From working in venture capital to being the person responsible for connecting Skullcandy Headphones and Stance Socks with some of the biggest names and brands in the culture, Clarke Miyasaki, the Executive VP of Business Development shares his journey and tells how hard work, social relationships and applied skills can create successful career opportunities.
INTERVIEW By MICHAEL LASALLE
This article was originally published in The SOURCE Magazine, May issue #272
Can you describe your role at Stance Socks? I identify companies or influencers to put deals together that introduce Stance to new customers and drive revenue while fitting within our brand ethos. Stance has several “Punks & Poets” ambassadors from the worlds of Sport, Art and Music. These partnerships bring millions of new eyeballs to Stance and account for a significant portion of the company’s revenue.
Explain how Hip-Hop helped develop business growth. Hip-Hop culture is driven by authenticity. A brand can’t fake its way into acceptance. At Skullcandy, we partnered with Roc Nation and Jordan Brand to name a few. At Stance, we have many Hip-Hop inspired socks. My favorite Stance sock of all time is a Tupac sock, where you actually tie his bandana over your shin.
Tell us about your career journey. My first consumer brand was Skullcandy. Founder Rick Alden wanted me to work there to close deals with rappers, cool brands and athletes. I told him “I’m a Mormon kid from Sugar City, Idaho, you definitely have the wrong guy!” Thankfully, he was persistent and talked me into giving it a shot. My “big break” came as an intern before my senior year at BYU, where I worked with Jeff Kearl, the founder of Stance. This is the fifth time Jeff and I worked together since that summer internship.
Who are your inspirations? I am inspired by my Pops who taught me to care about others first. I also have a rock star wife, who keeps the trains moving with our four children when I’m spending too much time working and traveling.
What is your advice on achieving success? Success is a big dose of luck mixed with hard work and talent. You never know when your career break is going to happen, so treat everyone with love and respect, and work your butt off every chance you get.
What is your favorite part of the job? Closing deals. I love negotiating and making things work for both parties. The other rewarding part is seeing your product on customers. I’ll never forget the first time I saw the Stance logo on the NBA court. As a lifelong NBA fan, that moment will be hard to top.
What’s the worst part of the industry? Early on I had no idea what I was doing at Skullcandy. It was hard to figure out who was legit. People claim they have a connection to certain artists or athletes, but they really don’t. Luckily, I had people in the industry to help navigate my way.
What can we expect from Stance this year? There are great things coming! It is our first full year as the on-field sock of MLB, so I’m excited to see Stance add its style to classic MLB team uniforms. I’m also excited to see the Rihanna collection each season.
Follow @ClarkeMiyasaki @STANCESOCKS