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Chinas Sneakerheads Chase 6,600% Returns Flipping Air Jordans

Source: Bloomberg / Getty

The secondary market for sneakers has created a booming business for some more than others during the COVID-19 pandemic. One of those who’ve profited in the “sneakerhead” rage is Joe Hebert.

The 19-year-old Eugene, Ore. native nearly became a millionaire off his obsession, but it’s how he got there that was the problem. Hebert’s initial purchases were placed on a credit card belonging to his mom, who was a senior executive at Nike.

Ann Hebert, the vice president and general manager of Nike’s North America arm, resigned Monday after a report by Bloomberg exposed her son’s business. She spent 25 years with the company and was named the head of North America last year.

Bloomberg’s feature glorified the “bona fide asset class” of rare shoes, but exposed how Hebert racked up over $132,000 on sneakers using a card in his mom’s name before flipping those sneakers for profit. Before the pandemic-era sneaker surge, Hebert was clearing nearly $200,000 in revenue most months.

“I’m not dealing with 100%, double-my-money margins usually,” Hebert said. “It’s just a pretty calm 10 to 20 and then moving product as fast as I can”

Joe Hebert admitted to reselling shoes since high school, and his “West Coast Streetwear” business was flipping hundreds of thousands of kicks each month. He told Bloomberg his mother was insulated from his dealings because of her standing with Nike, and claims he hadn’t used any insider information to purchase of sell products.

A Nike representative told Bloomberg that Ann Hebert “disclosed relevant information about her son’s business” to the company in 2018.