Even before walking into the store, you’d find yourself greeted by 4 revolving panels filled with some of the worlds most talked about and most rare sneakers. Upon entering, you’d almost be blinded by rows after rows of sneakers from brands like Nike, Adidas, Puma, Reebok and Vans. But what sets this store apart from the rest of the same league is the fact that Warped house not only some of the most expensive sought after sneakers like the Nike “What The Dunk” SB, or an Italian made Nike Air Force 1 handcrafted in crocodile leather, but also the cheapest models one can’t find elsewhere except maybe in flea markets.
Deeper into the store and contrasting itself with the main floor is another dimension that manifests the store’s concept by injecting fun and humor and guaranteeing to capture all 5 of the human senses. After reflections have been skewed, noses tickled, taste buds teased and what not, one would then notice that housed in this enclave are the store’s most prized Nike Air Force 1 Lux, toys from KidRobot and apparel from the likes of Nike SB, and KidRobot. We were fortunate to catch up with the guys at Warped as they give us the lowdown on how their store promises to make your sneaker dreams come true.
How and why did you come up with the concept to start a consignment store in Singapore, considering the Asian market is flooded with sneakers and it is one of the most popular destination stop off points for sneaker heads around the world.
The sneaker collector scene in Singapore has grown in leaps and bounds, thus the demand for buying and selling, especially for rare sneakers. With the escalating number of heads selling their kicks or even collections, coupled with many of whom are in constant search for older, dead stock models that can’t be found in stores anymore, the idea of setting up a sneaker consignment store which draws on tangibility was conceived. Marrying a ready market with good links within the community eventually got Warped up and running. True, the Asian market is flooded with sneakers, but we dare say we have more rare sneakers in one place than anywhere else in our part of the world.
How do you source the sneakers? Is it just friends of the store or have you widened your search to the rest of the world?
Apart from those (friends and customers alike) who bring their sneakers to consign, we are always on the look out for good deals all over the globe. We’ve also got a bunch of crazy, helpful friends overseas who brave long queues and what not on our behalf.
How will Warped differ from say Flight Club, which has gained recognition as the most popular consignment store? What are the difficulties facing you with the competition?
Flight Club is amazing. They took what was originally a mode of selling sneakers only found in Japan to then become an institution in today’s sneakers industry. The comparison between Warped and Flight Club is inevitable but we don’t see them as competition seeing as how we ideally serve the local and regional market. In any case, we’re not solely a consignment store.
True, as you also sell apparel and accessories such as Kid Robot toys. Was this a direct result of the risk of running a store solely on a consignment basis?
Yes, it was. Running a store solely based on sneaker consignment isn’t easy, considering the low margins. As much as the market is growing, it still is a niche one; hence the need to diversify by bringing in some good apparel brands. Carrying some general releases and bargain sneakers as well as having a Vans Vault and an exclusive Kid Robot account has helped create good revenues for us.
One of your mottos is “You name the price, we sell your shoe”, however there would have to be a consignment fee involved to sell the shoes in your store right?
That’s correct. Warped takes a 20% cut from the price both the consignee and ourselves agree on. This is based on the former’s discretion and our recommendations, as well as the condition of the sneakers. A point to note is that we have a system of taking in rare or deadstock models which we feel can fetch $200SGD and above.
How popular has this method worked since you opened? Are you seeing a lot of sales through customers wanting to find something a little different than what they would normally find in a standard sneaker store?
It’s fast gaining consciousness in the scene. We’ve seen a good number of people who’ve put up their entire collections for sale and others who come in knowing they can find something here that they can’t in a standard sneaker store. Take for example Haze Dunk High, Tiffany Dunk SB, HTM AF1 or even the latest most talked about What The Dunk and Supreme Trainers. Ironically, the big ticket sneakers consigned by locals are usually snapped up by foreigners from around the region.
What has been the one shoe that everyone has been hoping to get in store, yet you cannot find?
I guess that will be the Paris Dunk SB or the Play Station Air Force 1. We’ve had quite a few customers coming in with the hope that we carry them. But try as we might, they’re quite hard to get.
Do you have plans to start Warped online to give the rest of the world the opportunity to purchase these amazing and rare shoes, which they for some reason didn’t buy when they were out the first time?
Definitely. But this will only come into play sometime early next year. Meantime we’ve been updating customers on new stuff via mailing lists and forums.
What is Singapore’s street wear scene like? Does it match that of Japan’s?
The street wear scene here is expanding rapidly. Many local labels have been set up in the recent years and some have made their mark on the world map. Comparing ourselves with Japan would be a little far-fetched as their market is way bigger but we’d like to think that we may be small but can also have a big influence.
Warped will be launching their own apparel line in early ’08, what can we expect?
As the store name suggests, you can be sure to expect something Warped! Something strange, obscure blah blah blah. It’s still in the works and letting you in on anything now would only spoil the suspense. (chuckles)
More shop info here http://www.sneakerfreaker.com/shopguide/273/