Sneaker-Selling Sophomore

Category: "Inspire" Stories

Date: April 5, 2022

Our partners share an entrepreneurial spirit that has propelled their success in this industry and beyond. But many of them also have stories of self-made success before finding their home in insurance. For one of our newest partners, First American Insurance Underwriters’ Ken Shapiro, his business brain led him to a successful sneaker business while still in high school.

Ken started his first business venture at age 13, working with a friend as a sales representative for a boot company. The friend’s father worked with them and helped build their boot business. Soon, Ken found he liked selling and moved into sneaker sales.

Ken became the youngest Reebok dealer in the country at age 15. He made his money working with local schools to outfit their sports teams. In the days before the internet, having a reliable shoe salesman was one of the easiest ways to outfit teams. Many of the students would also buy their personal shoes through him to avoid a trip to the mall.

His aspiration in his teens was to become Reebok’s top salesperson, but his plans shifted as he got older. One of the biggest problems with being a sneaker rep, he says, was the sheer amount of inventory he would have to carry around with him. Carrying around different sizes, colors and other variables became cumbersome pretty quick. Eventually, he decided to shift his focus and later found his real passion: helping people find insurance.

It’s always fun to see the origins of our partners’ enthusiasm and talents for connecting with people. Check out the “Inspire” Podcast to hear more amazing origin stories like Ken’s and learn the latest in news from Integrity!

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