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Two UNC students buy and sell designer clothes to make money and show off their style

Some people resell sports tickets, but these students are reselling clothes and shoes as a side hustle with a returning profit upwards of over 100 percent of the original retail price. Colin Flynn, a junior psychology student, first got into reselling in high school, but it picked in his freshman year at UNC.

"Clothes for me started as a means of making money, but in the last two years has become a bit of an obsession," Flynn said.

Though some people resell sports tickets, UNC juniors Collin Flynn and Adam Yoo are each reselling clothing as a side hustle — with a returning profit upwards of 100 percent of the original retail price.

Over the past few years, the resale market has grown astronomically. A subset of the secondhand market, it involves sellers posting products online for buyers with the highest bid. But interested buyers have to click fast enough if they hope to get their hands on the latest item. 

For example, last basketball season, coach Roy Williams was spotted wearing a pair of UNC off-white Nike Air Jordan 1s for the Coaches vs. Cancer program. Though the retail price for those shoes was $190, they currently go for over $1,200 on the aftermarket because of the high demand around the shoes. 

Flynn, a junior majoring in psychology, said he first got into reselling in high school, but his success picked up his first year at UNC.

"Clothes for me started as a means of making money, but in the last two years has become a bit of an obsession," Flynn said.

He said once in high school, his friend was wearing a Thrasher Magazine shirt he bought from the brand Supreme. He said his friend told him that it if he would have bought it on the resale market, it would possibly cost over $100 online.

Flynn said his friend later explained the supply and demand of sought-after brands like Supreme, where prices are driven up because of the increased demand from buyers. 

He said from that point on, he has been fascinated by the market. 

For the past couple of years, Flynn has been selling clothes and shoes on Grailed — an online marketplace for men's fashion and streetwear. He said he likes posting on Grailed because it allows him to connect directly with the consumer, unlike other sites such as StockX that treat coveted goods as exchangeable commodities. 

"What gave me the money to build my style how it is today was reselling," Flynn said. "You buy a lot to sell a lot to then buy the items you really want, and I defiantly like older pieces. Like in the last year and a half, I have been exclusively into vintage." 

He now collects and resells unique vintage clothing on his merchandise Instagram.

Yoo, a junior majoring in English, said he got into fashion in his early high school days and mostly resells shoes when he is at home. 

Being from New York, where brands like Supreme got their start, he said he feels as though the connection to the culture of the brand is more important than just buying an item in hopes of making some quick cash. He admitted to having "hypebeast" tendencies — wearing expensive clothes to impress others — but is trying to stop buying clothes with so many logos on them. He instead is trying to pay attention to brands that care about the quality of their garments. 

Yoo now likes to resell mostly sneakers and some Supreme and Palace clothing. He said he prefers to do business in person because he believes it keeps the original culture of reselling alive, but he also uses online sites like StockX while in North Carolina. 

Jed Simmons, an entrepreneurship professor, wanted to show his students how profitable the resale industry could be as a full-time business. 

Simmons said he initially learned about the reselling culture through his son, a high school student who resells sneakers. 

He said he and his son were fortunate enough to meet Jaysse Lopez, founder of Urban Necessities, while traveling in Las Vegas one summer. 

“I was able to talk and learn that he is not only a great owner of a store but also a great person who is also a huge college basketball fan,” Simmons said. “I was bold enough to ask him if he might be interested in coming to Carolina to come speak to a class, and he was.” 

Jaysse came to campus in January to discuss his humble beginnings of once being homeless while he was growing a business that is now valued at over $20 million. 

Simmons said Jaysse spoke about how he started his company by buying and selling a pair of shoes, which led him and his wife to running their fast-growing business that recently signed a partnership with American Eagle. 

He said Jaysse has the tenacity, knowledge and passion that has helped guide him to where he is today.

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“He’s as good as an entrepreneur I’ve met in terms of his commitment, knowledge, integrity and how he just keeps going,” Simmons said. “He cares about the business and culture and not just making a profit.”