How Nick Tershay Accidentally Invented Viral Marketing in 2005

With this year being the 20th anniversary of Diamond Supply Co., Nick Tershay has been making the rounds in terms of press. His most thorough recent interview happened a few  weeks ago on The Premium Pete Show. Surprisingly, it seems to have gone largely unnoticed by the blogosphere.

Tershay gives the full history of his brand from its beginnings in his San Francisco apartment to becoming a 100 million dollar company. The highs include buying a Ferrari on a whim for his birthday, and Rihanna appropriating one of his t-shirt designs for an album cover. And the low was a stint of partying that resulted in spending three million dollars on clubbing in one year. It’s a story that someone will likely make a movie about eventually.

Nowadays, Tershay is back at the helm of his design department, and doing 100% of Diamond’s art himself. He’s also dabbling in the cannabis industry. Tershay recently launched his own grow operation, and is set to unveil several weed brands in the near future. And the fact that Nike sold out of 25,000 pairs of the Diamond Dunk High in a matter of seconds in 2014 speaks to the enduring relevance of his brand. We should be seeing the latest iteration of the now iconic shoe before the end of the year.

The interview also touches on some things that Tershay isn’t given credit for. One being accidentally stumbling upon viral marketing when he posted a picture of himself with a sample of the original Diamond Dunk on Myspace in 2005. To say it got people talking is an understatement. Not only did it launch Diamond, it created the entire blueprint for hype retail.

By that time, there were literally thousands of pages on Nike Talk and Sole Collector just talking about the shoe. This was the hottest thing at the time. The crazy part is there was someone at Nike, maybe it was Tinker Hatfield… My friend that worked at Nike was like, “Man, it’s crazy. We had a marketing meeting at Nike… Everyone from SB and Jordan were all in this big auditorium. The whole backdrop of the discussion about marketing was a picture of you holding the shoe.

Listen to the entire interview above. The bit about the internet’s role in the Diamond Dunk craze starts at 35:27.

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