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American Eagle Embraces Sneaker Resale With New Soho Retail Concept

An American Eagle store nestled in New York’s Soho neighborhood has become the site of a unique partnership between a traditional retailer and a sneaker resale platform.

Urban Necessities, a sneaker resale and streetwear company hailing from Las Vegas, has opened its own shop inside an American Eagle Soho store, giving fans of both businesses a one-stop shop for all their sneaker, denim and apparel needs.

The shop officially opened on Saturday to a large crowd of NYC sneakerheads—even drawing the attention of some celebrities, including retired New York Giants wide receiver and fan favorite, Victor Cruz.

The shop itself is a veritable sneaker heaven, located in the rear of American Eagle’s store on 599 Broadway. A 10-foot wall of sneakers is the first sight that greets consumers on their way in, with the priciest and most sought-after styles protected by glass cases near the front desk. Urban Necessities even managed to get its hands on two pairs of Nike Mag 2016’s—the most expensive sneaker silhouette ever made, sometimes selling for as high as $50,000.

Urban Necessities founder, Jaysse Lopez, got his start into the sneaker resale business as a way to get through hard times. In fact, his interest in the field began when he was hired to wait in sneaker release lines while homeless and busking.

“That was my introduction into sneakers and understanding that there is genuine value in things that they don’t make much of,” Lopez told Sourcing Journal.

About four years ago, Lopez and a business group of a couple of close friends founded the organization that would become Urban Necessities. Lopez said his stake cost him about $40.

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Since then, the brand has been growing—leading to $20 million in sales last year and a partnership with American Eagle. This was due in large part to a “more for less” approach, reflected by a consignment rate that is the lowest in the United States and prices that, according to Lopez, are regularly 10 to 15 percent lower at his shop than on competing platforms.

Apart from its favorable pricing, Urban Necessities has a few tricks up its sleeves once customers get inside the store, including a key master machine that awards lucky customers with a pair of sneakers, as well as a monthly pinball tournament hosted by the store played on a Supreme-branded machine.

American Eagle Invites Sneaker Resale Inside With New Soho Pop-up
An artist’s rendering of the store from the outside. Credit: Urban Necessities/ American Eagle Urban Necessities/ American

More than that, Urban Necessities wants to be a place for consigners and sneakerheads to sell their products profitably and with ease. Once sellers add their items to the Urban Necessities ecosystem, they can check their status in real time thanks to QR coded tags on each time in the store. Lopez said the company also has plans to convert that technology to NFC in the near future, allowing customers and sellers an even easier way to collect and review consignment data.

On any given day at the Urban Necessities shop in Las Vegas, between 500 to 700 items come in from resellers. Lopez said he expects this number to be about the same in New York, adding that buyers will be able to stop in by appointment or simply as walk-ins.

Still, the most notable thing about Urban Necessities in Soho isn’t just the store, its the partnership that allowed it to come about.

“It’s an iconic moment in retail,” Lopez said. “It’s the first time you have a full-blown shop-within-a-shop that has this kind of variety. American Eagle gave me their blessing to reach out and grab the inventory that I grabbed.”

Lopez credited the staff at American Eagle for handling the logistics of the operation while letting Urban Necessities focus on what it does best: provide customers with a platform to buy and sell the items they care about.

“It’s extremely refreshing to see a company as successful as American Eagle has been over the years allowing this to happen,” Lopez concluded. “They are thinking completely out of the box, I think this is a great win-win. This is retail how it should be.”

In February, American Eagle also announced the introduction of its own subscription service, “Style Drop,” which it explicitly said is designed to target Gen-Z shoppers.