Tyler Huffhines has a pair of sneakers to sell you. Or a used car. Or a desk.
Huffhines is an 18-year-old entrepreneur about to graduate from Central High School with thousands of dollars in the bank and thousands invested in the stock market, thanks to his own hard work and uncanny ability to make a deal.
“Two months ago I bought 40 pairs from a guy and sold them within a day,” Huffhines said.
Huffhines first went into business in seventh grade, when he bought a pair of high-end sneakers and sold them at a profit. That deal led him to more deals, until he was turning over dozens of pairs of shoes every month.
If you’re not familiar with sneakerhead fanaticism, you might be surprised to hear that shoes with names like Nike Air Yeezy Pure Platinums or Air Jordan Retro Grey 9s might go for hundreds or even thousands of dollars per pair.
Some people buy a pair from Huffhines for $300, wear the shoes just one night to a party, and sell them back for $150. That means that overnight, Huffhines has made $150.
He keeps track of sneaker prices using several apps that compare shoe value by size and color. His client base extends from some fashionable classmates all the way to Milwaukee and into northern Illinois.
“I haven’t asked my parents for money since sixth grade,” he said. “I like making money. I’m a businessman, and the hustle is my lifestyle.”
But his business model is not just shoes. He is willing to buy and sell anything, if there’s a profit to be had. He recently purchased 25 desks for $20 each sold them that same day for $140 each.
Huffhines also has a used car dealer license and a dozen cars for sale in Paddock Lake.
Huffhines said his mother, Courtney Huffhines, and grandfather, Tom Blount, both real estate agents, helped him learn about business from a young age.
Courtney said she couldn’t have kept Tyler from learning if she’d tried.
“We would have business meetings at home, and he’d hide behind the couch and take notes,” she said. “For his eighth or ninth birthday, he made us take him to the bank so he could open two accounts and compare how they grew. He loaned his brother’s friends money and charged them interest.”
Huffhines said some of his success is also thanks to inspirational teachers at Central, including honors speech teacher Marcia Johnson and economics teacher Brent Mansky.
“Mr. Mansky teaches you real-life lessons. He taught me about the stock market, about supply and demand, and that’s what I do,” Huffhines said.
Inspired by his mom and grandfather, Huffhines is just one test away from getting his Realtor’s license. And next fall, he is going to attend Lake University in Sheboygan and study (of course) business. He plans to own several more businesses some day.
“Millionaires have six ways of making an income,” he said. (He’s a consumer of business self-help books.) “I do see myself moving on to bigger things to make more money.”
But there will also be shoes to sell.
“Everyone needs shoes. Everyone can afford a pair of shoes. And you have to keep your money coming in,” he said.