Like many kids growing up, Kam Chancellor wished that he could wear what he wanted. From shoes to clothes, he couldn’t afford to buy the best that each had to offer.
Since he retired from the NFL in 2018, Chancellor has made it a point to let others live a life he could only dream of as a child. In collaboration with his wife and business partner Tiffany, he recently unveiled the Chancellor Collection shoe line. Created in partnership with Chicago-based men’s shoe company Marc Nolan, Chancellor’s newest venture is aimed to be both affordable and accessible to any fan – regardless of their financial status.
“Where I grew up [in Norfolk, Va.], it didn’t give me the ability to buy the clothes that I wanted, the shoes I wanted,” Kam Chancellor said. “I had to admire things from a distance and admire what everybody else had on. When I did get a chance to wear some clothes that I like – I’ve always been into dressing nice, dressing comfortably and wearing clean shoes and comfortable shoes. That’s about as far as I went in my childhood.”
Until he got drafted by the Seattle Seahawks in the 2010 NFL Draft, the price tag kept Chancellor away from those finer things. Once he established himself as one of football’s best safeties, he was finally able to buy whatever he liked. At one point, he had two closets full of shoes – with each pair more expensive and notable than the next. Despite paying top dollar for his footwear, he noticed that it didn’t correlate with comfort.
In 2016, Chancellor tried to address this discrepancy by partnering with shoe companies. One did emerge as a potential suitor, but according to him, the price point was too high for his supporters. After that fell through, a friend of his introduced him and Tiffany to Sebastian Malczewski, founder of Marc Nolan.
While some luxury shoes at New York City’s Saks Fifth Avenue in New York City priced for as much as $11,000, Chancellor and his wife wanted a business partner who equally valued quality and affordability.
“We just wanted to attack the price point [with shoes] and call it, ‘luxury affordable shoes,’” Kam Chancellor said. “Right now all the luxury shoes are costing thousands of dollars but now we want to create that luxury shoe, but still make it affordable.”
Seeing Malczewski’s shared vision, the duo followed by joining the Marc Nolan team in November 2018, and began working on what Chancellor envisioned.
“When he also shared the same passion for shoes and fashion, [we] clicked right away, right off the bat,” Malczewski said. “We have the same vision, we have the same passion – so we kind of clicked [and said] let’s roll and let’s design some shoes.”
The Chancellor Collection was released last February. Featuring a line of his and her shoes, it sold for a fixed price of $115 both online and in retail stores across Washington and Illinois.
Dating back to February, total sales are up 30% and there’s been at least a 420% increase in online sales. Website traffic is also up over 250%, perhaps unsurprisingly with Washington, home of Chancellor’s former team, driving the most traffic out of any location.
According to Malczewski, there have already been talks of selling in stores across Virginia – the state where Chancellor began playing football. When it comes to working with more professional athletes, Malczewski says there have been talks, but for right now, he wants to grow his business relationship with the Chancellors before working with other high-profile names.
Going forward, people can expect more products coming out of the Chancellor-Marc Nolan partnership. For Kam Chancellor, it means seeing the Chancellor Collection more prominently in brick-and-mortar stores and fashion shows. For wife Tiffany, she wants it to become a household name – and emblematic of the work she and her husband can create from scratch.
“As far as a married couple, we do everything together,” Tiffany Chancellor said. “We work together, we have fun together, and we like to dress the same when we can. [The shoe] expresses us as a married couple in a nutshell – we like to be a team together. That’s why we started this and why we’re passionate about it.”
“I just want to see it grow,” she added. “I want to see us in stores nationwide, worldwide – I want to see everybody wearing our shoes.”