Like many 16-year-olds, Benjamin Kapelushnik loves sneakers. Unlike most teenagers, he took that passion and turned it into an empire. It all started when Benjamin was in elementary school and he got his first pair of high-end sneaks.
“I came home one day in fifth grade, and my mom went to the mall and she bought the ‘Galaxy’ LeBrons and Kobes. I didn’t know anything about sneakers,” Benjamin told Complex. “I wore them to school and everyone was going crazy. Then I started gradually liking sneakers more.”
He started liking sneakers so much that his parents had to cut him off and Benjamin had to find a way to get his hands on the hottest sneakers on his own.
“I did my first camp-out in seventh grade. I think it was for the Cheech & Chong Nike SB Dunks,” Kapelushnik said. “I grew a collection of shoes and people would try and buy them off me. I didn’t want to sell them, because I wasn’t into sneakers for business. Then I camped out and got two pairs and sold one, because I got money for my birthday and for Hanukkah, but it started to run out. I thought to myself, ‘If I want to keep buying sneakers, I’m going to figure out a way to get the money.’”
Not long after, Benjamin Kapelushnik became known as Benjamin Kickz.
Flip to the NEXT PAGE for more on this teenage genius!
What Were You Doing In High School?
Kapelushnik did find a way to get the money for sneakers, transforming himself into “The Sneaker Don,” and providing the latest sneakers to anyone who will pay the upwards of $1,000 for them. His reputation skyrocketed when DJ Khaled featured Benjamin in one of his infamous videos after providing the Miami DJ with pairs of unreleased sneakers.
But how does a high-schooler get sneakers that the rich and famous can’t?
Connections. Benjamin knew a guy who knew a guy. He built a relationship with a shop owner who had contracts with Nike and Adidas and now sends thousands of dollars to stores in hopes of making at least 35 percent profit on reselling them. He says he has over 800 pairs on consignment in Florida and his goal is now to open his own buy-and-sell store starting in Miami, then expanding to L.A., New York, and Chicago.