When Stadium Goods opened shop in New York’s Soho district in 2015, it looked like an Apple-inspired spin on the consignment shop, appealing to men in search of authentic, collectible sneakers and streetwear.
In the short time since it started, Stadium Goods has evolved into an online brand with distribution of its “authenticated” kicks, and a branded presence everywhere from eBay in the U.S. to T-mall in China to its own marketplace online. It even supplies inventory to up and coming sneaker marketplaces like GOAT.
In a sense, it’s predictable that Jed Stiller and John McPheters would morph their retail store into a digital tour de force. Stiller previously invested in the retail analytics company Swarm Mobile, acquired by Groupon in 2014. And McPheters previously worked as director of business development at Flight Club, another vaunted retailer of vintage like-new sneakers.
Now, Stadium Goods, which takes advantage of both their talents, has raised $4.6 million in venture funding in a quest to become the next Amazon.com. Forerunner Ventures led the Series A investment in Stadium Goods, joined by The Chernin Group, Mark Cuban who is an advisor to the startup, and other investors who the company did not have permission to name.
According to Forerunner Ventures founder Kirsten Green, whose other portfolio companies have included Dollar Shave Club, Glossier and Bonobos, investors see more than a marketplace for after market footwear and apparel in Stadium Goods. The company has the potential to develop and sell software as a service to the retail or footwear industry, for example. But let’s make no bones about it– resale spells huge business on its own.
Excluding antiques and Goodwill stores, the resale industry generates $9.42 billion in annual sales in the US alone according to data from Dun & Bradstreet’s First Research and the National Association of Resale Professionals. That’s nothing compared to the broader market for footwear if you combine new and vintage. In 2015, new athletic footwear in the US generated $17.2 billion in sales according to research by the NPD Group.
Green said, “Retail is undergoing a massive change and there is a chance for new leaders to emerge and older brands to reinvent themselves. One thing that is unique to Stadium Goods is that they have a consolidated view of everything that is going on in the footwear ecosystem, because they are connecting with customers, both buyer sand sellers of sneakers, in so many different places.”
She believes that Stadium Goods has an advantage in footwear, thanks to the expertise of its cofounders. “In any enthusiast category, from the customer and seller perspective, you need people who are authentic and particularly credible,” she said.
Stiller said the company will use the funding for hiring, strategic marketing and advertising campaigns and to potentially build another brick and mortar store and center for taking in and verifying the authenticity of collectible shoes and apparel. The founder declined to say where it would set up shop next. But for now, buyers can visit the store in New York, or spend anywhere from $45 for a pair of Nike Dunk Low Premium SB QS, up to $23,000 for a pair of Eminem Air Jordan 4 retros on StadiumGoods.com.
Editor’s note: No, that is not a typo. Those bad boys will cost you 23 large.