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How Ox Street carved its online niche in Southeast Asia’s burgeoning resale sneaker market

The Peak speaks to founder Gijs Verheijke.

For peripatetic 34-year-old Amsterdam native Gijs Verheijke, it was a stint in Myanmar that first opened his eyes to the burgeoning sneaker scene in South-east Asia. After working in private equity in Amsterdam for over two years, the Dutchman joined e-commerce investor Rocket Internet in 2015, moving to Bangladesh and subsequently, Myanmar, where he launched online job portals. He recalls: “In Myanmar, many of the young people working for us were in their first jobs. I noticed that when they got their salary for the first time, the first thing they would buy was a smartphone – and the second thing was sneakers. I thought, ‘This is really going to be something in South-east Asia.’”

  • Ox Street Air Jordan
    Collaborative sneakers between Air Jordan and Japanese brand Facetasm.

Verheijke moved to Singapore last July, and in October he launched Ox Street, a premium sneaker resale digital marketplace for the South-east Asian market. Sneaker resellers buy these shoes, especially limited editions, from retailers or other sources, with the intention of selling them again. Ox Street connects sneaker resellers and buyers within the region, with the average price of a purchase on the site being $500. Says Verheijke: “We regularly see sneakers in the four-digit price range. The sneaker resale industry is on track to being worth US$6 billion. The biggest misconception is that it’s just a small niche for hardcore sneakerheads.”

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Shoe sources

“We sell deadstock (unworn) sneakers and we’re a marketplace; we don’t hold stock. We work with local sellers, who usually keep the stock in their own homes. They have different sources – sometimes they get lucky and manage to buy popular sneakers at retail, sometimes they buy them while on holiday, and some buy their stocks on the resale market.”

 

Market forces

“Our prices are set by the market. Our sellers set their prices, and buyers have the choice of buying a product for that price, or making an offer. If they do the latter, we send the sellers a message immediately telling them about the offer – and asking them if they accept it or not. We try to facilitate price-setting in a transparent way.”

 

Fancy footwear

“If there’s one sneaker that epitomises the Asian sneaker scene now, I’d say it’s the Adidas Yeezy 350. But the priciest sneakers are models such as collaborations with (American rapper) Travis Scott, Air Jordans and certain Off-White models. We have loyal customers who spend between $2,500 and $3,000 a month on Ox Street.”

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