It was the week before Christmas. My fiancé (now my wife) wanted to get some more little things before the holidays. So she was going off to The Beverly Connection, the discount mall right across from the high end Beverly Center. Did I want to come? No I didn’t, but when the offer of coffee and lunch was brought up I changed my tune. The Beverly Connection is home of stores like Ross, TJ Maxx, Nordstroms Rack and Marshall’s. After a trip to Coffee Bean we were off to Ross. She went off to look at toys and home goods. Me I wander off to the one thing I know about… sneakers.
I had recently left Nike after 8 years, but the sneaker addiction still remains. Growing up I was always a Nike kid. Looking back on family photos you can always see Jordans and Pennys on my feet. So if I’m in a store I always look to see what is out there, how much they’re selling for, the technology, the color ways, and the stories. Sneakers always have my attention and to me it beats looking at home goods. Ross doesn’t have anything that catches my eye (a couple team based Nike HyperDunks, nothing special) so we moved on. TJ Maxx it turns out doesn’t sell men’s shoes so I distract myself by looking at the clothes. We leave empty handed but the next stop is set to be Marshall’s.
I’ve seen the pictures on the Internet. Somebody finds a Chanel bag at Goodwill, or a Gucci shirt on sale, it happens. I’ve seen it on sites like Solecollector and NiceKicks, people have great finds, it happens, but not to me. I go to the mall a lot and never have those strokes of pure fate. So I was telling my fiancé about how I’m never one of those lucky few people right as we head in to what would become my lucky Marshall’s.
I first discovered the shoes on a whim because it matched my color scheme (I wear lots of blue) but from the distance I thought it would be the incredibly similar Jordan 1.5. So I went up to them and thought “well if they’re like $20 or so they’d be just fine shoes to beat up around town”. But when I approached I realized this wasn’t the Jordan 1.5 at all it was the real deal, the Jordan 1 Retro X Fragment! This was a shoe that was impossible to get upon release. I remember as a Nike employee at the time they came out, even I had no chance to get the, but still getting asked by friends if I had the hook-up. They released, sold out and that was the end of it for me. As soon as you see this shoe the one thing that always stands out is the Fragment Design lightening bolt. That was the difference between nothing and everything.
I’ve never been in to reselling. To me you buy it if you like it and if you don’t like it you don’t buy it. Most shoes you can make some money from reselling but is it really worth your time and effort for $100 profit? Most resellers have vast networks and get several pairs therefore making it much more lucrative. To me, I’d rather go out make a living and buy sneakers as hobby.
Once I realized these were the real deal, I immediately looked around to see if there were any more. It turns out they had 3 pairs!!! They were a size 8.5, I wear a size 9. I tried them on and it was a little snug, but the thought was hey, I can make this work. I mean shoes that resell for over a thousand dollars for $59.99!? This incredible story and the fact that these were in my color scheme were a sign. I quickly snapped a picture to put on Instagram, then grabbed all 3 boxes and headed over to find my fiancé. Immediately my phone and Instagram blew up. At first it was friends and old Nike coworkers congratulating and texting. Then came the comments from the masses “Wow” “OMG” “Those are super Fake” “I’ll cash you out”. One of my favorite comments was “I’ll buy them off you… not for too much though”, this person must be a master negotiator.
One of my oldest friends from Nike hit me up, he was just on his way to go to a consignment store to get the same pair in his for $2500. This friend is a true Nike head and somebody who I know sneakers mean a lot too. He told me he’d come my way immediately and I agreed to give them to him at face value, because I know those shoes would immediately go on his feet and be worn proudly. Friendship and loyalty have to have a place above profits. After I left the store I found out my instagram picture had made the rounds on the sneaker blog-o-sphere. Articles were found in HypeBeast, Sneaker News, SoleCollector and Complex.
For the other two shoes I decided I was going to do what I had never done before, resell them and I was going to be ruthless. I immediately put them up on Stock X and eBay. Anybody who was sending me negative comments and stupid DMs on Instagram were immediately blocked. You want to negotiate price, head over to eBay, I’m not dealing directly with you, I’m not falling in to the PayPal scams and texting you all day. If you want them make a serious offer and come and get them. Yes, eBay does charge fees, and a friend did warn me of some scams on there so I made sure to be on extra high alert. Being diligent paid off and I was able to sell both pairs within a few months.
What did I do with my new found money? I spent it on the one thing that means everything to me, my wife. When I found these shoes I had 6 months until my wedding and was going through a very difficult time as I had recently been laid off from my job of 8 years at Nike, the brand I loved deeply. I was given a severance but I had still not found a full time job. I kept busy working on comedy and taking any freelance work that I could find. I was terrified that I would not be able to afford to give my wife the honeymoon she deserved. Every time people would mention a place to go my thoughts immediately drifted to that dark place of “how am I ever going to afford that!?”. The gift of these sneakers helped us enjoy an amazing 8 days in Maui! If you think shoes are just something you put on your feet, you need to realize that sometimes they can be so much more!