In today's sneaker culture of hyper-exclusive releases, sprawling lines and subsequent extortionate resell prices on platforms like eBay and Grailed, one might expect big corporate brands to take umbrage at plucky resellers making a quick buck on their products. But, as Racked explains, that's really not the case.
The publication spoke to a number of high-profile people within the industry, including the likes of Enrico Moretti Polegato, CEO at Diadora. The Italian brand has experience somewhat of a resurgence of late, in part kickstarted by carefully selected collaborations that don't actually make any money, at least not directly. The Diadora N9000 Solebox "Ferro," for example, is now selling at almost $500, a significant premium over its retail price and the brand won't make a single cent. "It's not a matter of money," Polegato said. "The value on the brand is way bigger than the cost of the collabos."
Brandon Williams, the global business unit manager at Saucony Originals, agrees. Saucony puts out about 15 collaborations a year, keeping them to between 1,200 and 2,400 pairs globally to keep stock low, and demand high. He says,
We hope that someone will be interested in the resale value. When the next release comes around, if everything is right about it, then of course, you're hoping that we're going to see it on eBay or some of these different selling platforms that are popping up.
He explains that when the brand puts out a successful collaboration, the boutique's buyers decide to carry more down-line Sauconys, further boosting the brand's appeal to sneakerheads; and buyers from lesser-known boutiques see Bodega carrying Sauconys, so they pick up the brand as well. "Hopefully at the end of the day we are widening our audience and introducing them to some of the products that aren't that limited," Williams says.
It's a model that most smaller brands will try to emulate in the coming years, but with Nike owning an estimated 96% of the $1.2 billion resell market, and adidas just 1%, despite the insane mark-ups on Kanye's Yeezys, it isn't going to be easy. Head over the Racked to read the piece in full and to find out which brand industry insiders think is most likely to make this model work.
Online resellers are hustlin' so hard that last year California Police Department opened an exchange zone to make reselling sneakers safer.