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ALUMNI STORIES2000sAlumni brothers James ’07 and Josh ’10 Shorrock founded the LANE EIGHT athletic shoe brand marrying fashion with sustainability, going toe to toe with some industry heavyweights.Your father has been in the athletic shoe industry for many years, and Josh worked at one of the multinational brands before you founded LANE EIGHT. Was it just a matter of time that you also found your way into the athletic shoe business?
Growing up in the footwear industry and being dedicated athletes, we developed a passion for footwear and athletic gear at an early age, and so we would dream of doing something of our own in the space when we were younger. However, it wasn’t until around 2016-17 that we could see an opportunity to make a play into the industry, and our idea for what that would look like really started to crystallize. In some sense, it was inevitable that we would get into the industry, but we’re incredibly lucky to have been able to do so on our own terms.
Your mission at LANE EIGHT is to create the best workout shoe with a smaller footprint. Where do you think the multinational shoe brands fall short?
The big incumbents have massive product ranges, existing infrastructure and supply chains that make for a much harder and protracted transition towards a more environmentally-friendly and sustainable business. Additionally, because the larger brands focus much more on categories (i.e. running, training, lifestyle, etc.), they’re making a lot more shoes and telling their customers they need one specific kind of shoe for each activity, which means customers end up buying a lot more shoes and not using them fully before moving on to the next model.
What does the name LANE EIGHT mean?
The name LANE EIGHT comes from the world of athletics. In track & field, typically it’s the slowest qualifier that starts in the eighth lane. Yet in spite of the fact they’re in the eighth lane, they’re still in the race with a chance to win it all, just like the competitors in lanes one through seven, and it’s that underdog mentality the eighth lane represents that gives us our name. Lane Eight Sketches and color palette of their signature Trainer AD-1 .You and Josh are making a conscious decision to create your shoes with a smaller footprint, utilizing recycled materials and being an active member of your community. How important is it for younger brands to commit themselves to being green and socially involved?
It’s absolutely critical! The realities of climate change brought on by human impact are undeniable, and it's critical that everyone the world-over looks at how they can reduce their impact. We hope to show that if a small company like ours can develop more sustainable products, there’s no excuse for larger companies to not do the same. And, we hope that the work we do with our products and business to reduce our impact sparks conversations amongst our customers as to how they can reduce their impact in a much broader sense.
What has been the most rewarding part of starting your own business?
The most rewarding thing has to be seeing people making moves in their LANE EIGHTS. It’s an incredible feeling to see something you’ve worked so hard on be appreciated by customers from all walks of life.
It takes a lot of people to get a business up and running – what were some lessons you learned about working with different people/stakeholders toward your vision?
The most important lesson we’ve learned is to surround ourselves with good people. It takes a team to run a business, and if the team isn’t motivated or performing, the business will likewise suffer.
What has been the most challenging (aside from the global pandemic!) aspect of starting your own company?
The most challenging thing has been everything! You quickly realize that launching your product is just the beginning of the journey, and there are a thousand little things to handle everyday to keep things moving forward, never mind the big picture things like new models, new markets, retail expansion, etc. Shorrock Brothers working hand in hand to create their bespoke shoes straight from the heart. You have managed to channel your passion for sports and athletic shoes into a successful business. If you were giving advice to a student wanting to start their own business, what would you tell them is the most important thing?
Passion is definitely important, but equally important is making sure you’re going into a new business with clear eyes. It’s easy to get caught-up in the idea and the romantic notion of starting your own business, but entrepreneurship can be gritty, tough, and unrelenting. You have to have a very clear vision for what you want to do, and a clear opportunity or need in the market for what you’re building.
Do you remember a class, teacher or experience that really had a big impact on you when you were at HKIS?
James: Sports was a big thing for me, but outside of sports, I really loved the work we were doing for Habitat for Humanity. There was something really gratifying about building something tangible in service to others, and most memorable was a service trip we did to Mongolia to build homes. The landscape was stunning, and the people were so kind and welcoming.
Josh: I do remember one particular teacher and experience that had a big impact on me. In my junior or senior year, Janie Grant was my PE teacher. One day in class I very clearly remember her saying that I was the biggest waste of talent she’d ever seen, but said semi jokingly. At the time I just thought it was funny, but in hindsight she was right. So today I try to make sure no one has the opportunity to say that to me in whatever it is that I do.
Find out more about Lane Eight shoes at www.laneeight.hk. HKIS Today+
Green BuildingsSustainabuildingBuildings last a long time, or at least they should! When HKIS leadership embarks upon a project to build a new structure for our students, one of the central questions for the project is, how can we minimize the impact that building this structure will have, and how can we keep the people who use it healthy? These are critical questions that must be addressed in line with two goals of our Strategic Plan for 2019-2025: Engaging in a culture of health and wellbeing, and creating a culture of environmental sustainability.
The next step for a sustainable building starts once it’s in use. In this category, HKIS is succeeding, as all four of our schools are WELL Health-Safety Rated by the International WELL Building Institute, the world’s leading certification body for healthy buildings. The underlying idea is that people are impacted by the spaces that they are in, and good spaces can improve wellbeing and mental and physical health. This evidence-based framework allowed us to confirm that our building and facilities maintenance program covers cleaning and sanitization, health services, air, and water quality management. It also confirms our dedication to keeping our community healthy. “What does this look like for our students? Fresh air, bright and clean surfaces; in short, a safe place for our students to learn on a daily basis. WELL Health-Safety Seal of approval proudly displayed on the main doors of each HKIS campus building.As we look to the future and break ground for a Student Activity Center in Tai Tam, we will continue to meet the standards set by the Hong Kong Green Building Council (HKGBC) as we honor our commitments to sustainability. These buildings are symbolic of this commitment. Lower Primary School today is 20% green space thanks in part to these climbing greens adorning the wall of the International Towers overlooking the Star Ferry playground. DID YOU KNOW?Our last three new buildings have been certified by the Hong Kong Green Building Council as meeting their criteria for sustainable buildings, both in construction and once in use. Most recently, the Upper Primary building has a Gold BEAM Plus rating, the second Gold for HKIS, the first being for our Lower Primary School building. We also received a Platinum rating for our Middle School Annex building in 2009.
The renovation project upgraded the UPS building, which is HKIS's original school building built in 1968, vastly expanding space for students and enhancing the overall function of the site. HKIS scored particularly well on making the most of our setting, providing excellent indoor air quality, using energy efficiently, and reducing water wastage.