Australian shoe shiner makes $1.2m from his Melbourne laneway store

Eugene Cheng, founder of The Sneaker Laundry

Eugene Cheng is a qualified lawyer who gave it all up to focus on his passion, sneakers. At the age of 29 he is now considered Australia’s sneaker king: feted by collectors across the globe for his unparalleled ability to transform dirty sneakers into near-new condition.

He has got 29,000 happy customers to prove it, and they’ve paid him $1.2 million in the process. He’s even exported 65,000 cleaning kits to 45 countries from his OG Melbourne laneway store, The Sneaker Laundry. And the shoes he ‘details’ are often worth $25K a pair.

“We undertook research that was the impetus behind The Sneaker Laundry’s foundation: we found people wore their sneakers less as they got dirtier, until they simply threw them away and replaced them with a clean pair, ” said Eugene Cheng, founder of The Sneaker Laundry.

“That’s crazy – because these were perfectly good sneakers. It costs a fraction to clean them professionally compared to buying a brand new pair, which simply restarts the vicious cycle of waste. On average it will take 30-40 years for a pair to decompose and that’s terrifying.”

“In 4 years our reputation has gone viral, and our mission is to have impact on how many shoes end up in landfill. Can you believe 300 million sneakers are thrown away in the US!”

The Sneaker Laundry turns to crowdfunding

Eugene will move up a level by giving his loyal fans the chance to buy shares in The Sneaker Laundry via a  Birchal equity crowdfunding raise. The money raised will be used to open up stores rapidly across the globe and Australia, and kick his online sales into the stratosphere.

It is reported that currently 25 million Australian sneakers end up in landfill each year, with Australians expected to spend a whopping US$810 million on sports shoes in 2022.

“Hundreds of millions of dollars are being wasted each year because the shoecare products currently available are geared towards formal shoes only. That’s why The Sneaker Laundry has been so successful and why investors should take note – we have no real competitors.”

“It’s also why companies like Nike, Converse, Indomie, Puma, and Dolce & Gabbana have wanted to work with us. The market is ripe for this ‘shoo in’ investment – pardon the pun!”

“My business partner and I are constantly evolving our methods to keep up with all the high tech materials sneakers are now made from, we’ve grown our product line from 5 to over 50 products.  This is why we have collectors sending us their prized possessions to clean.”

“We have even cleaned Chanel Human Racers and Dior Jordan 1‘s, which are both valued around $10k, as well as 1 of 1 Sample Air Jordan 1’s – worth a cool $25K.”

“The idea of The Sneaker Laundry was conceived with Chase Maccini, who pioneered the sneaker restoration movement 12 years ago via his YouTube videos. They’ve amassed over 10 million views. Together we’ve fine tuned the cleaning methods to a world standard.”

The Sneaker Laundry’s impressive market heist

Anthony Taratsas of Underrated Melbourne, who has one of most envied sneaker collections, swears by The Sneaker Laundry’s service. “These guys are gods when it comes to cleaning shoes, I’ve looked all over the world and would not trust anyone else with my collection.”

“I sell rare and expensive shoes for a living, and you can’t clean them with regular products. Trusting your valuable sneakers with these guys is like having your lamborghini professionally detailed. I commend them for their community work, over the last four years they’ve restored over 1,500 shoes that were heading for landfill and given these to the needy.”

As well as dropping your shoes off to be cleaned, The Sneaker Laundry offers an Australian online/postal service where your shoes will be returned to you clean as new.

Customers who prefer doing it themselves will find a wide range of sneaker care products and readily available advice online. The company’s take-home cleaning formulas are organic, plant-based, palm oil free, and are easy to use – even for those new to the sneaker game.

The Sneaker Laundry has two locations in Melbourne, one location in Beirut, Lebanon, and will open its Sydney flagship location in April. With the shoe care market in Australia projected to be $239.6 million in 2022, The Sneaker Company has the potential to grow exponentially.