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Reading posts like this one about teens building $10,000+ monthly sneaker reselling businesses will often bring up many questions for a beginner who may have just discovered this wonderfully profitable niche.
Can I really make this much money?
How will I know what to buy this month to make this kind of dough?
Once you build the general knowledge base, you’ll have a good gauge of what to buy in the present and future.
From knowing what shoes to buy, to the nitty gritty of shipping and how to scale the process to a full time income, this article will cover it all.
The past helps to shape the future, although new shoe models will emerge, much respect is paid to the OG (original) classics.
History: Getting down with the OG’s
Even though re-releases of OG models like the Air Jordan 11 Space Jam may not be as lucrative as brand new shoes like the Off White Air Jordans, your taste will bring you a long way when dealing with others who are deep in the culture who like to deal with those who are on their wavelength.
You can’t just be a hype sniper who goes after the newest, hottest most expensive stuff if you really want to make a sustainable living selling sneakers.
If you do this, you’ll be able to make a few bucks, but you’ll just be a hustler with no long lasting business. For anyone serious about building his own shoe brand, having a solid knowledge base is critical.
(We just launched a private group for high level sneaker resellers — make sure you subscribe to our email list below to get the scoop)
By knowing the older models you’ll be able to diversify your income streams into the highly lucrative world of pre owned or unworn older models that true collectors covet and often don’t advertise for sale.
By knowing these unique models, you may run into an owner who will present you an off market deal that will be a win win situation for both of you.
He will unload something that’s collecting dust that maybe he’s lost passion for, and he will know that he gave it to someone who cares about it. You’ll be a worthy buyer, which is huge.
So many people who are new to reselling don’t pay tribute to the history and the classics, so knowing the OGs will give you a real edge and allow you to rise quickly. This was the formula to my success and many others in the shoe game who made big strides.
How do I know I’ll be able to sell it at a higher price?
It’s scary at first to ask a high price for shoes, especially given the fact that you’re charging a markup above the retail price of the shoes when they were on store shelves.
Especially for beginners who have never sold shoes before, you may think that your shoes may sit unsold because you’re asking too much.
Don’t mess up the resale game out of fear!
You should never put your shoes live on the market underpriced.
Doing so will cause price wars and ruin the overall resale aftermarket, even if temporarily, by lowering profits for everyone involved. Be patient, realize that there are buyers for your shoes when you priced them properly, even if there are a few cheaper options out there on the market.
This has happened recently with pairs like the Yeezy Butters that dropped in June and had incredibly low resale value, the lowest yet for any Yeezys in 2018 or 2017 and earlier for that matter.
Here are a few handy tips that will prove that people are in fact paying markups in high volume.
Not only can you see the prices that people are asking on eBay for a pair of shoes, there’s a handy tool where you can see what people are actually paying.On the eBay mobile app, filter to select the completed listings to check out recently sold shoes:
Flightclub, StockX, Goat, Stadium Goods
You can checkout websites like FlightClub.com, StockX.com, GOAT.com and Stadium Goods to see how prices stay consistent or sell higher or lower on different platforms. Make sure you have seller accounts on all platforms, so you can profit from selling across every single platform and knowing the best one to sell on.
StockX is great for doing research as it has some of the best data, including present and historic prices. Even if you never sell on StockX, you will use it as the great tool that it is as an informed shoe seller. You can sign up for an account here today if you don’t have one already to start using its charts and much more to build your sneaker investment portfolio.
Join your local Facebook buying and selling sneakers group. When an upcoming release will have resale value, people will be advertising it for sale for a markup and also asking to buy. This picture shows a pair of shoes that released for $160 and the seller is asking $300. You’ll see the prices people are asking and offering, as well as how many people are posting about a certain shoe model so you can gauge its hype.
Make sure you’re on Instagram too, searching different sneaker related hashtags and users who buy and sell shoes. You should even set up a dedicated sneaker Instagram account as a primary tool in your business.
How will I prepare the shipping, and what is the overall process like?
Before you start shipping, create an account with USPS.
You’ll get a 20% discount on your labels for having an account with them. Never go in to the post office and pay there. Not only will you save time of waiting in line when there’s a drop box, but you’ll save money. You can even schedule pickups at your house to streamline the whole process.
You’ll be packing up tons of shoes, so it is incredibly helpful to have a streamline process so you won’t have to deal with the stress or hassle that comes with scrambling for the correct materials. Not only will this affect your mental well being, it’ll directly affect your business and customer satisfaction, because the longer it takes you to prepare the kicks for the buyer to be shipped, the more likely you’ll be late on shipping. When you have a streamlined process, you’ll be able to ship the very same business day. I highly recommend shipping in such a manner because you will win your customers over and gain a network of regulars.
Here’s a post that goes in depth about the specific materials that will be incredibly helpful for your operation. Read this over and stock up to have an efficient operation to work out of for the best results for your bottom line and your customer.
What profits can I make?
Realistically, if you’re just purchasing new releases at first, you should expect to profit between $50-$100 per weekend. Every weekend has a resale opportunity, sometimes Jordan has nothing but Adidas does, sometimes no shoes have profit but streetwear like Supreme does. Be on the lookout and continue to build up your knowledge base so you’ll be able to sniff out opportunities. Having encyclopedic knowledge is so important so you know what to go after. You can’t profit off opportunities that you don’t know that exist.
How can I scale the process?
The awesome thing about selling sneakers is that it is incredibly scalable. Like everything in life, you get what you put into it. Whether it is your goal to make a part time income, or to scale to six figure levels, it is both doable. There is enough of an opportunity and a large enough market that you can find your place in it.
Prepare for your level of dedication to result in a similar outcome of pay. Selling sneakers is a true meritocracy so you’ll get what you’re worth. Be true to yourself about what you’re willing to put into it, if you want to make tons of money you’ll need to eat breathe and sleep sneakers.
During my five figure months of $10K+, I was on my phone at 3:00AM EST talking to customers on the west coast while furiously browsing eBay, Instagram and Twitter for good deals.
When I first started, I was casually selling sneakers on weekends making maybe $500 a month tops. When I broke into higher end shoes and figured out how to get multiple pairs at a time, I saw the high income potential and 10x’d my time investment as well as my profits. Doing this took a level of seriousness that can’t necessarily be taught.
A practical but often overlooked method regarding scaling is to be a man of your word. By doing so, you will organically gain a larger and larger customer base due to outstanding reputation. In this shoe game, you’ll deal with a lot of kids that are flaky, unreliable or wanting to change prices last second.
Even worse, there are kids out there whose only intention is to rob or scam people. People know this so the instant you give off a flaky or shady vibe, they’ll either not do business in the first place, or ditch you and never do business with you again.
What are potential productivity bottlenecks?
As a newbie, the biggest hold up to your productivity is to be overwhelmed and do nothing.
The biggest tip is to just start small, with one transaction.
Do some research and pick one pair of shoes to sell on one platform. It doesn’t matter if this is a new release or a used pair on Craigslist (although be careful with fakes), just get comfortable with taking action with something and continue to make it a habit and you’ll organically grow.
When you’re scaling, not having an efficient system in place will be the biggest thing slowing you down. One big time suck when you scale is answering customer questions.
Create email or eBay message templates for common questions that have arisen in the past; better yet, describe the item in such a way and take as many detailed pictures as possible that it will leave no questions to be asked.
Make sure your cashflow is on point, so get on PayPal’s good side as soon as you can so you can access your dough the instant you’re paid without waiting for the shoes to be shipped, and ride the ever growing snowball of the compound effect as you watch your business grow!
For those serious about jump starting their resale game or taking their hustle to the next level, the 5 part Hypemaster Playbook is for you. Make sure to keep it handy and to read it over and over so it’s ingrained in your brain for success.