Meet VEDAD FISIC, the man behind HYPESTEIN
HYPESTEIN is the place you can pick exclusive sneakers from drops like Nike x Sacai, Yeezy's Adidas, Nike x Off-white, Air Max, Travis Scott AJ and more.
Bosnian-born Vedad Fisic started his company from zero in 2017, creating the first Swedish online shop focused on selling extra limited sneakers and pretty soon getting his own physical store.
His secrets, u ask? A lot of passion & a kitchen you can use as stock (or any room, actually). His collection filled with queue-worth kicks got the inspiration from when he was a teenager and had the desire to be like basketball legends — in & off court. From one pair to another his finds started to buzz around sneakers lovers and got him to where he's right now.
Since the beginning, Hypestein's community was Fisic's priority. He literally went through the whole Stockholm by train to drop the most hyped new-ins & exclusive finds in houses of ppl who ordered from his website.
Ready to pick your pair & find out about what's trending on Swedish grails? Keep on reading for the full chat.
We’ve checked your store and we've noticed you have a selection of the GOAT sneakers around the world, but how have the summer of 2017 and a pair of NMDs changed your business and took you to where you are today? (yes, we did our research haha)
When I moved to Sweden, I started completely from zero. I played basketball before and I always had a passion for sneakers, so I looked at sneakers as shoes that my heroes wore in the court and, as much as I wanted to play like them, I wanted to have those sneakers too. Then I moved here and saw opportunities in the sneakers' market: the resell market.
The story of the pair of NMDs is a bit longer than its out in the media. The thing was that I wanted to buy a pair of NMDs for myself, but my friend had almost the same pair, so I asked him how he bought them and he said some dude sold them to him because they are so limited and are selling out all the time. In 2016, I saw that one pair of NMDs dropped, I even tried to claim them, but they were sold out definitely everywhere. Then, one day I saw one store that had the black and white ones, but we needed to wait in a queue. My wife came to the queue, brought me some food & I asked her “what if we buy one pair just to get this pair for free?” and that was my entrepreneurship mind. I thought, “ok, I’m gonna flip one pair to get the other pair for free” and she thought it was too much money 'cause we didn’t have so much at that time. It felt like we were spending millions, for real, I told her “you know what? We are gonna buy them, I’m gonna flip one and sell it and I’m gonna keep the second one”, which I did — I kept the black ones & sold the white ones. After that, it was an easy drop: drop after drop, and I came into the game really quickly. When you are passionate, you don’t think about the money, I thought about how I could get my shoes for free & how I could do something that I’m passionate about.
It sounds like a cliché, but I didn't think about the money. Money is only a plus if you work with your hobby, and then I was buying and selling all the time. I opened up a company, I was exporting to Hong Kong, Malaysia, etc. And when we opened up, in the kitchen of my home, in 2017, the company was the first exclusive online sneakers store. We didn’t have the background to take photos with, that canvas material, but we had a white kitchen table, so we would improvise, put the products on a white kitchen table and take photos of them.
So the company started basically in your kitchen?
We started with seven pairs of shoes — 25 products in total if you count the stickers — and we didn’t have so many expenses, except taxes, so the whole stock was at home. I had a job aside, but after some time our home started to look as a warehouse. I was working in a job at a hotel until 11 p.m., when I came home I liked working on the website, online orders until 4 or 5 in the morning and then in the morning or in the evening, depending on my shift, I had to travel by train through the whole Stockholm delivering shoes to people. People appreciated that because I would deliver them for free, 40/50 kilometers, just to show them how much we care about our customers.
And that was the thing about the store today, we are a really big community and people feel like they are at home, that’s the whole purpose. F*ck money, ‘cause if you are passionate about something, people will realize that. When you don’t have passion, it sounds and feels so corporative. Even when this company has 5/10 stores in the future, I don’t wanna have this restricted corporative feeling, we are gonna have a chill kind of structure, people will care about each other and be part of a community.
What is the sneakerhead culture in your hometown like and how would it be if we compared Bosnia to Stockholm in that sense?
There’s a really big difference, ‘cause in Sweden you have that upper middle class, which is almost non-existent in my country. People can afford more stuff here and in my country people are more like I was before — they know a lot about sneakers, they love sneakers, but they can’t afford them. So when they see a post of Michael Jordan, they dream about those shoes, but unfortunately they can’t afford them. Now, it’s expanding over there and in the whole world, really expanding, but it’s not in the same level as it is in Stockholm.
We know the sneakerworld culture is growing here in Stockholm – do you feel like a big part of it?
I’m humble as a person, so, if I am, I’m really grateful for that, ‘cause I try to be & to bring something new and unique to Sweden.
What was the first pair of sneakers you remember seeing that made you go, “Oooh shit, I need to have those?”
I have definitely always dreamt about Jordan One, but at that time, the first pair of sneakers I wanted to have was Nike’s Foamposite, because they were a big part of the basketball culture. Those were the sneakers I wanted to have, Reebok ones were also a really big part of the basketball culture at the time, so they had really good players that would sign the sneakers.
There’s a different mentality between luxury sneakers and limited-edition sneakers. Based on that, what’s your opinion on this idea of the luxury sneakers market?
The thing is that couture brands know where the money is. At Gucci, in 2015, for example, Alessandro Michele changed the game for the brand – before, Gucci was just like monograms and old ladies, and now it's a cool brand. Gucci now puts aliens and tigers in pictures because they want to get in the street culture and that 1990s vibe. I think it’s really positive that we can match those stores: we sell vintage limited sneakers and high-end clothes. Every time I pick something I try to see it on a person.
Do you think it’s hard to bring sports wear and luxury together for a new brand coming into the game now?
Brand market feels very oversaturated right now and we are in the era of Instagram: if you have contacts, your brand is gonna make it. If you have connections, it’s much easier, so I think it's really hard for a new brand. For already stabilized names, it’s not so hard, they can make whatever they want, it's gonna sell out.
How do you see the impact of Instagram and digital influencers in the sneaker culture?
It's both good and bad, because we have people that are not genuinely interested in sneakers, but we also have good influencers that are really influencing the market in a big way, but everyone can be an influencer nowadays and that’s the bad thing. For me, passion and genuine interest come first, if you don’t think about the money you're gonna make it in a good way.
How do you balance your vision about what's good and what sells?
In our store, every product is handpicked and we sell the really popular ones on the market. If people like them, we need, as a store, to offer them. Our business can’t go forward if we don’t have the latest and the newest products, but if it's something that we really don’t like we ain't gonna have it in the store. For example, there was an opportunity to sell Kobe’s after he passed away, but we didn’t. It didn’t feel morally right.
What do you expect for the future of Hypestein?
I'm more than glad to tell you about that, because our plans are to have a really bigger store this year right here in Stockholm, in this part of town. We're gonna have a much wilder selection of sneakers and vintage clothes, too. Also, we want to open new shops every year in different countries, starting with Europe. We want to spread this culture.
If you could choose something from a businessman from the sneaker culture, what would you want to do?
I see myself as an open-minded person with a big imagination. I would love to create sneakers in the future, to collaborate with some brand and have something with Hypestein’s logo on it. That would be our dream.
And if you had to choose right now a brand to collaborate with Hypestein, which one would it be?
Either Nike or New Balance. I think New Balance is underestimated as a brand, and actually there’s really good technology in their shoes. If you want to wear it with wider pants or to pull that 90s fit, New Balance is a great choice.
Do people give good feedback about your selection of leather sneakers?
I noticed that in the Travis Scott ones, they are made of suede, so people like them because they feel different, it is the same with the Dunk Plums, which are also made with suede and people like the material. In this culture, people talk more about the hype or the looks of the sneakers or the branding and not so much about the materials, but when it comes to suede, people always answer in a good way.
So you think more about the brand and the design than the material itself?
Definitely, in a way. I know that a few years back Adidas dropped one with materials from the ocean waste, I think brands are looking more into how we consume products and materials.
If you could say something to a Bosnian kid who's watching Lebron or Kahwi Leonard right now and thinking about the sneaker culture, what would you say to them?
Don’t think about the money, work hard and, if you are passionate about it, you are definitely gonna succeed.
Find more [metcha originals] here. And if you still got game, check here our exclusive GOAT Sneakers list with HYPESTEIN.
Cop HYPESTEIN kicks right here.