SneakerHead culture is expensive, exclusive and 16-year-old Umar Cassim is one of the most popular resellers in the game.
At 14, he started reselling rare shoes in the halls of a Californian high school. What started as a few trades turned into an annual six-figure salary for the young social media marketer.
Two years later, Cassim no longer resells shoes, instead he helps online influencer’s grow their Instagram presence in exchange for cash.
He uses giveaways as a catalyst for his growing business.
Cassim creates rare shoe giveaways and following his clients is one of the instructions for applicants to enter the draw. His clients gain anywhere from 1,500 to 3,000 active followers in a week.
The draw for clients is the word “active.”
Social media is rapidly developing and instead of getting left in the dust, influencers turn to fake followers to keep them relevant.
Instagram influencers can pay hackers to create an unlimited number of fake accounts called “bots,” and according to a report by cybersecurity firm Cheq, the rise in fake Instagram followers cost brands upward of $1.3 billion dollars in sales in 2019.
Cassim’s giveaways provide clients with active users by making users follow manual instructions leading to more followers for clients — clients are garnering real eyes.
“I believe my clients keep returning because of the honesty and transparency they receive,” says Cassim.
Cassim built his following as a SneakerHead himself. He has amassed over 115,000 followers on Instagram where he posted pictures of his sneaker collection holding pieces such as the Retro Jordan 4s “Cactus Jack,” Nike MAG, and the 2017 Nike Off-White Hyperdunks which combined resell at a value around $100,000.
He continued his online dominance across multiple platforms including TikTok where he has over 62,000 followers. He posts videos about shoes and relatable TikToks for SneakerHeads. One video entitled, “Making hypebeasts mad part 2,” currently has over 2.9 million views on TikTok.
There is no secret to Cassim’s success as he believes it was built on the ability to take risks and work hard.
“The only way to scale a business is to take risks,” he says. “You just have to be able to take that leap.”
While Cassim handles his business primarily on his own, he does believe teamwork is a vital part of creating a winning corporate culture.
“Creating a team is extremely important as they are the workforce behind the brand you represent,” he says.
In Cassim’s situation, his followers are essentially his team.
Cassim uses what he refers to as “gain groups,” in order to increase his clients following as well as his own. The gain groups are contest regulars who follow anyone in the giveaways instructions, but like a fire, the contest spreads to new possible followers looking to walk away with new pairs of shoes.
Cassim says gaining new contacts drives businesses to new heights.
“Knowing the right people helped me get brand deals that I’ve been chasing for a long time,” says Cassim.
He has worked with some of the top SneakerHead social media accounts in the world including, Complex Sneakers and BR Kicks.
The young entrepreneur hopes to expand his repertoire, as he plans to begin ventures in the eCommerce and real estate industries.