The CT native is turning a passion for sneakers into a multi-million dollar business

A 25-year-old Meriden resident has turned his passion for high-end sneakers and designer streetwear into a small retail chain specializing in resale.

“I’ve always been into sneakers, but when I started, I never had the money to afford them,” he said, using the slang term for an individual interest in sneaker collecting.

Mocadlo started his sneaker resale business when he was a student at Platt High School in Meriden, scraping together enough money from various jobs to start a high-end sneaker collection.

“At first, my father didn’t understand why I would spend all my money on shoes,” Mokadlo said of his father, a retired civil servant. “I used to come home with 10 or 20 pairs of shoes at a time.”

Graduated from Platt in 2015.

Mocadlo first migrated his business to Instagram in 2020 to reach a wider audience. And then he enlisted the help of his brother John, who had years of retail experience, much of it in the auto retail business.

“John has a lot of experience in the business, but he’s never been interested in sneakers,” said Wayne Mokadlo. “And I felt that I lacked certain business aspects, so he agreed to go into business with me.”

Mocadlo said he started the business with about $60,000 of his own money and his personal collection of several hundred sneakers as merchandise.

“We really wanted to capture the luxury aspect of the market,” Mokadlo said. “You have people who buy sneakers and use them as an investment. They treat them like stocks.”

Some Impossible Kicks customers are more interested in wearing the sneakers they buy than holding onto them and hoping their value increases, he said.

“It’s a really diverse market in terms of who’s buying them and why they’re buying them,” Mokadlo said.

Impossible Kicks buys the shoes from a network of retailers it has developed over the past two years, including some individuals who resell their own personal collection of sneakers that are in pristine condition.

When it came time to open Impossible Kicks’ first brick-and-mortar location, Westfarms was the natural fit for what Mocadlo and his brother were looking for.

“We were looking for a place with a high amount of natural foot traffic,” he said. “And you have to have that demographic that likes luxury items.”

Given that focus, Impossible Kicks appears to have landed on prime real estate at Westfarms. The store is located just steps away from two stores that are perhaps the most famous retailers in the mall: Apple and Nordstrom.

According to David Cadden, professor emeritus at Quinnipiac University’s School of Business, Impossible Kicks’ location in the mall likely involved a lot of thought on the part of both the retailer and Westfarms employees.

“He must have done quite a bit of analysis,” Cadden said of Mocadlo. “When you’re surrounded by luxury stores, your customers are more likely to be luxury too. That’s the halo effect: you’ll be able to charge more for what you sell.”

Mocadlo said Impossible Kicks has sold sneakers that range in price from $100 a pair to $100,000.

“Shoes that sell up to several thousand are what we stock in our stores,” he said.

To further promote Impossible Kicks’ image as a high-end retailer, in-store salespeople work similar to personal shoppers for other luxury brands, according to Mocadlo.

Impossible Kicks just launched its own mobile app and has 30,000 downloads so far. Currently, 70 percent of the chain’s business comes from brick-and-mortar locations, but Mokadlo said he hopes to increase online sales.

Some estimates put the sneaker resale market at between $6 billion and $10 billion this year.

Impossible Kicks had $15 million in sales in 2021 and $55 million in sales this year. Mokadlo said he expects to hit the $100 million mark in 2023.

To do that, it aims to expand Impossible Kicks stores internationally in 2023, though Mocadlo isn’t saying where yet.

Last month, Impossible Kicks struck a deal to raise $3 million in exchange for a stake in the company. This brought the amount raised by Impossible Kicks to $7 million in total funding.

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