At 14, Umar Cassim began his entrepreneurial journey, reselling shoes in the halls of his high school.
The California native flipped rare sneakers to local SneakerHeads for profit.
SneakerHeads are a community of collectors who seek expensive and exclusive retro and designer sneakers such as Air Jordans, Yeezys, and Off-White collaborations.
“I amassed a big fan base on Instagram in the fashion niche,” said Cassim. “It was only uphill from there.”
After flipping enough sneakers to build a sizable budget, he invested in his own business model at 16-years-old.
“I now run and own many large Instagram accounts and help brands expand and grow using different promotional techniques,” says Cassim.
One of those techniques is giveaways.
Having over 115,000 followers onInstagram, Cassim uses his connections from the sneaker industry to secure popular shoes and clothes which he gives away on his Instagram.
“I would always see people I looked up to living the life I wanted, and now that I am here, I want to help out people in need,” says Cassim.
Cassim’s giveaways provided him with a model capable of helping everyone involved win.
Clients contact Cassim through Instagram in hopes of gaining more followers. They agree on a flat rate paid to Cassima and in return he includes their Instagram handle in a series of instructions that must be followed by the contestant for their ballot to be valid.
Cassim says clients average anywhere from 1,500 to 3,000 active followers gained in a week.
The key word is “active.”
Instagram is plagued with fake accounts called bots, which made influencers seem like they have a large following when in some cases more than half of their followers are bought online.
Users can buy an unlimited amount of bots for a very cheap price across many different forums. Search “buy Instagram followers,” on Google and the results will never end.
Cassim offers a safe and real solution with a wholesome ending.
To weed out potential bots, Cassim’s giveaways require users to complete a list of tasks before they can be entered in the draw.
Someone will end up with a free pair of rare shoes every week, Cassim receives revenue and the clients gain active followers — everyone wins.
Cassim says clients return because they know exactly what they are getting.
“I believe my clients keep returning because of the honesty and transparency they receive,” says Cassim.
While he makes six-figures at just 16 years old, Cassim’s entrepreneurial journey has still faced its own set of barriers.
“My biggest mistakes were trusting the wrong people and trying to use shortcuts,” says Cassim.
Cassim says the key to his success was turning his mistakes into valuable lessons on how to succeed.
“My advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is to look at people who are successful in what you are trying to do, and use them as inspiration to recreate their steps to success,” says Cassim.
He plans to expand his abilities as a budding entrepreneur, as he starts ventures in the real estate and eCommerce industries.