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Daily Inspiration: Meet Sailboat Lewis

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sailboat Lewis.

Hi Sailboat, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
I started collecting sneakers back in 2004 when I was just 14 years old. At first, I collected Supras and was very into different skateboarding shoes. As I continued to collect and learn more about the different brands, models, and athletes that these shoes represented, I began to gain a deeper respect for “the sneaker game”. I began to learn the stories behind different colorways and designs and became more and more interested in the history of sneaker and streetwear culture. I began reselling sneakers about 5 years ago and got much more serious about my business over the last 3 years. With Covid-19 disrupting most people’s normal lifestyles, I began to adventure into other sneaker related endeavors including sneaker restorations and customizations. Additionally, I got more into developing and furthering my social media platforms and got much more into video editing and YouTube production.

Throughout all of my sneaker related endeavors, I have always preached “Rock what you like” as my main motto; I truly believe that sneakers (and footwear in general) are a great way of expressing oneself and I think that people should wear what they enjoy, regardless of the “hype” and popularity of a shoe.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
As with launching any “entrepreneurial” endeavor and trying to run and operate any business, there are bound to be issues and bumps in the road along the way.

Early in my journey, I ran into fake/replica sneakers quite regularly. Because I didn’t have much experience, there were several times that I ended up losing money on a purchase because I didn’t realize what I was buying was actually fake. These “L’s” turned into lessons and I was able to take the information I had gained during my transactions to help me recognize fakes in future transactions and I was lucky enough to be able to use this knowledge to aid myself and others with avoiding purchasing fakes on many occasions.

One of the other major challenges of the sneaker industry is that there are clear ebbs and flows with supply and demand. Especially with the changes in the economy with Covid-19, many did not have the usual disposable income that they would utilize to spend on sneakers. Additionally, with sneaker events being more or less shut down for a year, many avenues for sales were limited/shut down. Because of this, I had to adapt where I was selling, prices I was selling for, and my generalized services. I found that selling the products that I enjoy selling means that I am going to have a more selective customer base and I need to offer services beyond simple sales in order to achieve success!

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
One of the things that set Sailboat’s Sneakers apart from other resellers is that our focus is not only on “hype” and “popular” recently released shoes, we focus on shoes of all sizes, conditions, and models. While we will definitely carry some recently released hype shoes, we strive to carry an exciting and sometimes eclectic collection that you won’t find elsewhere. We have shoes of all styles and there is always something for everybody. Our links in the community give us the ability to find unique shoes that you may otherwise have difficulty finding.

Additionally, beyond traditional sneaker resale, we also offer sneaker restoration and customization services. For sneaker restorations, we offer light cleans, deep cleans, repainting, deyellowing, restitching (on select models for outsoles to uppers), reglues, and sole swaps.

One of the most interesting services that we offer is customization. Along with more “traditional” sneaker customization projects such as repainting and dying, we also offer “Sole Swap Hybrids”. Find a shoe that you like the uppers but not the soles? Well, leave it to us to swap those soles off for another sole more preferable to you! This is a very interesting process that can leave you with a 1-of-1 custom that nobody has ever seen before!

Is there any advice you’d like to share with our readers who might just be starting out?
One of the things that I would recommend to those that are just starting to get involved with “the sneaker game” would be to educate yourself. The more knowledge you have, the more that you will be able to advance. Making relationships with others and trying to expand your knowledge of what you’re getting involved with will not only help you advance your business more quickly but will also help you to enjoy the journey more. A wise friend once told me when I got into the sneaker customization and restoration world that “it’s a labor of love”…. the more you love what you’re doing, the less it feels like work. Make sure that you’re doing it because you love it, not because it’s “cool” or because you want to make a quick buck.

Getting involved in the sneaker game takes time; if you want to make your mark, you’re gonna have to put the work in and the more you put in, the more you get out.

Pricing:

  • Repaints: Starting at $40
  • Reglues: Starting at $150
  • Sole Swap Hybrid: Starting at $250
  • Deep Cleans: Starting at $30

Contact Info:


Image Credits
Laura Loehle

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