Shoe Sales to MEDIAPLUG: Will Hardison’s Entrepreneurial Path


“I’m going to teach you a lesson” were the first words out of my dad’s mouth when I pleaded my case to borrow $250 for a pair of Air Jordan sneakers. This wasn’t just any pair of Air Jordan sneakers; this pair was not set to release to the public for another year. I didn’t want the pair for myself because I knew I could resell the shoes for $500 or more thus doubling my initial investment. My father agreed to loan me the $250 with the stipulation that I was to pay him back regardless of what happened.

With the green light from my father to purchase the pair, I mailed a $250 money order for the shoes. A week later the pair arrived, I snapped a photo, scanned it (remember having to scan pictures?), and posted the shoes for sale on a sneaker message board. Within 30 minutes I had an e-mail from Hiroshi Sinju offering $750 for the shoes. After a few exchanged e-mails, the deal was set. Hiroshi was to send me a money order for $750 plus an additional $30 to cover shipping to Japan, where Hiroshi was located. The money order arrived, everything checked out at the bank, and the money was deposited into my savings account.

Did I really just sell a pair of shoes for $750 making a $500 profit? I couldn’t believe it! Other kids were flipping burgers, delivering pizzas, mowing yards, or working in the family business during high school. I was busy selling rare shoes to Japanese collectors. Through networking and connections, I was able to obtain samples, prototypes, and specially made shoes for celebrities and athletes. My sneaker business grew over the years as my website with a rare selection of sneakers gained in popularity.

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