Nike was previously known as Blue Ribbon Sports (RBS) founded in 1964 by Phil Knightand Bill Bowerman.
Phil Knight was a middle distance runner hailing from Portland who trained under track and field coach Bill Bowerman. Bill Bowerman was looking for ways to enhance his student’s performance and tried improving their shoes in his free time.
He tried many different combinations but they were not very successful. In the mean time his student Phil Knight went on to complete his MBA in Finance from Stanford University. There he wrote an assignment suggesting the manufacturing of shoes in Japan which would help retailers compete with the well established German brands.
His suggestions fell on deaf years so he himself decided to import shoes from Japan and sell them in his local area. He tried to sell his initial stock of shoes to his previous coach Bowerman but he was interested to join him and so they decided to become equal partners. Though the business started slow, by 1965 sales had reached an impressive $20,000.
Nike’s brand logo ‘Swoosh’ and tagline ‘Just Do It’ had become a commonly recognisable symbol in the American households.
In 1985, they went on to design signature shoes for an NBA rookie named Michael Jordan and his increasing popularity took Nike’s sales to break new records.
Soon Nike moved in to designing apparel and other cross-training accessories. They signed various international teams like the Brazil football team, U.S. men’s and women’s soccer team. In 1996, again they signed up a rookie golfer Tiger Woods for a sum of $5 million per year. And the rest as they say, is history.