Bred Differently (ft. Joshua Marquez)
For a lot of us, our teens were filled with spending time with friends, or wasting time in my case. However, there are some that are just a different breed. These are those inherent hustlers and entrepreneurs, who find a way to succeed no matter what. Here's another story that inspires you to get up off your seat and do something better. Take yourself to the next step. We discuss the journey of Joshua Marquez (@thebredexchange) who's a 17-year old Brampton native.
Before 20, Joshua has accomplished some impressive milestones:
He's got a University of Toronto National Scholarship, which may potentially be a full scholarship
He competed at the national level for the Toronto Basketball Academy
He's finished top 5% in the Columbia University Summer camp for Materials Science and Nanotechnology. I don't know about you, but people can't even spell Nanotechnology.
He started his own clothing line and sneaker reselling business (@thebredexchange)
So how did he get started buying and reselling sneakers in this tough Canadian market?
Joshua: "It all started in December of 2018 when I took a trip with my family to Urban Necessities in Las Vegas. When I walked in, I saw all of these limited and expensive sneakers that I’ve never seen before. They all looked so beautiful and I wanted to collect them all. I ended up buying a pair of Bred 1s because I loved the colorway.
When I got home, I would keep the shoe on display because I loved everything about the shoe, from the black and red colours to the history behind it. It inspired me to collect more sneakers. After this, I started buying and reselling sneakers so I would be able to make a little extra cash for more sneakers. I created an Instagram account called @North.hype and sold sneakers I bought online and locally.
As I gained more knowledge on sneakers and reselling, I expanded my inventory and changed the account name to Bred Exchange (@TheBredExchange). In December, I released my new clothing line “Bred Essentials” to show my love for the Bred colorway that helped everything get started."
I don't get it, how did you start? Were you doing something related before? Because at 17, that's pretty damn impressive.
Joshua: "As for what I was doing before, I wasn’t really doing anything entrepreneurship wise as I was a full time student athlete playing for the Toronto Basketball Academy, but I’ve dropped basketball to focus on my senior year of high school and this new business."
Wow dropping basketball for this is a big move, how did you manage to take that decision. You must've had some challenges along the way right? What were some of those challenges you faced?
Joshua: "My challenges were gaining trust from customers, managing my expenses and liquidating sneakers. Gaining trust from customers was the hardest thing to do at the start because no one wants to take a chance on the “new guy”. There would be a lot of times when I would have a better deal than another reseller but because of my follower count and my low number of reviews, the customer would flop. I overcame this by just making sure the customer feels safe and protected at all times. One way I did this was by making them pay with PayPal, so the customer is protected at all times."
"Another challenge was managing my expenses. There would be a lot of times I would mix up my money, with the money I use for reselling. This would mess up my accounting and the numbers in my spreadsheet would never match the numbers in my bank account. I overcame this by opening a separate bank account just for reselling. This way the money doesn’t get mixed up. The third challenge was liquidating sneakers. Sometimes when I’m buying stock to resell, I accidentally buy what the sneaker community calls “bricks” (sneakers that don’t have any resell or that have no demand). This would commonly happen from impulse buying and not researching the product before buying it. I still face this problem to this day, and the way I get rid of “bricks” is by trading with other items."
It's interesting to hear that. Many people think that just because you've been doing it for a while everything is going perfect. Glad that you shared that you still make impulse buys and get bricks but you've found a way to overcome this by finding a solution. That's rare and something not everyone does.
Look, I know there are people out there who read this, who you've talked to and strangers who've started a business and not succeeded or have started and currently face challenges, what's some advice you would give them?
What are three things you would tell someone else who’s starting a new business?
Joshua: I would tell someone who’s starting a new business are:
1) Don’t be afraid to make mistakes and fail, just learn from them and keep making steps forward
2) You NEED to produce content on social media (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok) to expand your audience. It’s FREE!
3) Collaborate with people in the same niche as you, help each other grow!
4) Don’t be afraid to ask for help!
Very wise words from Joshua. If you can do the above things and continue the grind, it WILL pay off! You need to put effort to get somewhere. The hardest part of the business is the journey, the part where you make it or fail. As Joshua shows us, it's not bad to fail, but it's important to understand what you're going to do when you fail.
When life throws a brick, are you going to trade it in or are you going to let that brick weigh you down? As Joshua did, trade in that brick and keep pushing forward. Trust the process. It WILL happen.
Major shoutout to Joshua for sharing his story. It's impressive and inspiring with everything he's accomplished at 17 and I look forward to hearing more about his journey and getting an update as time goes on.
Until next time,