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How do you sell sneakers at auction?

We asked Hypeplug, one of the promoters of La Vie Est Belle with Sotheby's, to tell us

How do you sell sneakers at auction? We asked Hypeplug, one of the promoters of La Vie Est Belle with Sotheby's, to tell us

Since the explosion of sneaker culture, the idea of transforming a passion into something different has always been part of the dream of hundreds of fans. The resell, understood in its simplest form, has become a key component in the life of a sneaker, often defining the value based on its price on the secondary market, turning some models into what in jargon are called "grail". That's where Hypeplug came from, the project of two college students straddling the end of 2019 and beginning of 2020 as an assignment for a market research course. "We started out doing simple resell and personal shopping targeted often at a VIP clientele by having access to a large address book of vendors and products, while now we're focused and concentrated on other operations," they told us.

The birth of Hypeplug is obviously intertwined with the evolution of a market that in recent months has seen continuous and sudden changes, knowing sudden and often unpredictable oscillations due to factors of all kinds, from a change in the tastes of buyers to, of course, the Covid-19 pandemic. "In our opinion though, although this market is growing strongly and the numbers show it, there has been a slight decline in interest and demand in this industry in recent years," the two founders said.  "If we think of years like 2015 or 2016, we immediately think of the huge lines of kids outside the stores waiting to be able to buy several pairs of the latest release, nowadays this phenomenon happens on much rarer occasions, such as the opening of Supreme's store in Milan." The sign of a market, as mentioned, in the middle of a change and able to attract new customers and new markets, losing in some cases its more street character to embrace a new and unexpected one, as in the case of the collaboration with Sotheby's.

"Initially we were just clients, buying several times during events and auctions of the organization", leading Sotheby's to increase interest in Hypeplug's activity. From there, the participation in "La Vie Est Belle - Paris", the auction organized by Sotheby's and dedicated to luxury, based on French and Parisian products and lifestyle. "Participation in such an important event was obviously a source of pride for us and also a huge opportunity to make the leap in quality in what we do" said the two founders, who with the participation in the auction have put together the record amount of € 165,000, with the record of 81,900€ for a pair of Paris Dunk from 2002 becoming the most expensive pair of Nike SB Dunk in the history of public auction sales. A goal that also gives a picture of what the sneaker market is now, different from what we learned to know in the early stages of streetwear and more directed towards long-term investments. "Thanks to the fact that every year there are limited editions, collaborations between brand artists or athletes that generate hype and a great scarcity behind certain products, the value that these products acquire over time is enormous."

If we wanted to dig into the collection of Hypeplug we would find unique models, such as a sample of Air Yeezy signed by Kanye West with a growing value. Although it is a niche market, the sneaker market is now a reality capable of entering the auction houses along with art, antiques and collectibles, opening the door to the future of Hypeplug and collecting. "A very important step for us will be the beginning of events such as exhibitions or temporary or pop-up stores between Paris and Milan to celebrate the transition from online to offline," the guys confessed to us, but they don't want to blurt out yet what will be their most ambitious project. "We are very present online and on social, and we will be even more so in the coming months with a very innovative new service that we think will be able to influence and change the sneakers industry of Europe and the community that is part of it."