Interview with New Balance country manager, Craig Bowen

Could you highlight any unique features or design elements that customers can look forward to?

The Uncommon Common (UCC) retail concept flips the script on traditional retail with a strong focus on the consumer, space and the retail experience. A key element of this approach is the central seating. From here, customers can view featured product alongside styled mannequins in a comfortable and modern retail setting. There is also incredible technology built into the experience with 3D foot scanning technology that allows us to find your perfect fit.


Are there particular metrics or milestones you aim to achieve in the first year of operation?

I think our initial aim for this store is to deliver a premium, service-based shopping experience as the pinnacle expression of the New Balance brand to the Jozi consumer. I feel that if we are able to deliver a sense of community and build relationships through outstanding service in an atmosphere where consumers can discover and delight in our product, then we will be winning.

How does this store opening fit into New Balance’s broader strategy?

New Balance is working hard at delivering a premium and integrated shopping experience to customers globally. By making these kinds of investments we are able to tell our brand story in the best possible way, connect directly with customers and create positive change in communities we operate in.

Can you explain how this aligns with your overall brand vision and growth plans?

People are at the centre of everything we do. A key element of our brand vision is to empower people through sports and craftsmanship. Opening this Jozi store aligns with that in the sense that it allows New Balance to invest in people, offer opportunities to grow with our brand and celebrate successes together.

What can customers expect in terms of product offerings and exclusive items at this new location?

The consumer shopping at the New Balance store in Sandton will experience the pinnacle expression of the brand which is underpinned by elevated footwear and apparel product. As a brand we pride ourselves on best-in-class quality, comfort and premium craftmanship and there’s no better way of bringing this to life than through our MADE product.

Will there be any store-exclusive merchandise or limited editions available?

Yes, Sandton will host the widest and most premium range of New Balance footwear and apparel across both performance and lifestyle. Over the next couple of months will we excite customers through our modern classics like the M1000, classic court silhouettes like the T500 and of course the pinnacle MADE product told through the creative lens of Teddy Santis.

How does New Balance plan to engage with the local community through this store?

Sport is in our DNA and a big part of our offering is performance product so in partnership with local athletes, we aim to provide free workshops to running communities through the store. This will cover topics ranging from training, nutrition, injury prevention and race management.

We are also looking to replicate conversations happening globally around diversity, equity and inclusion where guest speakers will be invited to facilitate and discuss topics that are relevant to our communities.

Are there any community events, partnerships, or initiatives planned that you can share?

Yes, I can’t say too much about partnerships at this time but we are looking to host a unique event later in Spring. One which we are confident will resonate with our community, inspiring them to embrace their individuality and create unique storytelling moments.

Can you give us a sneak peek into any upcoming projects, collaborations, or new product lines?

We have some really exciting collabs on the cards for Jozi customers. There include some exciting projects by creative Teddy Santis, collaborations with the likes of Salehe Bembury and high energy releases done through our “utility’ category. Stay close to our channels as we roll these out in the coming months!

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