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Following a post from u/donjonne about a HUGE Weibo story on how to actually start your own 1:1 repsneaker empire, I figured as a native Mandarin speaker I gave it a shot and translated the entire article, since I myself am pretty damn intrigued what the guy's speaking.Do note this article is written in March 2017, lots of stuff may have been outdated, and I translated word-for-word with some pruned paragraphs that seems like the fella repeating himself. I absolutely hate the weird flowery prose Mandarin always carry when I work on translations, so apologies if the in-jokes or general writing gets a bit dry.submitted by TeddyTheEspurr to Repsneakers [link] [comments]
This is my personal tl;dr without the author's boastful claims, so if you're short on time, here's the quick rundown.
How do replica sneakers get sold?Taobao: Long history with the reputation for being the single biggest online BST hub, with Tmall and Xianyu Second-hands integrated. Lots of fake reviews and seller reputation ratings. The rep game there got outta hand, CEO of Alibaba stepped in and cleaned house, thus everyone moved to...
WeChat: Lots more convoluted, no proper tracking and confirmation like a real shopping app and build quality can vary greatly between sneaker models from the same seller. But through word-of-mouth, standout resellers get recommended more organically, of course you need connections to start with.
Agents: Your best friend if you're overseas, usually ran by freelancers merely collecting orders, reporting back to resellers and have them directly ship your kicks to your doorstep. Agents can be a single person, or a huge operation i.e. Wegobuy and Ytaopal.
How's the quality tho?Depends. Some will try to bait-and-switch, some will bond genuine friendships for simply being a return customer. Factories often cut corners to save some dough and end up with a worse rep, so like the purpose of this sub, dig into forums and guide yourself to trustworthy sellers. Author also goes on a tangent and revealed the numbers and figures of selling reps, along with the sheer gold rush he's in now. Read below for more info.
Anything of note?We're getting ripped off. Real hard, if you're a Mainlander chances are you're being sold 1/3 of the prices we see here. Part of the reason is that the multi-level reselling jacks up the price a lot, so unless you're buying in bulk for the purpose of selling them, good luck finding GET-passable OW AJ1's for less than $70. If you get caught selling, it's fines upwards of ¥50,000 and your license revoked, but nothing too serious beyond that. Author promised more novel shoes get made in the future, like Uggs and non-hypebeast dress shoes or sumthin.
With that outta the way, here's the translation for the whole article, hope you'll learn something for it and if there's any mistakes, feel free to point it out in DMs or just in the comments.
EDIT 17/05/2020: punctuation mistakes and missing formatting, also thanks for the kind words repfam
GOD'S HAND: The Secrets of Replica Sneaker Selling
Having been in the rep game for around 4 to 5 years, it all started out of sheer curiosity. I spent ¥1099 for Air Force 1's some celebrity wore, only to had my buddy show up on me with a fake pair of the same sneaker only costs ¥300.
Not everyone is some rich parents' spoiled brat where a pair of shoes costing a couple grand is considered pocket change, yet everyone has that sense of envy, the need to follow the hype to really stand out from the crowd, so do I honestly. But then again you'd only wear that pair of grails for only a good couple months and it'll be out of the wave, why not I find myself a more wallet-friendly way to do so?
Ever since dipping my toe into the replica community, I'm making connections, meeting new friends and getting scammed in every step I make, keeping contacts of my favorite sellers (looking back yeah they're not the best and cheapest isn't it huh). I'm deep in the rabbit hole now, buying so many pairs I'm starting to be able to tell batches at a glance, and where to hunt down that very best batch at the cheapest price. At this point it's natural that I'm thinking of selling these reps and becoming a middleman with the best of the batches under one roof (which is what's following below).
Anyone who has dealt with middlemen know that actually tracking down the direct factory outlets are nigh impossible, and the multiple stages of middlemen-ception where bigger but more discreet resellers selling to more minor, smaller middlemen can only make one dream of the sheer profit you can make for being on the very top of the pyramid, that idea has only been a mere blip in my mind. There was once in a bar my fam hollered at me with "Yo you remember that John Doe went to Putian for two years? Dude gave up college and has been filthy stinkin' rich by now!" I was like bah it'll never work out for me, but with the summer break I'd worth giving it a shot and have John Doe on the line. And boy howdy, ain't he wildin' right now with his business.
Some say every Nike you see there's 1/3 chance it's straight outta Putian, some say Nike's LC works by handling a pair of dumb shoes to an uninformed factory worker and have him say "fuck kinda shoes are these, looks cool I guess so it's legit?" The only way is to really tear down the whole sneaker and see the markings in UV, and once we're on the point where we can fake inside tags and its barcodes, ask yourself can call out fakes on feet?
A promotion for \"discount\" NB's on Weibo
Ever seen promos like these?
It's what I saw on Weibo today, and you've seen one like it yourself did you? They all look good on the images and you'd be right that they're photos of the real deal, just that of course the shoes you actually get were reps, and for each pair profits are never above ¥100; I sell ya an NB for ¥165, I'd only make ¥50.
REPLICA SNEAKERS: HOW DO THEY GET SOLD?TAOBAO
Taobao has always been the single biggest hub for BST. Run by the faceless middlemen, sold by the page visits, and reviewed by the bots. And stores with inflated trust scores were used as a front, once costing hundreds of yuan to buy now go for the tens of thousands. As Taobao is taking action to curb counterfeits to make way for legitimate resellers, these fronts are getting more expensive by the day, since then people took it to WeChat later on.
Ask anyone who ran a Taobao store, and they'd tell you "you'll never make a cent unless you're selling fakes". A pair of (fake) shoes take some ¥100 to make, and can be sold as a legit like the thousands of yuan you see on their listings, you'd get away with dozens of fakes sold this way, where you can properly guage and adjust said price to match your profit margins. Once the rep game got popular and the snowball kept rolling, the problem got too big for Ma Yun to not ignore it and he went full banhammer on every rep seller. With every media outlet roasting Taobao's ass, everyone wises up to the knowledge that almost every sneaker you see could be fakes. The stigma lived on, and no one would touch any store where its place of origin writes "Putian".
When life gives you lemons, you make a whole damn lemonade stand and just circumvent the whole damn thing by appearing that you're not from Putian. Problem solved. As you check your shipping details, it always seems to travel from Shangai, Shenzen, Quanzhou or even goddamn Xiamen of all places, even overseas.
Proxy services are very popular due to China's stringent laws
When sneakers are labeled as being shipped from Hong Kong, of course the sellers gonna say "it's from Hong Kong" but in fact it's shipping from Shenzhen, and the seller's excuse is that the sneakers are going through HK's borders from Shenzen then to the buyer's location. Even if you bought fakes in Tmall however, it won't be as bad as the ones sold as legit retails in Taobao. There's just too many of these rip-offs anyway! Had a reseller came to me to buy 10 pairs of sneakers, I make ¥10 each pair, but he sold it as retails and went on to make ¥500 each. Of course I'd panicked a jacked a prices a bit so I could have my own slice of extra profit to ¥20 each pair, said the factories jacked the prices themselves as an excuse.
Hoe's mad I guess
While profit margins are no higher than Taobao, they still range around a dozen yuan on bulk. For all the actual friends I have in WeChat, I'd never believe them not having owned a replica sneaker in their whole life, blah blah blah "factory direct", "wholesale prices" my ass, who really can head to the factories and buy direct these days? Rep resellers buying bulk from those factories are truly the "direct from factory" purchases. Resellers then selling the reps to middlemen and agents, that's another step. Said middlemen then resell these reps to quote-on-quote "middlemen". (NB: may have been the very resellers we see on the sub) And it goes on and on and then, to you, the customer.The so-called A-grade reps you see on WC, let's say we buy it from the factory at ¥200 (for example, the real deal won't be this cheap) and sell to the end-user for ¥400~¥500, it does in fact look decent. Heck, retails may get "called out" in forums and reps may sneak under the radar. Chat and forum opinions aren't good indicatiors for a rep's actual quality. Thus you may wonder why buy retails at this point? No one would really hit the New Balance outlets at their local Wanda mall and ask the teeny-bop promoter lady if their kicks are legit anyway, so wouldn't this been the dream job you've wanted, right?
These sort of agents are mostly handling orders from overseas to cater the westerners, mainly Russian, SE-Asian, North/South American countries etc., and will never be some solo project as they always come in groups of a few dozen staff members. These agent groups can also hire decently well-spoken college students to help converse customers in English and pay them good pocket change, which is eerily similar to how Forex scams work before, but this time they're doing legit businesses for a change. Sort of.
The most common agent you may come across can be your close friends, they get instant payouts for attracting their local classmates to collect orders for reps, and this wannabe hustler reports them back to the resellers to ship to school dorms directly.
REPLICA BUILD AND QUALITYReplicas reach far, far and wide. You could see your neighborhood cleaner aunt wearing 990v4s, motorbike taxi riders wearing Duck Camo AM90's, your kind old uncle next door exercising in Flyknit Racers and so on. NB, Nike, Converse, Ascis, Kappa; any brand you wanted they got it. ¥100 to ¥500 is what the factories charge, but after it hits resellers with a ¥200 hike, the illusion what seems to be a shoe that'll last breaks down as it wears out after a few wears. Bad stitching? Poorly-tumbled faux-leather? Off-moulded shape? I'd believe you but you sure you can tell if the EVA is fake by just looking on it? Is the gluing pattern underneath it visible even? A good deal of local boutiques sell ¥120 replicas at official retail prices like ¥599, a good ¥400 profit.
Putian factories are split into "heavy" and "light" industries. The heavy industries builds the sneaker as a whole from scratch, while the light industries were like CKD vehicles, where parts are purchased and assembled together instead. and quality of each part of the sneaker depends among factories. Lots of them try to cut corners to save every extra cent, which explains the decreasing quality of recent sneakers you see now. Larger factories has always been delivering consistently decent sneakers, as customers who contacted them are much picker and won't slash prices along with quality out of the blue. The stitching (and Nike Air units/Boost soles even!) is close enough to pass off as retails. Some of the more badass factories can make a batch of 100 brand new replicas for you, just hand in a donor retail pair and they'll get to work.The old dogs in Putian has been around for ages, runs most of the resellers you know and love. They buy reps from the factory direct at ¥140, sell to resellers at ¥160 and have the resellers push ¥180, at these prices the shoes are just not enough to satisfy demand. I've gave it an estimate if the factory got his order to 30 dozen pairs of reps, with each pair a ¥20 profit, we're looking at ¥7,000 a day or ¥20,000 a month in gross profit.
Of course, the Sales and Commerce Assoc. will still take a heavy hand on counterfeit sneakers till today, basically a few sellers every month get caught in the counterfeit business. The offenders walk into the office, sit down, had "the talk" yet again and pay a good ¥30k~¥50k fine and had their licenses taken away, for just awhile. Factories themselves get raided very seldom, maybe a every 6 months only a single factory gets caught per year. Putian has become the leading worldwide repsneaker operation for the entire world, and outputs around 50% the actual worldwide sneaker market, an estimated ¥20bn yearly. The Nikes and Adidases you wear now has an "OEM" for that. You may have bought a brand sneaker [in China], but it may very well be a fake regardless, to be fair the quality itself is indistinguishable anyway.
REPSNEAKER GRADES1) The Standard Putian's cheapest offering, pretty much trash tier and a certain Taobao sells them the most often :^)
2) The GET Batch A huge improvement from the Standards, and the so-called 1:1 batch from the mouths of others. It's really not, some of the materials itself is not as fine or accurate as the real deal. Tmall often sells these batches, but often get sold as retails.
3) The 1:1 The absolute tip of the high-end replicas. Take it to HuPu.com and only the eagle-eyed few would call you out. Not everyone can get their hands on them, regardless of price. [eg: similar situation to UABat's Union AJ1's]
4) The Retail Nuff said, just retails. (But really, reps cost just 1/5 of the retail price, why bother lol?)
A snapshot of KFC6855's wares
HOW TO TELL FAKES[The author essentially details how to LC NB998's, so this is best skipped as it adds nothing to the article other than repeating the author's point over and over.]
THE REPSNEAKER FUTUREIf you ever think replica sneakers will only remain within the hypebeast sporty trainer radar, oh you'd be surprised. The replica factories are on full steam, churning out Dr. Martens, UGGS, Tod's and a lot more to come. If you're interested, my WeChat: KFC6855 has them on sale right now, guaranteed to keep ya comfy this winter.
With all that said, I hope you learnt something from this, and now that you know if you really wanted a retail pair to sleep well at night, just don't get 'em in online stores. There's no glitz and glamor selling counterfeit sneakers, it's just business after all.
If you know, you know.
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