SoleSavy, a community built around buying hot sneakers and related items that are increasingly difficult to acquire at retail, raised $ 2 million in a cycle that ended at the end of the year. last year. SoleSavy is a group of communities currently mostly hosted on Slack.
SoleSavy’s co-founders Dejan Pralica and Justin dusanj founded the company in 2018 as a paid community for collectors and enthusiasts looking for pairs bought by robots or dealers. Pralica previously co-founded Kicks Deals, a sneaker shipping site focused on prices below retail and Dusanj is the former director of operations at New Age Sports, a Nike retailer.
SoleSavy’s $ 2 million increase includes investment from Panache Ventures, LAUNCH by Jason Calacanis, Turner Novak, Ben Narasin, Morning Brew’s Alex lieberman and Austin rief, Tiny Capital, Wesley Pentz (yes, Diplo), Matthew Hauri alias Yung Sauce, Ryan holmes, Roham Gharegozlou and Bedrock Capital.
SoleSavy has built an engaged community (multiple communities, really) around the ebb and flow of the Sneaker Consumer (SCU) universe. I just made it up that, by the way, please make it one thing. The SCU is an interesting place filled with fascinating characters and behaviors. Every now and then it sticks its head into the mainstream, whether through a documentary, a hot shoe trigger or a attempted armed robbery. In 2021, I believe we will see more of this world come out of its box in the broader consciousness of consumers.
The trends leading us to this place are varied, but some of them have been at the forefront during the pandemic, as a decade of change in consumer behavior has occurred in the span of a few months. You just have to see how hard it was to get a PS5 or Xbox One X or a GPU for the holiday season, and how many services, Twitter accounts, and watch groups have sprung up to try and help people do that to see what the future of shopping looks like.
I joked that I couldn’t buy butter without bot, but that’s not far from the truth – almost every product category has experienced their own shortages in the past year. But now the mother of all limited product categories for decades is sneakers.
Every release is eagerly awaited and eagerly bought by those in search of the latest shoe. The massive increase in interest in the sneaker as a sought-after item and the reluctance of the biggest manufacturers to lose the halo of the hype has made every drop harder to obtain than the last. Secondary market startups like StockX and GOAT have sprung up to facilitate those who don’t mind paying 30 to 200% premiums on each release.
The solution for many lies in the myriad “cook groups” that help buyers anticipate demand and stock for every drop and plan to buy them on the release date.
SoleSavy’s function ostensibly is to do just that: help regular enthusiasts strategize and execute the cop on release day. But beyond that, Pralica says the group has grown into a community of people around the shoes more than the purchase itself.
SoleSavy is at the heart of a Slack group (a series of groups that actually act like cohorts, guiding people through the community levels the team has built) with rooms that help people understand what’s going on. go into the sneakers, get the versions and empathize with the culture. Pralica says they have been building this community slowly (the waiting list for the group is growing by 400 people per day) in order to maintain a positive atmosphere and to properly integrate new people into the group. They also have an app that handles push notifications and a podcast.
This positive community vibe is what Pralica says is SoleSavy’s long-term goal and differentiator that allows 4,000 members across the United States and Canada to interact with the group almost daily.
I’ve been on a dozen different groups focused on buying large quantities of each version for resale over the years and many of them are rowdy at best and toxic at worst. It’s an environment SoleSavy wanted to stay away from, says Pralica. Instead, SoleSavy tries to woo those who want to buy and wear the shoes, trade them in and yes, maybe even resell personal pairs eventually to get and wear another holy grail.
While cookgroups have been the ‘core’ of Discord and Slack-based communities in the sneaker world, other iterations have flourished as well. Entrepreneurial communities based on the same principles of agitation as those of Tyler Blake In this economy and fan base groups around popular streamers top of the Disboard. And bet on the social token outfits like Zora are also community driven as the glue that holds a user base together.
Community is the future of any business, whether you are looking for a specific product (see the huge PS5 monitors) or wish to immerse yourself in a particular universe of product interest (the SCU). The trends I’ve seen all point to 2021 as the year when community-driven shopping emerges from the belly of fandom and officially becomes “a thing.”
SoleSavy experimented with a variety of ways to keep the community in place, including live chats, meetings, and even a beautiful custom Jordan 1 designed by the community. These efforts have led the previously seeded company to some impressive first figures. Pralica says SoleSavy is currently profitable, with $ 1.5 million in ARR on monthly subscriptions of $ 33 plus affiliate revenue and their DAUs are at 90% – an engagement number that would make no mouths water. any retailer.
Although the funding was closed (very) late last year, I thought it would be a great launch story for the year ahead. While SoleSavy seems to have a really compelling history and a great growth chart, I think they are at the forefront of a really big trend, one that we will see continue to develop throughout the year.