Supreme is a skate brand that only has 12 stores across the world, but it’s currently worth over $2.1 billion.
Founded 28 years ago by fashion designer James Jebbia, Supreme's first location was a small store in the South Houston (SoHo) neighborhood of Manhattan, New York. Jebbia, who had worked with skateboarders designing apparel, began sponsoring a team of professional skaters who starred in the controversial 1995 film "Kids." The film featured real Supreme workers and put the skate shop on the map. Slowly but surely, the brand began to expand, and over 26 years, it built stores in Los Angeles, Japan, Paris, London, and San Francisco. Occasionally, Supreme has worked with other iconic brands, releasing collaborations with Louis Vuitton, Nike, and Vans. Since the number of brick-and-mortar stores is limited, lines often trail around the block, and young customers wait hours just to shop in person.
Data Scientist and Streetwear Analyst Justin Gage says that Supreme's popularity is due to their constant attention to modern culture and extremely elite nature. No matter the era, they're constantly staying relevant by working with brands that are popular among Millennial and Gen Z fans of the brand, called "Supreme-heads." As a luxury fashion brand, their items are also expensive and limited, meaning that they're in high demand. Over the decades, the company’s slow build has made Supreme more about its cult following than marketing or publicity. Shirts can cost up to $100 and jackets up to $450, and yet they always sell out.
"If you want to attend an in-store release, you have to register online for that in-store release," an anonymous source at the resale website StockX told CNBC. "Those registries close very, very quickly. It's very difficult to register for a drop, generally because so many people are trying to go for it, and they will close the page down as soon as it fills up."