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Community Highlights: Meet Brandon Cheng of Sole Inspires

Today we’d like to introduce you to Brandon Cheng.

Hi Brandon, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for sharing your story with us – to start, maybe you can share some of your backstories with our readers.
I started selling shoes in middle school to make some extra money. When I was in 6th grade, the “Gone Fishing” Foamposites released. They were expected to resell for around $1000. I had some money at the time, but not enough to buy the shoe. My uncle lent me some money to buy the shoe, and on the day of the release he camped outside the mall with me. When the shoe officially released, the market tanked on them completely. The market was so bad on the shoe that I couldn’t sell them without taking a loss. After a year, my friend traded me 10 pairs of pre-owned Jordans for the Foamposites. I sold those 10 pairs to friends at my middle school for around $100 per pair. I made around $1000 off the shoe, that’s how I got into reselling shoes.
During high school, I started taking football more seriously and put my time into that. I still sold some pairs on the side from time to time to make some money whenever I needed it. During my junior year, the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Before they sent us off for a “two week break,” our English teacher Ms. Kominski, gave us a research project. The project was more of a free writing assignment. She gave us the question “Is College Necessary To Succeed?” At the time, I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. The more I filled out that research paper, the more I realized that I didn’t need to go to school to succeed. But if I didn’t go, I would be taking a big bet on myself. Without that assignment, I probably would have ended up going to college. As the pandemic started shutting everything down, I started reselling again full-time. During lockdown I began drop shipping. Sneakers, pools, basketball hoops, and the list goes on. As things started to open back up, I was set on not attending college. There was a local resell sneaker shop moving near my area. My mentor Josh Pleasant got me an internship there. I interned for a few months at the shop until I started playing a larger role there. The next thing I knew, I started reselling as a full-time job. Two years passed and I started falling out of love with reselling. I was burned out and unhappy  with my job. I took a vacation to Miami to clear my mind. It was my first vacation without my family. One morning I woke up and I started getting dressed. As I grabbed my socks, I paused for a second. I sat there and realized I didn’t want to return to Maryland. I asked myself why I didn’t want to go back home, and came to the conclusion I didn’t want to work at my job anymore. I always told myself that if I wasn’t having fun with what I did, I’d stop doing it. I was always the type of person to push my loved ones to do better and take a bet on themselves. I realized I wasn’t taking my own advice. During vacation, I decided that I would quit my job. It took a lot of praying and thinking, but I made peace with my choice. When I returned from Miami, I worked one more day and asked my boss to speak with him the following week. On Tuesday morning, I arrived to work early. I thanked him for the opportunity he gave me and told him that I had decided to part ways. When I left, I took a leap of faith. I had no clientele, no following, and very few connections. All I had was confidence in myself and my loved ones by my side, supporting me through everything. I left my job in February 2022. As I’m writing this, it’s October 2022. It’s been a crazy past few months. Long nights and early mornings. Getting out of my comfort zone. Networking and marketing every day. But consistency is the main thing that’s gotten me to where I am today. I give my best everyday, even when I feel like I don’t have anything left.
Can you talk to us about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
It has been a challenging road. There are a lot of factors that play a role in building a brand from the ground up. Staying level-headed is a key one. There was a point in time during this year, I felt as if I lost myself. I never knew how hard it was to stay level-headed while running your own business and trying to grow as a person. It wasn’t easy, but I did pick myself up. No one sees what happens behind the scenes, all anyone ever sees is what you post. You never post yourself when you’re not doing well; you only post the positives. Losing myself was one of the most important life and business lessons I’ve learned. You have to lose to learn and you have to learn to grow. You have make sure you stay level-headed during the process. Every day you have to show up. You must ensure you stay positive, healthy, thankful, motivated, consistent, and so much more. At the end of the day we’re all people. It’s normal to fall in life, but you have to get up fast and learn from your mistakes.
 
We’ve been impressed with Sole Inspires, but for folks who might not be as familiar, what can you share with them about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Sole Inspires is a buy-and-sell sneaker brand. Have you ever wanted a pair of shoes really bad, and they sell out in-store/online instantly? Well, Sole Inspires has them! We resell sneakers and clothing you can’t find at your typical stores. Such as Jordans, Nike Dunks, Adidas Yeezys, Essential Clothing, and much more. The experience we provide is easily one of the most exciting, smooth, transparent, and helpful experiences. We always ensure you’re shopping confidently when you’re shopping with us.
Our team at Sole Inspires takes pride in the content we put out for our viewers and customers. We provide a catalog website (link in our Instagram bio), so everyone can view our inventory by model and size. We post behind-the-scenes footage in our reels to show our authenticity as a brand. We offer free pickups at specific pickup locations and shipping through UPS for $10. Our shipping takes 1-3 days to arrive, one of the fastest rates around. From our wide selection to our customer service, you won’t be disappointed with us!
 
Before we go, can you share it with us?
Sole Inspires wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for these people. My mentor, Joshua Pleasant, for guiding me into the man I’ve become. My mother, for providing unconditional love and support. I owe her the world. She inspires me daily to make a name for myself and my family. My uncle, Marlon, for investing in me. If it wasn’t for him, I don’t how I would have started reselling. My barber, Boanerges, for setting an amazing example of what taking a leap of faith looks like. My friends for being a part of Sole Inspires and being there for the business and me everyday. My loved ones for pushing me to prioritize my happiness and build my own brand. To everyone who’s supported Sole Inspires in any kind of way; thank you for helping me turn this dream into a reality. You all inspire me everyday.

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