DSU’s campus is filled with many talented hornets that own businesses. We are comprised of artist, beauticians, boutiques, nail technicians and many more. But DSU has yet to have a sneaker business and Nair Pettigrew is the one to change that. Pettigrew owns his business, The Sneaker Galerie, where he sells, trades, and buys sneakers for a profit. Not many can balance a business while keeping up with a college workload, but somehow, he makes it happen. He plans to keep his head in the books while making sure his customers are satisfied.
Below is the content of my interview with Nair Pettigrew:
Can we get to meet the man behind the face?
Q- Where were you born and what was your upbringing like?
A- I was born and raised in Philadelphia, PA. I grew up with both of my parents and my two younger siblings. I was raised to live an independent lifestyle; I always kept a job or had a hustle since I was 13 years old.
Q- Who has been the greatest influence in your life that has impacted the man you are today?
A- I would say my father. He has impacted my personality and my business standpoint. He is the one to influence me to get into knowing sneakers and starting my business. He is constantly encouraging me as a loyal father, supporter, and mentor. He is a big Jordan 1’s fan and I look now at my sneaker collection and that is the one style I have a lot of.
Q- Can you tell us of your education history and what your goals or life ambition was when you were a student in High School?
A- I went to two high schools over the four years. I transferred at the end of my sophomore year to my permanent school of SLA Beeber. I didn’t really know my goals of what I wanted to be; I just knew I didn’t want to work for anybody for the rest of my life. I had jobs during high school, but when it was time for college to come around, I quit them, which allowed me time to think about what I really wanted to do with my life. This really promoted me to take the sneaker business serious and I ran with it.
Q- Can you tell us of your job experience prior to what you’re doing now?
A- My most impactful job was at Footlocker. I held that job for about 8 months before I quit. When I initially applied, I didn’t get the job, but my friend worked there, and they hired me within two days. I had just started selling sneakers and this job helped me a lot by teaching me how to interact with customers, networking, and build my education on shoes. Overall, it opened my eyes on how to run a business that I use in my business currently.
Q- Is this where you thought you’d be 5 or so years ago?
A- No, honestly, I thought I would be an NBA All Star, which is a dream I still chase today, while here in college. But I knew from a young age, sneaker would always be a part of my life, because a lot of my money would go towards it. Now I am happy that I am able to make a profit off of my hobby.
Q- What are your plans for the future?
A-Within the next two years I have been looking at building spaces to start my own sneaker consignment shop. This will be really big for me because it will be something I own under my name. Instead of running it under my social media page solely. But from 10 to 15 years from now I want a store front on the east and west. One of my goals for my business is just to expand and be worldwide.
Q- What kind of advice would you offer a student, who is undecided on his or her career path?
A-Follow your dreams. I thought I would have stuck with basketball I could really be somewhere. But I chose a different path with sneakers that will take me where I need to be. Always do what you want to do, don’t listen to other people telling you what you should do. Follow your own footsteps. Do everything for an experience, not everything is a benefitting situation.
Q- How would you describe the state of higher education in America today?
A- One word, expensive! I feel that everyone says college is a great situation, but with all the investments that family and friends make it all adds up. I feel you can make something out of yourself without it, but the piece of paper validates people. So really, we are only doing this for a piece of paper and to be left with debt that some people can’t pay off.
Q- Have you ever travelled outside of the United States? Where, and how does life outside compare to that in the US?
A-Yes, I have been to Dominican Republic and Cancun. The life compared to US is different, worse even. It was a surreal experience due to the poverty that I saw. Like when I was in DR, I saw the tourist side and the city side, and it is a big difference; poverty is real over there. There is no real systematic structure there.
Q- Are you interested in politics? If no, why not? What is your take on the state of politics and the future of the American democracy?
A- Yes and no for the simple fact I was never taught the true importance of it. Certain things spark my interest on it if it has anything to do with effecting my business with shipments and product making, but other than that, I am not aware. But I am trying to get more into it since I’m getting older now.
Q- How are you responding to the outbreak of the Covid-19 virus?
A-The first month I was worried for my family, so I started to stay in the house a lot more than usual. Eventually Covid slowed up my business, but when things started to be in the green I started working again and slowly stared selling sneakers and traveling again. The only thing that I don’t like is the virtual learning because I’m the type of person who needs the hands-on help from the teacher and being in class. Since high school when this all started, I just felt lazy since I’m working from home, but a legacy has to be built for my family.
Q- How would you describe your philosophy of life? That is, how do you see this life and what principles get you grounded and moving forward?
A- My philosophy for life is simple. Rule 1. Family and love is key. I always give love and respect to everybody and treat them like family, so I expect nothing less from all the people in my life.
Q- Let us end this interview with a memorable quote from you. How would you describe yourself to the world?
A- I go by this quote and I have it tatted on me, “Be humble, and hustle hard”.
DSU get ready for the whirlwind that is made up of all things Nair Pettigrew. He is ready for what the hornet family has to offer during the duration of his time here with and experience and the expansion of his business; and he says he is ready! Pettigrew is humble and is no stranger to the hustle that it takes to reach his goals.