Frank Klerk’s greatest passion is collecting sneakers. What started out as a hobby has grown into the largest second-hand sneaker platform in Europe: outsole.nl. More than 2,000 different pairs of sneakers are currently online. Most of these pairs are the iconic Nike Air Max 1 sneakers. Besides sneakers, various accessories such as unique Nike and Adidas shoelaces are sold via the platform.
Just like back in the old days with collectables such as Flippos and soccer trading cards, that’s how everything started for Frank fifteen years ago. Frank: ‘I have this thing about the Nike Air Max 1. There are over 1,000 different pairs out there. In my secondary school days, I was also motivated by others because I kept thinking: “I want what they have.” That has only gotten worse over the years: at first, I only had to buy a pair once a week. Now I need to buy a pair every day.”
It’s not only a sure-fire way to develop a sneaker addiction in no time but also to start a business in trading sneakers. ‘I have always had side hustles in the past. But if you want to keep buying, you also have to start selling. Trading sneakers works differently from trading televisions or cars, where the value decreases by half immediately upon sale. There are many sneaker collectors across the globe who are willing to pay a lot of money for that one pair that will complete their collection.’ Of the three or four pairs Frank sells per day, about 50% is sent to customers abroad. And the further away, the higher the price per pair of sneakers. Particularly in Asia, collectors are prepared to pay enormous sums of money for collector’s items.
The average selling price is three hunderd euros per pair, but some pairs go for much higher prices. The most expensive pair is valued at €6,000. We asked Frank if he could describe the average sneaker collector. There is no ‘average’; the group of collectors is highly diverse. Most of the sneakers are sold online through the website. Sometimes customers indicate that they want to pick up an order, and then he meets all kinds of customers. Frank: ‘The customer contact is the most fun part of the work. You’re meeting fellow collectors, so there’s an instant connection.’
Because of the online shop’s explosive growth, Outsole moved in early 2021 to its own office with a warehouse on the north side of Apeldoorn. Frank expects to continue expanding his business from his new Outsole headquarters.
Export countries: Europe, Asia and countries on other continents.