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C2 Customs: If the Shoe Fits, Paint it

Imagine that you are using a urinal in a public location, minding your own business, when suddenly, the man to your right—who is blatantly ignoring all aspects of urinal etiquette—hollers at you about the shoes you’re sporting that day.  Your response?

This situation presented itself to Chris Hui, the 19-year-old entrepreneur and CEO of C2 Customs, on a random afternoon in Chicago.  While some guys might flip, Hui refers to the experience as one of the highlights of his career in the fashion industry.  According to Hui, the short and sweet conversation went something like this:

Fan: Dude, where did you get those shoes?

Chris: Oh, I made them.

Fan: You’re C2?  No way!

With those few words, all awkwardness evaporated as Chris and his elated admirer took a photo together, right there in the restroom.

“It’s random events like this that make it all worth it for me,” Hui says.  “It’s kind of cliché, but it’s pretty sweet when I feel like my work is recognizable enough that you can see it outside of a shoe event or competition and still recognize it as a piece of C2 Customs’ work.”

Commonly known as “C2,” Hui currently balances his time between life as a custom shoe designer and a full-time student at University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.  He claims his experience thus far has been nothing less than the ultimate adventure – and it all sprang from a middle school obsession with flashy kicks.

Hui, who burst onto the international fashion scene and won countless awards for his custom shoe designs, has made a name for himself from the comfort of his own home in Milwaukee.  He has created more than 300 pairs of hand-painted shoes and awed a population of custom sneaker fanatics—all by the age of 19.

He got the ball rolling at age 13 when he bought a pair of used Nikes from Goodwill.  After cleaning them up and painting them like the purple Kool-Aid character, he sold them on eBay for a profit, and the rest is history.

What started as a hobby quickly turned into a small business.  While his parents were often concerned he was in over his head, Hui held his own in the business world, expanding C2 Customs and achieving incredible success along the way.

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