Sanne is the founder of Amsterdam based streetwear and sneaker blog 'Girl on Kicks', a place that allows you to get the latest scoop on sneaker news as well as the freshest street fashion exclusively from a Honeys point of view.
Girl on Kicks has landed many opportunities including collaborations with other creative brands as well as photographers, illustrators, visual artists and designers. Over the years, Sanne has mastered the art of shooting and styling editorials and now also offers her services for sneaker and streetwear consulting and social media strategy advice.
We've been lucky enough to catch the accomplished sneaker enthusiast to chat about what it takes to succeed, life goals and what's in store for the future of your favourite go-to street style blog.
Can you please tell us how Girl on Kicks all started?
A few years ago I was working in retail full time as assistant store-manager but I was missing creativity as I've always been creative (I Studied Graphic Design). By that time I was already following a few fashion/personal style blogs and I noticed that none of them had a more urban/street influence.
So with a little push from my mister I created a Wordpress account and started posting some things without telling people, haha! At one point my mister kicked my ass and made me put some things online and I got a lot of good responses which motivated me to keep on blogging. After some time I decided it was time to take this more serious and I got my domain registered and launched my new website complete with a launch party (which was one big blockparty) and a new concept.
That is now 2 years ago, and last year November I quit my job to focus more on the blog and work freelance. Best decision ever!
Were you aware of how much opportunity is out there and how did you go about marketing yourself?
Starting my blog was something I did for myself from a passion for sneakers and just to get my creativity flowing again. I think I started my blog at the right time because the women's sneaker scene was slowly getting bigger around that time.
I’ve been into sneakers for a long time already (started when I was around 16 years old). When I first started collecting sneakers I was one of the only girls in the scene, but I never felt like an outsider... more like one of the guys! So it all went very naturally.
Social Media of course is one of the best ways to market yourself, networking at events, meeting like minded people etc. and most important to me is to stay true to myself. Might sound very corny but it’s very important to just do you and not become a sell out.
In terms of your graphic design background, how did that influence your brand and style?
I am a very visual thinker which you can see in my work, I’m more into sharing images than writing, I like to let the pictures do the talking. Also if you look at my website I’m a big fan of minimalism, architecture, lines, typography etc. Stylewise I think the same story, I’m into monochrome colours and unisex dressing.
What would you say are your most valued pairs of sneakers?
Theres a lot of favourites. Some of them, like for example my AM1 Beastpack/ AM1’s Hold Tight, are worth a lot to me because of the emotional worth and the story behind them. But some of them are favourites because I wear them a lot like my Citysock NMD’s, my NikeLab Vachetta Tan Air force 1’s, and then theres always some temporary favourites.
Describe what it takes to be successful in an industry where it's mostly male dominated?
Just do you and don’t just focus on women because the Sneakerworld is just one world and we all have the same love for sneakers. My blog is not Girls on Kicks... it’s Girl on Kicks and my following/visitors are 60% women and 40% men. As I’ve always felt like ‘one of the guys’ I actually never had problems like people not taking you seriously etc. I do sometimes feel like men are surprised by the amount of knowledge I actually have on sneakers.
There's so much content being generated with women in street wear today, what is something Girl on Kicks does that makes it stand out in the competition?
That it’s a mix of both streetwear and just ‘normal’ fashion. I always try to combine my sneakers in a feminine way and comfort is very important to me, it’s very relatable and I try to be as approachable as possible.
When people meet me for the first time they often tell me that I’m exactly the same in real life as on my blog and social media, to me that is the biggest compliment I could get. Another thing I really stand for is empowerment. Helping each other to grow bigger together, I don’t see anyone as competition because we all try to do our thing and if you can help each other it can only benefit both of you.
Are you currently working on a project for Girl on Kicks?
Theres a few projects I’m working on at the moment, I recently hosted my first Girl on Kicks guided-tour which was something I wanted to do for a long time already as I was getting a lot of questions from people who were visiting Amsterdam and wanted to know where to shop/eat/chill/party etc.
So I thought why not do a actual tour instead of just sending a list of hotspots. My first tour I did for a group of 15 people from Nike and I made it an inspirational tour to show them what’s going on in Amsterdam and get some background stories as well (including a goodie bag, coffee, lunch etc). This is something I’m doing on request now.
Also I recently shot another editorial for Sneakers Mag, which I did the concept/styling and production for. The magazine will be out soon!
Where do you see the blog in a few years time?
I want to become the go-to person when it comes to sneakers, travel the world for Girl on Kicks, do more consulting and workshops, create cool concepts with the creative people around me, continue working with all of my favourite brands and hopefully be able to completely live off my blog, haha #lifegoals
How do you find inspiration and what motivates you to style in a specific direction?
I find inspiration literally everywhere, haha! My friends inspire me a lot, their creativity and passion are inspiring me to go harder and work for what I want. When it comes to style inspo, I love to look at street style shots from mens fashion weeks and also to just browse through my social media and just look at people in the streets of Amsterdam.
Up until a few months ago I was always like; ‘Let’s just go with the flow and see where all this brings me’
But I’m trying to set some goals for myself now as I’m noticing that working on things is easier when you know where you’re going, haha! Also telling people what you want and what your dreams are makes it real which gives me the pressure to actually do it.
What does Girl on Kicks mean to you and what's been the most memorable moment so far?
Girl on Kicks is my baby. It has formed me into who I am now. It has taught me what I want in life, what my strengths and weaknesses are. This all sounds very emotional and it is, haha! I’m a very emotional person and I always trust on my intuitions and feelings. This has brought me where I am right now and that’s something I’m very proud of.
There's so many moments and achievements in my career already. Some of them are working with all of my favourite brands, hosting my own area at sneaker events, launching my website with a banging launch party 2 years ago but also a lot of small victories too.
What is one piece of advice you would give to a creative like yourself?
Just do it, haha! I’m someone who deals with some real performance anxiety which has held me back from doing what I wanted for a long time. My piece of advice would be; don’t be afraid to fail. Because without failing you won’t learn and you won’t get stronger.