Startup Graal Spotter, created by Forézien Enzo Soulier, sells rare sneakers. Until then exclusively on e-commerce, the company believes the vault is strong enough to settle in the city center of Saint-Etienne and open a showroom there. For newbies, a sneaker is not a bar of chocolate but a shoe with sporting origins, dedicated to other uses, some of which are limited edition models that are fashion accessories that collectors grab at exorbitant prices …
With such a name, we cannot help but affirm that the activity was predestined for him. Enzo Soulier, who is about to turn 22, has however set foot on the ground, launching himself into entrepreneurship very early. His startup officially created it on 1uh June 2021. But he has been working on it since his return to school in 2020 with a license as an “Internet and Information Technology Facilitator” at the IUT in Saint-Etienne. “Before I was already at the IUT but in Roanne in marketing technique. I’ve always been very geek, social networks, I touch everything on the web with this idea of having your own business quickly. However, it was my studies at the IUT that oriented me towards digital marketing “says Enzo Soulier, the creator of Saint-Just-Saint-Rambert.
However, it is in Sury-le-Comtal, in the house where his parents now live, that his company is currently based. Here, once again, is a parental garage solicited – in this case for the preparation of orders – as part of the launch of a successful startup. Before then Enzo Soulier had tried his hand at the flop, that of his clothing brand – sold in drop shipping (without stocks) – Target clother, then launched as a teenager via Instagram. “I had developed my community on Instagram, as an influencer and I even signed a collaboration with JD sports and brands. A great experience that prompted me to create Target dresser. But it did not work. “
Sneakers can exceed € 20,000!
But as one can always learn from his failures and Enzo Soulier still has his whole life ahead of him, another idea quickly came to him linking his passion for “sneakers”. Originally the sneakers were pairs of shoes for sports use but in the end they were hijacked for everyday city use and then as a real fashion accessory. Over time, brands such as Nike, Adidas or Converse and many others have realized that it is in their communicative interest to organize the rarity of some models that are voluntarily delivered drop by drop to distributors. The craze for these limited editions is sometimes incredibly strong and now comes from exchanges between passionate collectors. A model today can exceed € 20,000!
“For the fans, they are works of art. Where a painting speaks to the sensitivity of some, for them it is sneakers with a particular design and characteristics. I fell for it when I was 16. You should know that it is a whole environment with its codes, its lexical fieldexplains Enzo Soulier, owner of a personal collection of 200 shoes of which only 20 regularly borrowed from his feet. You will never find this type of shoe in large retailers such as GO sport, Intersport or Decathlon. More among the specialists, Snipes in the lead even if JD Sports, Courir or Foot Locker have also followed since then. But a delivery remains an event for them: they are robbed very quickly. “
An NFT type authentication system
The most passionate push logic to constantly buy and then resell models with the aim of acquiring more popular ones. Some have made it a profession. Opportunities to buy renowned sneakers in stores were rare outside of Paris, Lyon and sometimes some big cities, Enzo Soulier had launched with a friend a specific group in the Saint-Etienne conurbation on Instagram. It had up to 75 members. Not enough to make it a local bargain. Hence the launch of his start-up and his eponymous e-commerce site 10 months ago: Graal Spotter. “With my partner we immediately diverged and bought his shares. Now I am alone in charge of the company but I have already been able to recruit a work-study student in January and an intern. We are obviously not the first in this field and there are in fact a dozen solid competitors in France. “
To distinguish itself, therefore, Graal Spotter used the NFT product online authentication system that the blockchain (information transmission technology) can offer by offering its buyers the application of a Swiss start-up, CollectID. “The operation is quite simple: we supply all of our products with an NFC technology band implanted on it. We configure this zip in advance, which we attach to the eyelet of the pair of sneakers. Once configured, the sneakers now have a unique identifier (identification token) which happens in the blockchain developed by CollectID. The user therefore has a 100% guarantee that his pair has been authenticated by us. “
His trainers shop will open in July
Graal Spotter has sold 600 pairs since opening the site, which offers 2,500 models (each with different sizes depending on the stock) to emblematic brands: Nike (including Air Jordan), Adidas (including Kanye West’s Yeezy) but also Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, Converse and New Balance, not to mention the “exclusive collaborations”. On the site that accompanies the descriptions with files testifying to a real effort of “storytelling” specific to the universe of fans, even there some models reach several thousand euros even if for others the prices start from a few tens. “We do not discuss with brands but with thousands of private individuals, resale professionals of whom we assure seriousness and absence of counterfeits”says Enzo Soulier.
With a first exercise in the span of a year and a half that should lead to a turnover of € 400,000, the young entrepreneur wants to move to a new phase of his business. A 40 m2 showroom-sales will open – the signature is imminent – in a very busy area of the center of Saint-Etienne, normally in July2 for rent to which its offices will be annexed. “For the exchange between fans, it is better to have a physical anchor. To reach also a clientele, parents or grandparents in particular of teenagers, still reluctant to e-commerce. And then, I’m happy that Sainté can have his own shop specializing in sneakers like in a huge city. “ Enzo Soulier is optimistic about the development of his business and is aiming for a turnover of between € 3 and 4 million from 2023 and a dozen employees since the beginning of next year. Thus ended the parental garage: this beautiful world would no doubt have stepped on its toes.