Sneaker heads can rejoice: the resale market for the category has some new competition.
Today will see the launch of Stadium Goods — an online, consignment marketplace that’s home to thousands of limited and special edition as well as exclusive and hard-to-find styles of sneakers. A corresponding 3,000-square-foot store will open on Howard Street in SoHo on Oct. 16, where walls are lined with hundred of pairs of pristine, plastic-wrapped Jordans, Nike Airmax 95s and Adidas sneakers that can, in some cases, cost up to several thousand dollars.
The sneaker consignment venture was founded by Jed Stiller, who used to work in hospitality and entertainment at agency Team Epiphany, and John McPheters, who spent 10 years at Flight Club, a popular sneaker resale boutique with locations in New York and Los Angeles. Stiller and McPheters, who are also partners at SM Ventures, a venture capital fund that helped finance the store, brought on Yu-Ming Wu, founder of sneakernews.com and footwear convention Sneaker Con, as chief marketing officer. Industry sources estimate that they’ve raised $2 million to fund the venture.
The trio, who all have a stake in the business, are bringing their areas of expertise to the store, which features two entrances. At 47 Howard Street, buyers can access the space and browse an assortment of never worn, consigned sneakers from brands including Nike, Adidas and Jordan Brand. A trophy case displays rare and expensive styles.
About 3,000 styles will be for sale at launch, with Nike making up about 90 percent of product. McPheters contended that when it comes to the most in-demand footwear, Jordans are a “huge driver of the market.”
“We have all those classics, those OGs [originals] everyone wants to get their hands on,” McPheters said, rattling off the classic Air Jordan 1 in black and red as well as the Infrared Jordan 6 as among the most sought-after styles. The Nike Airmax 95 is the most popular in the Airmax family, but the Airmax 90 is a “big draw,” too.
On the other side of the store at 307 Canal Street, consignors can enter the Stadium Goods Market Center where staffers authenticate and price sneakers. When the sneakers sell, consignors receive 80 percent of the profit. On a Thursday, which was three days before the store opening, this area was already filled with stacks of Nike boxes. McPheters told WWD these shoes came from collectors and friends they know in the sneaker industry.
McPheters, Stiller and Wu are hoping that a high level of customer service will differentiate them from other sneaker resale services.
“Consignors shouldn’t have the second seat,” Stiller said.
Circling back to the digital component of the business, McPheters said the store opening coincides with the launch of a mobile enabled e-commerce site. He expects mobile to account for 35 percent of its sales — along with an app where consignors can make appointments to bring in their sneakers or create shipping labels to send their sneakers to the store.
McPheters, who joined Flight Club in 2005, acknowledged that the sneaker culture has changed tremendously in the past decade. “For many years it was niche; now it’s a mass culture.”
“In our mind, the digital brand is very important. The way we’re presenting product online is obviously a huge part of what we’re doing, but physical isn’t second seat by any means,” McPheters said. “I think we will do very well in-store, but a healthy business today does the majority of its transactions online.”
Supreme hats sit inside the trophy case, but McPheters wants to eventually stock a full collection of consigned apparel from the streetwear brand. Right now sneakers make up 90 percent of product, but he expects this to change as apparel offerings expand. He’s also interested in pieces from Japanese brand Visvim.
According to McPheters, an education component is also key for the store. He wants to ensure that staff members and the e-commerce site properly inform buyers and sellers about sneakers and why they are a certain price.
“There is a reason why a shoe is expensive, and we want to let the consumer know why they are special,” he said.
Yu added: “Customers are also looking for more variety. It’s not just about Jordans. Consumers are looking for things from Asics, Saucony, Adidas and Converse. I’m happy people are opening their eyes to a bigger market.”