Rares is a platform for sneaker investors that Gerome Sapp, an ex-NFL player, has called “Investing in Culture”.
It allows users to buy sneakers just like they would in stocks. This gives sneaker lovers an alternative to selling shoes. Sapp stated that the platform gives people access to cultural relics which have somehow been transformed into investment assets.
Sapp said that “we feel like the communities and cultures that made these assets what it is, were at some time left out of the value appreciation.” “Rares allows them to return in and participate in secondary value in a market that they created and valued.”
The platform has now added secondary market trading to its offerings. This allows users to trade shares with other users, increasing liquidity as more trading volume increases. Rares will unveil the Shova 2010 Air Force 1 hov, a Nike shoe, in collaboration with Jay Z. As each pair sells, new styles will be revealed on the platform.
The company announced that secondary trading will be the first of many announcements in 2022 as it seeks new funding and new asset classes.
We ask Sapp to give a brief history of Rares, its value in the sneaker market, and what we can expect from the innovative concept.
Could you please tell me a little about yourself?
Rares’ story really begins in Housten Texas, where I was raised by a single mother. I knew firsthand what access and opportunity were like. I wanted to bridge the gap between them.
My father was in prison and my passion for sneakers started. My father bought me my first pair of Air Jordan 4s and I was hooked. Michael Jordan was always my favorite basketball player and a great ambassador for the Black community. Jordans were more than a sneaker, they were a symbol of success.
Growing up, I knew that sneakers would rise in value and be more valuable than other shoes. It was an asset class that I understood.
I was fortunate enough to be awarded an athletics scholarship by the University of Notre Dame. I studied finance and played American Football. Merrill Lynch was where I began to explore corporate finance. However, I was more interested in derivatives and other complicated types of finance.
I was fortunate to be drafted by the NFL. I played for six seasons. However, during the off-seasons, I attended Harvard Business School. I studied a program that focused on finance and entrepreneurship. It was then that I began to think about other assets.
From where did the idea for this platform come?
Ironically, someone stepped on my Air Jordan 11s while I was walking to class. I recall wiping off my shoes and thinking that there must be a better way of getting value from this sneaker than just wearing it.
Sneakers were already an asset class that was rapidly increasing in value. They were growing faster than gold and rivaling traditional securities in terms of return on investment. So I thought, “What if this could be a stock?” and people could invest in sneakers just like they would stocks. The value of your shares in the sneaker will increase as the sneaker’s value increases.
You felt that the sneaker market was an obvious fit in comparison to other markets?
It was a natural transition of my passions, sneakers, and finance. I am a shoe guru, and I can tell you what sneakers are like. My entire life was spent in finance. It was only natural that I would combine these two interests.
Although Rares will soon transfer to other asset classes, sneakers are the ones I and most of my colleagues knew. Because sneakers are an attractive asset class and are also fun to collect, it was the one that generated the most excitement. It stimulates different emotions in people.
What is the actual working of the platform?
In essence, we created the first stock market for collectible sneakers. You can invest in fractional ownership in historically valuable sneakers. You can join our platform just as you would on any other marketplace. First, you select a sneaker that you like, and then you invest in it.
We only sell sneakers that have been worn in the past. We deal with sneakers that have a 90% return on investment. We believe that everything on our platform will bring our investors wealth. They think about making money when they diversify their investments portfolio.
Who is the platform for and to whom does it attract?
We are reaching a wide range of people, from 20- to 40-year olds. We are tapping into the desire of people to make more money. People realized that the stock exchange was not what it seemed after the pandemic. It is confusing for many people and has resulted in many people losing money. Many people are looking for other ways to make money through alternative asset investing. We’re looking for people who are interested to diversify their investment portfolios in other ways.
We have another group, the sneakerheads, which is actually six billion people worth, who just flip sneakers all day for their money. They sell it high and buy it cheaply. They have just been made easier. This is the sneaker community we are able to attract.
There are also older people who use our platform to relive their past. They’re investing in a piece of their past happiness, which happened to be in a pair of tennis shoes. This is a broad demographic. However, the main reason people visit our platform to make money with sneaker investing is that they can potentially make it a profitable venture.
Are you a believer that it goes beyond money?
Alternative asset investing taps into a personal connection. Many people don’t understand the stock market, particularly Gen Z, the younger generation. When you talk about alternative assets, things they know, things they can understand, they find a certain connection that makes them feel comfortable investing in.
79% of Gen Z said they were looking into alternative investment platforms online to invest their money. People want to diversify their investment portfolios in things that they feel comfortable with and that can be fractionalized so they can own a part of it.
Which shoe styles are most popular? Are there often connections between cultural movements and value?
Air Jordan 1s are the most popular, particularly 1985 Jordan 1s. These shoes are timeless and will never lose their value. These shoes are considered the best in the sneaker world because of how they are made. These shoes are what really started the sneaker craze.
In reality, however, collaborations with artists like Jay-Z and Kanye West can have a significant impact on the resale price of sneakers. The value of sneakers in secondary resale markets will be affected by what an artist does in the real world. Jay-Z and Air Force were the inspiration behind one of our most popular sneakers. Jay-Z used to make his living in music, but now he’s making his mark on the corporate side. He is a great example of what it means to be a person like him. We were able to sell out the sneaker IPO in a matter of days because it was collaborated by.
Are you looking to connect with these brands in the market?
Although we do, we don’t always connect with the brands when the sneakers are placed on the platform. Even though they are closely connected in many other ways, the brands are not involved with what we do. We only select the best shoes we believe will be most appreciated by our investors, and then we post them on the platform. These shoes are currently purchased by us and then offered up for investment. We will eventually open the platform to the community for them to invest on.
What goals did you have after your funding round was successful? Have you put those plans into practice?
Growth is the most important thing. Our team’s growth, our product offerings, and our market share are the most important things. We have already begun to grow our team, and we continue to do so. In fact, we are rolling out new products. We are now on track to meet some milestones that we set for the funding round.
You mentioned that you had been considering expanding the offer to other markets. Could you please share your ideas?
One of the best and most comprehensive answers I can offer is that any other asset class is a “game”. It doesn’t matter if you’re talking about vinyl records, trading cards, or non-fungible tokens. We want to grow and be the Amazon of alternative asset investing. We want everyone to be able to find the right asset for them and to feel confident about their investment. We are already preparing the groundwork to achieve this goal.
We can authenticate your assets, securitize them for you, or continue to expand our offerings and add more assets to the platform.
Our main goal is to make our investors money and to give them options. They can relate to them, both from an investment perspective and a personal perspective. They find it interesting.