By Ryan Velez
Super Heroic, a company that creates children’s play and sports clothing, as well as other products, has recently raised $7 million in funding, reports Black Enterprise. But the story here is not just the company, but the name behind it: co-founder Jason Mayden. Even if you don’t know his name, you’ve likely seen the work of the former designer for Brand Jordan shoes—who is not taking his talents to a whole new venture.
It’s rare for anyone to get a true dream job, let alone someone growing up on the South-Side of Chicago, but Mayden managed to beat the odds, becoming the first African American to get a design internship with Nike. With Nike, he went on to design shoes for Eminem, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, and Jordan himself, not to mention creating the redesign for the “Monarch,” the highest-grossing shoe in Nike’s history. Along with working his way to Senior Design Global Director for Brand Jordan, Mayden holds accolades from Stanford’s D.School, (Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford), as an advisory board member. He was also a former designer for Accel Partners, a well-recognized venture fund in Silicon Valley.
So, what is Super Heroic about? In a word, play. Right now, the brand includes a focus around how children play, an app designed to keep kids moving, and several other products created to foster children’s imaginations. Tom Bilyeu, host of Impact Theory recently spoke to Mayden about his story and this latest venture.
Naturally, the humble beginnings Mayden came from entered the discussion, but he doesn’t see himself as disadvantaged as others may. “There are several things that I fundamentally believe that are true in terms of difficulty and what it gives you. For me, being born on the South-Side of Chicago in a blue-collared environment, you don’t make excuses for yourself. There is no such thing as anyone starting life behind the start line. I look at myself as being equal to everyone I’m in a room with and the separation between where I want to go and where I am is my work ethic,” he said.
Another interesting point Mayden made during the interview was the power of being quiet, one of the last things you may think of in business. “When you’re quiet and you’re smaller than everyone and you’re an introvert, you can hear more than everyone else because you don’t talk that often, so you pull in information and you can get better at it. Just by being quiet and still and being invisible, that became my super power. I was able to see everything and learn and I got better and added the skill set so when it was my time to have something to say, I felt more confident.”