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  • Writer's pictureConnar Stratton

Startup Idea #30: Streetwear sneaker maintenance, and cleaning

Idea: A service that repairs, maintains and cleans people's streetwear shoes through an online platform. Sneakerheads would be able to get delivery boxes sent to their address, and then send their shoes to be serviced and returned in 5 days. You would have a flat price regardless of the type of shoe with insurance options that people could add. To reduce manpower costs, the shoes could get serviced in JB, and brought back into Singapore.

Problem: Streetwear sneakers have become one of the fastest growing products in the world, and already account for 10% of the global footwear and apparel industry. Unlike many other collectibles, or luxury goods, sneakers need to be worn to garner respect, but are at high risk of becoming dirtied. As soon as a pair of sneakers becomes dirty, they lose a significant amount of their assigned value and street cred.

Insight: Unlike normal consumers, sneakerheads develop deep emotional bonds with their sneakers, and want to see them last. They go to great pains to make sure they don't get dirty, wear out the soles, and regularly clean them to extend their longevity. It's incredible how much effort sneakerheads are willing to invest to protect their valuable asset.

Validation method: Create Facebook ads and test whether anyone clicks through to your website. Clickthrough rates would probably be quite low, so you may need to try a different approach. The toughest part of this business would be getting sneakerheads to trust you. Traditional cobblers are seen as old-fashioned, and uncool so you would need to find a way to ingratiate yourself with the sneakerhead community. You could join the streetwear and StockX Reddit forums, and spend some time around stores such as SNKRDUNK in Orchard.

Notes: Eventually, the business would be wise to partner with a few of the respected sneaker businesses and platforms. Retail stores are always loathe to partner with companies that improve product longevity as they reduce consumer demand for new stock. Sneakers may be different, as people are often looking to expand their collection. Ideally, you could partner with a sneaker reselling platform such as StockX, helping them clean up shoes for resale.

Why am I doing this? I’m an innovation consultant who helps businesses build new products, and ventures. And I want people to see how easy it is to build, and validate an initial business idea. Hopefully inspiring them to start their own business.

Am I worried that people will take the ideas? I hope they do. These ideas will hopefully make the world a better place. Just remember, “Ideas are cheap. Execution is everything”. What’s most likely is that within a month of testing the idea, the idea would have completely pivoted, but this is a starting point.


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