I read about Pierre a while ago – after all he is the CEO and founder of Sole Technology (which makes Etnies, eS, Emerica and Etnies Girl among the more familiar brands). What struck me of course was that he was a skateboarder! (I think this was about the time I had just seen Dogtown and Z boys so I had skate on the brain but more than that I was in awe of his story – starting out at 15 as a skateboarder in France, going to University then becoming an IBM engineer then coming to the US to become a skateboarding champ before launching his own footwear brand. Whew! I love hearing about people who follow their passion and thus, never really have to WORK a day of their life – since they love what they do. For Pierre Andre Senizergues, being a skateboard champ served as his inspiration. These days he is a dedicated environmentalist and in his own words, “more of a designer really.” Whether its designing state of the art skate shoes or making a building more eco-friendly (think solar panels and waterless urinals in the Sole Tech building) — the word that I think would best describe him is innovator.
The other OC mom bloggers (like DaytrippingMom and CalifLorna) and I met him recently at the Sole Technology headquarters in Lake Forest, CA. We got a tour of the facilities and an introduction to Etnies’ new “Grow with Me” Fit System.
Before shopping at the Company Store, we had lunch at one of the rooms. There was quite a spread and even a special section for our kiddies (whom we brought along – Sole Tech. provided childcare while we toured – c’est si bon!) My son and I sat down to eat when who should join us but Pierre himself. Looks like you hit the kiddie buffet, I joke. His plate had mac and cheese and yes, chicken fingers. (So much for the French palate right?) We chatted – he excitedly talked about his toddler and his other design projects. You could hear the passion in his voice.
Soon it was time to go, back to work for the Etnies folk while the rest of us mamas rushed off to pick up our older kids and put the little ones down for their naps. While it was fascinating to see all the technology that went into crafting a shoe, I think the best part of the day was getting to hang out with the cool dudes behind the cool shoes.