving the house with dirty sneakers.
Jason, you’re the pope of sneaker cleanliness, so let’s jump right into the matter. Which material is the hardest to clean?
Canvas by far. The cotton fibers easily absorb stains and holds onto them pretty good.
Easiest to clean?
Leather, suede and nubuck. Although, suede can get a little tricky because there are so many various grades. Be sure to watch our “How To Clean Suede” video and always test in an inconspicuous area first.
What’s the hardest part about being Jason Markk? I guess there’s no way you can leave the house with dirty sneakers, right?
You’re right, that would not be a good idea. But to be honest, I’m a bit of a clean freak to begin with, which is why I started the whole thing. So yes, I’ve always kept my kicks clean. Of course there have been times when I’m late and running out the house with dirty kicks! I’m like, “I hope no one recognizes me!” But actually now I always have a couple of Quick Wipes on me, so I’m good! Businesswise, I was lucky that our brand and products were well received at the time of the launch, that reassured me that I was on the right path. It wasn’t always smooth sailing, though. During the recession, it got a little tough. But I just had faith that everything would work out and thankfully it did.
You mentioned Quick Wipes, your new product. When did you first come up with that idea and what triggered it?
The Quick Wipes were something I’ve wanted to do since day one. I’ve always wanted to make a better sneaker wipe, but honestly, for what I wanted to do, I couldn’t afford it because of the high production costs. So, I’m super excited now that it’s finally available! What differentiates our wipe from others is most notably our unique dotted substrate (wipe material). One side has these tiny dots that provide a slight abrasiveness to aid in working out tougher stains, while the softer side is great for general cleaning. Plus, the solution is a modified version of our original Premium Shoe Cleaner. Lastly, they come individually packaged for convenience. You can tear off a couple and have them on you at all times.
As far as your own sneaker background is concerned, you seem to have been quite versatile and open for all kinds of brands. What’s been on your feet most of the time?
Growing up, I was rocking all kinds of kicks … Nike, Jordans, Reebok, Vans, Fila, Converse, Asics, even British Knights!
That immediately calls for an alltime faves list …
Okay, if I’d have to name five favorites, it would be AM1 White/Red, the AJIII Black Cement, AJ IV Breds, Converse Chucks and Vans Era.
What else is going on in the world of Jason Markk? Any more product innovations and new developments?
We’re extremely excited and proud of our first tee collection, which goes under the name “Wordplay”. It’s been really well received so far! The whole social media thing has been awesome as well. It allows to have direct communication with our customers. But when we do sneaker shows like “H-Town Sneaker Summit” or “Sneaker Con”, it’s even better because we get to meet our loyal customers face to face.
Jason, nice to have met you and all the best for the future.