On Feb. 25, Bloomberg News reported that Hebert’s 19-year-old son was circumventing online purchase limits and buying Yeezys and other newly released sneakers en masse to sell them through his resale business, West Coast Streetwear. According to the report, Joe Hebert used an American Express card for West Coast Streetwear, not Nike, in Ann Hebert’s name. When asked about the connection, he said he had never received inside information related to his mother’s position at Nike.
Nike spokeswoman Sandra Carreon-John told The Washington Post that Hebert told the company about her son’s business in 2018 and that, upon review, Nike concluded it didn’t violate company policy.
“There is no commercial affiliation between WCS LLC and Nike, including the direct buying or selling of Nike products,” Carreon-John said.
According to one of the company’s websites, Joe Hebert founded Portland-based West Coast Streetwear in 2017. As of Tuesday, no sneakers were displayed in its product list on one of its websites, and another of its online shops was down.
Nike has dealt with small competitors reselling the brand’s sneakers for higher than retail prices for decades, Bloomberg reported. Even Nike co-founder Phil Knight started the business in 1964 with a $50 loan and sneakers from another maker that he sold out of his car trunk.
But the reselling market has become even more commodified since the coronavirus pandemic, with more customers shopping online rather than braving brick-and-mortar stores. Joe Hebert was clearing $200,000 in monthly revenue before March, but his Discord channel customers grew quickly, and so he launched a cross-country trip with a high school friend to cities with Nike outlets to buy up more products and keep up with demand.
Ann Hebert started working with Nike as a sales representative in 1995 after graduating from Ohio University, according to her LinkedIn profile. She was promoted to her most recent position in June, and it involved overseeing end-to-end business operations — including sales, direct, marketing, merchandising, categories and territories — in North America. A Nike release announcing the leadership change said Hebert would be “instrumental in accelerating our Consumer Direct Offense,” an initiative in which Nike redirected sales from retailers to consumers through digital measures — which made it more accessible for the resale market to buy its products and resell for profit, Bloomberg reported.
West Coast Streetwear did not respond to a request for comment.
This story has been updated.