Inside the world of a sneaker broker
A conversation about flipping kicks and building an entire business off of hype.
Sprezza is a new kind of newsletter exploring men’s style.
We talk about independent menswear, WTF style means, cover drops, review products, and the business of retail.
The first time I met Yuanrun Zheng (he goes by Z) was over FaceTime.
He’s on a road trip. Not the vacation kind, the work kind. I call him and he picks up while driving in his minivan. He tells me he’s on a sneaker run.
Z is a sneaker broker.
And unlike shoes, sneaker brokers are difficult to put in a box. You’re the mediator, the buyer, the seller, the delivery guy, the plug. Being dialed into the who, what, when, and where is everything in this business.
It’s how you put bread on the table.
Z is an enigma. He’s done it all in the sneaker business, having built several successful businesses (online and in-store) from scratch by being charming, savvy, and calculated. So, naturally, I wanted to learn as much as possible from an insider. Here’s our conversation… Enjoy.
Tell us about your background.
I'm originally from Ningbo (near Shanghai), a coastal city in China. When I was 12, I moved to The States with my family because of my mom, who received a job offer to work at the University of Mississippi. We packed up everything we had and made the big move.