RC Talks Start Ups, Sneakers & StockX With Josh Luber
We caught up with StockX founder, Josh Luber, at the recent London StockX event to discuss all things sneakers, streetwear and starting the business.
Josh Luber set up StockX, the first sneaker and streetwear stock market of its kind, merging the lines between traditional retail and the ever growing resale market. With celebrity investment from high profile rappers and actors such as Eminem and Mark Wahlberg, alongside charity incentives with the Wu-Tang Clan, StockX has become the resale platform on everybody’s lips over the last few years. From start up to one of the most innovative sneaker platforms on the planet, StockX has now embarked on its European adventure announcing its first stock authentication base in London. We caught up with Josh Luber at the recent StockX London event.
Take us back to the beginning of StockX, did you ever think it would be this big in 2018?
I could never imagine it would be this big, nor ever plan it to be. Everything that I’ve ever done in every business is always one step in front of the other, “right now what do we need to do, what do we need to do next etc”. That’s just who I am, but even though there was no way we could have planned it to be this big, the logic that this was a better idea to buy and sell anything we 100% believed in. We didn’t make this concept up, the stock market has been the most efficient form of commerce for hundreds of years and all we did was apply it from one commodity to the other. Even though we never thought StockX would be a $1 billion company in 2 years, we believed in the logic that this would work which is why I think it has got so big.
How do you think the sneaker resale market will change over the next 5 years and what plans do you guys have in place to stay on top?
Its a great question about how the sneaker resale market changes because the number one way the sneaker resale market changes is that it becomes more acceptable as it converges with the sneaker retail market. Today the resale sneaker market is worth $2 billion in the US, globally its about $5-6 billion but the really interesting thing is when you start to go into the retail sneaker market which is worth $90 billion. There are some people in that ‘retail world’ that might have bought their last sneakers at Footlocker or JD Sports or nike.com for example and never in a million years would try to buy a pair of Yeezys for example on ebay or a pair of Jordan’s on instagram etc. Because StockX is authentic it eases the way of buying for that person who wants the product, who has that little bit more disposable income and they want something a bit different. Maybe they saw us in the New York Times, maybe they had their kids buying Yeezy’s from us. What’s going to happen in the next 5 years is more and more of those retail customers are coming into the resale market, so the market will grow and the lines between retail and resale will blur and will literally start to look like one market. That’s always being the hypothesis around StockX.
The idea of the first sneaker stock market is absolutely amazing where did the initial idea really come from?
The initial idea was based around a stock market for sneakers. The original business was about being a price tag for sneakers and understanding the value for a single pair of sneakers. The idea was if you understood the value of one pair of sneakers you could then create sneaker portfolios. I could tell you what your entire collection of sneakers was worth and that’s the first thing a sneaker head ever asks. Once I know how much a sneaker portfolio is I can then treat that as stock market so its a very obvious application of market value and that’s what a stock market is, a place where you have a market value for thousands of assets.
What’s the plans for the StockX brand/platform over the next 5 years?
StockX grows in two ways. One is that we continue to add other products just like any other marketplace like ebay where we may go into other categories. One category that we think about a lot is art prints so that could be one a kind art for example a thousand prints of a Banksy piece or skate decks and street art. Things that have some real quantity and a need for authentication. The other is working with brands, working with adidas and Nike for example who release product directly into the market, to literally IPO consumer goods and thats a really interesting part that distinguishes us from traditional marketplace businesses.
Give us some of your most popular sneaker styles currently listed on the site?
My personal favorite right now are the Nike React 87’s in fluorescent yellow and the Pharrell Williams Human Race Holi Blank Canvas with different coloured laces. Some of the most popular styles on the site include the Jordan 1 Pine Green, the Yeezy 700 Wave Runner and the Acronym x Nike Air Presto. However at the highest level the most popular things we sell are Yeezy, OFF-WHITE & Supreme.
“Ideas are worthless, execution is the only thing that matters.”
Josh Luber, StockX founder
What were you doing before StockX and what involvement had you had with the sneaker game prior to launching?
I’ve started 3 other start ups before this and none of them had anything to do with sneakers. Between every start up I had some form of corporate job, so I was working on start ups whilst I was doing that and none of those had anything to do with sneakers either. My involvement with sneakers was just buying a lot of them and I always wanted to be involved. I actually applied for a job at Nike for 15 years in a row and never once got a job at Nike so I was just a fan really of buying them and reading sneaker blogs like everybody else
If you could only wear one sneaker style for the rest of your life what would it be and why?
It’s a really tough one. Its got to be super comfortable in addition to everything else. I’d probably say the Air Max 90 in the early hyperfuse colourway, they were lightweight and the toe boxes don’t crease. The Air Max 90 is just one of the most comfortable shoes to me.
Finally some words of wisdom for those who are looking to become the next StockX.
I give the same two pieces of advice that are the most generic sounding but they are so true at the same time. One is talk to everybody, don’t ever think someone is going to steal your idea. Talk to everybody about everything. If you’re talking to someone that is so talented that could steal your idea, but yet they are just sat around with it, it just doesn’t work like that. Ideas are worthless, execution is the only thing that matters. If it’s your idea and you’re willing to put the time and dedicate your life to doing that then you shouldn’t be worried about someone else stealing your idea. Secondly just do something, don’t just sit around, hoping and waiting. Even if what you are doing doesn’t seem big or important as long as you are doing something to move forwards because you never know what is going to happen.