The Shoe Game
Jay Hickman '20 discusses how turned his passion for sneakers into a business.
As JayDaVonyae Hickman ‘20 walks the hallways of City High, one can’t help but notice the vibrant colors intertwined with complex and intricate patterns on his shoes. He is one of the captains of the City High football team and is also known to the student body as the person who sells shoes to the school. Hickman’s love for shoes began with observing and admiring the shoes of his brothers.
“I just always wanted a pair of their shoes and they just bought for me,” Hickman said. “Shoes are like candy to a baby.”
His enthusiasm for shoes inspired him to begin buying sneakers on various apps such as Kick X, Go App, and Nice Kicks and then sell them for twice the price.
“For example with Yeezys [a shoe brand by Kanye West], you buy them for $200 when they first drop, then they get sold out,” said Hickman. “You can resell for like $1000, so you’re making $800 in your pocket. You could either buy some more shoes or just keep your money.”
To be successful in the business, one has to be quick when getting the sneaker off the website.
“On the website or [app], when it is dropping, you just have to be there,” Hickman said. “It has a drop time on something; as soon as that drop time hits zero you submit. If they say ‘Oh, sorry,’ [then] you’re too late.”
The shoes Hickman wears act as a promotion for his business. When different students notice a sneaker that he is wearing, they ask him where he bought the shoes. That is the moment Hickman uses to begin selling the sneakers.
“Once you get a shoe that everyone would like, it starts a business right there,” Hickman said. “[People] keep coming, [asking], ‘Do you have this pair of shoes?’ I just try to keep getting more and more shoes for other people.”
However, Hickman is not the only student selling shoes in the City High hallways. There is competition. There are multiple students trying to get the most popular shoes to their student body consumers.
“I’m trying to get better at business by buying better shoes and outsell[ing] other competition,” Hickman said.
As a sneakerhead, a person who loves and collects shoes, there are times when he wants to keep some of the shoes that he may be selling. When he is shopping and buys multiple pairs of shoes, he keeps a pair that he wants, then resells the others.
“Sometimes there are times when I want to keep shoes, but if I know the shoes are going to sell for a lot more, I’m going to sell it,” said Hickman.
Nevertheless, Hickman still believes that popular sneakers are extremely overpriced, with sneakers such as The Air Max 97 Silver Ballet costing $304 on Stock X, a shoe selling website.
“They’re overpriced because people want them,” Hickman said. “They can sell them for any [price] and people will get them because it’s fashion. That’s what the trend is now: shoes.”
Ja’Korey Walker, a City High teacher and shoe enthusiast, advises students to be responsible with their money.
“If you are considerable enough financially to be able to do it, then spend your money how you want to,” said Walker. “Just make sure your priorities are in order first. Don’t go buy a new pair of shoes if you haven’t paid your rent.”
Hickman is not certain if he will expand his shoe selling business later in the future, but he plans to major in business when he attends college.