Bolton-born sneaker king talks about his new book developing one of the world’s most iconic sports brands

Joe Foster, co-founder of Reebok shared his journey from working in the family business (J.W. Foster and Sons) to a family feud that gave rise to the iconic brand as we know it – Reebok!

JWFosterReebokBack in 1943, eight year old Joe won a 60 yard race (thanks to the family spiked running shoes) and he won a Webster’s Dictionary. Little did eight year old Joe know, years later he would be scouring the pages until he found the perfect name for his sneaker company. Mercury Sports Footwear was founded in 1958 before changing its name to Reebok (rhebok; a small South African antelope) eighteen months later.

Reebok became a quick global phenomenon, reaching as far as outer space in Aliens in the form of alien stompers worn by Sigourney Weaver. Joe tells all in his new book Shoemaker: The Untold Story of the British Family Firm that Became a Global Brand. He joined Lynn Sheppard, Director of the Masood Entrepreneurship Centre, to discuss the Reebok journey and offer his best advice for young entrepreneurs.

Joe’s words of wisdom for entrepreneurs is an important factor that many of us forget – have fun!

Entrepreneurs should learn, absorb and take risks but also have fun while you’re doing it.

Entrepreneurs@Manchester Series: Joseph Foster, Founder of Reebok

Joseph Foster was speaking as part of the Entrepreneurs@Manchester speaker series organised by the Masood Entrepreneurship Centre. Entrepreneurs@Manchester invites the UK's leading entrepreneurs to The University of Manchester to share their insights and talk candidly about their highs, lows, and lessons learnt. These are real stories from those who have done it - from initial concept through to enterprise.

If you’re a student or recent graduate of The University of Manchester and have an idea for a business then please do get in touch with us at entrepreneurship@manchester.ac.uk.

Share this release