What inspired you to start your company?
The backstory of StockX, so i had a company before this called Campless, which was a sneaker data company, it was kind of like the Kelly blue book for sneakers, and I’m a start up guy I started 3 other companies before this, but I shut down the last one in 08 or 09, then I went to work for for IBM in New York, which I never thought I would do, I went from a company with 4 people to a company with 400,000 people, but that’s a long story ill spare you that, so I went to work for IBM and what do you do when you take a corporate job, you start to look for stuff to do on the side, so I get to IBM and I’m doing as this data work as a consultant and i thought i wonder if I get a a hold of some sneaker data to play with just for my own amusement because I was a sneaker collector but none of my other businesses had anything to do with sneakers, almost intentionally so as if i was trying to separate business with pleasure. And then since i was trying to do this on the side i wonder if i get all this sneaker data, if I’m going to pin point any specific moment, it was really around finding a side project that was interesting bc i was doing all this data at IMB and let to creating camp less and everything that came after it. It really goes back to I collected sneakers forever and i became some what of a expert or very proficient in data and that lead to the gneiss of the idea.
Can you explain in simple terms how your site works?
StockX a stock market of things, its a consumer marketplace, its eBay. We connect buyers and sellers, for the purpose today of buying sneakers, watches and handbags, were adding street wear to the site soon, and eventually other products as well. But the The method by how we connect buying and sellers is the exact same way the stock exchange uses to connect buyers and sellers. Which is for lack of a less cliche to say, completely revolutionary and unique and genuinely doesn’t exist in any other forms of commerce expect for in the actual stock market.
Fundamentally theres 3 key points that conduct stock market commerce. Amenity – completely anonymous. You go to eBay, Amazon and there’s all this noise around who the seller is, where they’re located, how many reviews they have, how many sales they have, you go buy a share of Apple stock on the NY stock exchange theres an actual seller on the other end of that trade selling you that share, but you don’t know who that is and you don’t care, all you care about is that you know whatever price you’re paying for. The stock exchange makes that happen. 2nd, authenticity, we know its real, you never worry if you’re getting a fake share of stock from apple. we Physically authenticate every product. There’s always that level of authenticity. The last piece which is the most important and bigger piece, transparency, transparency around data, what are things worth and to be able to see everything you’ve ever wanted to know about this asset, from a watch, to a handbag etc. You can see all historical sales, you can see every sale of that particular item that has ever happened on StockX and in the rest of the market, it literally looks like Yahoo Finance just for sneakers. Just like how you can go to Apple stock and see every sale hats ever happened for apple stock. And also in terms in how you connect buyers and sellers which is the bid and the ask buyers place bids ( what they pay for it) sellers place asks ( what they sell it for) and when they meet, then the transaction happens. But fundamentally by having those 3 things, by being an anonymous marketplace, you know that its authentic, and having all this transparency around data you create what is theoretically a much more efficient market for buying and selling anything. its been the most efficient way to buy and sell stocks for 100s of years, it’s worked really well for sneakers so far, we’ve sold a lot of sneakers. So thats the bigger idea around it.
How old is the company?
Launched the site in February 2016, over $150 million in sneakers alone, launched watches & handbags about 6 weeks ago. Street wear launched in the next 6 months – Supreme, Bape, Kith.
Handbags was a phenomenal timing bc of Louis Vuitton and Supreme did a collaboration. I think we sell more LV Supreme bags then anyone else (besides LV). This design hit our customer dead on.
You mentioned that you’ve always been interested in shoes? Do you remember the first pair of collector pair of shoes you purchased?
This is the most prototypical story ever, I am 39 years old, I grew up playing basketball when Jordan played, i always wanted Jordan’s, my mother would never buy me Jordans so as soon as i got some money i bought Jordans. People my age all have the exact same story and so for me, it was 2000 – 2001 and the air Jordan 11 Concorde had been re-released ( one of the classic Jordan models), so i graduated college in 99, i had been working for a year so i finally had my own money, i remember going to the mall about a month after they came out and i walk in this shoe store and asked if they had any left and the two dudes working there told me they were going to put the last ones up on eBay and i said fuck no I’m buying those, so i bought them and i wore those to play basketball for the next year and a half and I still have them and they’re beat up. So thats the first Jordan I ever bought, but i still have shoes from when i was in 7th grade.
Elevators feature josh’s shoe closet on them
What pair of shoes are you wearing right now?
What’s your process to picking out a different pair of shoes everyday?
The fist shoe wall i ever built was in ATL in my first house with my wife and she asked if she could put her shoes in there too and I said absolutely not. Because then if someone asks “are these all yours?” I cant say yes. I have about 400 pairs of shoes which is a lot for most people, but in the sneaker world some people have 1000s, so its certainly not a grand collection in the grad scheme of things in the sneaker world, but it’s still 400 pairs of shoes so it makes for a difficult decision every day on which ones to wear.
Amongst your very large shoe collection, do you have a particular favorite pair or go-to brand?
I have the most of, 6 pairs of Air Jordan 1 Lance Mountain White, it’s a pair of air Jordan 1s thats a classic shoe that you can wear anytime, it’s all white but it has this paint that chips off as you wear so it changes diff colors, they go with everything and they’re comfortable so i like it so i guess those would be my favorite.
We heard that you just launched StockX Bags, how is that going? What is unique about that site?
Were just getting started we haven’t done a lot of marketing yet for bags or watches, its just been learning the differences and how to get it up there, we’ve been happy with the sales so far and we about to start pushing it. Most popular is the Louis Vuitton Supreme bags are what we sell most of. Right now we only carry LV, Chanel, Gucci, and Hermes.
Do you see your company branching out into any other categories?
I don’t think we’ll go beyond street wear for a while, we will push our current stuff right now and also focus on growing the watch and handbag sector. But after that there’s a lot of other potential verticals that have a similar aspects and market as collector or exclusivity items. collector items even as simple as, action figures, baseball cards, so there’s other verticals like that. Coins, stamps, a lot of collectibles that have an after market and a collector base. There’s a lot that falls in that realm. The more I go out and do public speaking with different companies, I always find a new niche that people are into and love to collect. I was going a talk at Nike about what were doing and Nike and in the q&a part this guy raises his hands and says when you do Banjos I’m your guy. THere’s something for everyone. The model works really well for a variety of items. There;s a lot of choose from, wine, classic cars, jewelry that are potential bigger items. They all happen in very small fragmented, antiquated marketplaces like ebay or ebay like clones.
Can you tell us about your video series and why you started it?
StockX TV started pretty organically, it wasn’t intended or always a part of the plan, but we always had this idea as sort of like mad money for sneakers, bc data has always been so core to our business and DNA from the very beginning like Campless, what started this thing was a data company a price guide, almost everybody that i meet with whether its investors, other brands, reporters, everyone will ask me, what shoes are you wearing what are they worth, what are the most expensive pair of shoes you’ve sold on Stockx? That concept of data has always been so core to that, so that was a very obvious way to distinguish us from everyone else. Dan Gilbert is a co-founder of StockX and There’s a production team that works for Dan, woodward original, so we had access to them, and what happened was we wanted to create a video for a intro start up video (with Wale) and it was so great and came out awesome, so we decided why don’t we do that. It also helped bc we have celebrity investors and access to other celebrities that we could create this. First video out to Steve Aiokis house in vegas and valuing his sneaker collection and playing in his fun house and bunch of other stuff. It was a combo of a lot of those things coming together to help make that happen. It’s purely a branding thing but It’s a fun way to engage the people we have access to and to continue to build the StockX brands.
Throughout all of the people that you’ve had the chance to meet, who do you think has the most supreme or unique collection of shoes?
Steve has a very unique collection, most people you meet have a lot of Jordans & Yeezys, he only had 6 pairs of Jordans and 3 Yeeys out of 500 pairs of shoes, he had a lot of unique stuff like Jeremy Scott & adidas which was very much a reflection of him and style, and that what was fun to do that with that collection of shoes. we also do Marc Wallburg’s collection, and he’s a huge Jordan guy, and 90% of his collection was Jordans so it wasn’t as unique, but to see all the crazy stuff that Steve had like the adidas with his face on the side of the shoes, thats part of the reason why we chose him for the first episode for StockX TV.
Best sellers or brand that sells the best?
How would you describe your personal style?
Um… personal. I did not think about my outfit when i got dressed this morning. I just bought these pants, I thought they looked comfortable. One of the greatest things about working here and working with dan is that he absolutely wants me to be myself and wear whatever you want. I can wear whatever I want to any type of meeting with Dan or with Warren Buffet or even with the Mayor of Detroit. I remember when i first got here i was wearing what i would wear to IMB, jeans and button down, which was casual fro IBM, but now i bought myself a couch that i take naps in in my office.
My sirius channels right now are 90s on 9, Lithium, the 2 NY and LA pop stations, and BPM. Most of my music is all the music i used to listen to when i was 17 and techno.
Having a startup is never easy, how have you dealt with some of the challenges as a business owner? Any advice for those who are thinking about starting their own business?
Advice i always give to people is to just always keep doing something. Stockx is a bad example bc of the amount of success it has reached in such a short period of time, its rare, i started a lot of businesses and none of them have been anywhere near the success that stocks has had at this point.
You learn from every start up, and rarely do you ever get to use what you’ve learned in that same business. When i started Campless, which became StockX, i was doing it on the side for almost 3 years and i didn’t really know where it was going and i Couldn’t of possibly imagined it could be this but I knew threw was something there and i knew i just knew i needed to keep doing something. I was doing all this grunt work that literally interns complaint about now, but the whole company was built on doing this data work, but you have to keep pushing forward and doing something and putting yourself in the potion to do that because you will never be able to plan to have a billionaire call you up out of the blue and say I have the exact same idea as you and I wanna buy your company, but thats what happened. But I put myself in that position and then the serendipity of it all made it happen.
The other thing is absolutely talk to everybody about everything and don’t ever ask someone to sign an NDA and don’t ever think anyone is going to steal your idea and if someone has the time and ability to execute your idea better then you, then more power to them anyway. Theres a reason no professional investor will sign an NDA. You want me to sign a doc to help you with your business? No thanks.
What do you think of the resurgence in Detroit?
Grew up in Philadelphia, lived in Atlanta for 15 years, went to college and grad school, moved to NY for a few years, then back to Philadelphia, then in 2015 is when i met dan and ended up moving to Detroit to start StockX.
In the 2 1/2 years I’ve been here its like night and day. Every day theres another business another building, another restaurant, there’s shake shack, and tony hawk’s skate ramp and Wallburgers, and none of the stuff was here when I first came here. I had lived in Detroit, I had never thought about Detroit, i had every perception everyone else has about Detroit and its been unbelievable and i love it.
3 parts to this, Im 39, I have a wife and 2 kids so I don’t care what the social scene is like, so i don’t have a big opinion on that, 2 because its Detroit i get to live in Birmingham in a house i could never afford in Philly, great school districts, parks, its awesome, and I’m still close to the city. 3rd If you’re in any way a start up person you get to part of rebuilding a city, we don’t work on everything happening in the city but we sit right here and we see it all go on, and then we get to expierence and be a part of it. About a third of the people working here have been recruited from other cities and ask to work remotely, and I’m like just come here and see if and then everyone moved here.
What role do you think your company plays in the revival of Detroit?
Bringing people here from other cities and showing them the potential of Detroit, I hope that we can become a Detroit exported brand similar to Shinola. Employing people in the city. 63 full time people. by the time were done talking it could be 64.
Local Love List
Go to for coffee? i kind of joke I’ve only been in 2 buildings in the whole city, which is my house and office, bc i travel so much, work so much, and i have family. I really only drink coffee at home and the espresso machine in the office. Cafe du monde is my favorite brand.
Favorite cocktail spot? I rarely drink anymore, it was never a conscious decision to stop drinking. The best time to do work is from 10pm-2am no emails no phone calls, my family is asleep. So slowly I got into this rhythm of working during those house so I honestly cant remember the last time i had a drink
Favorite brunch spot? I like Steve’s
Go to restaurant? I eat the most at, purely due to proximity, and the only time i go out to eat is when we take people to lunch, Townhouse or Maru
Shopping? Ironically it wouldn’t be a sneaker store, i shop a lot online at Kith, END clothing, and obviously I buy my sneakers on StockX.