Turning passion into a business has become a reality for a Bermudian entrepreneur.
Having moved to the United States at the age of 12, Jonathan Outerbridge found himself less fortunate than his other peers, which led him to become self sufficient at an early age.
Once he got on his feet, Mr Outerbridge started adapting the sneaker culture of the US and 18 years ago began his collection of the footwear.
He had about 300 pairs of sneakers before he decided to return to Bermuda.
“I realised I needed to get rid of my shoes, so I gave some away and sold some. I didn’t realise at the time that it was a business and the resell value of the shoe is greater than the retail value. As I got further into the culture I realised I was sitting on a gold mine. I just didn’t know,” he said.
Mr Outerbridge did research and gained knowledge on the products. Then he decided to turn his passion into a business by marketing it on social media and by word of mouth.
He noticed requests coming in from people asking him to order sneakers for them. That’s when the idea came to start a personal shopping concierge service.
“Not everyone is savvy when ordering items, so we provide this service for those individuals who need support.
“I know Bermuda is a fashion forward place, and my girlfriend suggested I start an Instagram page in April of last year,” he said.
Mr Outerbridge said he started off small and the business has progressed. Although it was originally geared towards sneakers, he has recently branched off into sweatsuits, tracksuits, hoodies, sweat shirts and T-shirts.
And not only does he order items for people, but with his vast knowledge about the items, such as the latest trends in sneakers, he helps clients understand the history of what they are buying.
“My business works solely off of pre-ordering. We plan to eventually bring in stock, but for now it’s supply on demand,” he said.
“You are paying for the service that we offer on top of your items, such as delivery, tax, and our fee. We deliver everything to you once it arrives on island.”
Mr Outerbridge has also started his own brand called Sole Era, which on request he places on certain basic clothing being ordered online.
He has exciting plans for the future and sees potential in growing the brand by collaborating with other talented locals.
“We are looking to work with others in the community who also have a large following. We can help market each other.”
In the near future he plans to hosts an event for the ‘sneaker heads’ where people can learn about trends and products. He also has a vision to broaden his offerings to hats, socks and tops for women.
For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org or instagram @sole_era.