Skip to main content

The Manual may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

Everything You Need to Know About Jaysse Lopez and His Sneaker Resale Empire

Image used with permission by copyright holder

It’s not often that you find guys lining up around the block to shop for shoes, but in the world of sneaker collecting, it’s a surprisingly common sight. So-called “sneakerheads” will even camp out on the sidewalks to stake out new releases from hot brands like Nike and Adidas, even if only to resell them for a profit. When it comes to men’s streetwear, we’re not sure any other niche inspires quite the same passion as sneakers do (although raw denim might come close).

That popularity is showing no signs of slowing any time soon. Analysts expect the burgeoning sneaker resale market to balloon into a $6 billion industry by 2025, and at the top sits Jaysse Lopez, a panhandler-turned-entrepreneur who built a multimillion-dollar sneaker empire. In 2019 alone, Lopez’ Urban Necessities resale outlet brought in more than $20 million in sales. That’s more than a little impressive for someone who was homeless not even a decade ago.

But Lopez has the passion to back up his success. More than a mere businessman, the former panhandler is a major sneakerhead himself and can regularly be found at trade shows chatting it up with everyone from fellow collectors to industry insiders and brand reps. Lopez’ rise was a rocky one, and his movie-worthy rags-to-riches success story now stands as an inspiration to sneakerheads and aspiring entrepreneurs.

Hailing from Puerto Rico, the 41-year-old Lopez did not come from money. His business journey started with a plane ticket to Nevada, a single change of clothes in a backpack, and a $20 bill given to him by his mother. He spent the next six months homeless, barely getting by, dumpster diving and panhandling on the Las Vegas Strip, crashing in cheap motels and on friends’ couches when he was lucky, and sleeping in a city park when he wasn’t.

Soon, he stumbled upon the world of sneakers after seeing men standing in line at the mall awaiting a new release — their plan being to buy the in-demand sneakers at retail and sell them to collectors for profit. This was Lopez’s first introduction to the sneaker resale market, although he set this aside when he managed to land a proper job at an AT&T store. He soon fell ill, however, and was placed on medical leave before being let go. He was evicted and had to move in with his new girlfriend and future wife, Joanie, whose parents let him move in.

A look at Lopez’s location at The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace. The Undefeated

Lopez then decided to give sneaker reselling another shot. With his income tax refund and some money from his girlfriend, he purchased 18 pairs of the “Area 72” Nike Barkley Posite Max 2013 release. The pair flipped all but one pair to the tune of $3,000 profit. To this day, Lopez credits the existence of Urban Necessities to that sneaker. He initially only planned to resell sneakers part-time until he could find another job, but despite sending out more than a hundred applications, no new opportunities came.

Leveraging his natural salesmanship and experience (he worked retail as a teen), Lopez soon realized where his real talents — and where the real money — lay, although it would be a while before his hustle turned profitable. He was soon back to crashing on couches and his relationship with Joanie fell apart. Lopez decided to switch up his business model a bit, offering to consign older sneakers from former buyers for a flat $20 fee per sale. He took these shoes to a trade show in 2014. There, he sold 450 pairs and had a fateful meeting with a mall rep that convinced Lopez to finally open a store. The rep even gave him a few months of free rent to get started.

He reconnected with Joanie and told her he didn’t want to run his business without her. She agreed, and Two Js Kicks (which would later be rebranded as Urban Necessities) was born in the largely abandoned Boulevard Mall in Las Vegas. By the end of the year — only a few months after opening — the couple had cleared more than $1 million worth of sneaker sales. The next year, it was $4 million. Urban Necessities soon moved locations and eventually expanded to a two-story, 18,000 square-foot storefront that is also home to an ice cream shop, a barber, and a tattoo parlor. Lopez now has a network of more than 40,000 sneakerheads who have commissioned him for consignment. He still charges just $20 or 10% (whichever is greater) per pair sold, the lowest consignment rate in the country.

The incredible story of Jaysse Lopez and his rise to become king of sneaker resale is now being featured in Sole Survivor, a new entry in The Undefeated docuseries which is airing as part of The Undefeated’s ongoing Black History Month Always special. You can stream it online now by signing up for ESPN+.

Editors' Recommendations

Lucas Coll
Lucas Coll is a freelance commerce and affiliate writer for The Manual and our tech-focused brother site, Digital Trends…
Everything You Need to Know About Falcon and the Winter Soldier
falcon and the winter soldier what to know 0

Marvel is dropping its newest show this week, otherwise known as The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. It comes roughly one year after the pandemic broke, at a time when we could all use some additional entertainment and another superhero or two in our lives.

Plot Summary
The Falcon and Winter Soldier is essentially a continuation of Avengers: Endgame, the wildly popular 2019 film that smashed the box office to the tune of almost $2.8 billion. The duo is played by Anthony Mackie (Sam Wilson, aka Falcon) and Sebastian Stan (Bucky Barnes, aka Winter Soldier). Wilson is currently in custody of Captain America's legacy, in command of the shield and mantle long held by Steve Rogers.
Recommended Content

Read more
Everything You Need to Know About Super Bowl LIII
LA Rams

Pretty soon you’ll get an invitation to watch this year’s Super Bowl. While you may have no idea what a Jared Goff is or whether Belichick is code for a woman with a belly button piercing, The Manual has you covered with everything you need to know about Super Bowl LIII, including the teams, players, controversies, betting, and general party decorum.
When, Where, and How to Watch the Super Bowl
When and where: If you can’t read Roman numerals, Super Bowl LIII will be the 53rd Super Bowl from the National Football League (NFL). It’s being held in Atlanta at the Mercedes Benz Stadium on Sunday, February 3, 2019. The game starts at 6:30 pm EST (aka “kickoff”) and should last three to four hours.

How to watch: If you’re going to a Super Bowl party, they already have the set-up covered, so don’t worry about streaming. However, if your buddies messed up and assumed the game would be on Fox, be the hero and change the channel to CBS or use the CBS All Access app; you’ll need a cable subscription (call up Mom). You can also stream the game for free on the NFL Streams Reddit or the Yahoo! Sports app, which shouldn’t be too pixelated or delayed unless you have a bad internet connection.

Read more
Overland is the king of ski towns: Celebrating 50 years of American mountain west outerwear
How did Overland win over the mountain town
Taos Storefront 2023

Every industry has its mainstay brands that only get stronger with more competition. There will always be some new and fresh idea that challenges all those before it and tries to change the industry. Then there are those brands they face, who have been around for decades, weaving in and out of competition and outlasting every challenge thrown their way. For every new and exciting watch brand, there is a Rolex standing strong. While there are plenty of explanations for why a brand outshines every other around it, Overland Sheepskin Co. has an explanation all its own. On this, their 50th year, we look back and try to understand how this family-owned business became the King of the Mountain towns and what keeps them on top.

Back in 1973, the flagship store in Taos, New Mexico, took a bale of sheepskin and a sewing machine and began creating coats, hats, and mittens for the surrounding area. As word began to spread about their quality, the whole family had to pitch in to help out to meet the growing demand. Five decades later, with 17 stores throughout the Rocky Mountains and across the country, they have become a mainstay in the mountain and ski towns for their quality and dependability. We got a chance to sit down with Monty Goodson, manager of the Santa Fe store and a buyer for the company, to find out how they did it and how they maintain the culture that has made them who they are today.

Read more