Anthony Debrant is proof positive you can turn your passion for a hobby into a retail enterprise. Debrant, 17, created an online sneaker broker called SneakMart. The youngster wants sneaker aficionados to buy and sell the shoes on a resale market, especially for rare finds as more and more sneakerheads become interested in one-of-a-kind treads.
Here's how SneakMart works. Anyone who signs up for the service can act as a buyer or seller. The online sneaker broker takes 5 percent of each sale as a service fee when someone buys a pair of collectible sneakers. The idea for a resale market came after Debrant's passion for sneaker collecting got the best of him.
Debrant purchased the first part of his collection, a pair of Nike Air Jordans, after saving up birthday and holiday money. After his collection grew to almost 70 pairs, the youngster got an idea for a resale market platform he would want to use if he chose to expand his collection. Enter the website and mobile app for SneakMart. Debrant hopes to make the platform a one-stop shopping experience for fellow sneakerheads.
Ease of Use
The young business man wanted a website with low fees and direct selling. Each buyer purchases sneakers directly from the seller, and a simple one through five rating system lets others see a user's rating. The one challenge Debrant sees is getting more sneakerheads to come to his website. His business model is simple; all he owns is the software for the website. He has no warehouse, little overhead and no inventory to maintain. If successful, the entrepreneur has a huge market potential he can tap into all over the globe.
The international sneaker market is worth $55 billion worldwide, and it has grown 40 percent from 2004 to 2014. Millennials from Debrant's age group form a vital part of this consumer niche; they spent $21 billion on footwear in 2014, up 6 percent from 2013. The resale market, of which Debrant hopes to take advantage, brings in an estimated $1 billion as people collect limited editions.
The young business owner has plenty of retail success stories to back up his enterprise; Debrant can look at Uptown Cheapskate as a retail store started by two young siblings in college. The secret to success of the higher-end resale clothing chain was hard work, dedication and prioritizing the business first while giving up hobbies and avocations.
The entrepreneur noticed his resale market is more than just the usual sneaker brands. Dolce & Gabbana and Louis Vuitton developed their sneaker lines to compete with already-established brands. Instead of high-end shoes for fashionistas, design houses may appeal to sneakerheads looking for something different and unique. Part of the draw of sneakers, Debrant said, is teenagers and young adults develop attachments to certain brands, years and celebrity endorsers. A fan of Kevin Durant can remember the NBA star draining a game-winning shot wearing a certain type of shoe, almost as if the collector uses the sneaker as a photograph of the moment.
Debrant has a unique idea within a niche resale market for which he already has a passion. All of those ingredients create an entrepreneurial spirit that just needs some business savvy and marketing tools to become a retail success story.
Photo courtesy of Dick Thomas Johnson at Flickr.com