WHS seniors lace up to take on the sneaker resale industry

Screenshot of 908Sup website home page
https://www.908sup.com/ (Photo screenshot by Claire Campbell)

Created in 2015 by WHS seniors Alex DiMaria and Luca Tibbals, 908Sup is an online retailer for new and pre-owned sneakers, clothing and accessories. After years of collecting, trading and reselling independently, the friends joined forces to grow a lucrative business.  

Most people mark the 1980s as the start of sneaker culture in the United States. This is largely due to the release of Air Jordans in 1985 when wearing sneakers outside of a sports setting became fashionable. In recent years, streetwear has soared in popularity, causing the resurgence of Supreme and the creation of other major labels like Kith, Off-White and Stussy. 

Both DiMaria and Tibbals first became interested in sneakers in seventh grade. With the growth of their personal collections and the knowledge of the high demand in Westfield came the opportunity to make a significant profit. “I saw people getting Air Jordans and Nike basketball shoes at school and it immediately piqued my interest. I bought a pair of Nike Lebron 11s, and even though I never resold the shoes for a profit, it gave me my first insight into the [sneaker] community,” said Tibbals. 

Because of their extensive individual experience and reputations as legitimate resellers, 908Sup was born with a pre-existing clientele and reliable retailers to depend on. 

908Sup sources most of its products directly from retailers and other established resellers or collectors. In addition, they also purchase their products from backdoor plugs, which are personal connections with retailers who provide hundreds of sneakers to resellers at heavily discounted prices in exchange for advanced payments. 

DiMaria and Tibbals use a multitude of platforms to run their business. A lot of their direct communication with buyers occurs via the company Instagram @908Sup where they spotlight products on a daily basis, but buyers can also visit www.908sup.com to conduct a more refined search. 

For brand new items they often use online marketplaces such as StockX and Goat, both of which have driven profits immensely. In addition to running 908Sup, DiMaria and Tibbals work at LMTD Supply in New Brunswick, which offers a consignment option that they often utilize for their business as well. 

People are encouraged to inquire about products they’ve been looking for because even if DiMaria and Tibbals don’t have it, the business owners will track down the item in order to keep their customers satisfied and ensure they aren’t being overcharged. 

When it comes to knowing what products to purchase, DiMaria considers his own taste, current trends and what most interests his clientele. 

“Deciding what to buy is heavily influenced by what trends are popular and what celebrities are wearing. For example, after the big TikTok boom this year, Jordan 1s have become one of the most popular shoes. Other than that, I know that my buyers like hard-to-get, exclusive items,” said DiMaria. 

While demands are constantly changing because of the introduction of new trends, pre-owned items have consistently been 908Sup’s most popular products. These items are sought after because they have only been worn a few times by the previous owner, are in great condition and are a much cheaper alternative to buying something brand new.

Although DiMaria and Tibbals’ initial target audiences were “sneakerheads,” which forbes.com defines as “a person who collects, trades and/or admires sneakers as a form of hobby,” a lot of their products would now be classified as more mainstream items for the average consumer. That being said, they still buy luxury and limited edition goods to appeal to their original niche community. 

It’s no secret that sneaker reselling companies are extremely profitable. 908Sup’s success is undoubtedly a result of the duo’s knowledge of the industry, commitment to their customers and their passion for the lifestyle. 

Even though DiMaria and Tibbals are graduating this year, it doesn’t look like 908Sup is going away anytime soon. DiMaria said, “With the recent launch of our website, I believe 908Sup will definitely be around for the next 5-10 years. I’ve discussed opening a brick-and-mortar store with some of my partners depending on where I end up for the next four years.”

908Sup logo
(Photo photo courtesy of the company Instagram @908sup)