We had the good fortune of connecting with Raul Chapa and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Raul, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Risk is something very common in the shoe business. Every time you buy a shoe, you are taking a risk that the shoe may not sell and you could lose money. Personally, I think that by not taking these risks, you are leaving out opportunities to make money no matter what the price would be when selling the shoes, and that is why I like to go after every shoe because either way there is potential and sometimes big risks lead to big rewards.
Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
The first pair of shoes I ever sold were the Jordan 4 Retro Royalty. What I thought was going to be a quick and easy sell turned out to be a bit more challenging than I had anticipated. When they finally sold, it felt like the beginning of my journey as a reseller. Every check I made went straight back into getting more shoes. At this point, I knew I wanted to become a reseller, so I started to brainstorm on a gravitating business name and logo. To me the name of the business is extremely important because it captures the essence of the brand. Even though I just arrived here in Houston just a few short years ago for college, I immediately fell in love with the city and everything about it. Houston felt like home and the place my soul was always meant to be in, hence the name of my business, Houston Solez. At first it was a struggle to get my hands on high-value pairs, so I would buy any shoe, no matter the condition, even if it wasn’t realistic for me to make a profit. I eventually came to the conclusion that I could bring some of these shoes back to life. These shoes were an investment so I took the time to do small restorations on them to improve their overall sale. I first learned how to “ice” the bottoms of shoes to improve their appearance. Then I started to get numerous request asking me to ice their shoes. This led to inquiries about a variety of restoration services. As a new business, I wanted to do anything to please my customers, so I never turned down any request they had no matter how difficult the job would be. I would literally go on YouTube and scour the internet to learn how to do all these crazy restorations. Despite my eagerness to learn, there were some truly horrendous mistakes along the way. The worst mistake I recall was when I destroyed the patent leather on a beautiful pair of Jordan 11s. Although the damage was not too bad, I was completely mortified in how the shoe turned out. Thankfully, the customer was very understanding with the situation but I still ended up paying him for the damages. Although the mistake haunted me for a while, I will forever be thankful for the lesson it taught me. Something I will say to any small business owner is to embrace those mistakes because you will only learn from them. Overall, the most vital thing a small business owner can do is to believe in themselves and to take failures as a step to success rather than dwelling on it.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Houston as a city has so much to offer whether it be night life or just browsing some shops. Everywhere you go, there are always going to be people you will meet and become friends with. First off, I would invite my friends to brunch in Rice Village. Not only will we be able to eat, but there are various shops around the area we could visit. After that I would take them to Museum District, where we could go explore some of the 19 museums available. After that, we would go to Hermann Park, where we would see the Rose garden and the Japanese gardens. After all this walking around, I would take them to dinner at Louisiana Fish House where we could get some Cajun and seafood. Throughout the rest of the week I would make sure they can enjoy the night life by taking them barhopping in Midtown, visiting Desert Gallery for the best desert. I’d also want to visit some iconic Houston landmarks, like the Be Someone bridge, the Montrose bridges and I’d want to take them to a professional sport event. To end their trip I’d have to take them to the Galleria to shop and get any souvenirs for themselves.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I wish I could shoutout every single reseller who has helped me on my journey, but one reseller that has really made an impact on my business is Gav. He has given me the most real advice about the resell game, and has used his platform to give me the recognition I needed for my business. I would also like to shoutout my family. My parents have been very encouraging and have believed in me during the start of my business. Another member of my family I’d like to shoutout is my girlfriend. She has been my co-founder in my business. She has always helped me whether it is getting extra pairs of shoes for me or helping me sell them. The love and support I get from my family has really encouraged me and gotten me to where I am today. I love y’all for always having my back and truly believing in me.
Other: Email: Houston.firstname.lastname@example.org TikTok: Houston.solez713