I developed my side hustle at age 12 in the summer of 7th grade. At the time, I started to get really into the “sneakerhead” culture because the kids at my school would always be showing off their shoes. Naturally, I wanted to do more than just fit in so I begged my parents to buy me a pair of Air Jordans.
They complied, but the problem with getting into sneakers is that new ones release weekly and I wanted them all – but my parents didn’t want to buy me more than one pair did not have the money to afford more. After begging my parents to front me money for just one more pair, they finally agreed.
So with a combination of money my parents loaned me and the money I had received for Christmas, I purchased 2 pairs of Air Jordan Retro V’s in the Laney color-way that released in limited quantities.
Traveling To SneakerCon
Some time later, a friend I had made through the love of sneakers and I decided to travel to SneakerCon – A glorified convention where “sneakerheads” can buy, sell, and trade sneakers. Within the first couple minutes of just getting in line, I already had people asking me about the recently released Laney V’s that I had. Within an hour of the event starting I sold the pair for $50 more than I had paid for them. Being in 7th grade, $50 was a LOT of money. So at that moment, I realized that this was my first real business opportunity. What better way is there to make money for sneakers than selling them?
Buying And Reselling Sneakers
As I continued to buy sneakers and resell them for more money than I had paid for them, I managed to rack up a good amount of money that would just go right back into buying and reselling sneakers. At the time, the most popular sneakers were Kanye West’s “Yeezy” in collaboration with Nike. It was my dream to eventually own one of those coveted sneakers and eventually in the Summer of 2015, I purchased a pair for $1100.
But as all fads do, Air Jordans and all the sneakers that were hot at the time, became played out. So, I started to get really into clothing over sneakers so that I would stick out. I traded in my Air Jordans for designer shoes such as Y-3’s and Maison Martin Margiela’s and my joggers and sneaker-related tees for skinny jeans and brands such as Supreme and Fear of God.
Buying And Reselling Clothing
Although my style changed, my hustle did not. I continued to resell items but this time it was clothing. I found that I could make the same amount of money that I did with sneakers but without having to spend more initially. For example, a pair of Air Jordans retails for roughly $180 and since the market is so flooded, I could probably make $30. A Supreme t-shirt retails at roughly $34 and I could make the same amount of money off of one t-shirt. So by selling Supreme, I could make the same amount of money as I did with sneakers without having to invest as much money!
One of my more recent sales was when I purchased a Supreme photo tee with Morrissey wearing their coveted box logo tee for $44 and sold it for $160. I made almost 400% profit off of one t-shirt! In November of 2016, I got my first real job at PacSun – an apparel retailer in my local mall. I applied to work Thanksgiving night and Black Friday which are two of the busiest times of the year for a mall. Using the skills I had learned previously from reselling, I managed to do the exact same thing but this time, get paid by hour instead of hoping for the right person to buy my products for the right price.
What I’ve Learned From Side Hustling
Through the 5 years of hustling I’ve done, I learned so much about negotiation tactics and how important bonds are within the community. I think the best part of the hustle of reselling is that you make money for what you love by doing what you love. I look at it not as a business venture but more as an experience that I’m glad I’ve been able to take part in. Through my side hustle, I’ve met some of my best friends and learned skills that will be necessary for my future in business. The experiences I’ve had from going to all these events and meeting so many new people are very memorable and I feel like it made me somewhat wealthy not only in the pocket, but in the heart and mind.
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Robert Farrington is America’s Millennial Money Expert® and America’s Student Loan Debt Expert™, and the founder of The College Investor, a personal finance site dedicated to helping millennials escape student loan debt to start investing and building wealth for the future. You can learn more about him here and here.
He regularly writes about investing, student loan debt, and general personal finance topics geared towards anyone wanting to earn more, get out of debt, and start building wealth for the future.
He has been quoted in major publications including the New York Times, Washington Post, Fox, ABC, NBC, and more. He is also a regular contributor to Forbes.