As sneaker life begins to return to its pretty-pandemic state, there’s one budding business that every sneakerhead should have on their radar. Bottom Bunk Sneaker House is your new home for all things sneakers.
Located in the heart of Melrose, Bottom Bunk is a fully self-funded business founded by Cole Richman. Richman has a very atypical rise to success-the founder and creative director went from sitting behind bars to creating this highly successful sneaker house.
Cole was born and raised in Los Angeles and got caught up in drugs & gang-related activities at the age of 14. After going in and out of the prison system for years, Cole was sentenced to eight years in prison at the age of 27. While in solitary confinement, Cole decided that when he got out, he would turn his life around.
Released from prison during the peak of the coronavirus pandemic, with nothing more than the shirt on his back and $200 from the state, Cole used that money on a pair of “Smoke Grey” Jordan 1’s, which he then resold for a profit. With that money, he purchased a pair of Yeezys, resold them, and began working with various brands, using the same methods & abilities.
Thus, Bottom Bunk (refers to the bed Cole slept in for years in prison) was born. With a bright future ahead, ONE37pm spoke to Cole about his redemption journey.
ONE37pm: What can visitors expect when they visit Bottom Bunk?
Cole: Walking into Bottom Bunk is like walking into your local neighborhood for shoes. We want it to be an elevated shopping experience, and it’s like that with everything. We also deliver exclusivity when it comes to shoes, so that is also something that we are proud of and want our visitors to experience.
ONE37pm: Cool, now let’s take you back. When did you first discover your love for sneakers?
Cole: I’ve always loved the experience of buying sneakers. I think I got my first pair of Jordan 1s around 1991/1992, and I was heavily immersed in sneaker culture. For those that don’t know, I spent eight years in prison, and I got released during the pandemic in 2020. I had struggled with drugs and spent time in a halfway house. My roommate at the halfway house was doing shoes, and when I got released, the state gave me $200.
I used that money to get a pair of Smoke Grey Jordan 1s, and that got the ball rolling for me in terms of getting into the reselling game. I had spent the majority of my life hustling, and now I was using those same skills to hustle in a different way. Now I can really focus on giving back and helping other people through my store.
ONE37pm: That’s a pretty quick turnaround for just a two-year time period! Especially with you opening up your own store. There are some people who started before you in the sneaker game that still aren’t where you are.
Cole: It’s hard work and a little bit of luck. I got lucky that the prison gave us a little bit of a stimulus, and I’m also fortunate to have had people that helped my business along with financially supporting me, even though I had been in prison.
ONE37pm: Right now, we’re in a weird space in the sneaker game. Of course with the pandemic, sneaker buying was primarily online, and people have been getting fed up with the online buying process. Now we are slowly starting to transition back to more in-store purchasing. What are your thoughts on that, and what can sneakerheads expect from Bottom Bunk?
Cole: It’s a couple of different things. I have the relationships necessary to get early access to certain shoes, and I’m not trying to take advantage of people. I definitely think the pandemic played a part in why people are frustrated because we were all cooped up in the house, and you could pretty much only buy online. Now it’s beginning to be more accessible through in-store buying when it comes to new sneakers.
ONE37pm: Are there any specific shoes that sell the most?
Cole: We sell a lot of the Panda Dunks, every type of Jordan 1s, and also the UNC 1s which are very popular. A lot of people like those UNC colorways!
ONE37pm: Where do you see yourself and Bottom Bunk in the next few years?
Cole: In the next 12 months we would love to have one to two more locations. Obviously, SoHo would be nice, and maybe even Atlanta and Nashville. In the next few years, we’ll be able to rival StockX!