CARMEL, Ind. (WISH) — A teen who is still a couple weeks from his high school graduation has his own store.
Daniel Lamers estimates he’s sold about 1,700 pairs of high-end sneakers in the past year or so online and through social media. But, he thought it was time to reach a wider audience.
Fashion, especially high-end and limited-edition sneakers, have been a passion since Lamers was age 10 or 11. But, that passion has turned into a full-on profession with a full month to go before his high school graduation at Hamilton Southeastern High School.
“A dream come true obviously,” he said. “Just crazy, hard work pays off sometimes.”
It’s paying off quite literally these days with his own physical store called Naptown Kicks.
He started reselling shoes about two years ago.
His parents initially gave the reaction you probably imagine. “At first they thought it was crazy,” Lamers said.
Most of his shoes are brand new, obtained through raffles when limited-edition sneakers are released. He has about 30 pairs in his personal collection with about 120 in his resale collection.
With an average selling price from $200-$400 and a profit margin from 30%-50%, his parents came around. “Without them, I wouldn’t be able to open a store,” Lamers said.
His mother, Diane, didn’t think her son would have his own storefront at age 18.
“No, never,” she said. “It’s been a crazy idea for a long time, but I think he’s in the right spot.”
Diane said it’s gratifying to see his passion in action and to see it pay off. “That’s what kids do, right? They teach us more about ourselves.”
She said for her son, someone who is a hands-on learner with no interest in going on to college, this is the perfect education, with an assist from the coronavirus pandemic.
“Especially right now, he’s not going to movies; he’s not going out to eat. So, it’s how he spends his money,” Diane said.
Daniel’s first job was at a pizza restaurant when he was 15, helping raise the money needed to fuel his passion and fashion through the years.
They both believe a corner spot in the Mohawk Landing Shopping Center at 126th and Range Line Road in Carmel is just perfect. It’s due to be demolished later this year, so it’s one of the few places he can go month-to-month while he determines just how strong the market is.
About half the sneakers inside are his. The rest are there on consignment from friends and family. He knows some might think it’s crazy to spend from $800-$900 on a pair of shoes.
“Sometimes they say why? How? What are you thinking? My response is, ‘I like them. I look good.’”
His message to other would-be young entrepreneurs, “if you have your mindset, just go for it. It took me a while, but I’m here and I’m sure you can do it, too.”
Naptown Kicks opened Saturday. For the next few weeks, it’s only open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, but, once he’s done with school, he plans to also open on Wednesdays and Thursdays.
If things go well, when the shopping center is torn down, he will look to move his store somewhere else.