Meet the OG Sneaker Sellers Behind eBay's Most Coveted Drops - Complex

Summary

In the age of raffles and limited releases, getting your hands on the latest limited-edition Dunks or New Balance collabs can feel like a mere pipe dream. And whilst the process of copping a general release is relativity straightforward, now, with almost every sneaker brand jumping on the hype wave and the rise of the resale market, the chances of you declaring a W on the latest Nike collab or Yeezys is less likely than ever before.

Enter eBay. As the OG of the sneaker resale game, the online marketplace has long cemented itself as the go-to platform for those searching for secondary market cops. With a loyal following of footwear enthusiasts, the site’s listings hold a treasure trove of lucrative silhouettes, including highly-coveted Jordans, grail-worthy New Balance sneakers, and everything in between.

In the age of raffles and limited releases, getting your hands on the latest limited-edition Dunks or New Balance collabs can feel like a mere pipe dream. And whilst the process of copping a general release is relativity straightforward, now, with almost every sneaker brand jumping on the hype wave and the rise of the resale market, the chances of you declaring a W on the latest Nike collab or Yeezys is less likely than ever before.

Enter eBay. As the OG of the sneaker resale game, the online marketplace has long cemented itself as the go-to platform for those searching for secondary market cops. With a loyal following of footwear enthusiasts, the site’s listings hold a treasure trove of lucrative silhouettes, including highly-coveted Jordans, grail-worthy New Balance sneakers, and everything in between.

Fresh off the back of this, and with many making a hefty profit from buying with the intention to flip, last year eBay rolled out its Authenticity Guarantee, a foolproof process which aims to protect buyers from counterfeits and sellers from fraud. Pairing with the footwear experts Sneaker Con, the service ensures select new trainers priced over £100 pass through a rigorous authentication checklist before being sent out to buyers. After the items pass the multi-point procedure, NFC-enabled tags are attached, which when scanned deliver eBay’s authenticity report and the pair’s sneaker details.

What started out as a niche market for hobbyists, collectors and fanatics is now a booming billion-dollar industry that spans the globe. The rise of marketplace apps, alongside the increased usage of social media where you’re just one DM away from swapping a pair of creps for a large sum of cash, means that almost everyone is selling their beloved kicks, old or new. However, whilst this news may seem all too familiar to those in the know, perhaps the most interesting take from the industry is the sheer value that kicks these kicks are now worth, take eBay for example, who recently listed and sold one pair of Dior Air Jordan1 AJ 1 High OG Grey sneakers for an impressive £6,990.

With this in mind, we chopped it up with some of eBay’s OG sneaker sellers who’ve made it their business selling the very best sneaker drops, to talk about their own crep collections, grails, and their online store.

Taylor’s Trades

AKA Brandon Taylor and Becky Oxtoby

Image via Taylor’s Trades

What sneaker is your holy grail and why?

Brandon: Either the first PlayStation AF1’s or the Kanye West BAPE STA’s. I feel like they’re both just very unique collaborations that align with my interests.

Becky: My current holy grail is the Jordan 1 Mid Fearless Melody. I somehow completely missed the release and the moment I saw them I just fell in love. They’re a beautiful unique pair and super importantly, they express female empowerment.

How did you transition from being a sneaker collector to a sneaker seller?

Brandon: I was working in the industry and telling a coworker about all these connections I had from running my own business. He recommended that I start selling since I would always pay resale prices for personal items.

Becky: My first experience reselling was Yeezy 350’s years ago. I kept pairs for myself but was able to grab extra so I just sold them on. That definitely got me interested. Since joining Taylor’s Trades, we have always been slowly growing our stock. Even with a small quantity of stock we were attending sneaker events and meeting new people. We used various platforms to sell our sneakers on, including eBay. But as soon as the Sneaker Authentication feature was introduced we focused on creating a strong, varied eBay store.

How do you get your supply and go about selling them?

Becky: We purchase stock from so many different people. Most of which are people we have connected with online through forums such as The Basement and The Sole Supplier. We also allow customers to visit our stock room to browse our stock, and also attend sneaker selling events so non-locals can discover us in their own city.

What is the most expensive sneaker in your collection and how much did you pay?

Brandon: Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Dunky Nike SB Dunks. I paid £800 for a worn pair pretty soon after release as a birthday present to myself.

How big is your own sneaker collection?

Brandon: I’ve got roughly 100 pairs now but at least 50 pairs are vans. They were pretty much all lower retail. A lot of the time I was buying them for under the retail price. Then I’ve probably got two adidas pairs, ten Yeezy pairs and roughly thirty Nike pairs.

Becky: I have about 60 pairs, the majority of them being Nike.

What do you think of eBay’s sneaker community?

Becky: I love how inclusive it is. eBay is so well known by all ages and so easy to use. Because of this, all the little subgenres of sneakerheads can shop; adidas collectors, air max heads, hypebeasts. It also includes the ‘non sneakerheads’ those who don’t collect sneakers regularly because of how easy the site is to use.

What does a day in the life of one of eBay’s go-to sneaker sellers look like?

Becky: Busy! As soon as we get to our stockroom it’s a few hours of parcelling up sales. While we are there it’s also an opportunity for us to take photos of more stock to list. We then go to the relevant places to ship our sales. On certain days we travel to buy stock. Most days we stay within our city, on some occasionsm we will travel to London. There’s a lot of admin behind sneaker selling – creating the listings, sorting the shipping labels, responding to emails plus all the accounting side.

Image via Taylor’s Trades

Are there any specific trends that you are noticing this season?

Brandon: People absolutely hated Air Max 720 when it was first released and now we are sold out of them.

What’s one Nike sneaker that you’re looking to get your hands on this summer?

Brandon: I want to get some sacais but I’m not sure on what style and how difficult they actually are for driving and day-to-day life.

Becky: I would like to get my hands on a silhouette that I currently don’t own—possibly Uptempos? I’ll just have to wait for announcements as they usually take me by surprise.

What are your thoughts on eBay’s Authenticity Guarantee and how it’s improved the eBay buyer/seller experience?

Brandon: The Authenticity Guarantee is the best thing to happen to eBay. It’s been very reassuring for buyers and sellers and it has brought a completely new audience to eBay.

Becky: It has completely changed the game for both eBay buyers and sellers. As a seller, I do feel that little bit safer knowing that I am protected through eBay. I’m sure as a buyer there’s a great relief knowing that your parcel has been authenticated and you can just put them straight on your feet with no worries. It’s just a weight off your shoulders for both sides of the sale.

Check out Taylor’s Trades eBay store here.

Paragn

AKA Edward Thrower

Image via Paragn

What sneaker is your holy grail and why?

A grail that I just cannot pull the trigger on is the Off White Air Force 1 ‘The Ten’. I love Virgil; I think he’s a true creative genius in more ways than one. The entire ‘The Ten’ collection quite literally moved the sneaker industry into a new place. New sneakerheads were born, older sneakerheads fell in love all over again and I don’t know a single person who didn’t want those shoes.

How do you get your supply and go about selling them?

So after years of collecting sneakers, I started getting my hands on multiple pairs during each release. Simply from just going above and beyond when it came to raffles and online drops. I was touring in a rock band at the time and had no money, so I started to flip the other pairs I won to other musicians I knew and started selling pairs on eBay.

How big is your own sneaker collection?

It’s not actually that big anymore, I have around fifty pairs which I rotate. I’m happy with my collection, there are some grails, some beaters and some Reebok workouts.

What’s one adidas sneaker that you regret not copping?

I regret not copping the Yeezy 750 Light Grey again. I had the chance but I knew I wouldn’t really wear them. I just need them back in my collection, it’s a pair that started it all for me. I used to just sit on my bed, take them out, open the box, look at the shoes, put them back in and do it all over again. I loved that shoe.

What does a day in the life of one of eBay’s go-to sneaker sellers look like?

It’s a dream. We wait for the delivery driver to come in, unbox all the new releases, keep any personal pairs, photo product, get them on the site and then make sure we’re delivering the best service to all our clients! In between all that we’re running our cook group [a group chat which aims to help sneakerheads in cop sneakers and become better resellers] making sure members know where, how, and when to cop all the latest releases. It’s hectic at the minute with so many releases so it’s all hands on deck.

Are there any specific trends that you’re noticing?

The obvious trend is the Dunk craze. It seems the Panda dunk is now the new Air Force 1. You can’t walk down the high street and not see a pair. The other trend is the New Balance 550s. They’re taking over…

What are your thoughts on eBay’s Authenticity Guarantee and how it’s improved the buyer/seller experience?

It’s been a game-changer, to be honest. It’s sped up both the buying and selling process. Ultimately, people buy and trust the process, so pairs move quicker and customers get to relax. Also, for resellers and stores, it’s so quick and easy! Only one label to print and if anything were to go wrong, eBay has your back!

You can head over to Paragn’s eBay store by clicking here.

SoleyGrail

AKA Simon Prescott and Sarah Wilkinson

Do you remember the first sneaker that got you hooked?

Simon: Easy! The Nike Air Max 95 OG Neon, I remember my friend’s older brother wearing them and I was interested. After that and the days of full TN tracksuits, caps and the crazy patterns I was hooked. Like many 90’s kids, Air Max are my go-to.

Sarah: I don’t have one sneaker, I have two! The first is my Nike Air Max 90 Velvets and the second is my Air Max 1 Liberty of London Navy. These started an obsession for me to collect the other Liberty releases over the years. Back in 2014, you could pick them up off eBay for £30-£40 if you were lucky.

Similarly, what sneaker is your holy grail and why?

Simon: One pair that has always eluded me is the Reebok Classic Leather Shoe Gallery Flamingos at War. I love the contrast of colours used on the suede. They rarely come up for sale and when they do they sell very quickly!

Sarah: My sneaker holy grail would be the Nike x KAWS Jordan 4 Retro Cool Grey. I’ve always loved art and design so when this silhouette was released it was an amazing thing to see.

How did you transition from being a sneaker collector to becoming one of eBay’s sellers?

Sarah: My business partner Simon and I started by going to outlets and buying pairs that we found interesting personally. We then realised that we could sell a sneaker on eBay to cover the cost of our pair and make a profit. From there the business escalated and evolved with the ever-changing market and sneaker community.

How do you get your supply and go about selling them?

Simon: We tend to buy collections and have recently started accepting pairs on consignment. Pairs are authenticated, cleaned (if pre-worn) then photographed and listed on our eBay store.

How big is your own sneaker collection?

Simon: I have around 50 pairs currently, I had over 100 pairs at one point but have downsized over the years as pairs weren’t getting worn.

Sarah: My sneaker collection used to hold around 150 pairs. Over the years I have either battered them beyond the point I can restore them or have sold them on to people who are more deserving.

What is the most expensive sneaker in your collection and how much did you pay?

Simon: I’d need to check prices, but I’d say the 2013 Nike Air Max 90 Atmos Duck Camo. I think I paid around £250 many years ago from a sneaker event

What’s the rarest New Balance sneaker that you’ve come across on eBay?

Simon: There’s a pair of 1500 Kakkerlak’s and Toothpastes that are listed currently, which you don’t see very often. The interest in New Balance seems to be on the up again as do the resale prices; it will be interesting to see what’s next from New Balance as a brand and what they come up with.

What do you think of eBay’s sneaker community?

Sarah: What I love the most about eBay’s sneaker community is how helpful everyone is. There is a real good vibe that shines through with everyone who is part of it.

Simon: Being part of eBay’s sneaker community means that we get to speak to some lovely customers and some amazing sellers. Everybody is always there to lend a hand and help each other out if and when needed.

What are your thoughts beyond the physical sneaker sphere? i.e. NFTs/bots.

Sarah: I personally prefer physical items. I like to feel I’m getting something with my money that I can touch and feel so NFTs aren’t really something that interests me. I don’t get the hype and I’m unsure how well it will do in the future.

What’s your advice for someone trying to cop an exclusive release on eBay?

Sarah: Don’t rush to buy, set a price you’re comfortable spending then shop around! Check sellers’ feedback, shipping times and read the descriptions. Don’t get stung with a pair just because you didn’t read the description properly, especially when paying out your hard-earned cash.

Check out SoleyGrail’s eBay store here.

You can cop sneakers on eBay here and find out more about eBay’s Authenticity Guarantee for sneakers by clicking here.

Meet the OG Sneaker Sellers Behind eBay's Most Coveted Drops - Complex
Photo Credit: Complex

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