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EXECUTION Building a custom sneakers business

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EternalX

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Here we are.

I'm finally starting my journey of building my first business.

For ages I've spent an enormous time thinking about how I could launch this or that, the different strategies to grow the business and I was thinking a lot about what could be seen as the end goal (getting a lot of money).

What was lacking? My actions.

All my time for the last few years have been spend dreaming about what my life could look like if I work my a$$ off while building something useful for others. (I'm still 17 so I'm young but still)

I don't want to stay in that circle ever again.

I've decided to go with a custom sneaker business based on the fact that this is a need to I discovered while interacting my people on my Instagram pages, and with a little more investigation I saw that even it the market has a lot of actors in the US, there is only a small number of companies that are doing it in France, in fact, the major company is forced to close their ecommerce store because they can't handle the demand haha


So at the moment I have done (and failed) my first design on a pair of Air force 1, I wasn't able to properly put the paint on it, I put a lot of black paint in place I wasn't supposed to and while I tried to remove it it got worse haha.

But this makes me even more determined to get this right! Failing means that I'm trying things. I'll need to invest in tools that will allow me not to get problems like that (which adds another 400$ to my startup costs) but I would have needed to buy this at some point so it's okay.

At the moment I'm focusing on doing my first designs so I can validate my idea before launching a store etc...


To be honest I have no idea on where I could get this going but what I know is that I don't want this to be "another dream", I want to prove myself that I am capable of doing things!
 

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zblundell

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I would say to practice on some Walmart sneakers that most resemble Air Force Ones since they will be a lot cheaper IMO. That way you can get some paint thinner and try a few more times until the leather gets destroyed.
 

EternalX

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I would say to practice on some Walmart sneakers that most resemble Air Force Ones since they will be a lot cheaper IMO. That way you can get some paint thinner and try a few more times until the leather gets destroyed.
Yeah this is a good idea, taking the af1 for my first try wasn't the best idea that I had tbh
 
D

Deleted74396

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Yeah this is a good idea, taking the af1 for my first try wasn't the best idea that I had tbh

You may also be able to create (or have made) a mockup of the shoes you want to design onto so you can perfect the design itself and see how it'll look once complete before actually working on real shoes :)
 

peterb0yd

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f*ck it's awesome you're already learning this material at 17 and taking action. Leagues beyond the vast majority in your generation. Keep up the good work and keep this progress thread going, no matter what happens.
 

EternalX

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Cool idea! I'm not sure if you've heard of The Shoe Surgeon (Dominic Ciambrone (@theshoesurgeon) • Instagram photos and videos) but he seems to be killing it in the custom sneaker game. He even teaches people how to customize and charges $3000 per class
Yeah I know him, his work is really great! I'm not looking to get to that type of custom sneakers at the moment but it could be a great addition in the future

By the way, I'll buy an airbrusher + a stencil next week after the holidays (since I don't be able to work before due to a lot of school work) so I can start customizing!
 

francevalue

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Glad to see you're taking action!

Bon courage!
 

EternalX

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So I've been stuck for the last few days, I wasn't able to purchase what I wanted to start customizing thanks to my bank...
I've switched numbers and in order to complete my transaction I need to put the code that they sent to my previous phone number, and I don't have any other options to verify my purchase.

I'm now waiting for my bank advisor to change my informations (it's been nearly a weak already)
 

EternalX

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While I'm waiting for my bank issues to be resolved, I've been asking myself a few questions these days...
Is that business the right vehicule for me at the moment?

My goal would be to get 10k $ by the end of the year approximately so I'll have the funds to do other things.

With the custom sneakers(which are nike air force 1), I estimate that if I sell them for 180$ , I would make around 35 $ per pair in average (~15$ that counts for the material, the paints etc... + 5$ for shipping + 10$ for marketing + 33% of taxes on the profit)

However there is one factor that I can't clearly define yet, it's the time spent in order to produce one shoe.
If it takes me more than 3 hours to do, then I would have a lower income per hour than if I take the lowest paying job available.

Even if my goal would be to get experience with managing all the different aspects of a company, I'm wondering if I'm choosing the right option.

If you were in my position, what would you do? (I'm not asking other people to make life changing decisions for me but any help would be appreciated!)
Should I stop overthinking and just go for it?
 

francevalue

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You can try!
If you sell one, count how much time it takes you to produce it.
If it's not worth the time, you can just stop and do another thing.

My goal would be to get 10k $ by the end of the year approximately so I'll have the funds to do other things.
Me too ;)
 

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Kid

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If it takes me more than 3 hours to do, then I would have a lower income per hour than if I take the lowest paying job available.

Even if my goal would be to get experience with managing all the different aspects of a company, I'm wondering if I'm choosing the right option.

If you were in my position, what would you do? (I'm not asking other people to make life changing decisions for me but any help would be appreciated!)
Should I stop overthinking and just go for it?
Be a bit future oriented - Your production time and price makes lowest earning NOW.
If you expand horizon to next year, you might see that you'll sell for $380 per pair or so.

Many people that are now millionaires worked in their business for lowest earnings until they hit the scale.

If you'll see thing that's at the moment only, you have little chance to grow big.
 

EternalX

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I finally manage to resolve my issues with the bank, I have receive all the equipment that I need in order to start customizing, unfortunately my paint and my shoes is still at the place where I study, and due to the virus I'm forced to stay home & all the suppliers for the paint closed their online shop until the crisis is over.
I found someone that can provide me the same paint for 1/3 of the price that I would pay now but the shipping costs is $200 so I would need to get sales before considering switching paints

Anyways I'm going to work on my stencils in the meantime, and I'll make my Instagram pages (which are around custom sneakers) active again!

Since I'm stuck at the moment, I started to research for opportunities to get more exposure for when I'll be ready to take orders.
I found a couple of people that were using giveaways as a way to get more reach for their business while helping smaller pages to grow by charging them a fee to be a part of the required followers that people need to follow in order to enter the giveaway (I'll give away custom sneakers as the prize)

This is something that I would like to do on my own, I think it would be useful to gather people already interested in custom sneakers for the future! Since yesterday I have contacted ~50 people and so far one person paid the fee necessary to be a required follower!

I'm looking to get between 10 and 15 people in the giveaway, I'll see how it goes!
 

sparechange

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I'd recommend to stay away from the give away business model (especially at your cost)

I've tried this before which concluded in epic failure.

What you need is sales, start getting out there in the local community offering your services.

Since your 17, hang out in schools, college campus's, universities etc, show off your work. Make an offer and close the sale.

Advertise locally, hanging up flyers in Starbucks or whatever coffee shops you have around you, grocery stores etc etc.

Engage with influeners on social media and ask them to advertise to their audience preferably for free with a % of a sale they get you. (you'll need to do the math yourself on what % to give them)
 

EternalX

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I'd recommend to stay away from the give away business model (especially at your cost)

I've tried this before which concluded in epic failure.
What was your experience with this business model? What makes you fail?

What you need is sales, start getting out there in the local community offering your services.

Since your 17, hang out in schools, college campus's, universities etc, show off your work. Make an offer and close the sale.

Advertise locally, hanging up flyers in Starbucks or whatever coffee shops you have around you, grocery stores etc etc.

Engage with influeners on social media and ask them to advertise to their audience preferably for free with a % of a sale they get you. (you'll need to do the math yourself on what % to give them)
Yeah I'll definitely do those kind of promotion once I'll get my first models ready!
 

sparechange

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What was your experience with this business model? What makes you fail?


Yeah I'll definitely do those kind of promotion once I'll get my first models ready!

I previously had a shopify store with dog toys and grooming gloves, attached to it was Facebook & Instagram.

Driving traffic to it was a pain and the only thing that worked for me was paid advertising (yet it gave me 0 sales in the end)

So I decided to do what every other starting business does, and created a give away! I thought for sure this would make me explode and go viral yet in my experience was a waste of time and effort. I had a few give aways with themes (cutest dog, funniest dog etc) on my website I congratulated these people and gave them space showing off they're dog and the ''prize photo.''

A picture of their pet with all the toys trying to create a sense of community, while the people engaged with me in the contest via social media, after it's all said and done I had no re-visit's from these people AND the people that actually WON the prize didn't even bother to like my page let alone share it with others, people are generally selfish by nature and will gladly take free products and disappear, now maybe I just had a bad experience, I'm sure there are other brands in the world that are successful with this model but I'd say as a newer business the focus should be on sales.

Getting customers, and taking care of those customers & getting repeat business from them. While customer acquisition is important, what's even MORE important is creating long term customers that are always happy. In your case, providing an excellent service that will explode from word of mouth.

Along the lines of, holy crap look at those shoes!!! Who did those? Where can I get my shoes done like that type marketing I believe would be your ideal approach.

You are better off shooting a viral video and hoping it explodes in popularity rather than hosting a contest.

Or going into a heavily populated area in the city and pitching people on the street, check this guy out. ''Makes'' $900+ a day insulting people's shoes in NYC.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JKjV3v8tTm4
 

EternalX

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I previously had a shopify store with dog toys and grooming gloves, attached to it was Facebook & Instagram.

Driving traffic to it was a pain and the only thing that worked for me was paid advertising (yet it gave me 0 sales in the end)

So I decided to do what every other starting business does, and created a give away! I thought for sure this would make me explode and go viral yet in my experience was a waste of time and effort. I had a few give aways with themes (cutest dog, funniest dog etc) on my website I congratulated these people and gave them space showing off they're dog and the ''prize photo.''

A picture of their pet with all the toys trying to create a sense of community, while the people engaged with me in the contest via social media, after it's all said and done I had no re-visit's from these people AND the people that actually WON the prize didn't even bother to like my page let alone share it with others, people are generally selfish by nature and will gladly take free products and disappear, now maybe I just had a bad experience, I'm sure there are other brands in the world that are successful with this model but I'd say as a newer business the focus should be on sales.

Maybe it depends on the kind of product that you're giving away

I still want to test one to see how it goes haha, but not before making sales at least

Getting customers, and taking care of those customers & getting repeat business from them. While customer acquisition is important, what's even MORE important is creating long term customers that are always happy. In your case, providing an excellent service that will explode from word of mouth.

Along the lines of, holy crap look at those shoes!!! Who did those? Where can I get my shoes done like that type marketing I believe would be your ideal approach.

You are better off shooting a viral video and hoping it explodes in popularity rather than hosting a contest.

Or going into a heavily populated area in the city and pitching people on the street, check this guy out. ''Makes'' $900+ a day insulting people's shoes in NYC.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JKjV3v8tTm4
Yeah this is definitely the most important thing! I have seen some people gaining traction quickly due to the "virality" of their work (like Marko, Artofavisonnary or even ZHC on YouTube for example)

Tiktok is a huge platform right now that would suit well the kind of content that I could be producing from the customs along with YouTube and Instagram! I already have 100k followers interested in customs sneakers on Instagram (even if not all of them are active) so that's a great asset to help me promote my work!
 
D

DeletedUser0287

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While I'm waiting for my bank issues to be resolved, I've been asking myself a few questions these days...
Is that business the right vehicule for me at the moment?

My goal would be to get 10k $ by the end of the year approximately so I'll have the funds to do other things.

With the custom sneakers(which are nike air force 1), I estimate that if I sell them for 180$ , I would make around 35 $ per pair in average (~15$ that counts for the material, the paints etc... + 5$ for shipping + 10$ for marketing + 33% of taxes on the profit)

However there is one factor that I can't clearly define yet, it's the time spent in order to produce one shoe.
If it takes me more than 3 hours to do, then I would have a lower income per hour than if I take the lowest paying job available.

Even if my goal would be to get experience with managing all the different aspects of a company, I'm wondering if I'm choosing the right option.

If you were in my position, what would you do? (I'm not asking other people to make life changing decisions for me but any help would be appreciated!)
Should I stop overthinking and just go for it?

Why don’t you learn to make shoes from scratch? Definitely higher cost, but those margins you posted are really bad. Plus, the lack of control to get costs down. I’m assuming youare paying retail for these shoes? No way this gonna work. What happens if Nike says to stop selling? Lack of control on this business model, poor margins, scalability is meh.

Like all people that teach, you gotta start being skeptical eh? I bet you the shoe surgeon would suffer hard without those training classes. He is doing those training classes out of necessity. How do I know this? I am doing cut and sew manufacturing and was looking pretty deep into doing shoes as well. You paying retail for those shoes is the main problem.

From what I’ve learned over the years,don’t waste time building your business on another product. Pave your own path. Don’t redo a brand’s shoe, make your own.

Edit: if you really want to make this work, you gotta double what you charge $400+ a pair. Srs. All these custom/made to order stuff you gotta charge high.
 
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Xeon

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Tiktok is a huge platform right now that would suit well the kind of content that I could be producing from the customs along with YouTube and Instagram! I already have 100k followers interested in customs sneakers on Instagram (even if not all of them are active) so that's a great asset to help me promote my work!

How did you get those 100K followers and how long did it take for you to attain that?
 

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