How I moved mountains with the right pair of sneakers
By Rhodesia Muhammad – Contributing writer @rhodesiamuhamma
A made up mind cannot be defeated, said Jamil Muhammad, the 17-year-old owner of “Heat on Feet Footwear”, Fort Worth’s first sneakers and apparel consignment store that just opened in Texas on June 23, 2018.
Bro. Jamil was only 13 when he began entertaining the thought of selling his own shoes. He admitted he grew up wanting Michael Jordan’s famous tennis shoes but had to save up to buy them. That’s when the idea of buying used sneakers and refurbishing them came to light.
He bought a pair of used Jordans for $60. Then he customized them by cleaning the shoes, re-painting them, and re-selling them for $120. The original cost of the shoes was $200.
“That became my business,” he said. “I would buy people’s used or beat up shoes, or the Jordans they didn’t want anymore, and I would sell it for a quick profit. I would clean them up, re-paint the shoes, and re-glue it if the sole was separated from the shoe. I would remove scuffs, giving them a different canvas and a different look and then I would re-sell them for a higher price than what I paid for them. Buy low and sell high was my motto,” Bro. Jamil added.
Over the next couple of years, he slowed down on renewing sneakers because he said he really wanted to be a reseller, so he began attending shoe expos.
I saw that Jordans, Adidas, and Nike was making a lot of money, so I just said…I can do this on my own. Instead of buying shoes from the store, he said he started buying different shoes off people.
“When I turned 15,” he continued, “I built my on-line website and created my on-line marketing. I was doing a lot of local deals, meeting up with people at my Dad’s car dealership. From there, I decided I was going to invest all my time doing what I had to do to make my business successful. That included saving enough money to buy more shoes to keep inventory.”
Just a year later, he went to Kixpo, known as one of the best sneaker and streetwear expos in the world.
“I brought three pairs of refurbished, customized sneakers with me and in the first 20 minutes of the show, I sold them all. So, I went home with six more pairs of sneakers I bought from the expo and sold them at a higher cost. After reselling those shoes so quickly, I used local on-line markets to purchase more sneakers. I no longer fixed up shoes, I just bought and resold them.”
Bro. Jamil started an Instagram page to promote his business and joined local Facebook groups for shoes.
By the time he turned 17, he had the epiphany to open his own shop.
“I just thought, I will open my own sneaker shop. I said to myself I can do this. I really feel like I’m ready to do this. Then, I put in the work,” he affirmed.
With help from his father, he found a spot for his store and began remodeling. Bro. Jamil said they had gotten far in the process, but they had difficulty putting up a wall that brought their progress to a halt. This led him back to buying and selling shoes on-line.
Bro. Jamil said whenever he hit a rough patch, he would think about the words of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan…“If only you had the faith of a mustard seed, you could move mountains”.
“Although a lot of money was spent on remodeling and I didn’t have the necessary requirements to open my store, I continued selling shoes and stocking up on inventory. Six months later, me and my brother established that we would just get this store running,” he professed. “We ended up cleaning out the building we used for storage purposes. We started putting up the wall again and continued the remodeling process. We painted the walls, we stained the floors, we bought materials to get the store where it needed to be because I always wanted to have the best and most talked about store. So, I just kept working on it.”
Even after setting the date for the grand opening, Bro. Jamil said he had to push the date back because he needed more inventory, but he was not discouraged.
“It’s a blessing. All praise is due to Allah,” he said enthused. “Opening your own business is a process, a journey. It’s a gift. First, you must speak it into existence and then you work. And through it all, the struggles and the ups and downs, you still go because your best outcome is success. It’s not failure.”
Now, when a customer walks through the doors of Heat on Feet Footwear, they can see an array of exclusive sneakers that aren’t sold in popular shoe stores like Footlocker, including Jordans, Nike, Supreme, Adidas, Yeezy tennis, along with vintage clothing and accessories.
Bro. Jamil says he buys his shoes on consignment, both new and used and sells them. People can also bring in their shoes and sell them in his store.
Finally, after four years in the making, on Saturday, June 23, 2018, Bro. Jamil had his grand opening.
“Here’s what I have to say to anyone wanting to start their own business,” he advised. “Prayer was most important to me. Having faith was second and third was putting in the work. There were times when I didn’t get the results I wanted, and I felt I wasn’t making progress, but I never stopped working because I knew I was going to be on top,” he concluded.