INSIDE A HOUSTON GEM: PREMIUM GOODS OWNER JENNIFER FORD SHARES HER SOLE
by: cassidy edwards
Images: Jeffery Brandon of Raggedy Smiles Photography
Sneakers have always been a means of creative expression, but they also serve as a universal dot connector for building community. In underserved and overlooked sneaker retail markets like Houston, Texas, it has become critical to create the pieces of the puzzle that we may have been missing. Whether that means local teaming and collaborative efforts or building a unified front from the ground up, the sneaker culture created in Houston is thriving. In the words of the great 3 Stacks (AKA Andre 3000), ‘The South Got Something To Say’.
Deep in the land of the trill, there have been contributors within sneaker culture that aren’t necessarily new to the game but made a lasting impact. If you’ve lived in Houston for some time, you’re probably familiar with Premium Goods. This sneaker boutique sits right in the heart of Rice Village and has been serving us with fly gear for 16 years.
What many people may not realize is that Premium Goods was founded by a woman named Jennifer Ford. Even though Jennifer has been the mastermind behind the scenes, she has left a large footprint in the evolution of H-town sneaker culture. More importantly, she is sharing her journey with others to break the mold of being put in a specific box as it relates to your passions. Community over competition is a mantra we all need to embrace and our good friends at Sneaker Census threw us an assist to get to know more about Jennifer’s journey. They too, have been working equally as hard to #CreateTheCommunity through taking back the culture we know and love in a variety of engaging ways.
Jennifer’s passion for sneakers and the retail industry started at a young age, not knowing these interests would foreshadow what was in store for her future success. Being born and raised in Houston, Jennifer spent time in Atlanta and New York before moving back home with a new mission in mind - to open a sneaker store. Houston needed a store that was different from the familiar big name brands that we frequented in the mall. Jennifer’s forward thinking mindset of opening a boutique store in a prominent, high traffic location paid off. Not only did Premium Goods house a diverse mix of brands, but also became a representative of the city through exclusive capsule collections.
Over the years, Premium Goods has released a number of Houston t-shirts including the popular ‘Premium Hoods’ collection that featured marquee neighborhoods around the city. Jennifer has been playing an integral role in creating community with the intention of pouring back into it through charitable donations, collaborative events, and even internships.
Through her entrepreneurial spirit and despite any adversity that may have traveled her way, Jennifer created an avenue and safe haven for people to come together with ease. The common thread of sneakers was woven into her idea of fellowship, and taking risks was another way she was pushing the message to bet on yourself.
Premium Goods has become much more than your friendly neighborhood sneaker store. It serves as a creative hub, where staying dripped up and laced out is just another day at the office. From local brand pop-ups to art installations, Jennifer understands the grind over the glamour and leads by example.
While the success of Premium Goods hasn’t gone unnoticed, Jennifer has faced her own unique challenges and hard decisions. Just being a woman in a male-dominated space creates its own obstacles, but juggling work responsibilities and family life is a whole different landscape to navigate. As wives and mothers, women are tasked with decisions that can impact our personal life as well as our professional one where we often feel we have to choose one versus the other. Pouring so much of her passions into her store over the years, Jennifer’s story is a testament to the unwavering resilience and work ethic she possesses.