Secret Sneaker Store is by 27-year-old Edwin Low, and it doesn’t operate like most shoe shops. Most of the stock here is sourced by consignment – people drop off second-hand (but well-kept) cult or limited-edition shoes, which are then sold in-store or online.
“We’re basically a platform. People who [are] lucky enough to [own] limited-edition, high-end streetwear from UK, Japan, USA and Australia can bring the item in store,” says Low. “We agree on a sale price and then display the item … We take 20 per cent of the sale price and the original owner keeps the other 80 per cent.”
Low developed his concept after reading about the rise of Las Vegas-based online shoe and clothing store Zappos, which was acquired by Amazon in 2009 for $1.2 billion. He wanted to sell shoes, but needed around $50,000 of capital to get started – money he didn’t have. So Low got creative. He figured the best solution was using “OPM”, or “other people’s money”. Or, in his case, “other people’s shoes.”
The Secret Sneaker online store launched in June last year, followed by bricks-and-mortar stores in Sydney and Melbourne Central that opened in October last year and December last year respectively. Now, Low’s turned an three-month Chadstone Shopping Centre pop-up into a permanent store. The all-white boutique is polished and sleek, with a curved shoe-display wall featuring spotlit kicks, infinity mirrors, and an array of collectable cult Japanese Bearbrick toys. Tunes from Kanye West and rapper Playboi Carti blast as swarms of sneakerheads try on shoes, clothes and accessories from Nike, Off White, Supreme and Bape. Low says university students in particular ask for the wildly popular Kanye West and Adidas-designed Yeezys, and the harder-to-come-by Adidas Human Race NMD Pharrell x Chanel sneakers.
Low cites social media for the surge of in-demand sneakers that double as collector’s items. “The following and collecting of sneakers has been around for a very long time, maybe even before the first Air Jordan One was released in 1985,” he says. “I think what really changed was the tremendous speed and ease at which information can now be shared to customers. Next thing you know, half a million people will be frothing over a shoe that will only see 20,000 units made.”
Secret Sneaker Store Chadstone
Shop B-012 Lower Ground, Chadstone Shopping Centre, 1341 Dandenong Road, Chadstone
(03) 9191 6488
Mon to Wed 9am–5.30pm
Thu to Sat 9am–9pm