We constantly hear about how celebs and large companies use social media tools to attract attention- whether it’s Oprah broadcasting live via Skype, Taylor Swift selling ## albums off her MySpace page, or Starbucks promoting a contest on Flickr, big names are taking over the social media circuit. Well, move over Harpo, put down the mic Tay, and cool it caffeinated Mermaid, there’s a new kid in town…
Let me introduce you to Peter Mullin, the mastermind behind the creativity, the art, and of course, the cool factor of OPC Kicks. Since sixth grade, Mullins has been using sneakers as his canvas- transforming them, with paint and Sharpie markers, into virtually new shoes! Soon after rockin’ his custom kicks around school, his friends wanted in on the action!
“Ever since I did my first pair, I started getting used shoes from my friends and customizing their shoes.”
Realizing his potential and that of his product, Mullins began selling OPC Kicks on Ebay. Wanting to spread the brand further, he created an OPC Kicks page on Facebook where he could promote and show off his shoes. After receiving so much positive feedback, this sneaker savant is now designing and selling both new and used custom designed shoes to people all over the internet!
What DREW (pun-intended) you to painting shoes? I always have had a love for shoes; my favorite thing to do was to find the craziest shoes on the market. Then I wanted cooler and more colorful shoes that were exclusive - that no one else could have.
Be honest…how many pairs of shoes do you own? And Does the shoe have to match the outfit? Haha! This is probably one of my favorite questions to be asked…My mom and Dad think I’m crazy, but I have 31 pairs of shoes. I have my favorites, including my customs, some very rare Nike Dunks and, of course Jordans. There is nothing better then waking up and looking at which pair to pick, and especially putting a new pair on! But NO… my shoes don’t always match the outfit. Sometimes though, because the girls like it…and I like to match too. But sometimes I just like wearing whatever shorts I have clean so that people can see the full image of the shoes I am wearing. I also like when they POP out more than my clothes.
Why did you choose Facebook.com to be a main outlet to spread the word about your business? When more and more people started asking to see my work and not having a way to show them, I made a profile for OPC KICKS. It was easy to create and easy for friends to get to. Once I created the page I was getting crazy friend requests and getting awesome messages from people supporting the shoes and my business. That got me more and more pumped up to work harder and keep on putting up more pictures. It just seemed like people were using Facebook a lot more then other sites.
Well, now that our friendship is OFFICIAL seeing as we are FaceBook friends and all… I read on your profile that you only paint Air Force Ones. Why is that? Where do you get them? I have [worked on] other types of shoes before and they never ended up looking as good as the Air Force Ones. I like the Nike Air Force Ones because they are so simple and everyone (especially me) loves Nike. It seems like they were made to be customized because they have good sized proportions to be painted. To me, Nike Air Force Ones seem to be the most clean and original shoes to ever hit the shoe market. I have an awesome shoe connect too, who I met on Ebay. I bought my first case of 16 shoes from him, one of the biggest purchases at that time, and was nervous of a scam but then two days later; sure enough a huge box was waiting on my front porch when I got home from school. Ever since that first case, I would just call and tell him when I needed more and he would ship them out. Now he ships me 3-4 cases of shoes at a time, at an amazing price!
Do you know every word to Air Force Ones by Nelly? Haha No. I do not. I like the song a lot but I’m more of a Kanye West and Lil’ Wayne fan.
What kind of Sharpie markers do you use on OPC Kicks? Favorite Sharpie? I use the original fine point Sharpie. My favorite Sharpie color is RED, but I defiantly use BLACK the most. Each pair I do has Sharpie on it somewhere, whether it is outlining, detailed designs, or putting someone’s name or a number on the shoe.
Why Sharpies? Why do you like them? Sharpie markers are the bomb, they never come of the shoes, and I can add more detail that can’t really be done with a paint brush!
What goes into designing a shoe? How long does it take? Usually I like to free hand my shoes, especially the ones sold on Ebay. But I also get a lot of orders from people wanting specific designs or colors. On an order like that, I draw it up to show what the shoe will look like and make sure it is exactly what the person wants. After that I have to rub down the shoes with a special chemical to take of the factory gloss finish from the leather. After mixing paint with the right chemicals, [making his own paint cuts costs by 10-15 dollars] I GO TO WORK!
Time really depends on how complex the paint job is. I can finish some, complete and ready to wear, in 3 hours. Others, I could spend up to 10 hours on. I try to work on 3 to 4 shoes at a time which saves time while paint is drying.
How do you cover up/correct a mistake? If you ever do you ever mess up, that is! Not perfect yet…but if I mess up I can rub it right off before the paint dries. I try to keep the steadiest hand I possible. Messing up with Sharpie isn’t too noticeable but if it is either I try to make it into a whole new free hand design or start all over on a new pair! And that big of a mess has only ever happened twice!
Do you have any funny stories using Sharpie markers that you could share? The really funny ones are just drawing on somebody with Sharpie when they fall asleep! One time, my friend fell asleep really early at a family graduation party and the parents were not too happy about that. He had his shirt off already so, four friends and I got as many Sharpies together as we could find and went crazy on him! Drawing full-body Sharpie art all over him – including drawing a TUXEDO and whatever else we could think of, all over him.
*Note* Sharpie does not support or promote the drawing/writing on your own or others’ skin with Sharpie permanent ink.
Who are your main buyers? A lot are from school, as well as people who have heard about me and have personal orders. I’ve been getting a lot of calls from moms wanting custom shoes to give to their sons or daughters as birthday or graduation presents. The bulk of my shoes, I would say, are definately sold through Ebay.
If you could design a shoe for any one person (athlete, celebrity, musician, politician, singer, etc.) who would it be? That’s a pretty hard question…but if I were to choose one it would probably be Kanye West. He is always wearing some of the craziest shoes, plus I really like his older music.
Does every shoe have a different design or do you make several of each? A lot of my shoes are one-of-a-kind, especially personal orders. If they’re just a certain color scheme that sold high, I’ll make more. BUT if the listing says “One-of-a-Kind,” there will never be another pair made like it.
Aside from painting some really cool sneakers, what else do you enjoying doing on your down time? I really enjoy hanging out with my friends. I spend a good amount of time with my friends, but when I’m not with them, I love playing lacrosse, the original Halo 2 every once in a while, playing roller hockey, and just chilling and enjoying the free time.
Look into your crystal-Air Force One OPC Kicks- ball, now, what do you see for the future OPC Kicks? I love the creative questions! I would really like to start designing more and more shoes. After a couple vacations this summer, I am going do be working on shoes like none other. Once I start planning more time to work, I think OPC Kicks is going to start blowing up a lot more! If things go really well during the school year, I would love to open up my own boutique, or maybe start a website throughout college then open the store… I’d love to just do shoes all day but I like keeping my good grades and am getting very excited to go to college
Where can we find OPC Kicks? You can find me on Ebay! I have 3 accounts right now and in about a week, I’m going to have a ton of new customs shoes up!
Most Used: opckicks
Second Used: opc_kicks
Third Used: opc_kicks09
Anything else you’d like to add? Staying in contact with you [Sharpie] has made me want to work harder and harder! So I would just like to thank you for keeping in touch! [what a nice guy! Sharpie loves OPC Kicks!]
***Be sure to satisfy your OPC Kicks craving by checking out Peter’s custom designed sneakers on Ebay and ‘Friend’ OPC Kicks on Facebook!