Meet Ben Kapelushnik, the 16-year-old rare shoe dealer from Fort Lauderdale, Florida who calls himself Benjamin Kickz. He’s not even a high school graduate yet and he’s already one of the most well-known, successful sneaker resellers in the market. He claims he’s on track to make $1 million in sales this year from his collection of shoes at sneakerdon.com. That’s pretty serious.
So, how does a teenage boy create a shoe selling empire? And become a shoe broker to famous rappers and convince them to be his brand ambassadors? It takes some serious chutzpah.
Ben’s life was apparently changed when his mom bought him his first pair of Nikes in middle school. Ever since, he thirsted for knowledge on sneaker culture–and how to become an intrinsic part of it.
So, he did what any nice Jewish boy would do–he used his bar mitzvah (where Rick Ross performed!) money to buy more sneakers while also studying the resale market and attending sneaker conventions. Of course, it does seem like his hard work ethic stems from his family–his dad is a real-estate broker–and both of his parents moved here from Russia. The rest, clearly, is history. Ben claims he also learned about business from listening to hip-hop:
“All I saw was Lil Wayne wearing $100,000 chains in a Rolls-Royce. Now, that doesn’t mean that’s a great lifestyle I want for my kids, but when I listened to that, it got me infatuated to the point where I wanted to have a diamond necklace. I wanted to drive a Ferrari. I just thought to myself, I have to figure it out.
In order to keep himself relevant, he buys in bulk from other sellers:
“I started buying by the hundreds. When I posted it, everyone was like, Damn, he has a lot, so I showed it to other people, other plugs, and they were like, Okay, if he has the money to buy this, he can buy from us too. And then I bought more and more and more.
I’m that one person that goes and scatters it around. No one wants to go through dealing with [a random seller], because he only has one pair, one size. I have every pair, every size, because I just bought it from everybody. Done.”
Does he ever miss doing more typical high school stuff, like going on dates and out to games and movies? Apparently not. The teen explains that he’s not interested in that, stating:
“Go with a girl to the movies, go with your brother to the movies — that’s cool, but I have no interest in going out to parties and not networking with anyone. Not only does it get boring, you’re not getting ahead.”
His plans aren’t stopping at selling shoes either, as he’s in the process of signing on for a reality TV show, and convinced his parents to move to Los Angeles–all while keeping a stockroom back in Miami. Looks like he’s only getting started.