This is absurd. 11,800 km from home, I’m having goosebumps from looking at brown boxes closed by red and yellow striped tape, piled in a warehouse in Vietnam.

These boxes don’t matter to anyone else, but for me this moment closed a circle in my career I never expected being able to close.

For most people this is a random scenery of a warehouse - for Tim-Allan it means an unforgettable goosebump moment.
For most people this is a random scenery of a warehouse – for Tim-Allan it means an unforgettable goosebump moment.

A simple moment shaping an entire career

For me everything started with the love of sneakers and sporting goods. Being a sneakerhead, playing American football and doing other sports was always a big driver in my life. I was fascinated by limited editions, streetwear and how a product can help me perform at my best. Knowing I wanted to make it into the sporting goods industry, I made the step from being a consumer and started to work at The Good Will Out, a top-tier sneakershop in Cologne, during my studies .

And here is the reason why I get goosebumps from brown boxes…

Every time we received a new shipment from adidas, it arrived in brown boxes with red and yellow striped tape. Receiving and opening them was always like Christmas. Totally excited about what the latest drop would bring, we opened the boxes.

“I will never forget the special sound when cutting the tape and opening the box.”

We started looking reverently at the just revealed sneakers – always followed by emotional shop talks with my colleagues (all passionate sneakerheads), discussing designs, product stories and every tiny product feature in detail.

Curiosity closes the circle

This procedure sparked my curiosity about how products find their way on the shelves. My logical step was to apply for an internship in the wholesale business. I was lucky to get a job at adidas Key Account Management. But still, my biggest passion lay in the product itself. Shaping my personal career path, I managed to get a spot as a Product Creation Trainee at adidas. This was the place to get a holistic understanding of how a product is created. Even more than just that. Every new rotation in departments such as Footwear Development, Costing and the Future team widened my horizon.

“I had to collaborate and integrate in new teams, challenge myself with new and unexpected tasks and grow myself as a person as I had to cope with so many new situations.”

Kickstart into the heart of manufacturing

After the traineeship I started my current role as Footwear Developer where I am at the center of creating. Every day, I learn more about the complexity of manufacturing and making our products the most emotional ones for our consumer. I was thrilled when I got the opportunity to do my first business trip to Vietnam and visit our factories. Meeting the teams overseas, standing at the assembly line with the workers, is one of the greatest moments I had in my career.

Learning from the factory workers about the production process broadened Tim-Allan's horizon.
Learning from the factory workers about the production process broadened Tim-Allan’s horizon.

During the visit, we also got a tour through one of the warehouses, which sounds quite boring at first. But on that special day I was taken back to my personal starting point: unpackaging brown boxes at The Good Will Out sneaker store.

Moments, stories and pictures of the last years flashed by – I could not believe what journey I had already taken.

Flashback: It all started with a "boring", brown cardboard box in a sneaker store in Cologne. Goosebumps?
Flashback: It all started with a “boring”, brown cardboard box in a sneaker store in Cologne. Goosebumps?

This was only one of the many goosebumps moments I had during my time with adidas and I am grateful for being able to build such holistic knowledge and to be able to bring this knowledge into my entrepreneurial mindset which is even fostered by our company.

Traveling the world, meeting new people, learning from their perspective and even closing the circle of the most emotional sneaker story of my life is why I love my job.

What was your initial spark for your career path?

7 COMMENTS

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by Dane 13.01.2016
Wow. Great article. I feel like I am you when you were younger. I absolutely love sneakers and sporting goods and right now I work for the largest sporting goods company in Canada, Sport Chek. Each time I unpack a new shipment my managers always joke with me saying "this is like Christmas for you isn't it?" But it is. I love seeing the new products and explaining them to customers. It's what has kept me working there for almost 4 years now!



Hopefully I am able to find my way onto a similar career path that you have taken!
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by Paul 13.01.2016
Great article! Love the story...gives me goosebumps :-)
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by Andrew 10.02.2016
Well done! Really enjoyed hearing about your journey from sneakerhead to dream job. And way to own that mustache.

Keep the articles coming!
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by My 02.03.2016
goosebumps ! really well written and vivid! easily to read and on point! I can feel and read your passion for your work! thumbs up!
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by S'chaba 12.04.2016
Amazing!

Well said and I can relate on many levels.

I worked for adidas here in South Africa and used to wait for these brown boxes with yellow & red tape with much excitement.



Great to know we are not alone.

Thank you for sharing your journey!
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by Andre 12.04.2016
Awesome insight and really easy to relate to as a sportsman, sneaker lover and performance fashion enthusiast. I appreciate this is hugely summarised, however i would be really interested to know a bit more about your career path. Do you think a similar path is possible in todays climate at a company like adidas (in getting in as a trainee etc). I have recently applied for a FTP position and am hopeful that I will soon be part of this incredible organisation.
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by Tim-Allan Schäufelin 21.04.2016
Hi Andre,

before working at adidas I studied in Sportsmanagement in Cologne, worked as sales support and gave product trainings for other footwear brands and did an internship at a traditional shoemaker.

Still now a cross functional career at adidas is not just possible but also supported by our company. I just recently made my next step and grew into a Product Marketing role, where I continue my journey.

Good luck on your FTP application. It's a great program and I really learned a lot during my time as a trainee.
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