Sneakers in Seattle

by Elise Diamantini

Dan Carlson and Aaron DelGuzzo fell in love with Seattle when they moved to the Emerald City after DelGuzzo accepted a job with Nordstrom two and a half years ago. Carlson — who also works in digital marketing — and his partner always had a passion for men’s footwear, and like most entrepreneurs, saw a void in the market. That’s when they idea for Likelihood came into fruition.

Dan Carlson and Aaron DelGuzzo. Photo: Joshua Lewis / Seattle Refined
Aaron DelGuzzo and Dan Carlson. Photo: Joshua Lewis / Seattle Refined

“There was a need for a special experience in men’s footwear,” remembers Carlson. “We opened Likelihood as a specialty boutique that offers a sense of fun and discovery. Our assortment comprises the newest and latest footwear at a variety of price points. For example, a guy can come in to replace his New Balance 996s or walk out with a special pair of New Balance 999s.”

Likelihood opened May 2, 2015 and hosted an opening-night party on May 28. So far, marketing their brand has been grass roots, and Carlson says they’re building a community through word of mouth and on social media. Oh, and a write-up on HypeBeast doesn’t hurt either…

Likelihood interior

The shop is 80% footwear and the other 20% comprises bags and “apparel, when it makes sense.” For example, they stock T-shirts from Sub Pop, a Seattle-based record company that discovered Nirvana and signed Death Cab for Cutie. “There are only a few places to buy Sub Pop and we’re one of them. They make cool band and concert T-shirts, as well as their own branded styles,” explains Carlson. They also launched a shop-in-shop with the brand Maiden Noir, another Seattle native. “Our core principal is we’re a Seattle-first company. The store was built with a lot of local craftsmen and artists: our cashwrap was built by a local furniture maker, our neon sign (which reads, ‘I called shotgun infinity when I was twelve’) was built by a local lighting company, our lighting fixtures were built by a local sculptor.” Sort of like a local celebration in the space.

Likelihood stadium shoe display

Carlson and DelGuzzo also wanted to create an experience, and so they merchandise footwear throughout the store and on stadium steps. “We want the experience to be fun, leisurely and about surprise and discovery. And you can’t do that in a cluttered world, so we want our store to be clean and approachable. The stadium is interactive: you can walk up the stairs. And we have intentional and well-placed product around the space.” They are one of nine stores that carry Puma’s Aime Leon Dore collaboration, and stock other brands like Grenson, Adidas and Seavees. The mix is currently 80% sneakers/fashion footwear to dress shoes.

Carlson believes that a good pair of shoes can change your attitude. He explains, “When we lace up a good pair of shoes in the morning, we feel like we can take on anything. We chose the name Likelihood because we wanted to create something positive and optimistic. In its earliest usage, the word meant that the promise of something good is about to happen.”

We’d say something good is happening.