You know how hard it is to go online and buy a limited edition pair of sneakers?
Actually, I don’t.
But Gary Perelberg describes the frustration: You hear about a cool pair. You go to the site — say, Foot Locker. You keep clicking “Add to Cart.” Nothing happens — and then it crashes. No sneakers.
Actually, that’s what used to happen.
Gary — a Staples High School junior — has solved that First World problem. He developed a software program, with a bot that scrapes web pages. You put in the shoe you want, your size and shipping information — and bam! You’re in!
You can even purchase in bulk, in case you want to (ahem) resell.
Gary’s program is called EasyCop (as in, “I copped these great sneakers on the web!”). It works with Foot Locker, Nike, East Bay and many more online stores.
Gary recently added many Shopify e-commerce sites, branching out into other apparel. You can now buy limited edition lipstick too!
Yet sneakers remain his love.
Gary’s not alone. Over 3,000 people have bought his software. He has more than 15,000 Twitter followers. Some are teenagers, like Gary. Others are adult collectors. Some are retailers.
Gary describes a recent success story: Kanye West introduced a very limited line of sneakers. They retail for $200, but command aftermarket prices of up to $4,000 (!).
“One guy bought 50 pairs,” Gary says proudly. They were promptly resold.
You’re wondering the same thing I am: Is this legal?
“Stores say they can cancel bot orders,” Gary explains. But they don’t, because such buying “drives hype. When a few people get tons of sneakers, the price stays high.”
Lest you think Gary is all about the money: He’s not. He could use his own program to buy and resell, but he doesn’t. He’s content just selling his software licenses.
Of course, he makes good money — enough to buy (at 16) his own car.
But he also has a social conscience. Each month, Gary gives a percentage of his income to Bridgeport public schools, so they can buy laptops and tablets. He’s already donated more than $5,000.
“They don’t have the same opportunity to learn technology,” he says. “I’m grateful for what I’ve learned. I want other people to have that chance too.”
Of course, Gary has fun with his business. He used it recently to cop a pair of Kanye’s Yeezy 350 Boost sneakers (in pirate black).
Yet selling sneaker software is no walk in the park. Gary spends a good chunk of each day answering customer service questions. “Some people are just not tech-savvy,” he notes. Others have “legitimate questions.”
EasyCop has taught Gary a lot about dealing with the public. He’s also learned about programming, and how the web works.
He’s largely self-taught. But he gives shout-outs to Staples teachers like Dr. Nick Morgan, Dave Scrofani and Nate Dewey. “They’re not really into sneakers,” he says. “I talk to them a lot about programming though.”
He may expand EasyCop even beyond Shopify. “People request strange limited edition markets,” Gary says. “Like karate robes. And baby carriers.”
Soon though, he’ll start looking at colleges. His dream school is MIT.
One day, Gary says, “I want my own company.”
Sounds as if he already does.
Want to know more about EasyCop? Click the video below.