La Vie En Retail with Vega Skateshop
Episode #1 — François Wuest
“La Vie En Retail” is a series of dialogues about daily life in footwear retail: its challenges, fun moments, amazing stories of store-owners, and how they make it work.
Today, for the first-ever article on Sneakerdraws, we’re sitting down for a coffee near Canal St.Martin with François Wuest of Vega to chat about this life.
Q: Salut G! Tell the people something about yourself
A: Hey, I’m François, 31, a co-owner of Vega. Skater, for now, more than half of my life (started skateboarding in 2004)
Q: How did you start working at Vega?
A: I started in August 2019, replacing one of the 2 co-founders of the shop. I heard he was leaving early 2019 but it took some time to leave my job and build my project for the shop.
Q: How has the business changed comparing today and the day you joined ‘em? And what are the biggest challenges you have to deal with?
A: There are a lot more new skateboarders. We also have been learning how to deal with the Dunk madness. The biggest difficulty is to handle all those new people who don’t understand, that we are a small shop, so they think they can behave like crazy at every drop. Otherwise, it’s quite chill, lots of our customers have been coming for many years.
Q: How did you spend your time during the COVID-19 lockdown?
A: Trying to develop our website, some other stuff, staying in shape and skating a bit every day
Q: Talking about the DUNK madness… What’s the most hilarious (or just the one you cannot forget) DM you’ve ever got from “customers”?
A: One dude told me (for Ben & Jerry’s Dunks) that his dad is dying and that he wants to offer him the pair before he passes away.
Q: How did you get into skateboarding?
A: My Cousin made me buy Tony Hawk Pro Skater on PS1. From there I fell in love with skateboarding and asked for a board for 6 months.
Q: Which trick you dream to land one day?
A: Haha there are too many, bro. I wish I could do noseblunts.
Q: Your thoughts on skateboarding in the Olympics?
A: Not a big fan of repping your own country and banner but I guess it will get us more parks and acceptance which can be good and bad at the same time cause it will bring jocks who think it’s a sport.
Q: Your top 5 skate-shoes of all-time?
A: Wow… I think Nike Sb Blazer Ishod Chukka (pictured below) and Shane O’Neil, New Balance 388, Huf Brad Cromer, and Huf Classics (with toecap).
Q: Favorite release of the year so far and the one you’re waiting for the most
A: Not necessarily a big fan of the dunks haha but I really enjoyed the Orange Laser and even copped a pair to try and skate in them.
Q: What’s your favorite local (streetwear/skate) brand?
A: Album Skate Co., a brand from my hometown. They do make sick boards.
Q: Is there any advice you’d like to share with the younger generation of skateboarders?
A: Try to understand the culture, be good and friendly with everyone around you, have fun and persevere.
Q: And before you go… Tell us the truth about backdoor!
A: F***! I hear so many things about that… That’s insane. I get messages from “influencers”, resellers and some random people on Instagram telling me they will buy for “x5 price” or crazy shit like that. Bro, I don’t care about that, I know the shoe will sell instantly when I put it on the shelves and I don’t want to participate in that. Also, some people think that “friends and family” are the same as a backdoor. What y’all have to understand is that I allow a minimum quantity to a very few people that will actually skate or simply rock their pair. I’d rather have them having the shoe than some random reseller that will never come back, that’s it. But it’s only a few pairs here and there, many want to be on the list and few actually are. So almost all the stock goes to the customers.
That’s all, folks! Thanks for reading our premiere interview et merci beaucoup, François.
If you’re in Paris come say “Hi!” to Vega and support your local skateshop.
With love from sneakerheads from Paris & Hamburg
To sneakerheads, collectors, skaters, retailers & people who just love the kicks worldwide
Peace out ✌️