#Module3: Offline #Middleware in Sneaker Consignment

Immediately after reading the subtopic of middleware, my eyes lit up as it reminded me of a community that has shifted from offline to online (like everything else in life). Sneaker culture and sneaker consignment in particular, has grown exponentially in recent years as many have become aware of its profitability. Sneakerheads all over the world lust over new and old footwear to either wear, collect, and/or sell. The sneaker resell market alone has been estimated to at over $1 billion.

There are plenty of Facebook groups based on location (i.e., country, city, province/state) that have been created to help connect those who are selling or trading but have many a deal have taken the wrong turn. There is still a lot of anonymity that one can have with an online profile and people who have the intentions of scamming people use this to their advantage.
A name and location tied to an unknown face in a profile picture still has its shortcomings as they do not require verification on most sites. Business with more expensive items is usually conducted if both the buyer and seller have a solid reputation or a few people who can vouch for their credibility but even that can be forged.

Hiring Middlemen

Now that the online community is steadily growing and keeping track of who is and is not a legitimate seller is becoming increasingly difficult, people would rather use a trusted middleman to add in between the process of shipping the item to its destination. Lets say that you are selling your shoes in Vancouver and you have a buyer in Miami. You now contact John in Los Angeles who is known and trusted in the community to receive and inspect the shoes before shipping it to the buyer in Miami. This is the offline portion. John is responsible forThis is to confirm the most crucial detail–the exact shoe that was promised is inside the box.

Not the most convenient but, safe!

Physical location

The most popular online and offline version of this middleware that is reliable on the account of quantity and authenticity is Flight Club. Flight Club is a sneaker consignment shop that will list the shoe you wish to sell and takes 20% of the sale price once a transaction is completed. The seller determines the listing price and no longer has to worry about finding a buyer or dealing with cumbersome bargaining. While this is definitely a viable option, most would rather keep the 20% of the sale, especially when its a rare or hyped shoe that allows one to markup their prices significantly. 
Buyers can either shop online, at the listing price or they can browse in either the New York or Los Angeles location.

Wall of sneakers at the Flight Club flagship location (FCNY)

We once thought that ‘jumping over the middleman; would be ideal but, it turns out that he might just need him to stay put.

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