Sneaker freak students utilise ‘just do it’ attitude to launch international trainer sourcing business
Two students from Swansea University have built upon their love of street wear to establish a business sourcing and selling limited edition trainers worldwide.
Nutnicha Chansuksai, 23, and Vishvendra Mehta, 22 who are from Thailand and India respectively, launched Sneaker Finder after a shared passion for exclusive trainers led them to discover a gap in the market for sourcing and selling hard to find trainers.
Sneaker Finder not only takes requests to source specific trainer editions on behalf of their customers, but they also act as consultants, advising interested buyers on the variations in sizing and styles between different brands and checking the authenticity of pairs their customers buy from other sources.
Sneaker Finder stock celebrity collaboration limited-edition trainers from the likes of singer Pharrell Williams x Adidas, Cristiano Ronaldo x Nike, as well as the much sought-after Kanye West x Adidas Yeezy’s. And each pair of trainers is sold with official paperwork to prove they are genuine.
To date the business duo’s most expensive pair of trainers sold were limited edition Back to the Future Nike Air Mags costing several thousand pounds.
As well as operating sales online, Nicha and Vish approached Swansea street wear shop NV-US Aesthetics to start selling limited edition trainers in store, expanding the shop’s offering from purely clothing and accessories, while increasing Sneaker Finder’s sales.
What’s more, as the pair are still students, Swansea University’s enterprise team have enabled Nicha and Vish to host pop-up shops on both campuses to sell exciting new stock and build their network of customers.
Nicha and Vish, in their final year studying Chemical Engineering and Product Design Engineering respectively at Swansea University, are interested in a retail career after completing their degrees, with Sneaker Finder providing experience in the sector and fulfilling an entrepreneurial flair both admit has been within them since a young age.
Nicha said: “In our home countries of Thailand and India, we’ve not always been privy to limited edition trainer sales so we’re just as excited about new releases as our customers are. We believe we’re unique as we take requests from customers and work with them to establish sizing, price range and style, either finding a specific trainer for them, or suggesting new sneakers about to the hit the shelves that they might like.
“As we’re investing our own money into the business, we’re aware of the risks that face us. But we come from business-minded families and we spend time a lot of time researching brands and styles, and carefully choose which limited edition trainers we’re going to purchase as stock.”
Sneaker Finder was established with the help of Big Ideas Wales. Nicha and Vish were recently encouraged to enter Big Ideas Celebrated by Swansea University’s Enterprise team, a national event for young entrepreneurs to showcase their businesses, which was most recently held in Bangor.
Sneaker Finder’s concept impressed the judges and the duo picked up the Creativity and Innovation Award and Best Business Skills Award, along with a £1000 prize.
Vish said: “The enterprise team at Swansea University have been a great help to us in growing Sneaker Finder as a business, especially Enterprise Champions Rhodri Evans and Kelly Jordan. We’ve received pitching advice, marketing support, poster design assistance and so much more, so we’ve found it really valuable engaging with the service.”
In the future, the pair who both plan to remain in Wales, want to expand their business by linking up with further street wear stores and developing a pop-up mobile shop that can travel to key locations. They are also planning to introduce a shoe cleaning service as part of Sneaker Finder, helping customers look after their often-expensive shoes.
Rhodri Evans, Enterprise Support Officer said: “Nicha and Vish are great examples of students who have taken a shared passion and turned it into a viable business venture. At Swansea we encourage all our students to act upon their entrepreneurial flair to enhance their own experience at university and increase their employability when they graduate. We know Nicha and Vish have a bright future ahead.”