CT native turns passion for sneakers into million-dollar business

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

“I’ve always been a sneaker fan, but when I first started, I never had the money to buy them,” he slang for someone interested in sneaker collections.

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

“At first, my father didn’t quite understand why I was spending all my money on shoes,” Mercadello said of his father, a retired state employee. “I bring 10 to 20 pairs of shoes home at a time.”

He graduated from Pratt University in 2015.

Mocadlo first migrated his business to Instagram in 2020 to reach a wider audience. He then got help from his brother John, who has many years of retail experience, most of it in the auto retail industry.

“John had a solid business background, but he was never interested in sneakers,” Wayne Mocadello said. “And I felt I was lacking in some aspects of the business, so he agreed to do business with me.”

Mocadlo said he started the business with about $60,000 of his own money and a collection of hundreds of pairs of sneakers as merchandise.

“We really wanted to capture the luxury side of the market,” Mocadlo said. “Some people buy sneakers and use them as an investment. They see it as a stock.”

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

“It’s a very diverse market in terms of who buys them and why,” Mocadlo said.

Impossible Kicks buys shoes from a network of resellers that has grown over the past two years, including some individuals who resell their own collections of sneakers in pristine condition.

When it came time to open Impossible Kicks’ first brick-and-mortar store, Westfarms and Mocadlo and his brothers were looking for a match made in heaven.

“We’re looking for a place with a lot of natural foot traffic,” he said. “And you have to have a crowd that loves luxury.”

Given this attention, Impossible Kicks appears to have landed in a prime location in Westfarms. The store is just steps away from the stores of two of the mall’s most famous high-end retailers: Apple and Nordstrom.

According to David Carden, professor emeritus at Quinnipiac University’s School of Business, the location of Impossible Kicks in the mall could involve a lot of thought from retailers and Westfarms officials.

“He must have done quite a bit of analysis,” Carden said of Mercadello. “When you’re surrounded by upscale stores, your customers are also more likely to be upscale. It’s the halo effect: you’ll be able to charge more for what you’re selling.”

The Impossible Kicks sneakers range from $100 to $100,000 a pair, Mocadlo said.

“Shoes that sell for thousands of dollars are our store’s inventory,” he said.

To further enhance Impossible Kicks’ profile as a high-end retailer, the store’s sales staff will operate much like what personal shoppers do for other luxury brands, Mocadlo said.

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

The sneaker resale market is estimated to be worth between $6 billion and $10 billion this year.

Impossible Kicks has sales of $15 million in 2021 and $55 million this year. Mocadlo said he expects to break the $100 million market by 2023.

To do that, he hopes to expand Impossible Kicks’ stores internationally by 2023, although Mocadlo hasn’t revealed where.

Last month, Impossible Kicks completed a deal that raised $3 million in exchange for a stake in the company. This brings the total raised by Impossible Kicks to $7 million.


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