The CT native is turning his love for sneakers into a million dollar business

The 25-year-old Meriden native has turned his passion for high-end sneakers and designer streetwear into a small retail chain specializing in reselling.

“I’ve always been into sneakers, but when I started, I never had the money to buy them,” he says, using his derogatory term for sneaker collectors.

Mocadlo started his sneaker reselling business when he was a junior at Platte High School in Meriden, scraping together enough money from various jobs to start a high-end sneaker collection.

“At first, my father didn’t understand why I was spending all my money on shoes,” Mokadlo said of his father, a retired civil servant. “I would come home with 10 or 20 pairs of shoes at a time.”

He graduated from Platt in 2015.

Mocadlo first migrated his business to Instagram in 2020 to reach a larger audience. So he enlisted the help of his brother John, who had many years of retail experience, mostly in the auto retail business.

“John has a lot of experience in business, but he was never interested in sneakers,” says Wayne Mocadlo. “And I felt that I was lacking in certain business matters, so he agreed to go into business with me.”

Mocadlo said he started the business with about $60,000 of his own money and several hundred sneakers from his personal collection as merchandise.

“We really want to capture the luxury aspect of the market,” Mokadlo said. “You have people buying sneakers and keeping them as an investment. Treat it like a stock.”

He says some Impossible Kicks customers are more interested in wearing the sneakers they’re buying, and hope their prices go up.

“It’s really a very diverse marketplace in terms of who’s buying them and why they’re buying them,” Mokadlo said.

Impossible Kicks buys its shoes from a network of retailers it has developed over the past two years, including some individuals who sell their own personal sneakers in pristine condition.

When it came time to open the first brick-and-mortar location of Impossible Kicks, West Farms was a natural fit for what Mocadlo and his brother were looking for.

“We were looking for a place with a high amount of natural foot traffic,” he said. “And you have to have a demographic that likes luxury goods.”

Given that focus, it looks like Impossible Kicks has landed on prime real estate at Westfarms. The store is located just steps from two of the high-end retailers the mall is most familiar with: Apple and Nordstrom.

According to David Aden, a professor at Quinnipiac University’s business school, Impossible Kicks’ location in the mall probably involved a lot of thought by the retailer and WestFarms officials.

“He did the right analysis,” Adden said of Mokadlo. “When you’re surrounded by high-end stores, your customers are more likely to be high-end. That’s the halo effect: You can charge more for what you sell.”

Mocadlo says Impossible Kicks has sold sneakers that cost anywhere from $100 to $100,000 a pair.

“We have up to two thousand shoes in our stores,” he said.

To promote Impossible Kicks’ image as a high-end retailer, the store’s salespeople act just like personal shoppers would, according to Mocadlo.

Impossible Kicks has launched its own mobile device app and has 30,000 downloads so far. Right now, 70 percent of the chain’s business comes from brick-and-mortar locations, but Mocadlo said he hopes to increase online sales.

Some estimates put the sneaker resale market at between $6 billion and $10 billion this year.

Impossible Kicks had sales of $15 million by 2021 and $55 million this year. Mokadlo in the year He said he expects to top $100 million by 2023.

To do that, Impossible Kicks is looking to expand stores globally by 2023, though Mocadlo hasn’t said where yet.

Last month, Impossible Kicks closed on a deal to raise $3 million for a stake in the company. That brings Impossible Kicks’ total funding to $7 million.

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