The very first sneakers were introduced more almost 80 years ago, in 1940, by PF Flyers, promising greater speed when running and higher jumps. Many things changed since then, and today sneakers make a $55 billion global industry.

For sneakerheads, the sneakers they are chasing and their extensive collections is another form of art. “One to rock, one to stock” is their motto, which means buying one pair for wearing and the other as an investment, to turn them over and make some money. Those people would camp out for hours in front of, let’s say, Nike’s store entrance, and spend insane sums just to get the latest and exclusive pair of sneakers first. This might sound crazy, but only until you realize that with a good fashion sense and at least an ounce of business in your blood, the passion for sneakers may transfer from hobby to a prospering business idea.

Meet Benjamin Kapelushnik, better known as Benjamin Kickz on the Internet – a 16-year old high school boy from Florida, who quickly became one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the sneaker resale industry with his The Sneakerdon online sneakers resale store. A self-made sneaker plug , Kickz calls himself a guy that “puts it together and makes it happen”, and is currently on his way of making $1 million in sales, as he told New York Magazine.

 

Young And Business-Savvy

It all started when Kapelushnik was in fifth grade, and his mom got him a pair of Lebron Galaxies. Back then, Ben knew nothing about sneakers and did not think of them as a potential thing to build business around. His perception of sneakers started to slightly change, however, after Ben started wearing his Lebrons to school: “I wore them to school and everyone was going crazy. Then I started gradually liking sneakers more,” – he recalls.

Kapelushnik’s first business deal was made two years later, in his seventh grade – he bought a pair of Lebron X MVPs for $400 and sold them for a price ten times more – $4,000. Yes, you heard it right. From that point on, he moved to buying sneakers in bulk, and along with that started reading sneaker magazines to spot current trends, studied the resale market, and used his bar mitzvah money to buy more shoes. One of his first bulk purchases at that time was 85 pairs of the Air Jordan 1 Retro High OG “Powder Blue”, which are now worth $200 on sneakerdon.com – Kapelushnik’s official resale website, where prices for sneakers vary from $100 to as much as $20,000 (actually, the most expensive pair Ben ever sold).

What Ben does is basically finding rare sneakers that you cannot get anywhere else and selling them before they are available in public. As Ben says, he technically buys them from resellers who do not have the customer base to sell their shoes – for that reason, they sell in bulk to Ben. “I’m that one person that goes and scatters it around,” he explains. “No one wants to go through dealing with [a random seller], because he only has one pair, one size. I have every pair, every size, because I just bought it from everybody. Done.” – he says.

Making The Business Boomin

“How is your business?” – famous music producer and rapper DJ Khaled asks Ben on his Snapchat video. – “Boomin” – responds Kickz. The video immediately went viral, and Boomin became the catchphrase for Sneakerdon business. Khaled was the first celebrity to order sneakers from Ben, and this was the turning point for Kapelushnik not only in terms of increased attention of rich and famous, but also from the perspective of how his relationship with Khaled blossomed, despite the age difference. He started appearing on various events, meeting people and, most importantly, networking. “Go with a girl to the movies, go with your brother to the movies — that’s cool, but I have no interest in going out to parties and not networking with anyone. Not only does it get boring, you’re not getting ahead,” – he told New York Magazine.

Now Kapelushnik sells to many athletes and hip-hop stars, including Ian Connor, DJ Carnage, G-Eazy, Lil Yachty, Playboi Carti, Quavo, P. Diddy and other celebrities. He gives his precedence to rappers rather than athletes: not because he prefers one above others, but simply because he feels a very close bond with hip-hop music and culture. Although Kapelushnik is a welcome guest at rappers’ parties and events, the key to their communication and professional relationship lies in Ben’s attitude towards them – he does not treat them like celebrities, but more like people who he can make business with. “I don’t look at rappers like, Wow, that’s a rapper,” he says. “If every time you’re like, ‘Oh my God, can I get a picture?’ you’ll never form a relationship,” – states Ben.

Despite his very young age, Benjamin Kickz has turned himself into a well established business tycoon in his industry, and his genuine love for sneakers is probably one of the key reasons for his huge success. However boomin his Sneakerdon is, Kickz still has plans on his personal investments, among which are going to college, with Yale being the first choice, and getting an MBA degree. He is not going to be a 27 years old still selling sneakers, Ben says – what he is doing now is a “kid thing”, and his further plans go on a lot wider scale than that. “I want to do business and marketing, and I think I could grow a lot more by learning that in college. I do have a head start, but imagine having a head start and then being able to go forward even more,” –Kickz explains.

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