I was in Berlin last week. A fascinating city. The city of the “unruled”. Truly a unique city with a complex history. A city that re-invented itself to be one of the coolest city in the world. Yes, you can quote me on that.
During that week, I met 3 fascinating people. Real sneakerheads. All in their mid 30’s with a true love and passion for sneakers. They named themselves “the OG’s”. I loved the OG’s, I loved their energy for the sneaker culture. More than 10 years ago, 1 of them was an emerging hip-hop artist, another was a graffiti artist, and the last one was a sneaker collector. After years of doing their things, they experimented with something new. Selling second-hand sneakers online. They started small. Just for fun and see what would come out of it. To their surprise, the vintage sneakers were selling fast. Really fast. Long story short, a year later they have a business. They went from selling a few pairs of sneakers here and there to traveling every month to the US to collect their eBay shopping that they would then resell in Europe.
How did they their business become so successful so quickly? 2 things:
- They know vintage sneakers better than anyone else. Fancy people call it “knowledge asymmetry”. When the average Joe decides to empty his attic and make a few bucks in the process, what he sees is old things taking up space. The OG’s, on the other hand, see a unique pair of sneakers, from a limited edition that has not been re-edited. That fancy term, “knowledge asymmetry” means that you can buy something for $10 and resell it for $300 because you know!
- The OG’s are trendsetters. Spend enough time obsessing about one thing, you will know it intimately. The OG’s do not only obsess about sneakers but also about everything surrounding sneakers. They understand the movement, the trends. In some ways, they can predict what will happen in the streetwear culture better than anyone else in Berlin. At that point not only you can predict it, you actually can influence the trends.
Let’s recap. In both cases, they buy low and sell high. In the first place is because they know better. In the second case, they create the value by making the sneakers hot. Here think about the ugly sneakers trend.
The point here is: go beyond information is power. This is only your first step. Once you have it, milk it as much as you can. I truly hope the Berlin OG’s will continue to expand their business super fast and dominate that space.