Stepping into his shoe business

Wanting to provide an outlet for more exclusive, unisex clothing pieces, Diamond Bar High School junior Chris Mendoza started his reselling business Heat and Hype.

Mendoza buys and resells sneakers and clothes from a variety of well-known brands such as Nike, Yeezy and New Balance. He explained that his business’ name was derived from common words used by sneaker and streetwear fans to appeal to them.

“I sell clothes and shoes to everybody,” Mendoza said via Instagram. “My target audience is people like me who want some of the latest and hottest clothing and shoes, but sometimes want something unique that nobody will have.”

Mendoza said that he was prompted to jumpstart the trade after receiving encouragement from a peer.

“The inspiration behind my business was a friend of mine who used to go to [DBHS]. He had a business similar to mine now, and he convinced me there was money to be made in sneakers and streetwear,” Mendoza said.  

Another key factor in Mendoza’s decision to start Heat and Hype was his lack of spending money. He explained that starting his own small business was the most optimal way to supply himself with those funds.

So far, Mendoza has increased his business from selling shoes and clothing ranging from $90 to $200 to offering those that cost up to $9,000.  Initially, he would buy shoes and garments between $50 to $200. Now, Mendoza said he focuses on bigger deals involving multiple pieces of apparel and invests between $700 to $1,000.

 “The money I earn will almost always go back into buying more stock,” Mendoza said. “Sneakers almost always go up in price over time, so I’m usually in no rush to sell.”

In terms of scheduling restocks, Mendoza typically posts new items more consistently during school breaks, opting for a more relaxed posting schedule throughout the school year. He is most active on his business’ Instagram @heat_andhype.

Mendoza said that he uses two prime methods to buy new items in the reselling process: buying directly from retailers on launch days or buying from other sellers and collectors. However, his preferred method is buying from other collectors such as himself.

 “Either [sellers] grew out of it, didn’t like it as much as they thought, or would just prefer having extra money over the shoes,” Mendoza said. “I provide a quick and easy option for them to get money for their expensive clothes and shoes.”

Despite the pandemic, Mendoza said Heat and Hype has continued to make a stable income and has not experienced many setbacks other than clothing brands postponing launch dates.  

Although managing his own business allows Mendoza to be more flexible with its maintenance, he said a major area he aims to improve in is promoting new apparel.

“My number one weakness is advertising so I’m not the best at getting word out about my newest items. I make up for this by being on as many platforms as possible,” Mendoza said.        

Mendoza said he hopes to run Heat and Hype for as long as possible, but will continue to take a more moderate approach in order to make time for academics and family.

“I plan to continue my business for as long as I have time for it. The sneaker and clothing industry has been very consistently profitable so I don’t foresee the market not being relevant in the near future,” Mendoza said.