Jon Zobel has a hot business going, flipping hip-hop-inspired, limited-edition sneakers, hats and watches to like-minded collectors for wads of cash.
At 13, he’s part of a “sneakerhead” trend that began in the 1980s with the rise of hip-hop culture and has trickled down to teens who hoard birthday money and holiday checks to buy pricey footwear with a cult-like following.
Jon, who is going into eighth grade at University School in Davie, Fla., owns more than 30 pairs of pristine, hard-to-find sneakers. Displayed on shelves lining his bedroom, the footwear is the hipster’s equivalent of a coin collection.
“I really like the way they look, and I like them because I make a lot of money selling them,” he says.
Jon bought his first pair of kicks with money he made washing cars when he was 12. He became hooked on the hobby, finding a unique pair, then marking it up and reselling it via Facebook or eBay. Craigslist and websites like solecollector.com are also big marketplaces for shoes.