“If You Do What You Love, You Will Never Work A Day In Your Life” -Marc Anthony
I believe it is a rare occurrence when you are able to do what you love everyday. I feel grateful to be in that category of people who truly love what they do everyday, but recently, I have been yearning to get back to my roots to when I first started selling sneakers. I would do anything and go anywhere to find them. More specifically, this collection was found through Facebook marketplace. Not only can you find great deals on Facebook, but you can also discover some amazing steals by consistently checking other platforms such as Craigslist and eBay. Because of the connections I have built I haven’t needed to check these websites quite as frequently, but they are an awesome starting point and really great platforms to get started on. As I said before, I have been yearning to get back to my roots, which to me is the hunt, the grind, the negotiating. These are key parts of the business, and I believe that to be good at something you have to practice it. Most of my negotiating happens over email and/or phone calls, but nothing is as satisfying as being face to face and trying to make a deal with someone. I decided to hit the streets and go to all the marketplaces in search of the perfect collection. Finally, with a little patience and determination, I had a hit on a collection of 60 shoes!
To secure the privacy of the seller, we will call them The Bread Man. Let me tell you guys. This dude was awesome! We initially communicated through messages, and finally I reached out to hopefully be able to meet him in person. I prefer face to face meetings so that I can see the items first before offering any money on a deal to ensure that all the items are legit, and that the seller is 100% legitimate. After over 20 years of experience in the sneaker game, he had gotten to a place where he had less and less time to actually wear the shoes in his collection. I learned that The Bread Man had been a Nike SB fan from day one, and that he was collecting most of his kicks from local skate shops. In the process of collecting, he was also building strong relationships with the shop owners. Getting the opportunity to go through his collection was truly a beautiful experience for me. I think you can really tell a lot about a person by what they have in their collection. I contacted a close friend of mine to come along with me, and help check out some of the items, as most of the shoes were 10-15 years old and outside of my typical expertise.
There were so many shoes to go through, and I wanted to be positive that I did each pair justice by truly evaluating the collections’ condition. For example, flaws, creasing, scuffs, etc. I generally check toe boxes, bottoms, and the insoles before anything else as well. Insoles showing fading in the lettering is a fairly good way of determining how much wear a shoe has seen. Another important aspect to look at when determining quality of a shoe is replacement boxes. A lot of times shoes will be in a different box, and anything besides the OG packaging will generally take about $20 off the value of the shoe. Most of the true collectors will have all the original packaging for their own merchandise. Therefore, you won’t run into many of these issues when you are dealing with bigger/long time collectors.
After the meeting came to a close, I was itching to give my appraisal and proceed to the negotiation phase. I wanted The Bread Man to know I appreciated his collection, but at the same time I knew I had to make some kind of money as well. Being as transparent as possible, I broke out the value of each shoe, and sent it to him with a total number. Along with each shoe being broken out individually, I also broke down how much the shipping and extra fees would amount to. In the midst of the negotiation, we got stuck between numbers, and The Bread Man said that if I was able to come up to his price, he would throw in an SB rug. Up until this point I had no idea that The Bread Man even owned this item! He began describing it to me briefly, and told me that a skate shop had given it to him as a gift before they closed. Immediately I shouted, “Done deal!”
What I have learned throughout this journey with buying and selling sneakers is that it’s bittersweet buying items from someone who has owned them for such a long time. At some point, the object becomes way more than that to a person. The object evolves, and begins to represent a specific time in that person’s life, or a symbol of a past memory they are nostalgic for. It can also represent change, and how much has changed in a person’s’ life since they acquired this object. The Bread Man was an avid SB fan, and an OG in the sneaker game, so my goal in writing this piece was not only to pay homage to him, but I felt that it would be valuable for me to catalog this experience, and be able to look back on it at any point in time. This truly was one of the most memorable, influential, and inspiring experiences I’ve had in my time in selling and buying shoes. I rarely remember a collection simply for the amount of money it cost, or even the amount of shoes, but it is the owners that I remember, and the respect that I hold for each one of them and their individual collections. As I said in the beginning, a collection truly speaks volumes about a person. Therefore, you must respect their collection as you respect that person. They both go hand in hand. At the end of this experience, both myself and the seller are always happy to be apart of this world of buying and selling sneakers, and apart of providing shoes to people who will also love them!