From janitor to jerseys – how one Detroit entrepreneur sold off his entire sneaker collection to start Perennial Merchants, an online fashion shop.
Having lived in Atlanta, Charles Roberts returned to his hometown of Detroit with a dream. Problem was the capital wasn’t there and working as a janitor on $8 an hour wasn’t going to achieve that. His aim was to start an e-commerce business selling vintage 80s and 90s clothing and in order to gather the funds, Roberts sold his retro sneaker collection on eBay for more than $7,000. Just last month, Perennial Merchants was launched but the things started slowly. “The first day, six people came to my site” he told Deadline Detroit. This continued for a while but there weren’t any sales but once he spread the word via social media and internet forums, Perennial Merchants went boom with 1,236 visits on his website and 15 sales in the first day. He now garners between 600-700 visits a day and around 100 sales a week.
Having collected retro sneakers, it was a natural progression to sale apparel of a similar nature. Old school sports clothing are all the rage and Perennial Merchants caters to that need with a range of Detroit-oriented basketball jerseys, American football shirts and other related jackets. Choosing to go retro with the stock was a stroke of genius for Roberts, not only for the mass appeal but for the fact that Detroit held the NBA Championships in 1989, 1990 (Pistons) and the Stanley Cup in 1997 (Red Wings). For the ladies, there’s a wide selection of Adidas, Reebok and Michigan-associated clothing which I’m sure will be extended. One noticeable omission from the range is the ever popular snapback but as Perennial Merchants has only been around for a few months, it’s early days and the supply will come with the demand. As a starting venture, Charles Roberts took a risk sacrificing a collection he had clearly put a lot of love and money into and it seems that nous has paid dividends.
Check out their promo video below and check out Perennial Merchants’ full range.
(via Deadline Detroit)