These young streetwear retailers learned a valuable lesson when they were just starting out. If you’re into collectible sneakers and street culture, check out their Web site at footraffik.com. We spoke with one of the founders, Johnny Nguyen.
Tell me what your business is all about.
We have a retail store called Foot Traffik, which is a sneaker boutique. We sell limited edition sneakers, exclusive apparel, some collectible / specialty shoes, and consignment shoes. We cater to a niche market, and are trying to provide an experience — ‘sneaker lifestyle’ and streetwear culture.
I started it with two other partners, and now we have a fourth partner.
What is one of the biggest mistakes you made when opening your store?
When we first opened the store we held off getting an alarm system. We had a lot of consignment inventory that people had trusted us with, and my parents suggested that we get an alarm system. The week before we were about to get a system, a burglar broke into the store, stole $10,000 worth of inventory and caused some damage.
How did it impact the team?
It was a real hit to the morale of the team — we were riding a high momentum, especially after having a successful launch of the store. But we didn’t take into consideration that this could happen and it was a real shock.
How did it change the way you do business?
Now I give more weight to my parents’ advice! And now we all hope for the best but plan for the worst — we are more realistic, and don’t take unnecessary risks with the business. It was a really humbling experience.
How is business now?
Things are going well, and we are starting to create our own brand based on the store’s ‘Foot Traffik’ name. We have managed to bounce back from the robbery by working hard and staying focused on our goals.
What is your advice to kids?
The slogan for street culture is to ‘keep moving’, so that’s what I would say to any kid who’s made a mistake. Don’t let the mistake paralyze you — get up and keep moving. Don’t give up — it will work out if you keep trying.