HOW TO MAKE &1.5M TREATING SHOES LIKE STOKES

HOW TO MAKE &1.5M TREATING SHOES LIKE STOKES

I’m a Gen Z Side Hustler: How To Make $1.5M Treating Shoes Like Stocks

 

You can find stories of self-made millionaires all over the news today. Unlike many of these tales, sneaker re-seller Ray Cao never had aspirations to be an entrepreneur. “I just knew I had to make money,” he told GOBankingRates in an exclusive interview.

When Cao was a teenager, his family had gotten into roughly $200,000 in debt from speculative investments and gambling. “After class in high school, all the kids would go out to buy snacks at the grocery store and I could never afford it. I just knew I needed to make money — and a lot of it!”

After scouring Reddit forums looking for money-making ideas that wouldn’t worse family’s financial situation, a friend mentioned how people were making money reselling sneakers.

“Sneaker / streetwear culture was making waves throughout high school,” Cao recalled. “I heard through the grapevine that it was a lucrative business opportunity. That was a pivotal moment for me, when I stumbled upon sneaker reselling and I took a leap of faith.”

He recalled going home and asking his mom for a bank account so he could buy and sell sneakers. His mother was skeptical, but Cao eventually convinced her. Shortly after, he purchased a pair of Supreme Air Jordan Desert Camo 5s (2015) for $225 and flipped it locally for $400 profit.

Make Your Money Work Better for You

“I was 18 years old and I’d never seen that type of money. I remember that night I treated my entire family to a bunch of pizza,” he said. “It was a big deal to us because we didn’t have much money and never really ate out. It was a celebration.”

After paying off his parents’ $200,000 in debt, the celebrations have gotten bigger. A few months ago, Cao told GOBankingRates, he flew his parents out to Hawaii for a two-week vacation, fully-funded by Cao’s part-time re-sale business. “I’ve never seen them happier.”

He added, “My motive behind selling sneakers and making all this money was always to support my family.”

StockX Helps Streamline Sales

Cao’s parents have helped with the business from the start, inspecting incoming orders and packaging products for sale.

After attending college and earning a degree in finance, Cao started working two part-time jobs in law and e-commerce. Even with the help his parents offered running the reselling business, Cao needed to find a way to streamline the process to make time for his jobs.

After selling locally and on Facebook groups for a little while, Cao saw the industry shift with the launch of StockX. “It was a big deal within the reseller community. Everyone thought meetups were going to be dead,” Cao recalled.

While some resellers still attend meetups and sell locally, Cao pivoted to selling almost exclusively on StockX and said he spends roughly 10 hours a week on his side business now. The marketplace allows resellers to list items easily. When a buyer puts in a bid and the seller accepts, the seller ships the item to StockX for verification. StockX ships to the buyer. Cao also shifted away from sneakers to lifestyle clothing brands like Fear of God Essentials and artist / brand collaborations like those from Playboi Carti and Travis Scott.

Make Your Money Work Better for You

“The margins are better for me. Plus, clothing is less bulky than sneakers, which have to be shipped in boxes,” Cao explained.

In spite of the money Cao makes off highly coveted brands, he doesn’t mix his business with his personal style. He told GOBankingRates that he considers the Nike Air Presto (black/white) to be one of his favorite sneakers, but he doesn’t own a pair; they now list on StockX starting at $1,500 up to nearly $3,300.

“I have some expensive clothes, but they’re not part of my inventory. I don’t wear what I sell,” he said.

Getting Started

Cao purchased his first pair of sneakers to sell back in 2015. In the early years of his business, he would stay up all night to be one of the first to secure a hype release like Yeezys or the hottest Jordans. Knowledge of the brands and what will sell is essential, and that remains true today.

In an email, StockX revealed that some of the platform’s hottest sellers include inaugural collaborations, like the Wales Bonner x Adidas collab, which dropped in 2021. “The two brands continue to release sought-after collections with pieces like the Adidas Samba Wales Bonner Cream Green,” the StockX spokesperson wrote.

Likewise, merchandise showcasing popular movie and TV franchises tends to appreciate in value. “Collaborations that involve Star Wars and Batman see really strong price appreciation — and that’s happening cross-category, from collectibles like LEGO sets to special sneakers like the Nike Air Max 90 Batman,” StockX said.

Of course, as in any industry, the law of supply and demand comes into play. “The more limited a release is, the better the chance is that it will trade for a premium,” the StockX representative wrote.

Make Your Money Work Better for You

Whether you use bots, which are automated programs that make it easy to buy merchandise in large quantities, or take the approach of using apps to monitor websites for new releases, it’s important to have an eye on the top sellers in any product category. If you have capital to invest, you can purchase large quantities when you have time, like Cao does now.

Cao previously told Business Insider that he has stayed away from bots, because they’d eat into his margins. Instead, he said, “I’ll just buy a ton at my own convenience. I don’t have time to line up or stay up all night.”

Cao said StockX makes it easy to sell the merchandise with less hassle. “I work two jobs. I don’t have much time to list all this stuff on Facebook marketplace and meet up with people,” Cao said. “It’s just so easy to list it on StockX and be done with it.”

 

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