Phil Knight Founder of Nike Success Story

Phil Knight Nike Founder

Phil Knight Nike founder

Phil Knight Nike Founder Success Story

Nike is successful American multinational sportswear company known for it’s sports shoes and athletic sportswear with over 60 000 employees all over the world.

Today it is one of the largest athletic shoes supplier, Nike used to specialize on shoes market only, later it extended to variety of sports apparel wear.

Forbes has announced Nike  the  most profitable company in sportswear and Sport Shoes in 2017.

The Company does Manufacturing, Design and Sale of Nike shoes, sport clothes and accessories.

Professional athletes, Sportsman and Sportswoman are sponsored by Nike for decades.

Success of Nike is build by Nike Founders Phil Knight and his coach Bill Bowerman who worked hard to bring company to the size and fame it holds today.

As Phil Knight mentioned, courage is crucial  and  one of most important ingredient  for Nike growth and success.

Phil Knight Nike Founder Success Story

Phil Knight Nike Founder Success Story

### Phil Knight Nike founder and how it all started

# School

Born in Portland, Phil Knight has studied in  University of Oregon and later received MBA from Standford Business School.

During his MBA studies, he has wrote a thesis on theme of Japanese shoes in comparison to  Japanese cameras. Cameras from Japan have became very famous and  replaced German cameras in US.

Could same happen in shoe industry? No spoilers, but first Nike shoes were made in Japan.

Student Knight remembers his “aha” moment that happened, when teacher was explaining what does it mean to be entrepreneur.  It was then, he realized that he is one in his heart already.

After getting the MBA, Phil Knight had couple of jobs and traveled the world before he figured out what he would like to do.

# Phil Knight and Running

One thing that Phil has known for sure is that he absolutely in love with running. Following and discussing sports news was his favorite time-spending.

Sports was big theme that he would have common with his father as well.

Middle-distance running was Phil’s specialty, this is also where his heart met with  his running coach  Bill Bowerman,   Nike’s co-founder.

# World Trip and Trip to Japan

At age of 24 young co-founder of Nike Phil Knight has decided to go for trip around the world in order to find more about himself and decide the future occupation.

There is no doubt that Phil has always liked sports and running, but trip has only helped him realizing that he wants to be selling shoes.

During travels, young Knight has found out that he would enjoy to sell shoes to club of  ” running fanatics”  later known as joggers.

Before jogging was not popular and people who liked to practice it were not understood.

This is when Phil Knight has decided that he will follow his dream no matter what  and don’t give up even at hard times.

Later in trouble periods he has remembered his prior  decision not to give up which kept him going.

#  Phil Knight Nike founder – Japan & Onitsuka Tiger

In 1962 as part of trip around the world, Phil has visited Japan.

Tokyo, mountain Fuji and the country was fascinating to him, but what impressed him the most were high quality shoes that he came across.

Japan is well known for quality products, ” Made in Japan”  tag on your product usually makes us proud to own it.

To no surprise Phil has found running shoes of very good quality and very low price.

Impressive shoes were of  ” Onitsuka Tiger” brand.

Entrepreneur in him lead this to action ( here is where ” Just do it”  slogan fits perfectly) requesting meeting with  Onitsuka Tiger leads.

Onitsuka Tiger representatives had meeting with young Phil who asked them for partnership, so he could resell their shoes over seas.

When Knight received question about what is his company name, he knew he needs to look serious and “have his own company”.

Blue Ribbon Sports ”  he answered and this is how Blue Ribbon  company was born. First in imagination, only later in reality.

# Supportive father, Silent mother of Phil Knight

Mother of Phil Knight – Lota Knight –  was not a verbose type of mother as he admits.

Lota’s reactions towards son’s excitement were often limited to silence.

But there was a moment in his life, where he clearly remembers her as being great support.  Mother has  demonstrated support by buying a pair of Nike Shoes.

On the other hand father Bill Knight wanted Phil to make him proud and he  had a lot of expectations of Nike’s guy.

This didn’t mean that he always agreed with Phil Knight being ” Nike shoe re-seller

Despite of occasional belief in success of Nike, Bill has been a very supportive father who  provided financial resources  that Phil asked for.

Bill Knight has given money for  his  son for Trip all over the world.

He has also been great financial help at the beginning of company establishment.

### Beginning of Nike

Phil Knight Nike Founder Success Story

# Non existing company

Blue Ribbons company existed first in mind of Phil Knight and only then it was registered.

Little necessary lie was one of cornerstone of success of Nike.

Huge courage is needed for demanding to speak with leadership of company about cooperation, when you are just a young boy with a dream and very limited financial resources.

It seems that dream, courage, passion for running and determination to make it work are huge parts of Nike success.

# Accountant Job

While Phil awaited shoes delivery from Japanese Onitsuka Tiger company, he needed to make a living.

Thus he has been working as accountant.

Accounting is also what helped Phil Knight meet Penelope Knight who later worked with him and helping with accounting of Blue Ribbon Sports.

# “On budget” Nike Office / Blue Ribbons Office

First Blue Ribbons (future Nike ) office was very much on budget. It had broken window and very limited space.

Often Phil would sleep there in order to save precious time.

Office was prepared on last minute to ready Blue Ribbon Sports for visit from Japanese company Onitsuka Tiger .

Similar last minute shop to sell Japanese shoes from Onitsuka Tiger was also created on last minute.

Luckily  improvised “company setups” like this have usually successful.

### Family of Phil Knight

# The Nike founder’s Wife

P & P,  Penelope (Penny) and Phil have met in Portland State University when Phil was teaching Accounting.

She – Penny – was a student in Phil’s class and he has quickly noticed how beautiful she was.

Very soon Penelope charmed Phil with her cleverness.

And this is how Penny was hired to help with accounting in Phil’s Japanese Shoes reselling company.

That time Blue Ribbon shoes have been made in Japan and delivered to US.

## Pair of sons

Penny and Phil have two sons: Matthew and Travis.

Founder of Nike mentioned analogue of  ” Pair of Sons ”  :).

# Absent, but providing father

According to book ” Shoe Dog” Phil mentions himself as  mostly absent father who didn’t have time for his children.

His wife Penny supported him and was always there when Sons or Phil needed support or good advice.

As many successful people, Phil  did’t have much spare time for his family.

But he definitely compensated his absence with material support that he was providing for his loved once.

# Matthew and Travis

Travis Knight works as movie animator, but he also enjoys working as movie producer and director.

While on trip to Japan – due to Phil Knight’s bussines trip, Travis has fallen in love with animation. Today he works for Laika entertainment.

Matthew Knight has died in 2004 at age of 34, which was big shock to the family and Phil Knight, who shortly after left the role of Nike CEO, but remained as a chairman.

Cause of Matthew’s death was heart attack due to undetected CHD (Congenital Heard Defect). This anomaly is often not showing any symptoms and thus remains undetected.

CHD is considered most common birth defect, 50 million of people globally have it and over 1 million of people in US live with CHD.

Animation called Mooongirl was dedicated by Trevis and Phil to memory of brother and son Matthew who died at young age.

Laika entertainment has created Moongirl animated movie, their most known work is Coraline animation.

Phil Knight Founder of Nike Success Story

### Phil Knight and Nike becoming awesome:

Phil Knight Nike Founder Success Story

# Mentors and influences of Phil Knight

Most successful people do have a mentor on their path. Who was it for Phil Knight?

# Bill Bowerman – Co-Founder of Nike

When Phil received shoes from Japan, he has send two samples to his running coach Bill Bowerman.

The intention was to sell shoes and possibly start cooperation work for selling future Nike Shoes.

Bill liked idea from the beginning and both founders have invested initial 500$ each  in order to start Blue Ribbon Sports.

Bowerman who used to call Phil ” Buck”  is listed as well as co-founder of Nike.

Bill died in 1999 on Christmas eve in age of 88, but he surely was one of main mentor figures for Phil.

# Founder of Sony – Akio Morita

50 years ago Sony was success  similarl to what Apple is today. Business that many people consider to be extremely successful and great example.

No wonder that founder of Sony was an inspiring role model for Phil Knight, not a mentor directly, but definitely a great influence.

Sony used to be a great example of which direction Nike business should take.

# Understanding father

Unsurprisingly the father of Nike founder was the one who was often listening to son and providing him with all the help he could.

At the start of Nike company, Phil’s father didn’t believe in dream of his son.

But looking at where is Nike today, Phil proved to achieve a great success and Become Awesome.

Later father and son have often phoned each other to discuss business and sport, which were their favorite topics.

In book ” Shoe dog” Phil describes how important for him were father-son discussions that they have had regularly.

# Cure for Burnouts, work harder

Phil Knight Nike Founder Success Story

Many successful people use working harder as a cure for burnouts.

The  idea behind  is : ” When things get too hard, when you cannot do it anymore, accelerate. ”

This was cure and often necessity for steady growth and  tremendous success for shoe giant that Nike is today.

# Run to Fight stress

Sometimes, when company was going true  stressful time period, Phil would seek way to fight pressure in his own way.

Best relax was something he loved since being little boy, running allowed him to think better and lower the tension build by stress.

Running as form of cardio exercise is great for thinking, since it brings more oxygen to the blood allowing us think more clear.

# Self hugging

Have you ever tried to hug Yourself?

Knight has found that self hugging has a calming effect on him. This is why he was doing it more and more often, especially when going true hard times.

Hugging of self has became such a habit that Phil would notice he hugs himself on very official and important meetings.

Self hug is  one of best bad habits you can acquire :). You should hug yourself if you are in need of hug and there is none to hug you.

### Nike Founder and success:

# Bucket list movie

Going for a movie  to cinema was one of favorite activities for  Penny  Knight, her husband liked going to cinema with her.

One evening when they wanted to see a comedy, Penny and Phil have bought tickets for Bucket list movie.

Bucket list is not a standard easy comedy. It is pretty philosophical wake up call.

It is important to realize what is on our bucket list and go do it (Just do it :)) instead of waiting for perfect circumstances.  No spoilers :P.

Best moment might never come and humans have limited lifetime.

For Nike’s founder Bucket list was an important movie which  Phil mentions as big influence on him.

I have seen this movie some months ago and today I am proud to say that I have finally crossed all items on my Bucket list :).

Watch it sometimes, Bucket list movie is very motivational and moving movie, perhaps life-changing for many people.

Phil Knight Nike Founder Success Story

Phil Knight Nike Founder Success Story

# Ideas and Thoughts

### Interesting Nike Question / Answer Facts :

Phil Knight Nike Founder Success Story

# Why name Nike?

Due to conflict with Onitsuka Tiger company Phil Knight has decided to produce his own shoes and he needed new name for his company.

In Early days of Nike, office employees of young Nike company were brainstorming to find perfect brand name.

One of suggestions was to name company Nike. The reason for name “Nike” was Night Dream Jeff Johnson – employee number one of Nike company.

Nike is Greek goddess of victory.

When Phil heard  suggestion ” Nike” , he said famous ” I don’t love it, but maybe it will grow on me” .

It did grow on him as we can see decades later :).

Logo of Nike is famous ” swoosh” that looks like check mark shape. It symbolizes  movement and speed.

Nike was named after the Greek goddess of victory. Davidson sold the logo design to Knight only for  $35.

# Where does Nike  produce shoes today?

China and Vietnam are  leading manufacturers of Nike shoes – both accounting for 36% of the total manufactured world wide. Followed by Indonesia ( 22%) and Thailand (6%) of the Nike shoes produced world wide.

# Nike vs. Adidas

Adidas and Puma were  German leading sports apparel companies established and famous already.

This was the concurrency for Nike which had great plans but was very modest startup.

# I was disappointed that I didn’t learn more about what it takes to manufacture an athletic shoe: what are all the parts of the shoe? which ones are difficult to manufacture and why?


# What does shoe-dog mean?

Term that  is almost a synonym of Phil Knight  usually refers to a person dedicated to designing and fabricating and selling shoes.

Would you like to see more works from Illustrator of Become Awesome? Check out the Artstation profile.

I would very much appreciate if you let me know what do you think about article in comment section below.






















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