Blake Barash Founder of B Street Shoes
The Story of B Street shoes
Blake Barash is an American Sneaker Artist known for customizing Sneakers for Athletes and Celebrites worldwide. His style can be recognized for intricate detail, bright colors and contrast. Blake and his team have painted custom shoes for Bruno Mars, LL Cool J, Chrissy Tiegen, Mark Cuban, Halsey, Daniel Tosh, Billie Eilish, J Lo, The Rock, Taylor Swift, Tyler the Creator, Zedd, Bryson Tiller, The LA Chargers, Arizona Cardinals, Pitsburg Steelers and many other professional athletes, Olympic medalists and world record holders. Each pair of shoes is a personal statement.
How It All Started
In 2010 Blake was working at a large national bank as a Credit Analyst. He would drive to work and walk into a high rise building in Irvine, CA where he worked a 40 hour week. He would arrive at his cubicle, get some coffee and begin working on spreadsheets. While it was considered a good job with great benefits, there was no creatvity involved. But after hours, Blake was constantly painting and customizing clothing and accessories for friends. He amassed a custom hat portfolio that he was selling on MySpace at the time. In 2010, Etsy, Shopify, Wix and Squarespace were in their infancy. Selling products online was in its infancy. Amazon stock was at $140. (Now at over 10X that!)
Transition Into Shoes
In the summer of 2010, Blake got a call from a friend living in Santa Monica, CA who told him that TOMS was looking for an artist to customize apparel and gave him the link to apply and send in his portfolio. The team at TOMS in Los Angeles reviewed the custom hats and apparel Blake had painted and hired him to paint custom shoes at “Style Your Sole” events around California on weekends. Blake loved the creativity involved and the interaction with this new clientele. He traveled from San Diego to San Francisco painting shoes LIVE for people. Quiting his bank job mid 2011, Blake decided to take his life in a completely new direction.
Open For Business
Blake had been taking pictures of the shoes he painted, documenting his favorite ones. His learned about Etsy, a rela5vely new online marketplace to sell handmade goods and decided to list some of his custom hand-painted shoes on the website and see if anyone would buy. Blake took a few weeks to gather the pictures and post them up. He added sizing drop down menus and put them all at an affordable price. From his very his first year Blake was successful, making more selling custom shoes than at his corporate job. Custom painting sneakers was the new career and there was no turning back.
New York Times & Celebrity Clients
B Street Shoes was gaining a large following among custom sneaker enthusiasts. In June 2015, The New York Times visited Blake’s Shoedio in Costa Mesa, featuring his work in the Arts section. On the morning of July 3, Blake woke up to more than $10,000 sales on his website and tens of thousands of views. This was a turning point in exposure that brought a new fan base. Celebrities like Bruno Mars, Mark Cuban and The Los Angeles Chargers started to take notice of Blake’s custom shoes. Though he already had his custom painted shoes on thousands of people’s feet around the world, the new audience catapulted B Street Shoes to a different level. Around the same time, the NFL ushered in the era of My Cause My Cleats. The football players were allowed to wear custom painted cleats to represent a charity of their choice. The LA Chargers worked with Blake and B Street Shoes to custom paint cleats. ATer the game, the cleats were auctioned off and raised money for charity.
Loving Life and Work
Now, instead of the cubicle, Blake starts his day with an early morning surf session. Afterwards he makes the short commute to his Shoedio and with the B Street team, he spends the day creating custom artwork, from sneakers to murals, working with clients to help them tell their stories.