Its a proven stat….90% of business start ups fail in the first year. So your next logical question would be…how do you be the 10% and remain there? I always ponder about the definition of success over the years. Should I benchmark myself to how much profit I earn or should it be based off my self fulfillment and enjoyment of what I do everyday? My answer…its a little bit of both.
Maybe I should start from the beginning. When I first started re-selling shoes I was basically “trading shoes” I genuinely loved. In essence, I was selling unwanted shoes towards pairs I really wanted. I’m sure most of us go through this process to actually realize if you have made some smart choices, you are actually wearing your shoes for free and sometimes even making money in the process. I never thought of it as a business till it got to a point where I kind of matured and grew out of the phase of wanting every shoe I desired. If you’re not there yet, you’ll understand fully what I mean when you do get there. Its part of the journey of being a sneakerhead. As time went by, the “less is more” continues to grow within me.
Circa 2012-2015, selling shoes was very very straight forward. However, over the past 2 years there have been very drastic changes in the sneaker market that could permanently change the way shoes are bought and sold on the market. To prove my case…why do you think every brick and motor consignment store “needs” a key master machine in their store? That’s because the buying behaviour of the new generation of kids/sneakerheads are very different from the generation of sneakerheads I grew up with. The new kids all want the most hype and expensive kicks on their feet and anything that comes short of this is considered inferior. This essentially creates a market where hyped sneakers keep getting more and more expensive and the not so hyped shoes remain on shelf. Compared to 10 years ago…sneakerheads simply wore what they wanted regardless of price. Less was emphasized on the price of the shoe, but rather more was emphasized on the look of the shoe and this created character and individuality in my opinion. I used to love and enjoy looking at other sneakerhead’s collection because it allows to me to see diversity through what they owned. Nowadays, all your sneaker collection pics are simply a bunch of Yeezy boosts/NMDs alongside a bunch of ONLY the most expensive Jordan releases. To me, it became more of a wallet flex more than a showcase of your personal taste.
From a business point of view, I HAVE to evolve with the market. If I remain status quo, it simply means I could be out of business real soon. What works yesterday doesn’t mean it’ll work today. Every business has its niche and you have to be very creative with what you have and carve out a niche that works for you. Couple years ago, my only goal was to source sneakers for the lowest price possible. Back then, any Jordan I was able source for under $150, I was almost guaranteed a profit. Fast forward today…if I still continued under that strategy, I might as well go work for McDonalds. For those that have followed me since the beginning, I was well known for sourcing all the early retros and OGs. That was my niche. However, that has also changed because of the changing environment of how Nike and Jordan are doing their retros and releases. Sole swapping and restore used to be one of the biggest thing 2 years ago.
The take home point today is simple. If you want to have a good chance of succeeding in business its not about how well you can do today. Rather, its how well you can do by thinking forward ahead of your competition and making the necessary stepping stones in establishing yourself a new niche before anyone else does before the market changes. If you don’t think forward and take risk in your decisions, you might already be too late once the market takes a hard turn.