In early December, I had the privilege to join two of my colleagues on a trip to Boston to visit with the New Balance team. The two short days I visited with New Balance was an experience I will never forget.
New Balance is so much more than just a brand.
When going on a work trip, especially to a new city you’ve never been before and meeting with at New Balance Headquarters, it can be an overwhelming experience and make you a little anxious.
I mean, I was meeting with New Balance. That’s BIG. They are a very well-known brand, and have made an amazing impact over the years on many individuals.
But, from the moment I stepped onto the New Balance Headquarters, I instantly felt like family.
I would be lying if I didn’t think that it was going to be full of business suits, a quiet atmosphere, and hard to crack a smile.
But it was the quite the opposite.
It was casual wear, bustling sounds, and laughter all around.
Meeting everyone on the team for the first time, felt like I was revisiting a friend that I’ve known for years. New Balance was full of friendly faces. Each person I hugged (yes, hugged) made me feel at home.
The next two days we spent with New Balance were equal to my first impression.
Dave, who is the General Manager of NB, and our amazing tour guide for the week, set up an incredible itinerary for our two days in Boston.
We started the week off with a tour of Boston Landing, the first of two New Balance buildings we would visit on our trip. We walked each floor and took in the rich history of the brand. Stopping to look at old photos, products and the innovation of the brand over the years. We even got to take a sneak peak at shoes for 2020 (We will get to that part later;)
I had the opportunity to meet many incredible people from the New Balance team. Claire, Tom and Bekah who work bring New Balance running footwear to life. Kevin, Sean and Dave on the sales team and James and Keith in Marketing. Each and every one of these great people has such pride in the New Balance brand. It is so inspiring to be around them and to think about the transformation of New Balance over the last several decades.
Afterward, we were taken on a tour of the new Boston Celtics training facility, Auerbach Center, which is located right next door to the HQ.
The facility opened in mid-summer 2018, and the place still smells new! We definitely saw a behind the scenes look into the training and lifestyle of the Boston Celtics. We were able to walk on the court with the iconic Celtics logo but not the main practice court (that is reserved for players only). We toured their weight room, kitchen complete with team chef and hangout lounge. Let’s just say the competition doesn’t stop on the court. :)
We were also able to see inside of the team locker room. The space is absolutely beautiful and inspiring to think about the players who use this space and their dreams, goals and pride they must feel in being part of the Boston Celtics organization.
It is also fun to see the scale of everything in the Auerbach Center. Definitely not made for the average person. :)
Once the tour at Auerbach Center wrapped up, we were taken to the New Balance Flagship Store for a little shopping! So fun
The day ended with a quaint Italian restaurant and all the ricotta pie you could dream of.
Going to bed after day 1 with a full heart (and stomach!)
It was another full day in Boston. But amazing, nonetheless.
The day started with a 5 mile run around the city - I mean, what better way to immerse yourself into a new city than a chilly 5 miler, followed by Dunkin' Donuts?
On the agenda today was a plant tour at New Balance Manufacturing. We were able to see behind the scenes of how the New Balance 990 is created.
It was incredible! We saw every step, all the way down to the stitching. Talk about teamwork! It really puts the shoes you put on your feet into perspective.
Rosemary (pictured below in red), has been with New Balance for 36 years now. She was our tour guide for the plant tour. Each time she brought us to a new station, she greeted the staff with a hug and a smile. It was incredible to see this interaction, amidst the hustle & bustle, everyone stopped what they were doing to return the smile. The entire team felt like family.
"New Balance is like my second home, everyone treats each other as if they're family. We're given the proper tools to keep each other safe." - Rosemary, started at New Balance in 1980
Following the plant tour, we made our way to the Sports Research Lab of New Balance. Where Ken, Head of Merchandising at Gazelle Sports, was the guinea pig for a new study on testing pronation.
The Sports Research Lab creates new products and innovations by studying athletes, biomechanics, and sports, which involves the use of some really awesome state-of-the-art biomechanics equipment. Pedro (New Balance Sports Research Manager) called this process “data to design”.
The team at the NB Sports Research Lab is made up of individuals with backgrounds in mechanical engineering, anatomy, biomechanics, and physics.
The Lab’s mission is to simply build the best shoes possible through research, testing, and education, which also means analyzing and sometimes dissecting their competitors’ products. It was awesome to see their technology first-hand.
The day wrapped up with product meetings and a sneak peak of shoes coming in 2020. Some exciting things are in store for New Balance!
This wrapped up our second and final day in Boston with New Balance, and I have to tell you, it was incredible. It gives you a new outlook on the brand. I now see them as more than a brand but friends.
Our trip to Boston flew by, but the experience will stay with me forever. My first visit to Boston was an amazing one. Though it was a beautiful city, with amazing food - it was the people that I met throughout those two days that made my trip and love for New Balance grow even more.