Flashback Friday #5: Internship at Sneaker Freaker

cologne dunk

Today the @sneakerfreakerofficial Instagram account posted a picture of me (or rather my shoes) on the roof of the old office building in Ehrenfeld because they just moved out and into a new building. This inspired me to make this week’s Flashback Friday about my time at Sneaker Freaker Germany.

I had already tried to apply for an internship at Sneaker Freaker the summer I graduated from school but they never got back to me… Nevertheless I tried my luck a second time the following summer, this time trying a different email address that went straight to the editorial department.

They promptly responded to my application saying I would be a good fit for them with my language skills and enthusiasm for sneakers. They invited me to an interview to get a better idea of me.

I was still in Cardiff at the time but I was really keen on doing an internship with them. I did not want to postpone the interview so I flew back home to Cologne just so I could make the interview on the proposed date. Naturally I wore my Yeezys for good luck but also to show off. So I was a little surprised when Daniel, the managing editor and first guy I was introduced to, didn’t recognise them… He asked me what I was wearing but when I told him he recognised them.

He then introduced me to Pascal, the editor-in-chief, who was grossed out by my choice of footwear but said: “as long as they’re not fakes it’s all good.” We returned to Daniel’s office to chat a bit about what it is Sneaker Freaker does.

The magazine is mostly a translation of the Australian original with a few local pieces here and there. This was a big part of why they wanted me on the team. Translating a whole magazine can be very time consuming and in order to make the deadline they set for themselves Daniel needed some help completing them. And as a native English speaker who grew up in Germany I was the right man for the job.

Unfortunately they weren’t able to offer me any money at the time, but since I needed some sort of work placement for my journalism course I agreed to work for them without pay for two weeks. I looked to impress with my personality as well as my work to convince them to keep me on their team a little longer and maybe find a way to pay me.

The day I started my internship I got a little more familiar with the office building. Sneaker Freaker is a subsidiary of the Intro Verlag so they were located on the same floor of the 4711-Haus. So to celebrate my new place of work I threw on my “4711” Dunks and the matching shirt. Again, I was surprised that my new superiors didn’t know these existed and that they were inspired by the world famous Eau de Cologne (I’ll go into a bit more detail about these shoes in a future Sneaker Spotlight).

Nike SB Dunk 4711 PortraitI was also introduced to Giacomo, the third and final member of the Sneaker Freaker Crew. I don’t think he knew what was so special about my shoes and the time I showed up to the office with my Lance Mountain Jordan 1 SBs I had to explain to him why they were mismatched. So while he doesn’t know absolutely everything about sneakers, he could name-drop sneaker brands and models you ain’t ever even heard of and distinguish a Nike Zvezdochka from Crocs from a mile away (I mistook the Zvezdochka for Crocs the first time I saw one…)

When I finally sat down at my new workspace Daniel told me that Nike had just invited them to host a “Sneaker Freaker Sunday” at their “House of Phenomenal” in Berlin, a temporary exhibition about their newly announced line of Flyknit football boots consisting of a new Mercurial Superfly and the new Magista Obra.

Attending would be some of Germany’s biggest sneaker bloggers to be presented with this new line of football boots as well as Nike’s Genealogy of Innovation exhibition showcasing more than 40 years of innovation and technology that had crossed over and come together on these shoes.

Nike spared no expense to get as many people as possible to show up to the event. And since they paid for everyone’s travel and lodging the Sneaker Freaker Crew invited me to join them. And I did.

One week into my internship this trip already more than made up for the fact that I was not being paid. Because not only did a get a free trip to Berlin but I also had the chance to brush shoulders with some of the biggest players in the German sneaker scene, try out the most technologically advanced football boots long before they were released to the public, create any shoe of my choice for free in a NikeID session as well as some other goodies.

It was a phenomenal weekend (get it?) and I was very happy to have been a part of it. When we got back I returned to translating the rest of the magazine before the last week of my internship ended. The team was very happy with my work so at the end of the week we sat down to talk about my future with Sneaker Freaker.

They wanted me to stay on for another four weeks in which I would start creating content for their website as well as creating a special edition of Sneaker Freaker en français. I had thoroughly enjoyed the two weeks and was more than happy to return but first I needed a vacation as I had started my internship the day after returning from Uni.

Four weeks later I re-joined the Sneaker Freaker Team and experienced some crazy and awesome adventures. But I’ll tell you all about those on another episode of Flashback Friday.

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