By Max Rubenstein
Roughly a year ago, two students from Elisabeth Irwin High School recognized that they had a similar passion for sneakers. Little did they know that their common interest would start a new entrepreneurial endeavor in a market that they say often leaves teenage consumers at a disadvantage. But alumnus Mekhi DueWhite and sophomore Jacob Hirsch, co-founders of sneaker company Sell your Sole, envision a much larger market that would rid itself of exclusion and be open to everyone.
Sell your Sole first formed through an exchange of text messages between both Hirsch and DueWhite. Prior to the brand’s opening, both students sold sneakers online to friends for a few years. Social media sites like Facebook offered Hirsch and DueWhite a chance to sell their sneakers nationally and locally. At the time, they were earning a profit from one hundred to three hundred dollars a week by selling one to two sneakers a week.
Through their newly formed business, they hope soon to gain more recognition within the “sneakerhead” community. The company hopes to “provide both shoes and streetwear to everyone,” Hirsch said. Through both entrepreneurs’ experiences, they realize how some stores cater more towards adults rather than adolescents. DueWhite says he wants Sell your Sole to be different from other companies and wants it to be a teen-friendly environment like Supreme where they can run the store how they want to.
Hirsch envisions the business taking off and “actually taking it farther and opening something official.” This coincides with the students’ main goals of opening a brick-and-mortar location in New York rather than online. Opening a retail store would provide an easier and more effective way of networking for their business, the pair says. “Actually meeting people forms intimate connections that will help get long term customers,” DueWhite said.
DueWhite brings an advantage to the company with his experience working with Noah, an illustrious clothing company, for his senior project. He learned about the functionality of a retail store, which he hopes will contribute to the company’s growth. “My experience working with Noah gave me a sense of the backbone of how a company works,” he says. “I learned about the shipping process and how to operate the store, in addition to the design process of how a small company works.”
Jacob Hirsch hopes that in the coming months they will be discovered by someone who appreciates their brand. He believes that once his friends start to recognize their brand name, other people with similar interests will begin to know that both Hirsch and DueWhite run a “legit business.” Where this “legit business” takes these two budding entrepreneurs remains to be seen. But “building the company is not only about the money, it is the fun we have while doing it,” Hirsch said.