13-Year-Old sneakerhead from Plantation flips sneakers for extra money


Such a random story I know, but its crazy to see how the sneaker culture has grown so quickly and even has thirteen year olds like Jon Zobel of Plantation, using their love of sneakers to turn into a business. I thought it was pretty interesting to see the Herald cover this. Some people say kids like this one are making it hard for true sneakerheads to ever buy limited releases at regular prices because resellers like Jon take to Ebay and other sources to inflate the true value of the sneakers.

Honestly, let them resellers hustle and get theirs. The age old saying of “don’t hate the player, hate the game” couldn’t be more true. You should probably put more hate towards the people paying the 400 – 1000 percent markups that resellers charge.

Here’s an excerpt from the article.

Jon Zobel has a hot business going, flipping hip-hop-inspired, limited-edition sneakers, hats and watches to like-minded collectors for wads of cash.

At 13, he’s part of a “sneakerhead” trend that began in the 1980s with the rise of hip-hop culture and has trickled down to teens who hoard birthday money and holiday checks to buy pricey footwear with a cult-like following.

Jon, who is going into eighth grade at University School in Davie, owns more than 30 pairs of pristine, hard-to-find sneakers. Displayed on shelves lining his Plantation bedroom, the footwear is the hipster’s equivalent of a coin collection.

“I really like the way they look, and I like them because I make a lot of money selling them,” he says.

Jon bought his first pair of kicks with money he made washing cars when he was 12. He became hooked on the hobby, finding a unique pair, then marking it up and reselling it via Facebook or eBay. Craigslist and websites like solecollector.com are also big marketplaces for shoes.

Jon was able to boost his inventory in November with $500 of his bar mitzvah money, said his mom, Julie Zobel-Talenfeld, a public relations executive.

“He is such a wheeler-dealer. He took that $500 and turned it into $2,000,” Zobel-Talenfeld says. “He used that to buy a Harley Davidson golf cart that was worth $6,000.”

Jon’s most expensive pair, a “What the dunks” released in 2007 by Nike, is a compilation of every skateboard shoe Nike every made with a street value of more than $1,000.

His mom says he spends hours meticulously detailing his collection, using special soap to clean the laces and bleach to whiten the midsoles. One pair is shrink-wrapped to prevent yellowing.

Jon says he sells about 90 percent of his stock, reserving special pairs as collector items. He wears some shoes, carefully using a heel-to-toe gait so he doesn’t scuff the bottoms.

“He goes all out,” his mom said. “If he goes into something, he doesn’t just give 100 percent, he gives 250 percent.”

Read the full story by clicking here.

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