In this very first blog entry of my independent research project on entrepreneurship and the sneaker industry, I am going to provide a brief introduction of entrepreneurship and social entrepreneurship, as well as my own understanding on how to run a successful business through a correct model. Then I am going to talk about the current situation of the sneaker market and provide a preview of the market analysis I will be doing over the course of the year.
Entrepreneurship refers to the process of developing a business from the ground up state. For me, it basically represents coming up with an innovative idea, and then applying it to practice to make it a profitable business. There are several crucial requirements for the development of entrepreneurship, including creativity, opportunity exploration, risk management, information operation, etc. I will explore all of them in detail in future blog posts. Entrepreneurship starts from an idea, but goes way beyond it. I believe that even though a creative idea represents the basis of a business, a correct operational system can be more significant because it maintains the business and keeps it going. For different ideas, different business models may apply. For example, recurring revenue models, which can be represented by open source subscription, fit with entertainment websites such as Hulu pretty well while crowd sourcing models fit with companies such as Threadless.
I first got in touch with entrepreneurship three years ago when I decided to start a sneaker business with several friends in Westtown; however, our business actually cannot be identified as an official enterprise because it runs with a very simple buy-and-resell model and does not have a scale that is large enough, and of course it is not official registered. However, playing around the idea of running my own business boosts my interest in business. Last summer I went to the LBW (Leadership in the Business World) Program in the Wharton Business School of University of Pennsylvania, where I learned systematically about entrepreneurship. I also cooperated with my team and finished a business plan of a transportation application idea we came up with. I am still working on this idea with my friends and I will talk about it in detail in my future posts.
Social entrepreneurship is a kind of entrepreneurship that focuses on the company’s positive impact on the society. Social enterprises aim to solve existing issues in the society through their initiatives. Many common businesses, including educational programs, microfinance institutions, providing banking services, etc., are considered social enterprises because of their positive influence on our community. One of my main professors in the LBW Program, Patrick Fitzgerald, started up his own social enterprise, Recycle Bank, several years ago and achieved great success. His introduction of social entrepreneurship attracts me, and I dream to be a social entrepreneur. Now I am learning about social entrepreneurship through the Business & Society class in Westtown School. Teacher Jay Coen Gilbert, the founder of B Corp, has provided me with some useful information.
As I mentioned above, I am currently running a sneaker business with several peers in Westtown, and another focus of my project falls into the industry of sneakers. The sneaker industry is a powerful industry that generates $22 billion at retail in the US in 2013, and this number is still growing. The primary sources of sneakers include retail stores, online websites, as well as eBay, Facebook groups and Instagram Pages. Right now the whole sneaker industry is actually controlled by few tycoons, including Nike and Jordan, and because Nike and Jordan only release sneakers in a limited amount, the resell market keeps expanding over the past few years. Since the business I am running is also based on a buy-and-resell model, I am not going to talk about the design of sneakers in detail. Instead, I will analyze how we can make the most profits out of the current sneaker market in the following posts and provide specific analysis for a specific pair of popular sneakers every week. Although the business model I am having right now sounds simple, it actually requires a large amount of research on the history of the sneakers, the trending of the prices, as well as the value inherited in the sneakers. I will explore all these components throughout the course of the year.
With all of those being said, I will start off by posting my first sneaker analysis next week. If you are interested in either entrepreneurship or sneakers, please don’t hesitate to talk with me in person or contact me at email@example.com.