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Meet Kai Smith of Legit Laces in Pasadena

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kai Smith.

Kai, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I have been into sneakers and streetwear since my early days in high school but I could never afford the sneakers I was so obsessed with. Eventually, I got a part-time job at a local summer camp and I purchased a pair of Jordan 11 Low Breds. Me and a friend had actually reserved the pair at the store but we decided to camp out anyway just secure our spots in line and to experience the hype of campouts we had heard about.

After a cold night on the city pavement, we were first in line but no one else got in line till about 30 minutes before the store opened… Not exactly the dream camp out we had envisioned but still we had a great time and I wouldn’t change a thing.

Fast forward, a few years, I had moved from California to Georgia for college and I began selling sneakers for extra money. Eventually, I realized that I wasn’t enjoying my education as much as I thought I would and I decided to dedicate more time to flipping shoes.

I also began a part-time job at a local bakery called Kupcakerie and I am truly blessed to work with and be mentored by the people there. They helped me to take steps to create Legit Laces and the rest is history.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Of course not. I’ve been scammed for hundreds of dollars, taken risks that didn’t pay off, and in general encountered some shady people. Additionally, sneakers and reselling in general can be a tough market to break into. It may seem like everyone is ahead of you with more inventory or clients but as they say, “comparison is the thief of all joy”.

I can recall a time where I was given a pair of unauthentic shoes in a trade and it cost me about $1,000 when everything was done. I wanted to give up right then, but I decided to double down and learn more on legit checking, create more connections with reputable people and continue to grow.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Legit Laces – what should we know?
The reselling market has grown into a multi-billion dollar industry over the past few years. However, at the same time, the counterfeit market has grown exponentially as well. Fake/Unauthentic items are getting better and better every day. But that is where Legit Laces comes in.

Legit Laces is an online-based consignment store helping people purchase the latest sneakers, streetwear, and now vintage items as well! We are constantly working and learning to guarantee that our customers are purchasing authentic items at reasonable prices.

We are especially proud of our website. It is constantly updated with new items as they come in and go out along with a blog page for all sneaker/streetwear enthusiasts. It was definitely a challenge to create from scratch but it is rewarding to be able to refer customers to the site to find reliable information or even make a purchase.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
I have had a few mentors over the last few years. I had moved from California to Georgia for college in 2015 and I began selling sneakers for extra money. Eventually, I realized that I wasn’t enjoying my education as much as I thought I would and I decided to dedicate more time to flipping shoes. I began a part-time job at a local bakery called Kupcakerie and I am truly blessed to work with and be mentored by the people there. While the baking cupcakes is obviously very different from sneakers, watching them run their business and succeed was motivation for me to pursue my passion. They helped me to take steps to create Legit Laces and still advise me to this day.

Other mentors I have had in recent months are the great people at EndangeredLA. EndangeredLA works in the same line of work I am interested in and I am beyond lucky to work with such kind people. You can learn a lot about sneakers and reselling online but there is nothing like getting the hands-on experience everyday.

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Kai Smith – Legit Laces

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