How A Government Contractor Returned from Afghanistan To Become Houston’s Top Sneaker Reseller
When you’re in a city built primarily on oil and gas, barrel prices plummeting can lead to an economic downturn pretty quickly. And that’s exactly what’s happened to Houston. Many of the city’s biggest corporations have administered substantial layoffs while them being slightly diversified with healthcare and financial services has helped them maintain as best as possible. It’s contained the impact and hasn’t stopped Houston from being one of the fastest growing cities in America. That’s partially because any downturn can make room for a ton of opportunity and that’s certainly been the case for “V. Johnson”, a Houston native that returned from working overseas as a government contractor in 2013 and jumped right into sneaker reselling.
Ahead of this week’s adidas Yeezy Boost 350 V2 release, we sat down with him to talk sneakers and the reselling market and exactly how the heck he went from working in Bagram to becoming Houston’s top sneaker reseller.
PH: What’s your educational background?
VJ: I graduated from college with a Bachelor of Arts degree in finance. I took the traditional route working several stressful and unfulfilling jobs in corporate American. I eventually stepped out on faith and began to resell full time.
PH: When, how and why did you become a sneaker reseller?
VJ: 2009, when I purchased a pair of Yeezy 1’s for $950 that retailed for $225, I realized that there was an opportunity to make a lot of money. Especially because the industry had not yet become mainstream. In 2013, when I returned to the US from working overseas I began reselling.
PH: What did you do before you got into this?
VJ: I was a government contractor for an engineering and construction company based in Afghanistan.
PH: Would you consider yourself a sneaker head?
VJ: I used to be a sneaker head but over the past 3-4 years I’ve only purchased shoes I really like. I mostly only purchase designer sneakers now days with Saint Laurent being my go-to brand the past few years.
PH: Is there a sneaker you’ve gotten that you just didn’t want to sell?
VJ: The Nike Air Jordan Retro 1 Fragment, I felt like the shoe would be a hot commodity.
PH: What was the most difficult part about getting into the business?
VJ: Developing relationships that allowed me to get large quantities of sneaker from individual retailers.
PH: What, if anything, would you say differentiates you from most of the other resellers out there?
VJ: The difference between me and other resellers my prices are always below or at market value. I have a love for sneakers and I’ve been in my clients shoes. Though I do this to make money, I’m not greedy.
PH: Most people think that resellers make all of the profits from a sneaker resale. In your process, how many players would you say have a financial interest in the sale of each sneaker resell?
VJ: When obtaining the shoes, I deal directly with the source. This helps maintain the lowest possible price. But when dealing with a third party, I only work with people that I have a strong relationship with.
PH: How many different retailers do you work with in Houston?
VJ: Only a few because stores in the area don’t normally get shoes that are in high demand.
PH: On average, how many sneakers would you say you sell per month?
VJ: It really depends on how many releases there are in a month. For a general release, the average is about 100 pairs per week.
PH: What’s been the most successful sneaker that you’ve gotten your hands on?
VJ: The adidas Yeezy Boost 350 in Pirate Black were my biggest payday. I was able to obtain 50 pair on day of release and even more after release date.
PH: We’re assuming popularity isn’t the end game, so what is it that you hope to accomplish from this?
VJ: I’m an extremely private person but I hope to make money.
PH: Tell us more about what you’ve been experiencing with sneaker market down in Houston.
VJ: Houston doesn’t receive many of the limited releases and it allows the market to be wide open when obtaining those releases.
PH: Would you say sneaker reselling is still on the rise, even with all the limitations brands and sites are trying to put on the market?
VJ: It’s still on the rise. The restrictions and limitations actually create more demand and so there’s just more money to be made.
PH: Where can people follow you and get in touch with you to buy?
VJ: They can follow me on Instagram — @v2johnson