Sneaker Laundry founder Eugene Cheng makes $1.2 million in sales from cleaning sneakers

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A skilled young lawyer has made an astonishing $1.2 million in revenue after starting a business all about cleaning dirty sneakers.

Melbourne’s Eugene Cheng has always had a passion for sneakers, but often found it difficult to find a way to keep them clean.

The 29-year-old finished his college degree in 2017 but turned to opening his own store, The Sneaker Laundry, after “losing interest” in the legal field.

The company not only saves customers hundreds of dollars on the purchase of a new pair, but also prevents the shoes from going to landfill.

Almost five years later, Mr Cheng is now described as the “richest shoe shiner in the world” thanks to the brand’s success.

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Eugene Cheng (pictured, center) has always had a passion for sneakers and turned away from becoming a lawyer after studying in 2017 to start his shoe cleaning business

The Sneaker laundry not only saves customers hundreds of dollars, but also keeps shoes from being thrown in the landfill.

The Sneaker laundry not only saves customers hundreds of dollars, but also keeps shoes from being thrown in the landfill.

The brand was launched in September 2017 and the product line has grown from five to over 50 products today, including a sneaker cleaning kit, cleaning mat and paints (before and after shoe cleaning illustrated)

The brand was launched in September 2017 and the product line has grown from five to over 50 products today, including a sneaker cleaning kit, cleaning mat and paints (before and after shoe cleaning illustrated)

The brand was launched in September 2017 and the product line has grown from five to over 50 products, including a best-selling sneaker cleaning kit, cleaning mat and paints.

Mr. Cheng and his then co-founder invested $120,000 in the company with the support of friends.

Reflecting on the early days, Mr Cheng told Daily Mail Australia he wore trainers as a form of self-expression which turned out to mean keeping them clean all the time.

“They would get dirty so fast and I would need to beg mum for a new pair,” he said.

Reflecting on the early days, Mr Cheng told Daily Mail Australia he wore trainers as a form of self-expression which turned out to mean keeping them clean all the time.

Reflecting on the early days, Mr Cheng told Daily Mail Australia he wore trainers as a form of self-expression which turned out to mean keeping them clean all the time. “They would get dirty so fast and I would need to beg mum for a new pair,” he said

But at the time, he struggled to find a product that would clean shoes well without causing damage.

“All I could find was a sneaker store selling a sneaker kit and the staff didn’t know how to use it,” he said.

Research showed that others had the same problem of being unable to properly remove stains and dirt from sneakers, so Cheng and his team created their own cleaning kit, brushes and products.

“We found that most people wore their sneakers less as they got dirtier – until they just threw them in a landfill and replaced them with a clean pair,” he said. .

“It’s crazy – because they were really good sneakers. It costs a fraction to professionally clean them compared to buying a brand new pair.

On average, sneakers take 30-40 years for a pair to break down and currently 25 million Australian sneakers end up in landfill each year, compared to 300 million in the US.

Mr. Cheng says every sneaker should last ten years if cleaned properly.

The Melbourne brand also offers shoe details to personalize your trainers

The Melbourne brand also offers shoe details to personalize your trainers

The $26 cleaning kit comes with a sneaker cleaning solution to remove dirt and most stains, and a medium-stiff plastic bristle brush (pictured).

The $26 cleaning kit comes with a sneaker cleaning solution to remove dirt and most stains, and a medium-stiff plastic bristle brush (pictured).

The $26 cleaning kit comes with a sneaker cleaning solution to remove dirt and most stains, and a medium-stiff plastic bristle brush.

“It would have been easy to develop a mediocre product, but we would have hated ourselves for it,” Cheng said.

Through trial and error, he developed the perfect solution for restoring sneakers to near-original condition.

On average, sneakers take 30-40 years for a pair to break down and currently 25 million Australian sneakers end up in landfill each year, compared to 300 million in the US.

On average, sneakers take 30-40 years for a pair to break down and currently 25 million Australian sneakers end up in landfill each year, compared to 300 million in the US.

During the Covid-19 pandemic and ongoing lockdowns in Victoria, the brand transitioned from a physical store to an e-commerce brand.

Now they operate both online and on Little Lonsdale Street in Melbourne’s CBD, where customers can go in-store.

At the moment, Mr. Cheng is offering customers the opportunity to purchase shares of The Sneaker Laundry through a Birchal crowdfunding raised.

The money raised will be used to quickly open stores around the world and in Australia, and propel its online sales into the stratosphere.

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