Chatting with Brandon Edler: Finish Line Digital Content Strategist

Screen Shot 2014-11-26 at 12.57.47 AM“Just like any other job, certain things have a tendency to exhaust you, but I am very fortunate to be doing what I love every day and to be surrounded by an incredible team.”

Brandon Edler is the Digital Content Strategist behind Finish Line, one of the most respected sneaker spots around the world. In the last year or so, we have seen Finish Line go through a massive overhaul with branding and social media, which Edler is mostly responsible for. Between being mentored by Joe La Puma for two and a half years while Edler was at Complex, to working alongside some of the best in the industry, Edler was set to be one of the most influential people in the game. Take notes.


Alex: Thanks for chatting with us! So you do a lot of crazy awesome stuff in the industry. How did you get to where you are today?

Brandon: I got my start in this industry thanks to Joe La Puma (Director of Content at Complex Magazine) believing in me and mentoring me to work harder than anyone else. Between his motivation, Russ Bengtson’s wisdom, and Nick Engvall teaching me daily how to perfect my craft—it was the greatest “education” I could have ever received. Those guys are arguably three of the most respected people I know in any industry.

Alex: Those sound like some incredible people to have worked with. What exactly do you do at Finish Line? 

I’m currently the Digital Content Strategist at Finish Line thanks to some help from Don Drew. A lot of my day is focused on developing content to hype the right releases and products for the company. It can be something we do internally with our own content and social team, a co-op with a brand like Adidas or Nike, and also partnering with the right influencers and publications.

Alex: How does your past experience at Complex, which is one of the most influential magazines out right now, influence what you do at Finish Line? 

Brandon: Now Nick Engvall and I are together over at Finish Line trying to bring that Complex content mentality to a retailer. It takes some patience and persistence but everyone at Finish Line seems to be genuinely excited with the direction and execution our content team has been able to achieve.

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Alex: You’re a busy guy. How do you balance work and personal life?

Brandon: One of my aunts always says “all things in moderation.” Balancing things isn’t my strongest feature but as I get older I try to realize that there are so many important things and it’s imperative to make time for all of them—for the people and things you care deeply for. A lot of it is just having a plan and sticking to it. How can I be better? I could start with just the basics.

Alex: Between being the Digital Content Strategist at Finish Line, to slaying it on the daily in your killer Alphets…what does a typical day look like for you?

Brandon: I get up and watch new product pushes online to make sure we are supporting them correctly on social [media] so our customers have the best shot at getting them. I get very protective about our company being the first source for our product information.

After that I usually head into work and grab a large Ice Caramel Coffee to get me energy for the day. The rest of my day is a mix of meetings, collaborating on projects, and researching for future trends and content ideas. Sometimes I’ll just be at my desk on Complex or Hypebeast and people will walk by, like:

“um, what are you doing, fam?”

“I’m working.”

Just like any other job, certain things have a tendency to exhaust you, but I am very fortunate to be doing what I love every day and to be surrounded by an incredible team.

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Alex: Trying to keep up with technology is nearly impossible, but somehow you manage to stay ahead. How do you feel that the digital industry is changing as social media evolves?

Brandon: Everything happens so fast, it pushes you to be a little more off the cuff with content. Our communities want to see things on their level and have organic conversations around it. It allows you to reach a lot of people so quickly. Our digital content is typically the first impression for our online customers, so we have a great challenge and opportunity of influencing someone to believing in the story and appeal behind a product.

Alex: How do you manage to keep up with it? I feel like it would be exhausting.

Brandon: I stay glued to it all and try my hardest to never get too old. Once I can no longer organically relate to and produce content that resonates with the millennials, it is time for me to re-think my career path. This basically sums up my future:

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Alex: A lot of people look up to you in the industry, between making moves at Finish Line, to writing for Complex. Who do you admire?

My family and my friends—nothing else really matters.
Alex: That…is a really awesome answer. If we looked through your closet, what would we find?

Brandon: John Elliot + Co for clothes and anything adidas Boost for sneakers. John’s hoodies, tees, and denim are the perfect blend of quality, comfort, and fit—seriously about all I wear now. adidas Boost line is the most comfortable series available right now and the designs and lines are clean but still noticeable enough to get props from people that geek over the rarest sneakers.

Alex: You have interviewed incredibly well respected people like Adidas Global Director James Carnes, just to name one. What’s your favorite thing that anyone has said thus far?

Brandon: It wasn’t so much what he said, but it was how passionate Theophilus London was when we spoke. That immediately made me a huge fan of anything he did. I’ve never interviewed Joe La Puma per se but he also has a way of drawing you in to his every word, just a lot of real life knowledge.

Alex: Any parting words?

 Brandon: Cash Money Records and No Limit Records influenced my whole life.



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One Question for Nicole Richie

What do you consider to be a good leader?

Nicole: Well first of all the ultimate form of being a leader, is supporting other women. If we don’t encourage other women, we are going to get stuck. That means opening up and be the ear . If we don’t have each other, who do we have? Support is #1. I have such a great group surrounding me, and it breaks my heart when I hear girls tell me that they have problems with other girls. We have to appreciate each other and it’s all about love.

StreetStyleChi Exclusive: LOFT Chief Style Director Alia Ahmed-Yahia Talks Fashion & Business

Last week, LOFT Style Director, Alia Ahmed-Yahia, was in Chicago to celebrate teachers with Lucky Magazine. Alia was previously at ELLE and Vanity Fair, and was quoted by NY Mag, saying that she would probably wear spiked Louboutin’s on the New York Subway. How could you not love this woman?

I got a quick ten minutes with her, and picked her brain regarding what items every women should have in her closet, styling, and advice for beginners in the industry.

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Alex: So how did you get into the industry?

Alia: My first job was at Vanity Fair, I was a stylist and an editor for about eight years. I majored in Journalism, and I came to New York…just no job…basically on a shoe string. I lived with friends in Connecticut and commuted in. I had a friend that was a publisher at Vanity Fair and knew they were looking for a fashion assistant, so I went in knowing absolutely nothing and learned from the ground up.

Alex: Styling someone is like an art. What’s the first thing you look at when you style someone?

Alia: Real people and photo shoots are completely different. Making sure someone is comfortable is most important, and making sure you are being an active listener before coming up with ideas for them because it’s a collaboration when you’re styling somebody. It’s just as much about what are they comfortable in, what do they like…and once you understand that, you can start pulling things together in their comfort zone, and then start putting things together that maybe they hadn’t thought of, or that they would be willing to try. You don’t feel confident in something you aren’t comfortable in.

Alex: How would you style differently on a photo shoot?

Alia: I think a photo shoot is a little bit different because you go into a photo shoot with everything preplanned, and it’s all about putting together a vision. A story needs to visually put together, so you build looks around that story.

Alex: What kind of spring trends are you loving?

Alia: I have to say, I’ve never been big on pastels, but I think because it’s been such a cold winter, there are so many different iterations of pastels out there and they’ve been reinvented as a spring trend. There are really interesting textural mixes so pastels in lace, different kinds of leather…in perforated leather, lazer cut tops, I love it. I also love how Burberry paired a pastel with a heavily saturated bright color in the same color family, so it’s that light and bright effect that looks really interesting. This is the next wave of what monochromatic can look like in a little bit more of a wearable way.

Alex: What are you not so crazy about?

Alia: A trend that I’m not loving…probably the crop top. It’s such a polarizing trend, but there are ways to make it wearable. Most women hear the word crop top and think belly bearing and intimidating, but you just have to style it right. You can add long layers underneath, and make the crop top a layer of your look opposed to just wearing it by itself. There are also a lot of designers doing a crop top with a high waisted skirt, so it actually looks like a dress and doesn’t show that much skin. It’s very flattering for a lot of women’s body shapes. I also like a longer oxford with a crop top over it and a jacket…then you get three layers and it creates an interesting visual.

Alex: I’ve seen that a lot of the recent magazines and all over the runway. What’s a staple piece that every woman should own?

Alia: I’m sort of bias, because I love jewelry, and I think every woman should have a great statement necklace regardless of whether magazines are saying it’s on trend. You can throw on a t-shirt and instantly dress it up. If we’re talking about wardrobe building staples, I would say a great fitting blazer. A lot of women have blazers, but they aren’t fitted. Look for a blazer that accentuating the curves you have and giving your body some shape. The blazer has become a staple in the sense that it’s acceptable for you to wear it over everything…jeans and a tshirt, a dress, a long skirt, even shorts. I would also say grab navy over black. Navy is a universal color that is season-less.

Alex: Last question…what’s one word of advice that you would give a girl looking to get into the industry?

Alia: I would say, cold call people that you admire. Look for businesses that you think are interesting, people you find interesting…people will really surprise you in the sense that when you reach out for somebody and you aren’t necessarily asking for a job, and you’re just asking them about how they got to where they are, or to grab a coffee, a lot of people will get back to you. There is something to be said about someone who is really passionate and proactive about wanting to get into the industry they love. I always really want to support someone that is really excited and passionate, and networking is everything. I don’t know where I’m going to be in five years, I could be working with someone I’ve previously chatted with. Not everyone will get back to you, so don’t get discouraged, but I did it when I was in college.

Alex: Who did you call?

Alia: I cold called the Special Projects Editor of InStyle. She went to Wisconsin, same as myself, so that was my connection. Just find something in common. We had a great phone call, and I’ve never met her, but she gave me a lot of advice. Even just about moving to New York and looking for jobs and who to talk to and who not to talk to. She helped me level set that expectation of what it was going to be like.



Lauren, 21.

“I love my mix of being caring and creative but also having a tomboy side. Unrelated, at 5’9, I love my height.”