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Sneaker Con feeds Hong Kong’s growing hunger for luxury shoes

Time:2017-09-07 01:58Shoes websites Click:

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Sneakers are very big business these days. In June, ESPN reported that a pair of shoes worn by American basketball great Michael Jordan during the 1984 Summer Olympics were sold for US$190,373 at auction.

WORLD RECORD: Price was established for @Jumpman23's '84 #Olympic gamers from gold medal game vs. Spain: $190,373 @SCPAuctions. #hoops pic.twitter.com/JAs85r5VxS

— SCP Auctions (@SCPAuctions) June 11, 2017

That sum will buy you a house or a Lamborghini super car.

Businessman Yu-ming Ng, who admits to owning thousands of pairs of sports shoes, is co-founder of Sneaker Con – the world’s premier show for sports shoes that provides venues for vendors and enthusiasts to buy, sell, and trade in footwear.

At my highest level I had around 13,000 pairs of sneakers

Yu-ming Ng, Sneaker Con co-founder

He was in Hong Kong last month for Sneaker Con Hong Kong, featuring 200 vendors selling more than 60,000 sports shoes at AsiaWorld-Expo on August 26.

The event is normally held each year in US cities, including New York, Washington, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Miami, but Ng is now expanding its reach by staging the successful Hong Kong show and another event held in May in London.

Ng, who is also founder and editor in chief of Sneakernews.com, a news and information website dedicated to sneakers – is regarded as one of the sneaker community’s most influential “sneakerheads” – someone who admires, collects or trades in sneakers as a hobby.

While he was in Hong Kong we asked him the burning questions – exactly many sneakers does he own? – plus how his hobby turned into his business, and what he thinks of luxury fashion brands teaming up with sports shoes makers.

So, how many pairs of sneakers do you actually own?

I have cut down quite a bit. At my highest level I had around 13,000 pairs of sneakers. Today, I think it’s gone down to about 700 pairs. You have to slowly purge in order for more to come in. This week, I have added about 15 pairs of shoes to my collection. They were sent to me by my friends in the sneaker and retail industry. So yeah, the number always goes up and down. You know once you’ve purged, more come in. Then sometimes you buy a lot. I try not to buy too many though.

What are your most favourite sneakers?

For charity, I bid for and won a pair of Nike Air Mag sneakers, the [limited edition 2016] shoes [based on those worn by Michael J. Fox[ in the Back to the Future film. That’s not my most prized possession, but it’s one of my favourite things.

Futuristic Nike Mag footwear fetches HK$810k in Hong Kong

How does Sneaker Con work?

Our tagline is buy, sell and trade. We have built a platform for a physical marketplace for sneakerheads to come together, hang out with like-minded people, and also do the buying, selling and trading of sneakers. So it’s both a commercial and social event. I think this is one of the safest and greatest environments where they can be around people who also love sneakers, or try to learn about sneakers. Sneaker Con has now become a global community of sneakerheads, especially now we have staged events in London and, for the first time, Hong Kong.

What motivated you to start Sneaker Con?

My partners and I actually met on eBay. I had started a website, Sneakernews.com, at that time and wrote a story on a pair of shoes that they were selling on eBay. We realised our offices were within five blocks of each other on the same street in the Chinatown area of Manhattan. We decided to get together and talk and we became good friends. They told me they wanted to do a sneaker show with me.

Later I told them: ‘In 2005 I actually registered the name Sneakercon, thinking that one day there might be a convention for sneakerheads, so if we were to do this, I would like to call it Sneaker Con. So that’s how we got started.’

How was organising an event in Hong Kong different?

The differences were primarily to do with the logistics and business aspects of doing a show like this in a foreign city. Coming from the United States, it was a really big learning experience for us as we thought about how to put the show together – booking the venue and figuring out the licences, which are the boring parts of the business we have to do.

For the most part, booking a convention centre in Hong Kong is no different than booking a convention centre in the US. Marketing in Hong Kong is a little bit different obviously. But we were very surprised that, once we decided to do Hong Kong, a lot of people from China [contacted] us to say, “We didn’t realise you are doing to a show for the first time in Asia, and we want to be involved”. We were surprised because our primary marketing is on Instagram and they found us on Instagram, but we know Instagram is banned in China. It was incredible.

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