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C2 Customs: If the Shoe Fits, Paint it

While the business has been successful financially, with the average pair of shoes raking in between $200 and $300, money isn’t the only way Hui measures his success.

“I feel like I have a few designs within the history of custom shoes that are prominent and always recognizable as signature models that I pride myself on,” Hui says.

Others agree Hui is in business for more than the cash.

Nike Purple Rain Air Force One

Nike Purple Rain Air Force One

“I know all the famous people he got to make shoes for was really rewarding,” says Hui’s childhood friend Danny DeWitt.  “But I think the most rewarding thing was just him being accepted and well-known for something he liked to do that other people could also enjoy.”

DeWitt is the proud owner of a one-of-a-kind pair of C2 Customs featuring portraits of Bob Marley, Tupac Shakur, Matisyahu and Jack Johnson.  Hui created the shoes as a going-away present for his friend when the two parted ways as they headed off to college.

So what lies ahead for Hui?  Although the business has brought him great success, he does not plan to make a career out of it.  Hui’s dream includes working in design, marketing or buying for a prominent shoe company like Nike, Adidas, Puma or Reebok.  He would, however, enjoy customizing sneakers on the side.  He sees life after college as a new chapter and approaches the future with a bring-it-on mentality.

As a college student, leisure time for designing tends to be scarce.  Lately, Hui has returned to his roots, taking customer orders whenever he has spare time and placing less emphasis on turning product around for profit.  When school is in session, Hui might only be able to produce a single pair of shoes per semester.  Over breaks he averages about two pair per week, but claims it all comes down to time and motivation.

Nike Urban Corruption II Dunk Low

Nike Urban Corruption II Dunk Low

Years later, designing kicks is still fun for Chris, but it has required finding a happy medium.  By taking the focus off the profit, he feels more inspired to take risks and challenge himself.

After years of being in business, Hui is still tickled by the recognition he receives from sneaker fanatics.

“As I’ve grown in popularity the amount of public support is pretty amazing,” Hui says.  “I get e-mails all the time of people just saying, ‘Dude, I love your work,’ and things like that.”

Yet, Hui is still quick to downplay his own achievements.

“I’ve been extremely lucky,” Hui says.  “I feel like there are other people who are much better than me at what I do, but I’ve just gotten a good wave of luck or set myself up for success better than they have.”

Regardless of how he made it to the top, he deserves credit for maintaining a level head and humility while being constantly bombarded by praise.  For Hui, it has always been more about impact and less about money and fame. Throughout the entire experience, it has been clear Hui’s heart is in his work.  You only need to take a look at the quality and creativity embedded in his shoes to see for yourself that he is driven by a genuine passion for the industry and the product.

Check out C2 Customs at c2customs.com.

For a Q&A with Chris Hui, click here.

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