When speaking on the ever-evolving topic that is “Sneaker YouTube,” there are few things that are constant. In this world of constant change, it can be tough to cement your place – or find a lane – that sets you apart. For Fran Marchello aka “Franalations,” talking sneakers on YouTube has been part of his life for the last decade. In fact, one could argue that he created the wave. We recently caught up with Fran and got the low down on his YouTube start and how creating videos helped him launch his footwear company, SandalBoyz.
I Did It My Way Appetizer
I Did It My Way Entrée
coiski: Growing up, was creating and storytelling always something you were in to?
Fran: Yea, so as a kid, I actually wanted to be an actor. So as far being in front of cameras or on stage, that was always something I wanted to do. Early on in my YouTube beginnings, I started doing skits and stuff with my friends, but it was kind of unreliable because I wanted to do it every week and it was more of once-in-a-while for them. So when I found the whole sneaker thing on YouTube, there was actually a guy, “Sneak Geeks,” who was doing weekly videos of Jordans, so I messaged him and asked for permission to see if he would mind if I did Nike SB videos. I didn’t get a response from him at that time, but later on, we became friends. So yea, I started doing Nike SB videos once a week, which then, turned into daily. YouTube was definitely an outlet for me to express my creativity early on before anyone else was really doing anything like that, actually.
coiski: The Nike SB series of videos you did kicked off your venture into sneakers at the time – was their anyone doing sneakers that you looked at on YouTube before then?
Fran: At that time, there was literally just me and a guy named Sneak Geek, but within months, more people started doing it. Then, over the ensuing years, there were a bunch of really dope people doing it. Over the years, a bunch of people have jumped in the space, and it’s now a completely different wave of people who have grown it in such a big way, which is really dope to see. It’s always been shifting and changing over the past 10 years.
coiski: It’s evident that, through your videos, you’re into collecting, but when did it click for you that showing your collection – and others on the Internet could be a thing?
Fran: It was really organic; it was something I liked talking about. Even going to camp-outs and stuff like that, I enjoyed talking to people about sneakers, and that’s really all it was; me just talking about what I liked, and it turned out that people liked it. There wasn’t a motive to try to build something at that time; it was really just for fun.
coiski: Was there ever a goal you wanted to reach with your channel, like a certain number of subscribers, views or anything of that nature?
Fran: So at the time, I think there was one point where I was the second highest sneaker channel, subscriber-wise. My only goal was to surpass that “Sneak Geek” page, but other than that, there wasn’t really a goal. Over the years, YouTube hasn’t really been the main priority. I just stay doing it for the same reason – probably because it’s fun. There isn’t really a super big push in that area right now; my main focus right now currently is SandalBoyz.
coiski: What role has YouTube played in the start and of success of SandalBoyz?
Fran: It definitely was the catalyst to start that because, through that, I was able to meet people whom I would have never, ever met if I hadn’t started the YouTube thing. It’s those same relationships that really helped the launch of SandalBoyz. SandalBoyz wasn’t initially my idea; it was my partner Drew’s. He came to me with the idea, and I thought about it for a little bit. I always wanted to do footwear and still want to do a collab with Nike one day. So once he gave me the opportunity to start this footwear company, I was all in. With those relationships I had built – whether with influencers, stores, or whatever over those nearly 10 years – I just pushed all of that into the SandalBoyz network as far as who we would seed the product to. Nike used to send me product, and in my eyes, I was like, ‘What are they doing, sending me free shoes?’ I then realized that I was a marketing tool for their product. So literally, through that experience, I was able to shift that to our brand.