As with many collectors, I too, have had to face many hurdles to face trying to attain certain club or national shirts. With those hurdles also comes the power of the kit community and technology.
As the world becomes smaller and smaller by the day, communication with friends on the other side of the globe has now become very easy and frequent with the power of social media. Twitter, Facebook and Instagram have
become the new-age way of communicating and an annex to that is that online friendships and communities develop. As your smaller sub-group of friends within the community grows in trust, the ability to assist each other with finds and purchases with little to no recourse is a helpful tool, especially if that group has a vast location base.
For those who are common with sneaker culture, you will be very aware of the term Proxy. By way of definition, a proxy is a person or function in power to act for another. This is would be personified in the sneaker and kit communities by way of utilising someone’s location to attain a shirt or shoe not available for the other.
Of course, there are purchasing services out there that can also do this for you. Specialist purchasing services such as Alan from J-Soccer (aka @JleagueShirts on Twitter) who is well known for purchasing J-League shirts and sending them Worldwide. The Caveat is here that it is a service he provides for all and sundry, so be prepared to be charged for the service of running around pre-ordering, receiving and shipping your shirt. Current season J-League shirts are extremely hard to
attain outside of Japan so Alan is very much in demand when the J-League shirts are released each year.
Outside the paid services, there is the community, usually friends and acquaintances and even good Samaritans who can assist you on a one-off or repetitive basis. Within the last 12 months, I’ve used a proxy service 5 times, all to great success. This is usually due to my location being very poor retail shirt options or that the retailer has limited options in where they are willing to ship to (read more about my plight buying shirts here). However, my most recent proxy purchase was more a financial
saving exercise more so than a lack of availability one. You see, when using overseas retail stores, the shipping options can be quite limited and quite costly.
My initial experience of purchasing the Club America 3 rd Authentic shirt in the US saw the retailer wanting to slap a $140USD shipping charge on top of the shirt. This was nearly the same value of the shirt itself, the total price putting it way out of my range. After posting my disgust, a friend from the US kindly offered his delivery address and by way of this reduced the shipping to domestic and saving $130USD. Add postage to Australia and I can say I will be at least $150AUD better for the lengthier exercise.
Therefore, with that in mind, and noting that not all shops will ship everywhere, the kit community can be your greatest tool in expanding your collection with some more obscure and hard to get shirts that you see spread on the latest post from Footy Headlines.
Here are some key things you need to think of before and when using proxies:
- Exhaust your retail options first, if the shirt is available through your normal channels but just out of stock, chances are it potentially will be restocked.
- Expand your search, it may be that the shirt is available outside your network and you may be saving your proxy search time as well.
- When the shirt/goods are located collate all these items in a cart on the site. This will confirm the total purchase price with any discount codes and shipping. Screenshot this to assist your proxy.
- If possible it may be beneficial to create your own account and just use your proxy’s address, however, the risk of this if the store is geo-locked against a local version of the same store (such as Nike, Adidas)
- When the total of the purchase is confirmed, send the purchase funds to the proxy as soon as possible to allow the purchase to occur. In some cases, payment of funds may be required
upfront but all the in’s and the out’s will need to be discussed between the two parties.
- The proxy on receipt of the goods should then proceed to arrange shipment to you and provide the postage costs. Again, pay those as soon as possible.
- On receipt of your goods, confirm they have arrived and thank your proxy. Public shout outs maybe appreciated.
So there you go… A few basic steps to help, which in the whole scheme of things are, pretty much common sense when dealing with members who are providing you an assisted purchase. If you are anything like me, always looking for the next thing on the horizon, having friends in wide places always comes in handy.