Nike Blog 1: How the billion dollar sportswear company nearly went bankrupt

October 14, 2021

This is the first of a series of Upstreet’s blogs featuring our partner brands. We unveil their brilliant success stories and dig deep into their tough beginnings. Read on to laugh, cry and be inspired.

We’re all familiar with the signature ‘Swoosh’ logo and the famous ‘Just do it!’ slogan. Nike has proven itself to be a sportswear giant. It is the world’s largest supplier of athletic shoes and apparel valuing over US$32 billion in 2020. However, Nike started from humble beginnings. Business didn’t always look bright as Nike had to fight through trials and tribulations to reach their success today.

So where did it all begin? 

Nike, was founded in 1964 as ‘Blue Ribbon Sports’ by a University of Oregon track athlete Phil Knight and his coach, Bill Bowerman. The company originally operated as a distributor of the Japanese brand ‘Onitsuka Tiger’, where the duo made sales at track meets out of the trunks of their own cars. In just one year, the duo sold 1,300 pairs of shoes grossing $8,000.

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