Founder’s Letter: Finding a Ray of Light

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Kingpins24 is turning into a piece of me. It’s as if I grew a new ear or a stubby new finger. I’ve come to love it enormously over a very short period.  

Someone pitched me on a virtual trade show years ago. I remember watching their teaser video and patiently wading through their pretty Powerpoint. But I was bored, nonplussed and pretty sure the online trade show idea was a dud.  “Nope, virtual trade shows make no sense to me,” I told the sales guy.

So when the Kingpins team first brought up the old dud idea, I was like “no way we are doing that!” But COVID-19 changed everything, especially in the uncharted territory when the novel coronavirus first began to spread. As each and every door to our old life shut, I started to look for openings, tiny slivers or anything that would give us a chance to do something creative, happy and hopeful.  Since it’s in my nature to change my mind a lot, I suddenly came around to the online idea and said, “I love the virtual show thing. Let’s do it.” And Kingpins24 was born. This was going to be our tiny little light.

We were scared to do it—so scared. We had no software. We had no example to emulate and, worst of all, we had no idea if there was a demand for it. Generally speaking, those are the elements that would convince most people not to do something. But we had a few ideas of what it could be like.  

I don’t think I told everyone, but my first inspiration for Kingpins24 was the old Jerry Lewis Telethon that ran on Labor Day weekends from 1966-2010. I am sure few people remember that or ever heard of it, but I always thought, (even as a kid) how weird and wonderful it was that a comedian and his team could put on a show for a solid three days to raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. And they were successful enough to be asked back the following year — which is the pinnacle  of excellence —and the year after that. In all the show ran for 44 years in a row.  

Like Jerry, our Kingpins team managed to fill our airspace for 22 hours with some really cool stuff. The weekend before the Amsterdam Kingpins24 launch, my wife and I lay in bed all day Saturday watching one video presentation after another and often high fiving each in our PJs when the presentations were exceptional— and plenty were. We were so proud and excited that on Monday morning I called Vivian, our managing director and my Kingpins sister for 16 years, and screamed “I LOVE IT!” 

The first Kingpins24 content was good but more importantly, I could visualize it becoming much much better. And that still blows my mind and makes my heartbeat fly. There is no ceiling on how high our industry can go with virtual media because we are all neophytes and developing skills.

As we prepare for the New York version of Kingpins24 — and I have already viewed a bunch of stuff that is going to be shown —I am bursting to get it on and share it with the audience. There are some fabulous things to show you.

I am so proud to be in our industry. YES, I moan and groan about things that need to be changed. But what is clear and wonderful is the love so many people hold in their heart for their jobs and the work they do and the stuff they specialize in. These people radiate joy and energy and through Kingpins24, they get a chance to share their love of denim with a huge, international audience. This energy is what makes me feel utterly lucky and blessed to have chosen to work in this industry. 

Kingpins24 captures that energy. It will never replace the real thing but Kingpins24 is a place to broadcast that enthusiasm and connect everyone who wants to show what they do, share what they’ve learned and forge a way forward together. Now, everyone with passion for this industry has a place to let it rip.

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