Burn Rubber has been in business since 2004 in 2007 Rick Williams took over, today I got a chance to chat with the Owner of the sneaker boutique. I talked about some of the craziest colas by Burn Rubber,Distinct life & More. Check out this exclusive interview here.

Q: How are you today?

A. I’m good & you?

Q: So your Burn rubber boutique has been up and running since 2004, how have maintained to keep your business up and running?

A. Well we bought it in 2007 and it’s kinda been like me and my business partner Ro, this is our only…..(Listen To Full Audio for Answer)

Q: How has the store expanded since you guys first opened up?

A. It has expanded let me take that back, we opened a store just for clothing a block and a half away and it’s called Two/Eighteen by Burn Rubber and that store kinda houses some of the clothing brands we used to have in Burn Rubber but we kinda out grew them. (Listen To Audio for Full Details)…We kinda had to creatively make some decisions and what we did was we opened up a clothing store and then we took what we had in burn Rubber and kinda split it between two spaces. So that’s one way that we grew and then we also were able to grow we’ve done collaborations with different companies like Reebok and Saucony ,um me personally I was able to as a result of revenue and what Ive done with burn Rubber and What I’ve built with my partner I was able to because I did a lot of the designs and marketing for a lot of lil projects so I created a creative agency called “The distinct life” and the distinct life since then has worked with people like Saucony and New Balacne and Reebok and we’ve done like creative projects and then now and it’s kinda gone to that next step in evolution and we’ve created “The Dry Goods” which is basically a clothing brand we just released that a couple weeks ago. (Listen To Full Audio For Full Details)


Q: How did you and Roland Coit meet and decide to go in on the boutique together?

A. We actually were in a band together and his cousin was a part of this hip hop group called the pioneers ____ and Ro used to DJ for them and that’s how we met and then we just kinda been cool and during the Band Rehearsals Ro & I would go to the side and talk about sneakers and he actually wanted to create a sneaker boutique and he had like a business plan but then Burn Rubber was actually open so he actually put that on the back burner to see how it went, so when my mentor told me that he was selling it Ro was the first person to come to mind cause we had all these talks in the past so I reached out to Ro and the rest is history we got a couple lawyers and good accountants and went to work… (laughs)


Q: Tell me about the web series the “Detroit Rubber” with Eminem and the episode with Big Sean?

A. Well Eminem that was the first time we ever met him actually. We know his manager Paul Rosenberg he’s the one that approached us about the show. So he’s the one we have more of a relationship with him cause we deal more directly with him than we do Eminem, but that was the first time we met Eminem, it was a surreal feeling he’s like one of the biggest stars in the world so when we had the opportunity to meet him it was kinda crazy and to have Prince Fielder in the same room it was just nuts so were definitely grateful for the opportunities. With Big Sean, that’s a whole different story like Sean was one of the homies, like one of our lil homies and like Jay John is one of the shop managers he’s one of the original managers of Finally Famous which is Sean’s group they were just young guys throwing parties bringing concerts and they had just graduated from high School so it was kinda like their crew and us from Burn Rubber we just kinda clicked right away so we would do a lot of events and different things together so the friendships are genuine it was way before Sean was what Sean is now so It’s kinda a natural thing for him to be on the show.

Q: How does the cliental look based on athletes and rappers from Detroit and from all over, who are some of you guy’s regular superstar customers?

A. I think whenever people come in town for like concerts and different things somehow they hear about Burn Rubber and they just come by and check us out we have a lot of the Pistons come by, Dwele is a good friend, just the Hip-Hop community from Detroit is small and their all like real good friends of ours (Listen To Full Interview Audio)….it’s more like when they come in their just regular people like everyone just cool.

Q: Tell me about the latest collaboration with the Burn Rubber x New Balance NB577 “Detroit Boxing”. ? Inspired by Joe Louis obviously from that area you all decided to tell a story with these. Tell me the concept behind the design and the shoe box being a Volin case?

A: With Burn Rubber with what me & Ro & I do, we try to tell a story from the city and from our environment,if you look at all of our projects because Detroit get’s a bad rep, so we try and do our part and everybody looks at us if we have a voice and people our listening to us and people are looking to us we try and hold the city up in a positive light we take things that you can be proud of and we use those stories and we tell those stories through our designs and with that Detroit has a rich boxing heritage and we chose to tell a story of Joe Louis and kinda like how he got his start.



Q: Were you all pleased with the collaboration and the feedback you all went on to release the shoe at different retailers instead of just the Burn Rubber boutique?

A. Yeah, that’s how we do all of our stock and we release exclusively at Burn Rubber and then we open up the release to some of our friends and around the nation and around the world so we had like 600 pairs and we sold out of em in like 15 mins. And then the rest of the world got a chance a like a week later or two weeks later.

Q: Explain the texture of the kicks? and how they feel on your feet?

A. Well that shoe we picked really premium leather the inspiration was actually a boxing glove what we wanted to do, New Balance is known to have the best material available so what we did was we decided to (Listen To Audio)…we just tried to find the best material possible and put that shoe together.

Q: Ok, so tell me about the Burn Rubber X Reebok “Spirit Of Detroit” Classic Leather Collab?

A. So with that was you can also see that whole story on the last episode of Season one of Detroit rubber , but what we did was its statue downtown called the “Spirit of Detroit” and on one had end it has a family and on the other had it has this spear with rays of light going off of it and the back of the statue…….continued. (Listen To Full Interview Audio)

Q: So out of all of your sneaker collaborations my favorite one is the Burn Rubber x New Balance ” The Miggy”. How did the concept for the shoe come about?

A. When Ro & I sat down it was basically we used the 574 from New Balance and it was to represent Miguel Cabrera winning the uh triple crown, so theirs a custom woolen label on the tongue with the triple crown design and then we um we used a tiger camp and we did in the Detroit tigers colors so that was the info of the shoe and that was basically to pay homage to the Detroit Tigers and Miguel Cabrera.

Q: So which collaboration out of all of them, which one is your favorite collar?

A. Probably be the first Burn Rubber New Balance it’s a grey one we did, that would be my favorite one. What it means to me people don’t know it took a while to get to that point. It was a lot of meetings a lot of talking to get to that point. That silhouette was my favorite of all time so when I had the chance to do it, it was like a dream come true and that kinda opened up everything for us that was the first step me being able to do anything that I do as far as designing sneakers ….continued. That’s the thing that kinda opened the door for me. (Listen To Full Interview Audio)

Q: Did each collaboration turn out the way you envisioned them to turn out?

A. Yeah for the most part, we’ve been very pleased with all of our projects.

Q: When it comes down to style explain how is it like in Detroit as far as brands go, what kind of brands are really pippin at this moment and have been on in your area?

A. Honestly, I feel like when it comes down to brands here in Detroit the city a little bit slower to catch on. A lot of the times were at the forefront of pushing the trends here. Because were always in LA and always in New York and in these different places that kinda get the credit for pushing the trends and we see these things, so a lot of times things are a lil slow but I think people are heavily influenced by the music and the different things they see on T.V.

Q: Let’s talk about your own clothing line that you started “Distinct Life”? How did that come about when did you decide your wanted to create your own brand with clothing?

A. Well to be a 100% frank when I decided the distinct life was my voice a lot of what I do is behind the scenes. Part of me didn’t want that to get lost, I wanted a platform to show my work and that’s kinda what the distinct life is it’s a way for me to kinda talk about the things I wanna talk about. With Burn Rubber its really Detroit we push the city and that’s a focus,but with the distinct life it’s other things that are important to me that I let come through the brand.

Q: What new clothing will you be dropping throughout the Distinct Life brand?

A. (Listen To Audio for Answer) Follow @Distinct Life & The Owner Rick Williams (@rickwlms) on instagram and twitter.

Q: Tell me about the The BAU x The Distinct Life x Reebok Ventilator?

A. (Listen To Audio For Full Answer)

Q: Were you pleased with the turn out of the shoe?

A. Yeah for Sure, It did well. It was the first time I used the camo. Yeah it was dope.

Q: You also did a shoe for Mike Posner? The Distinct Life x New Balance 574 For Mike posner?

A. Yeah I designed a varsity cardigan and a varsity jacket and some shoes for two of his tours. Yeah that was the first time I used the camo on anything and that was just two colors.

Q: Also tell me about, Two/Eighteen by Burn Rubber how did the name come about for the brand?

A. (Listen To Audio For Full Answer)

Q: You guys have been open over there for 2 years now, how has it been since the grand opening?

A. It’s been cool, no complaints were not losing money it’s growing. (Laughs)

Q: How is the Two/Eighteen clothing coming along?

A. It’s coming along…..(Listen To Audio For Full Answer)

Q: So what are your top 3 kicks? you can include your own.

A. Ha. (Laughs) That’s so hard I just wear whatever…..Lately Ive been rocking a lot of the 1970′s Chuck Taylors and the Reebok GL 6000 and when I always get a chance I rock with the New Balance 580. (Listen To Audio For Full Answer)

Q: Do you have any other fav brands outside your own?

A. (Listen To Full Interview Audio)

Q: How many pairs of sneakers do you have in your closet?

A. I give away over 100-200 pairs of shoes a year I have a lot of shoes. I don’t even consider myself a collector, I don’t even keep em in my closet my wife would kill me so I have a room with racks a lot of people in my position that’s kinda the norm……continued ( Listen To Full Interview Audio)

Q: Any upcoming projects with you guys as far as sneaker collabs, style collabs or anything?

A. I think the next thing Burn Rubber has coming is a project with Puma coming, another project with New Balance and the next thing were releasing is a Fila.

Q: What will you tell someone wanting to follow your footsteps to being a owner of a big sneaker boutique and other businesses related with your success?

A. At the end of the day, what keeps me going is the passion that I have. I went to school for marketing I have passion to create if that’s where you passion is I would say go for it but definitely do you research. Theres a lot behind this there’s a lot of work behind it.

Q: What are your last words to end the interview?

a. Be True To Yourself.

Q: How crazy was it to sell the Yeezy 2?

A. (Listen To Audio for Full Audio For Crazy Details)

This wraps up my interview with Rick! Thanks for your time!

Burn Rubber Online:

Twitter: @Rickwlms

Instagram: @Rickwlms

Interviewed by Imarashed