It’s Just Shoe Business!

Clinton Wilhight

Project 2: Literacy Stories

October 11, 2013

Basketball has been a love of mine since a young age. I grew up in Westchester, Illinois, which holds a rich tradition of basketball. The high school located in my town was St. Joseph High School. St. Joseph High School had a rich alumni base highlighted by NBA Hall of Famer Isaiah Thomas and current NBA player Evan Turner. Growing up I wanted to be the next great player and play for the best coach in the state, so I decided to go to St. Joseph. My junior year the basketball season was approaching and it was going to be my first year on Varsity. I was really excited.

Before the schoolwork got really strenuous and the season started, my parents booked me a plane ticket to visit my cousins in Atlanta and there I saw my older cousin Jeff was a retro shoe collector. Jeff had an extensive shoe collection and some of his shoes weren’t even worn.Jeff had many types of Jordan’s in a wide variety of colors. I was amazed by his collection and I wanted to build a shoe collection of my own. My cousin Jeff had a pair of shoes that he just got and didn’t even wear yet. The shoe was called the Jordan 3 “True Blue.” The pair of shoes looked really expensive and I had never seen them before.

Jeff had a friend named Glenn that constantly talked about the True Blues. He told me they were rare and hard to get a pair. Jeff and Glenn wore the same size and Glenn constantly nagged my cousin about selling his brand new pair of shoes to him. Glenn asked to buy the shoes from him for retail, $160. My cousin said no to the offer. Two days later, Glenn proposed another offer and this time he wanted to buy them from my cousin for $195. My cousin refused the offer again. At the conclusion of stay, Glenn came with his final offer and it was $215. My cousin wanted to refuse it so bad, but he accepted the offer and ended up with a $55 dollar profit. I was shocked that someone was willing to spend so much on a pair of shoes.

I soon returned home and it was time to get started with school. Two months later it was basketball season. Our first game was in a week and our team was practicing like crazy. Devastating news struck our family during that week of practice. My father was downsized from his job at Pepsi Co. My parents were saddened and immediately implemented a family budget to cut out all unnecessary expenses. The shopping spree that my parents had planned for me was cancelled. I started looking into options to bring in money so that I didn’t have to ask my parents for any. I explored the option of getting a job, with the basketball season starting and the strenuous homework; I simply didn’t have any time. I thought back to when my cousin sold a pair of shoes. How he gained a solid profit from one pair of shoes. I thought deep and hard, and it hit me. The idea that I should start a small business where I buy retro Jordan’s similar to my cousin’s and sell them for a profit hit me. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy but I had to figure out a way to tap into the shoe market.

If this whole idea was going to work, I knew that I had to do a lot of research to make this successful.I spent countless hours on the computer. I started my research by searching all the different types of Jordan’s and learning their names and number classifications. There were 21 different types of retro Jordan’s and I did so much research, I was able to identify each type by just looking at them.  After I learned the names of the shoes, I had to research and learn about which shoes were more profitable than others. I discovered at the time that Jordan 11’s, Jordan 4’s, and Jordan 3’s were the most profitable. The average profit on each of those shoes was roughly around $50-$60.

My next steps to make my business were to find a way to get these rare shoes and learn the terminology when selling the shoes. I started with the terminology. In order to sell the shoes, I made to make sure that I knew the terminology. I discovered that abbreviations like DS meant Dead Stock. Dead Stock meant that the shoes were never worn and were in mint condition. Dead Stock shoes were the most profitable. Also while doing research, I learned some aspects of business. I learned supply and demand curves in regards to shoes. I learned which shoes were the most in demand along with how many shoes were being made. As for securing the shoes I wanted to sell, one of my friends got a job at Footlocker and basically he had the power to hold some of the rare shoes for me to buy. We tag teamed and my business was created. I found a list of many of many shoes that were coming out. I successfully bought a pair of Bred Jordan 4’s for $160.  I learned to market my shoes in the 21st century. I created a Twitter and Facebook accounts where I posted my shoes. I gained followers and friends that would follow these accounts and bid for the shoes. After marketing my shoes on Twitter and Facebook, I successfully found a bidder and sold my shoes for $205. Not a lot of money but it was a nice little $45 profit. Since my first shoe sale, I continued to run my business. I have made over 20 transactions resulting in more than $1000 in profit. The highlight of my shoe sale came when I sold a pair of shoes for $250 when I originally bought them for $140.

I still am successfully running my business even though I have transitioned into college. I still to this day, read up on the latest shoes and which shoes are selling for the most. Also I stay up to date on the current demand for certain shoes. Thanks to my cousin, he inspired me without even knowing it. I not only started a successful business, but I successfully financed myself while my parents were looking for jobs. I have learned some of the basics to business as well as being fluent in sneaker language. Shoes have been a huge part of my life and have led me to want to pursue Finance in college at Purdue University.


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