Joseph Crockett was tired of breaking his back as a construction worker, so he followed his passion. After taking business classes at Pensacola State College, he opened up his own shoe reselling business with a brick-and-mortar location.
The shoe business isn’t easy, but he and other vendors have found a new foot in the door to sell and connect with other entrepreneurs and sneakerheads at the Sneaker Party, which will take place from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday at Booker T. Washington High School, 6000 College Parkway.
Sneaker Party was created by three friends: Brandon Capehart, D’Andre Toler and Dalonté Gibson. They grew up playing basketball together, and after graduating high school, they got into selling clothes. Eventually, Toler wanted to expand and created a sneaker convention for sneakerheads and others to come and enjoy themselves.
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“Sneaker Party is a platform to help up-and-coming entrepreneurs collaborate together in an intriguing atmosphere where they can build together,” Toler said. “That is why Pensacola needs the Sneaker Party.”
And the event will have plenty of shoes on sale for sneaker aficionados.
The first event was held in February 2021 at the Town & Country Plaza shopping center on North Pace Boulevard. It brought out about 500 people and 40 vendors, including high school and college students and military members. Since then, the quarterly event has grown with every convention.
The event is a pathway for vendors like Crockett, who always loved shoes and wanted to get into the reselling business. Crockett began selling shoes out of the trunk of his car in 2020 under the name Medicated Kicks.
Crockett eventually found a business partner and four months ago opened up a sneaker and streetwear store called D3eadstocksolez in Foley, Alabama.
Much like other vendors at the sneaker party, Haven McCreary always wanted to sell clothing, and in 2020, she decided to make her dream into reality.
She created Haze Boutique with the goal of not only having affordable clothing — all her clothes are under $40 — but having different sizes for all body shape since many stores only focus on smaller sizes.
McCreary went to the last Sneaker Party in April, which was her first time going to an event of that kind. Afterward, she was invited to other pop-up events and was able to get her foot in the door.
“Marketing is probably the best thing that you can do for your business,” McCreary said. “I feel like even if I go to a event and I don’t even sell anything, just as long as I conversate, get my business cards out there, and do some marketing just to make sure I get my name out.”
The ability to build and bring more recognition to the sneaker community in the area will help put more money into that economy, and Sneaker Party could eventually be the premiere sneaker convention in Pensacola or the Panhandle, vendors said.
The building of the community is important, but at the end of the day, it’s about the shoes and what it does to a person when they get their hands on a pair even when others can’t understand.
“They’re like, it’s just a bunch of shoes, but that’s what everyone here is for, that’s where the vibe comes from. We love the shoe game,” Crockett said. “Plus we like seeing new shoes that come out and nobody else has seen yet. We get to touch them, put them in our hand. It’s a better experience that way, too.”