For Mo Darowich, opening up a brick-and-mortar shop in 2019 felt like the next natural step. After getting into the sneaker trade at 16, Darowich followed his gut and turned his passion into a business. His Madison Avenue space showcases rows and rows of hard-to-get sneakers, from colorful Jordan 1s to monochrome Adidas Yeezy Boosts and more. As sneakers continue to become a hot commodity, the 23-year-old’s shop provides us with a spot to get hot releases we missed, along with Instagram giveaways, Chilly Kicks-branded hoodies and a place to just admire some rare kicks.
Price Is Right: At first, Darowich searched for sneakers such as Nike Air Max’s and Air Jordans for himself. But as he learned the value of these shoes kept going up, he figured he could put his skills to good use, find more pairs that other people would enjoy and make a little money. “I’d get shoes from Nike for around $190, and then I sold them on eBay for $500,” he says. “I basically would just use that [profit] and then just keep reinvesting it and just keep flipping.”
Freshest Kicks: There are certain pieces Darowich knows will do well. Sneakers such as rereleased versions of the first Air Jordan remain a consistent pick for people, whether they’re collectors or folks wanting a great shoe to finish o an outfit. “Just like there’s certain patterns on clothes over the years, there’s just certain shoes that always do well,” says Darowich. “There was a cool pair that we had — it was a Jordan 1from 1994. Like a classic, classic colorway. That’s a really hot shoe.”
Big Steps: After officially opening his storefront in 2019, Darowich saw that a brick-and-mortar opens up a lot of doors to connecting his brand to a larger community. Although he was seeing people share shoes he sold them on social media, watching a person step out of the store with a new pair brought him renewed pride. “It’s rewarding to see people enjoy coming into the store, see something that they like and then telling their friends,” Darowich says.
Flash Back: Darowich has to stay on top of trends when finding inventory. Tuning in to sneakerheads on social media helps along with just seeing what people are wearing. Along with Yeezeys still being top sellers, he’s also spotted a new trend. “Another big thing right now is vintage-looking shoes," says Darowich.
When You Go: 14057 Madison Ave., Lakewood, 216-712-4504, chillykicks.com
Editor’s note: When shooting portraits of shop owners, photographer Matt Shiffler wore a mask and worked at a safe distance.
Click here to explore more than 30 local shops and boutiques as part of this month’s “Shop Local” package.