Exclusive sneaker resale groups make millions by paying insiders to leak information on valuable sneaker releases before they happen. Here's a look inside one of these members-only forums.
- AK Chefs is one of the top sneaker "cook groups" around.
- The exclusive group charges its 1,600 members a $50 monthly fee in return for a stockpile of insider knowledge and tools to dominate the sneaker resale market.
- Business Insider spoke to AK Chefs creator and head Ari about how he runs the group, which has a dedicated, paid staff of 36 monitors and moderators, software developers, and industry insiders.
- Here's an exclusive look into the goings-on in the members-only group whose founder said has pulled in $100 million in collective profit since 2017.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
If you happened to have heard of a "cook group" in the past, odds are you've only heard rumors or whisperings.
These members-only, exclusive forums are hotbeds of information for anyone looking to break into the $2 billion market. And they charge hefty fees for admission, which is offered on an extremely limited bases.
In sneakerhead language, to "cook" sneakers means to nab a large selection of pairs at a drop. In a nutshell, that's what these forums are designed to help its members do.
The group has monitors that stay on top of every sneaker boutique, manufacturer, and website to keep track of which shoes are dropping and when. It also maintains connections with industry insiders called "plugs" who work in sneaker stores and boutiques and leak details of hyped drops before they happen. Members of cook groups are able to know the exact time of a drop, where to buy it, and how much it will sell for.
AK Chefs is one of the top cook groups in the sneaker resale world. The group was founded in 2017 by a then-teenage sneaker reseller named Ari, who requested that his last name be withheld in this story due to privacy concerns.
The now 20-year-old said that his cook group, which currently has 1,600 members from the US, Canada, Europe, China, Japan, and Australia, has brought in a collective $100 million in profit since 2017. Ari employs 36 staff members in their teens and 20s and charges a $50 monthly fee for each member.
"We're all young, hip," Ari said of his group, which had to limit entry in 2018 after interest nearly exploded. "It's a good community."
AK Chefs is run on Discord, a distribution platform mostly used by the video gaming community. The group offers its users everything from access to and support for bots - a software application that expedites the checkout process for a purchase online - to investing advice and advance information on hyped sneakers before they are publicized.
Here's an exclusive look inside AK Chefs, the high-level cook group whose members are dominating the sneaker resale market.
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