Q and A with Mizuno Running Rep Joey Camp
When you think about careers in the running industry, most often we think of the elite runners. But there’s a whole field of professionals who are like the Santa Claus to running stores: the shoe reps! They bring glad tidings of new shoes and products to your local running store.
Joey Camp is the Mizuno Running Territory Manager for Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota, and northern Wisconsin. Joey was one of the first few runners I connected with back a few years ago via social media. At the time I was having some struggles finding running shoes that I could actually fall in love with.
He quickly introduced me to Mizuno, which I previously thought were only for volleyball players. He gave me some convincing reasons why I should give Mizuno running shoes a try. Not long after, I tried my first pair of Mizuno Wave Inspires and it literally was love at first run.
Seeing Joey’s passion for the Mizuno brand, I thought it would be fun to get to see a little perspective into this career field and how he got into such a cool, running-centered career.
The following is my Q&A with Joey Camp.
1.) Tell me a little about your running history.
I’ve been a runner since elementary school. One of my earliest running memories is completing a local 1-mile road race when I was 7 years old (and also how painful a side stitch can be). Sports have always been a big part of my life and I also played baseball and basketball until high school where I focused only on track and cross-country.
I enjoyed some success in high school and was lucky enough to earn a scholarship to run at Bradley University in Peoria, IL. Unfortunately, my college career was cut short after two years due to an accident but I continue to run as much as I can today, but at a much slower pace.
2.) How were you first introduced to Mizuno? And which came first, working as a Mizuno rep or running in Mizunos?
A good friend and competitor from high school was hired by Mizuno running after we graduated from college. At the time, I took a entry-level marketing position to pay the bills but secretly envied his job.
After a year or so, he told me about some upcoming opportunities so I jumped at the chance to apply. I joined the company in early 2005 and the rest is history. However, I did run in Mizuno before working for the brand.
3.) What’s it like being a Mizuno rep? (What’s your job role? What’s a day in the life like?)
I absolutely love working in the running shoe business. Every day is different than the one before and I can’t believe I’m paid to share my passion with other runners. In short, my responsibility is the running specialty stores in the upper midwest. This involves a number of tasks including managing the flow of product in stores, educating store staff, and executing grassroots events for consumers. The job is also very seasonal, and I’m currently showing spring/summer 2015 footwear and apparel so running stores can pre-order product when it is available.
Reps really don’t know what a typical work day looks like. Mondays are usually reserved to complete administrative tasks and prepare for the week ahead. I’m on the road visiting other markets quite often, so there can be a lot of windshield time. That’s great in the summer, but not my favorite in the winter months. Depending on where my travel takes me, I enjoy finding new areas to go for a run in places I’ve never been before.
4.) If you were trying to “convert” a runner to Mizuno, what would you say are some reasons they should try them?
Mizuno has a very unique philosophy. Our passion for running comes from the belief in the incredible power of running to transform people’s days, weeks, and lives. We believe that running can be even bigger than that, and by inspiring more running and more runners we can maybe even transform the world and make it a better place. Idealistic? Yes, but we believe it.
Think about it: a good run can turn anyone’s lousy day into a good one. A lot of good runs can make a person–any person–happier, healthier, and maybe even smarter. The beauty of running is that anyone can do it, and the key to getting running to “hook” with people are more of those awesome, addicting runs.
Taking all that into consideration, Mizuno designs all our running products to feel like they simply disappear while you are running. We do that because we know that eliminating any distractions is the secret to enjoying your run more, and the more you enjoy your run the more you will WANT to run, and thus find more of those incredible moments that are life-changing.
5.) What are some things that set Mizuno running shoes apart from the rest?
The purpose of all our innovations is to create harmony. When your footwear and apparel work in perfect harmony with your body in motion, they essentially disappear. You don’t notice what you’re wearing and can lose yourself in the run. The wave technology found exclusively in our footwear operates in the same way your muscles do and provides a natural rebound effect, translates vertical forces into forward energy, and creates a naturally stable platform so your body won’t have to work so hard to balance itself on top of a cushy midsole.
We are a Japanese company, and our designers are guided by Japanese ideals of beauty and function. To that point, they are extremely mindful of what we put into our footwear as well as what we don’t. One example is the uppers on our shoes. We’ve found ways to take unnecessary things away while still offering all the support you need in a new way. We want it to conform to your foot so it feels like it dissolves to your foot and disappears, eliminating any potential for distraction.
Finally, we strive to produce shoes that are lighter than everyone else. All things being equal, runners would prefer a lighter shoe to a heavier one without compromising expectations on cushioning and support. These three things are key to successfully providing unique and unforgettable running experiences.
6.) What’s the best part about working for Mizuno?
I could bore you with all the reasons I love my job. Making my own hours, working from home, and access to all the running gear I could ever want are just some of the low-hanging fruit.
My favorite part of working for Mizuno is that my personal philosophy on sporting goods and the brand’s align completely. We are both about the transformative power of running and its ability to change people. It is very motivating for me to realize how important running is, and I feel good even having a small part in someone’s life.
7.) Any interesting/not well known facts about Mizuno?
Most American’s aren’t familiar with just how big Mizuno is. We’re very focused in the US (baseball/softball, volleyball, golf, running, and dabble in soccer) but have a very expansive presence globally. The best representation happens every four years at the Olympics. You’ll find Mizuno gear in almost every sport, from swimming and track & field to badminton and even table tennis. We often have a big presence at the winter olympics, notably on skiers and speed skaters.
8.) Anything else you want to share?
I am very proud to represent Mizuno in Minnesota. There is hardly a better place to sell our running products, and I love how tough everyone is here. My peers in other climates can’t believe we run outside when its -20, or that it can be warmer here than Houston, TX in the summer. I can’t think of a larger, stronger, or more friendly running community than in Minneapolis/St. Paul and I’m glad to now call this place home.
Do you wear Mizuno running shoes? What do you like about them? Share your experience below.