A Passion Grown into a Business – David Jordan
Interview by Shawn Martin
David Jordan began as your typical sneakerhead; camping out for store openings to get the latest Nike, Jordan and other shoe releases. Today he’s has taken his passion for shoes and turned it into an emerging business. Jordan is a co-founder of OneCentKicks, an idea he and business partner Greg came up with while standing in line for sneakers.
Now he is living the life any shoe fanatic could ever dream of, getting multiple pairs of every shoe release, keeping a pair for himself and making money on every other pair. OneCentKicks is a penny auction website similar to the popular QuiBids, where every bid only increases the cost of the shoes by one cent. These are auctions people are winning daily for rare sneakers that cost well over $300 on eBay and other reseller websites. Jordan is quickly changing how other sneakerheads can purchase their shoes.
How did you start your business, OneCentKicks? Where did the idea come from and where did you go from there?
If you are familiar with QuiBids, it is the biggest penny auction website in the world. But I wanted to be bigger than QuiBids. I wanted to have higher value items on my website like “gold bars,” and “family vacations,” for just a few pennies. I quickly found out I would need a couple million dollars and I don’t have access to that sort of funding. Last year we were camping out for the LeBron playoff shoe release in Miami. Me and my business partner were sitting outside Foot Locker. For the first six hours we were bored out of our skulls and then we realized we don’t want to do this unless we can come up with some sort of idea to make it worthwhile. That’s when I came up with the idea of making a penny auction website for sneakers. My business partner claims he came up with the business name but I know it was me. We got so excited for the rest of the night. Once we got the shoes we went straight home, bought the URL onecentkicks.com and created a presentation for my parents to help make sure I have full control of my own business. My parents weren’t on board right away, but once they did their own research they felt like it could work and helped pay for the initial investments. Here we are now.
Did you ever research and find any competitors you may have?
The night we came up with the idea. We seen [sic] a website by the name “SneakerJack” and we saw some very rare sneakers on her website where she was telling buyers they could have any sneaker they want in any size, but delivery can take three to four weeks in time. We knew that was because she didn’t have the sneakers on hand she was trying to buy them on-line through reselling prices with the risk of fraud and fake shoes every time. We didn’t want to run our business like that and that is how she is no longer a factor.
Have you always been a sneakerhead?
No, it has only been since recently that I was a sneaker head. My friend in Miami called me one night just to see what I was doing and he suggested I go with him to camp out for shoes. I didn’t think the experience would be fun but it ended up being a fun time when my friend told me about how it all works and the interesting people you meet. Once you wait outside all night for a pair of shoes it quickly turns you into a sneaker head. Now that I have my business I love to camp out; my business partner hates it but I love it. You get to sit down and talk smack to people who already know who I am, the guy that will buy everything that is left over and some.
Do you always camp out for shoes or have you slowly grown connections?
I will always camp out because I enjoy it, but I do my research for where I can also get some other shoes in larger quantities. I do have the funding but I like to get a bargain when I buy large quantities. Like the Cork LeBron sneakers coming out this weekend I was able to get my hands on a size run for a reasonable price, it was a lot easier this way than buying them individually.
Where do you see your business going in the future?
You know how we do one auction a night? I want to end up in a year’s time at four or five auctions a night. I know we have to have a lot of inventory at this point and we have a whole storage unit of shoes right now. I can’t tell you how many we have because it is a lot, but there are some shoes we have that we are quickly learning were a bad decision because we are slowly learning the shoes that our clientele wants to have. That goes with having your own business; you will make some costly mistakes but we are quickly finding ways around them.
How many pairs of shoes do you have in your own personal collection?
That is a pretty interesting question. I have around 90-100 pairs of shoes. This is all from starting to collect since last May. I don’t wear many of them because I like to keep them ‘dead stocked’ in their boxes. I have a broad collection too. I am trying to get a lot of older shoes that are harder to find. I am willing to pay $300 to $350 for a pair of shoes but that is for the best condition.
What is the most you’ve spent in a day on shoes for your business?
Crazy you ask that because it was just this weekend. On the All-Star pack Kobe’s, LeBron’s, and KDs we spent a little over $5,000. We would have spent more if it was possible for us to get more sizes in the LeBron’s but we weren’t able to get our hands on many sizes. I also got a few rare sneakers that day but we are saving them for a special auction. We are hoping those sell really well.
How do you promote your business?
We pay about $25 a day on Facebook advertisement. Now we are at a point where we don’t need to promote as much, I hand out my business card at shoe events or releases, but now when people post their winning shoes on social networks they do most of the promoting for us. Free advertisement, you can’t beat it.