Rich ‘MaZe’ Lopez – Founder of K.A.T.C

Format: Our last interview focused a lot on blogging and sneaker media. Let’s get a bit more personal this time. Please introduce yourself and discuss your history before starting K.A.T.C .
MaZe: My name is Rich ‘MaZe’ Lopez and I am the founder and Editor-in-Chief of KixandtheCity.com. Before I started K.A.T.C I worked at two jobs out of college. I was a senior interactive media planner/buyer and then a senior account executive at an urban marketing/advertising agency. Both jobs gave me great experience in business and relationships but neither of them allowed me the ability to create, so I had to go out in the world for dolo.

“K.A.T.C is my current job and I do it damn near 24 hours a day. I’m creating posts in my sleep and the first thing I do every morning is go right to my laptop and start grinding.”

Format: What was your inspiration to start K.A.T.C?
MaZe: Simply, my love for sneakers and wanting to share that love with people around the world that feel the same way. When I first started K.A.T.C there weren’t many sites dedicated to sneakers alone, there weren’t many places for people who were passionate about kicks to get in-depth unbiased info. Back when I first started the site I was buying a crazy amount of sneakers, I’d say like 8-10 pairs a month. I used to line-up and everything. I saw how powerful sneakers were and what they meant to other people as well. I wanted to create a destination for everyone that loved sneakers, and I did.

Much respect to Crooked Tongues though, they’ve been around forever; they were true pioneers and you have to recognize that.

Format: How did you transition from your past job to blogging full-time?
MaZe: There was no transition. I decided to create the site one night and my first post went up the next morning. I wasted no time.

K.A.T.C is my current job and I do it damn near 24 hours a day. I’m creating posts in my sleep and the first thing I do every morning is go right to my laptop and start grinding.

For the last two years before this one, I hosted a weekly online radio show for Nike Basketball. I interviewed all of Nike’s premier basketball players from Kobe, to LeBron, to Nash, etc. We took the show on the road a couple times to and that was amazing.

As of right now though, other than K.A.T.C I write for FirstCuts.com which is TheSportingNews.com’s lifestyle blog and I also have a column on sneaker/fashion column on King-Mag.com.

Format: You mentioned last year that sneaker blogs are popping up almost every day. How does K.A.T.C remain relevant in this climate?
MaZe: It gets harder and harder. Not because of the competition but because most of the sites are just biting off of each other and that negatively effects everyone. Sites are poaching each other and it doesn’t make business sense because it is hindering sneaker sites from being taken seriously, and from a financial standpoint, why would bigger brands want to work with a site that is a carbon copy of the last five sites that they visited?

K.A.T.C remains relevant because I don’t do that.

Format: You’ve made a point of saying that you study sneaker culture from many different angles. an you please elaborate on this and develop some of your recent insights?
MaZe: CI study sneaker culture from the physical sneaker, to the consumer, to retail, to the inside of sneaker brands, everything. I study what people are wearing, I study what people line up for; I study what is/isn’t selling.

As far as my most recent insights, the perceived limited/exclusive game is dominating the scene more and more when it comes to the major brands. Nothing is selling unless it’s ‘limited’ or ‘exclusive.’ General releases or less limited releases sit and sit until they go on a super sale. All of this is basically due to the fact that way too many sneakers are dropping and heads are being ultra shrewd.

The non-majors are doing well though because they are different and naturally limited because of scale. When the market is being flooded by hundreds of different colorways of the same sneaker and you want to be different, you start to look elsewhere.

Format: Last year you mentioned that the more experienced sneaker enthusiasts were not being catered to. Do you still think this is the case and why or why not?
MaZe: I think it is getting much better. The releases are stronger from a simplicity standpoint and the collaborations are making more sense. I have realized though, that the experienced sneaker enthusiasts aren’t the target market and I understand that.

Format: What does K.A.T.C have planned for the future?
MaZe: The same thing we do every night.

Format: Why shoes?
MaZe: Love.

Linkage: http://www.kixandthecity.com

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