Company Name: Nike, Inc.
Industry: Sports Footwear and ApparelI
Date Founded: January 25, 1964
Location: Beaverton, Oregon, United States
Mission Statement: 
“To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete* in the world.”

The Nike Story

The check mark. The swoosh. Just do it. The moment you see or hear these, they remind you of Nike. Few athletic icons rise in our consciousnesses faster than this company. They redefined the sneaker-shoe culture. They made the swoosh something you can be proud wearing!


Who would have thought that this global brand for sports shoes and apparel started it’s first operations located in the trunk of a car? That’s right, Phil Knight started Nike as a small distributing outfit from humble beginnings which will soon grow to become the shoe and athletic company that define many aspects of popular culture and myriad varieties of ‘cool.’

Just like most companies, they started with a passion and a purpose. Phil Knight wanted to make a living without giving up his love for athletics; While Bill Bowerman’s (track coach) desire for lighter and durable shoes for his runners back in 1959 where Phil Knight ran influenced Knight in his search for a marketing strategy. Through this, the company of over 62,600 employees to this day grew.

Nike WHQ

Aerial View of Nike WHQ in Beaverton, Oregon, USA

Nike WHQ

A Tiger Running Shoe

In the early 1960’s while Knight was taking his MBA at Stanford, his semester-long project was to devise a small business, including a marketing plan. Bowerman’s attention to quality running shoes and the burgeoning opinion that high-quality/low cost products could be produced in Japan and shipped to the U.S. for distribution, Knight found his market niche. In 1963, Kinght travelled to Japan and scheduled an interview with a Japanese running shoe manufacturer, Tiger–a subsidiary of the Onitsuka Company. resenting himself as the representative of an American distributor interested in selling Tiger shoes to American runners, Knight told the businessmen of his interest in their product. Thus the birth of Blue Ribbon Sports. Tiger executives liked Knight’s pitch and he placed his first order for Tigers soon thereafter.

By 1964, Knight sold $8,000 worth of Tiger shoes and place an order for more. 7 years later, Blue Ribbon Sports officially became Nike, the name derived from the Greek goddess of victory and trademark Swoosh in 1971.

By the late 70’s Nike and went from $10 million to $270 million in sales. The 80s and 90s would yield greater and greater profits as Nike began to assume the appearance of athletic juggernaut, rather than the underdog of old. “Advertising Age” named Nike the 1996 Marketer of the Year, citing the “ubiquitous swoosh…was more recognized and coveted by consumers than any other sports brand–arguably any brand” (Jensen, 12/96). That same year Nike’s revenues were a staggering $6.74 billion. Expecting $8 billion sales in fiscal 1997, Nike has targeted $12 billion in sales by the year 2000.

And all from the back of a car.

Passion. Purpose. Determination. These are some of the key elements that drove Phil Knight to build his business empire. His unwavering love for sports and his desire to provide the best quality products for athletes still stand to this day. His hard work paid off through the years. He had success doing retail work for Tiger shoes but he wanted to have his own brand. He wanted to have his imprints all around and was determined to do so.

52 years later, you see the SWOOSH all around the world. You don’t think of buying one. They tell you to… JUST DO IT!.

Resources: Wikipedia, Xroads, Nike Inc. Website

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