Not just for kicks: Sophomore runs her own sneaker reselling business

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Not just for kicks: Sophomore runs her own sneaker reselling business

Sophomore Hunter Chan posing with Sneakerhunt shoe inventory

Sophomore Hunter Chan posing with Sneakerhunt shoe inventory

Christina Kan

Sophomore Hunter Chan posing with Sneakerhunt shoe inventory

Christina Kan

Christina Kan

Sophomore Hunter Chan posing with Sneakerhunt shoe inventory

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Sophomore Hunter Chan rips open the package excitedly and pulls out the new pair of shoes she has been waiting to arrive for weeks. She turns the shoes over in her hands, inspecting them carefully before coming to a horrible realization: the shoes in the package aren’t Nike off-white Prestos — they’re dupes. Chan had been scammed. She traded her Yeezy 350 Belugas for a fake pair of Nike off-white Prestos through a selling platform called Bump, and her trust in a shady website had cost her a pair of legitimate shoes. 

Inspired by the frustration of being scammed, Chan created @sneakerhunt.sf, an Instagram account that she uses to resell high demand sneakers to customers. Chan hopes that by providing a reliable platform for her customers, she can prevent other shoe enthusiasts from being scammed like she did. She prides herself on selling authentic shoes, 100 percent guaranteed. “I wanted to create an account that everyone who buys from me can feel safe,” Chan said. 

The account’s following grew slowly at first, but started to gain traction as Chan started exchanging “shoutouts” and doing deals with other sneaker reseller accounts. During a deal, Chan buys 5-10 new or used sneakers from an account with more followers and asks for a recommendation in addition to the sneakers. Through these methods, Chan’s credibility increased as a buyer and seller, and her follower count followed suit. As of November 2019, her Instagram has 18,700 followers. 

In addition to her Instagram presence, Chan launched her own website two months ago with the help of Shopify, a platform that helps business owners expand their brand. In the upcoming year, Chan also plans to introduce Sneakerhunt SF merchandise such as t-shirts and sweatshirts.

To maintain her account and website, Chan must stay tuned to the demands of her customers. She gets a feel for what types of shoes her customers want by posting a question sticker on her Instagram story, allowing her followers to request certain sneakers. She also looks at what shoes other resellers are selling and checks for drops of new shoes from retail stores regularly.

There are two main ways to get shoes: directly from a retailer during a shoe release, or from other reseller accounts that sell or trade new or used shoes. For a typical retailer drop — a shoe release — Chan wakes up at 6:30 a.m. to set up her laptop and log into her existing accounts on the retailer’s website. Most major retailers’ drops are draws, which are lottery systems in which people submit entries to win a chance to purchase a coveted pair of the shoes. Draws are based mainly on luck, but require some strategy. Even though you’re only supposed to have one account, Chan controls 15-20 accounts under different email addresses and debit cards, allowing her more entries into the pool of two to three million other competing accounts. Chan has won over 20 pairs of shoes from various draws.

Reselling shoes takes time and dedication. To maintain Sneakerhunt, Chan enters 2-3 shoe draws per month, takes pictures of new inventory to post to her Instagram account and her website, packages and ships out orders, and updates her log of profits. Besides managing Sneakerhunt, Chan balances rehearsals with Lowell’s chamber choir, daily practices for varsity basketball, and school work. Due to her other time-consuming commitments, Chan has considered stepping down from the shoe reselling business multiple times in the past year. Despite feeling overwhelmed, Chan has realized that she needs the clarity that Sneakerhunt provides her. “Sneakerhunt is kind of my getaway from all the stress from school and everything,” Chan says. 

In a community that is dominated by males, Chan has challenged the status quo as a female reseller. Chan only knows three other female resellers in the Bay Area, and many of her customers assume she is male. “I get dms all the time like, ‘Yo, what’s up dude,’ ‘What can I get, bro?’” she said. Through her platform, Chan has established a name for herself and earned the respect of the sneakerhead community. She’s even gotten direct messages on Instagram from other female resellers telling her that what she’s doing inspires them. Chan hopes to continue to break stereotypes about what a typical reseller and sneakerhead looks like and serve as a role model for other girls looking to start out in the reseller business. 

Christina Kan
Sophomore Hunter Chan poses with Sneakerhunt shoe inventory

With the huge success and personal profit Chan has enjoyed since starting Sneaker Hunt in 2016, she’s now focusing on giving back to her community. She’s currently planning a set of 8-10 sneaker giveaways to raise $5,000 by the end of next year for St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. To enter a giveaway, people must follow all the accounts associated with it. Chan charges the eight accounts fees to be associated with the giveaway, allowing her to make money to contribute to her cause as the accounts gain followers and expand their platforms. 

Chan’s experience reselling shoes is a direct investment into her future ambitions. Chan has invested the bulk of the roughly $8,000 she has made reselling shoes into her dad’s real estate business. In the future, Chan hopes to go into real estate as well. Since the real estate industry and shoe reseller business follow similar business models, Chan thinks that her experience running Sneakerhunt prepares her well to resell houses someday. “You’re buying houses, you’re keeping them for awhile, and then market goes up on them, and you sell them,” Chan said.

Chan wants to continue reselling sneakers and maintaining Sneakerhunt for as long as she can. When she does decide to move on, she wants to sell the Instagram account with its followers and existing platform to another reliable reseller. According to Chan, the resell sneaker industry is just getting started, reaping greater profits for resellers each year. She said, “Seeing really young resellers starting out and making money for their college tuition, it’s crazy to see. It’s evolved into something crazy from what it was a few years ago.”