Baes With Kicks: Heather Jones
Read our exclusive interview on women in the sneaker space, viral nail designs and more.
Jones is more than just a nail-loving influencer (though she hates the label). She uses her platform to call out issues in the women’s sneaker space, namely size inequality and “back dooring” — the unscrupulous practice of retailers selling inventory directly to the resale market, further reducing the average consumer’s chances of getting product at the manufacturer’s suggested retail price.
Read on for our exclusive interview with Jones and stay tuned for next month’s installment of Baes With Kicks.
Name: Heather Jones
City: Los Angeles, CA
How many pairs of sneakers do you own?
I would say roughly around 200-ish pairs.
What elements do you consider most important when purchasing a sneaker?
I definitely need that WOW factor, then comfort would follow. Also knowing the story behind the sneaker helps me connect with it more, so storytelling is also very important for me.
What inspired you to start doing sneaker nail sets?
I’ve always been into nail art. I’ve been getting my nails done since I was 12 and always wanted my nails to make a statement. It came naturally to me because my mother is this the same way.
Over the years the typical nail art designs just weren’t doing it for me anymore, and I thought it’d be cool to match my nails with my sneakers and bring another element of femininity to sneakers that I wasn’t seeing in the culture at that time. So I started mocking up designs of the sneakers I owned and loved, and would bring the vision to my nail techs and they would execute.
What are your top three favorite sneakers?
The Nike Air Bakin OG, CPFM x Swarovski Nike Dunk and Jordan 2 Chicago Home.
What are your favorite spots to shop for sneakers?
eBay, Naked Copenhagen and flea markets — I love vintage pairs.
Where do you get style inspiration from?
I’m inspired by so many things — people, places, art — but I always describe my style as if Fran Drescher from The Nanny and Vashtie Kola had a baby.
Can you name one pair of sneakers that you wish you copped but didn’t?
The Vashtie 2s!!!!
Your followers know you don’t hold back when it comes to calling out the sneaker industry, size disparities and the overall landscape for women. Can you tell us a little about what it means to be a woman in the space and what brands can do better?
Being a woman in the position I hold as a buyer for a retail boutique and as a consumer (I hate to use the word influencer but people actually value my opinion when it comes to these issues), the most important thing I need to be is vocal, even when I’m hesitant. I don’t want the things I say to ever backfire on me, but everything I speak on pertaining to size exclusion for women — the whole “pink it and shrink it” conversation and even the very grey area of “back dooring” and reselling — are topics that need to be heard.
When I bring up these conversations I bring the facts along right with me. I’ve been working in the sneaker industry for over a decade and speaking about these same issues since the beginning.
Women like me — and a lot of other Black women as well — were all on those presentations in these meetings at these huge multibillion-dollar brands, using our content for “inspiration” but are we present for these meetings? Are we being used in these campaigns we inspired? Most of the time, no, and that’s a huge problem for me.
We are the influence. We generate so much money for these brands and in return, you can’t do as much as extending a men’s size sneaker in the color we asked for from the beginning? Something has to change and I’ll be vocal about it until something changes. I’m very grateful that I’m able to speak for other women who feel like they aren’t heard. I feel like it’s part of my purpose and that’s why I’m so passionate about this culture.
I honestly just want the feedback we’re giving as women to not only be taken with action, but also for those same women I see in all these decks to be given opportunities because they deserve it. Life is not easy sometimes and giving someone an opportunity they deserve could change their lives for the better, so why not?