RIDGEFIELD PARK, N.J.– Carlos Diaz of Ridgefield Park transformed a passion for collecting sought-after sneakers into a full-fledged business -- thanks to social media.
“That’s a good thing about a business like this: You have stuff that people want. You just have to tell them you have it," said Diaz, 24, the owner of Kickclusive, whose Instagram page has over 88,000 followers.
As soon as exclusive merchandise arrives, Diaz posts a photo. He then sells on a first-come, first-served basis -- at $150 a pair and up.
Other times,“people tell us their sizes and they pay," Diaz said. "[Then] we do all the work for them. Instead of waiting, “you walk right out with your pair," he said.
Then there's the new prize machine called the Key Master. Customers pay $5 for a token and have a chance to win sneakers worth up to $2,000.
There have been 15 winners in two months, Diaz said.
The Main Street storefront will celebrate its one-year anniversary this coming Monday.
A short time ago, Diaz was a bellman at the Glenpointe Marriott, buying sneakers on the side and selling them on Craigslist.
“I used to have to beg my boss to take time off," Diaz said. “I’d rush in my car, wearing my uniform to wait in line for hours to get the shoes for myself."
That or he'd enter raffles, hoping to snag some new kicks.
“You’ve got to have the latest pair,” Diaz said.
After building up a customer base, Diaz rented out half of Clips Barber Shop on Grove Street and put up a display wall.
He kept plugging away on social media and made enough money to open his own place.
Now he gets his product from friends and retailers -- more than 300 pairs, at last count -- enough to generate $15,000 in weekly sales.
The most popular brand are Jordans -- although Adidas are becoming more popular.
The most expensive sneakers in the store aren't for sale.
"I just keep them in display window," Diaz said of his Nike Air Mag's , also known as the "Back to the Future" sneakers.
"I get inquires," he said. "They'll go for $10,000 [elsewhere]."