Did resell-platforms mark the end of ‘regionally exclusive’ launch?

ACCESSIBILITY; defined by the Cambridge Dictionary as, and not limited to, “the fact of being able to be reached or obtained easily”. In other words, accessibility forms the basis for a business-model adopted by all third-party resell platforms — supplying the demand.

We are asking the question — what impact have third-party platforms such as StockX and GOAT had on the appeal of regionally exclusive launch products, and how has this changed from days-gone-by?

Nike Air Presto VR 2002. co.JP.

In line with current events, it seems only right to initiate proceedings with a reference to a financing report by The Wall Street Journal; resell platform GOAT recently declared a 300% increase in value following $100 million raised to fund a vast expansion. Previously, the company (trading at 1661 Inc.) was valued at $550 million, however the ‘Series E’ funding of a D1 Capital partner has now raised this to a mammoth $1.75 BILLION; that’s right, billion.

Series E funding is a form of venture funded by capital firms; an opportunity that surfaces following the discovery of opportunity for expansion and further push for a start-up business to remain private (not publicly owned) for a longer period of time. Essentially, GOAT is supposedly worth $1.75 billion of the current fashion resell market — estimated at $30 billion by 2030.

In what has been a rollercoaster of a year, we as trainer enthusiasts saw the Jordan 4 ‘Metallic Pack’ launch globally — this release is one of the most recent in regionally exclusive products launched by Oregon giants, Nike. Instantly, consumers were able to purchase all four colour ways regardless of geographical location; those in the UK, for example, had access to their native red/white iteration as well as the green, purple and orange. Why is this worth noting? I’ll cast your mind back to the days of concept Japan (co.JP) releases (spotted in our feature image), previously forgotten ‘City Tour’ packs from the likes of Stussy and more recently a plethora of limited Complexcon event-only product — these pairs can be bought, owned and worn without setting foot on location or knowledge of secret drops. In the modern day, everything can be sold, everything can be accessed, everything can be bought for the right price. On a technicality, we no longer have exclusive launches in any capacity.

Nike Dunk High x Stussy ‘City Tour, LA’. 2006.

This is a lot of money-talk, but what does this really mean for sneaker culture? Well, it means every shoe, within reason, is available at a potential customer’s fingertips to be purchased with a matter of clicks. Authenticity, speed and availability guaranteed; a seemingly flawless procedure, it is easy to appreciate why services such as GOAT have grown at the velocity seen in this article.

Of course, we cannot have a positive without a multitude of negatives creeping beneath our overly trusting radar; it is Sod’s Law, unfortunately. In this case, the negative took shape in 2019 when GOAT competitors, StockX, were victim to a data breach in which 6.8 million records were recovered by an anonymous hacker — to be sold via dark web listing for the equivalent of $300. As mentioned earlier, everything can be bought for the right price. In line with GDPR law, StockX could have been fined up to 4% of its annual revenue for breaking rules on user confidentiality.

StockX founder, Josh Luber, stepped down as CEO late-2019 shortly after his start-up was valued at $1 billion, being replaced by former eBay senior vice president, Scott Cutler. Luber’s route into the marketplace originated when his footwear price-guide website, Campless, became live; a short 5 years on, his idea was worth a billion dollars.

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