Making a mark on tomorrow’s market: Bought and sole-d: 626 Soles

Buy, trade and sell | Sophomore Andre Ramota showcases his collection of shoes that are also featured on his business’s Instagram page, 626.soles. “I mainly stick with Jordans and Nike [shoes]. For the most part, I’ve known the market value for most of their shoes so I know if there will be resale value on a shoe,” Ramota said.

Buy, trade and sell | Sophomore Andre Ramota showcases his collection of shoes that are also featured on his business’s Instagram page, 626.soles. “I mainly stick with Jordans and Nike [shoes]. For the most part, I’ve known the market value for most of their shoes so I know if there will be resale value on a shoe,” Ramota said.

Picture this: You’ve been dying to get a pair of Air Jordan 1s, but have no idea where to find them. Thanks to sophomore Andre Ramota, you can find the most trending and high value shoes on your list through his business, 626.soless. 

With more free time because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was the perfect opportunity to start a business. Ramota originally tried to start a business before the pandemic, but discovered that it was too difficult; he ran into complications such as school work and extracurricular activities.

“I didn’t want to put all this time at home to waste and be able to do something on the side, while making money,” Ramota said. “[Initially], I didn’t have the time because we were in school and I didn’t have enough money. But then the pandemic opened this opportunity for me.”

When he was younger, Ramota first fell in love with shoes when his grandma gifted him a pair of Air Jordan 4s. Ramota admired the design of the shoes, prompting him to collect more often.  As a result, it was natural that he decided to start a business based off of shoes. 

“I was always lucky enough to get them as gifts when I was younger and I wanted to continue growing a collection of them,” Ramota said. “I was always lucky enough to have a lot so I wanted to start this so I can see and have shoes that I’ve never had before. This also gave me the ability to buy shoes that I’ve always wanted for myself.” 

When he first started his business, he opened a savings account from his business earnings. With the prospect of becoming financially independent, Ramota sets aside some of his earnings for college and future business deals.

“It feels great [making money] and buying stuff for yourself. When When you begin paying for everything in your life and [stop] relying on other people, it feels a lot better,” Ramota said. 

Through his business, Ramota learns various skills including negotiation and communication. While talking with customers, Ramota has to build a level of trust and then sell his product for the best price possible. Over time, Ramota has strengthened his business strategies in addition to persuasiveness. 

“Ever since I started, I’ve [thought] about how I want to open my own store when I grow older and do business. When I’m able to drive and transport myself places, I’m going to be doing a lot more deals,” Ramota said. “I feel like I’ve helped a lot of people get the shoes they really want and helped other people grow their businesses as well. I feel really good doing this. I’m doing what I love and I have a passion for it while at the same time I’m making decent money.”

In light of COVID-19 regulations, it is increasingly difficult for Ramota to run a business. A struggle he deals with is transportation. A few of the locations he is supposed to meet at with a client are either too far or crowded. With the help of his parents, they help make sure that his business is successful by investing money to start his business and giving him rides. 

“My mom and dad were huge supporters of it and they’ve been encouraging me to do it. That’s why they gave me a little bit of money to start off with,” Ramota said. “ I appreciate [them] and leading me into this because without them I wouldn’t be here.”

By Mia Nam, Photo Manager
Photo by Mia Nam