Indian resellers : The underdogs of the hypebeast community secondary market

The time when ‘keeping up with the Jones” was a derogatory analogy, is Passé. It is our reality today. Caught in the grip of materialism and the pressure to be seen as hip and happening on social media, today’s youth is becoming obsessed with brands; a trend cleverly exploited by the so-called ‘resellers’ of the hypebeast coterie who have adopted innovative marketing strategies to win favor of this effervescent youth brigade. Recently, Generation Z’s preoccupation with expensive brands that are seen as exclusive has shone light onto some interesting people in various regions and countries that have mastered the art of enticing this growing consumer segment unheeded earlier. 

These local resellers are not only manipulating rich teenagers but also people of age and income groups unimaginable to possess such bold and eccentric items that dig a deep hole in one’s pockets. One such stellar example of the secondary market within the hypebeast community is that of Indian resellers. 

In the global sneaker and fashion feud, India wasn’t exactly seen as a big player, but that changed soon enough. “There are two kinds of sneakerheads in India'' says Jonathan Rego, editor, and founder of Nation of Sport. “One kind that truly cares about the game, and another kind that only cares about sneakers as a fashion fad. And the culture in India will grow in two ways. A vast majority of casual, fad-driven sneaker buyers will grow along with a small, yet powerful community of serious sneakerheads.” It is this ideology that giants in the Indian reselling world such as VJ Kicks, and Marketplace By Mainstreet - to name a few - have taken advantage of. Their success story is truly enrapturing. It is interesting to note that while some attributed their phenomenal success to their ability and power to resonate with India's growing ‘rebellious youth culture’ others credited them for ignoring mass marketing and relying on whisper campaigns to whip up unprecedented groundswell that would show up in interminable queues outside their stores. They exploit the fact that major releases in stores that happen all around the world are lacking in a country like ours, and this very scarcity is the very reason why customers jump at every opportunity they have to get themselves some hype merchandise, making stock plummet to zero merely seconds after the sale is announced. 

But what about the other consumers who have become an important part of this game? Becoming such a phenomenon in this country there is no doubt that these resellers have left many financially vulnerable families with empty bank accounts. The brands that these resellers have in stock have reached a point where buying an item from their shelf is a necessity more than a desire. Millennials succumb to the pressure thrown at them by their wealthy peers to purchase such products. Another reason why these resellers have profited so much is due to the mystic charm within their strategies. As Cliff Sloan, a branding expert rightly said, “The magic lies in their ability to take word-of-mouth marketing and turn the launches of their products into sort of micro-experiential events and that means that people have to go to places, buy tickets, get on lists, end up lining up outside stores. That ends up generating a lot of buzz, a lot of curiosity to the public.” Perfect to get their audience excited and motivated. For people like us, it was like attending a concert secretly. 

However, there is no doubt that these resellers who have now started to shift on an online platform, specifically social media are also doing phenomenally well. The convenience that they provide is compelling the Tiffany’s and the Burberry’s of the country to reinvent themselves in order to survive this race. What remains to be seen is will these resellers implode under the pressure from their foreign competitors who have already hosted numerous large-scale sneaker events such as ‘Sneakerness’ and ‘Sneaker Con.’? Although a localized version of ‘Sneaker Con.’ was held in March 2018, there has been no repetition of anything such as that ever since. To sustain the growth of this industry, it will be important for the continuation of such events that create the buzz that is at the core of the hypebeast community. 

Whatever the case may be, these resellers have miraculously changed the dynamic of the Indian fashion industry by converting Fashion Week which showcased ethnic-conscious designs to bringing sneakers and hoodies on the runways. India’s potential as a growing consumer base has been touted by economists for some time now and with dedicated sneaker stores emerging all across the country, it is evident that the market is growing exponentially. 

It can only get better from here.

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