We had the good fortune of connecting with Brittney Perry and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Brittney, what role has risk played in your life or career?
I think of risk as being uncomfortable with uncertainty. There’s no guarantee that you will see anything back in return for what you sacrifice. I’d say risk taking has become the norm throughout my adult life starting in high school. I quit basketball and decided to run for a class office position. It was way out of my comfort zone and I actually had to create a campaign to get people to vote for me and I ended up winning. It was this single event that gave me the confidence to step outside of my comfort zone and go for whatever I set my mind to. It gave me the confidence to take risks over and over again throughout my life. I believe if I didn’t get used to going outside my comfort zone at an early age, I wouldn’t have had the drive and determination to start PerryCo Shoes. I started PerryCo with no fashion background or experience. I risked everything because it was something I truly believed in and wanted to make happen. I will never stop taking risks.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
As a kid, I loved shoes. However when shopping for women’s sneakers, there were very little options to choose from. Women never had as many options for sneakers as men did at sneakers stores. This resorted to me wearing mostly men’s sneakers from childhood into adulthood. I’ve always had a passion for footwear, but didn’t study fashion in school. I graduated with a business marketing degree. After college, I got a corporate job working in a conservative industry. I could not wear my typical attire that made me comfortable. Working in a corporate environment gave me the idea to create a versatile sneaker that I could not only wear to work, but could wear for any occasion. Having no fashion background and having no knowledge on how to create a sneaker didn’t stop me from jumping head first. Developing shoes is very expensive, so I would take money I had left over from my job to fund my passion. In total, It took me around 2 years to create, fund, cut samples of different leathers to test and go back and forth with manufacturers to get the final product. Having prior feelings of being excluded from certain sneakers, I made PerryCo a unisex company to strive towards equality for all. I believe this company is important not only because it’s unisex, but because in an industry that is mostly male dominated, I’m paving a way for women, especially women of color. I think it’s important that the company is seen, to motivate and inspire others that you do not have to work for a large company, you can create your own.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I live in Chicago right now, I don’t go out a lot anymore. More than likely I would take them to a wine bar, Juice 1340 in the West Loop. After that we would walk a couple blocks east to Leaders 1354 to buy sneakers and talk to the owners. I really enjoy being around good people with good vibrations.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I want to give a special shoutout to Quintin Williams. Q helped me create my first shoe and was one of the only people willing to help bring my ideas to life. It’s rare to come across good people, but he’s one of them. I can’t thank him enough.
Gian Frias, Bisrat Fremichael, Felton Kizer