Introduce your business and tell us your story: How did you decide on what to sell, and how did you source your products?
I have always been into sneakers. At a young age I used to watch Michael Jordan and Penny Hardaway playing to learn what new sneakers were coming out. As I got to high school in 2001 I started seeing a market for selling limited-edition sneakers that were no longer available in retail stores. I started to buy three pairs of each limited shoe and sell two to pay for my personal pair and earn a few extra dollars. I continued to do this for a few years until it really started to blow up. I started going after everything that had a resale value on it, including unreleased shoes that were made for friends and family of Lebron James and other athletes and celebrities. I would buy shoes from all the chain stores and brick and mortars, I would buy from Ebay and other websites, also I would purchase people's sneaker collections when they decided to be finished with the whole sneaker collecting thing.
How did you earn your first sales? Which channels are now generating the most traffic and sales for you?
I created an eBay account in 2003 and used that to do my first of many sales. Our online website does a little better than in-store which we expected by opening in a smaller city like Lancaster. We have built up a decent social media following which also translates to a lot of sales.
Tell us about the back-end of your business. What tools and apps do you use to run your store? How do you handle shipping and fulfillment?
We have done a lot of advertising. We have a 15 second clip showcasing our store that plays at our local movie theatre before every movie. We promote on social media daily as well as doing the Clipper magazine that goes out to 75,000 homes locally. Advertising has been our biggest focus since opening the store so we continue to look for more ways to be creative to reach out to our target market. We do all of our shipping from our store. We print our labels off through usps.com or through Paypal and we have our own boxes to double-box the shoes, and we get a USPS carrier to pick up each day.
What are your top recommendations for new store owners?
Walk before you run. Don't try too much at once. Find things that are important and get the most out of each thing. Customer service goes a long way in the retail industry. I talk to each customer like they are a friend instead of a customer who has money to spend. I want them to have an enjoyable experience when they come to my store whether they are buying a shoe or not. Again, marketing is also very important. Find out your target market and reach out to them. The more people that know about you, the better!