EXCLUSIVE: How Man Went From Earning $400 a Month to Making MILLIONS By Cleaning Dirty Sneakers

As the son of strict Asian parents, Eugene Cheng did the unthinkable when he ditched his law career to clean other people’s dirty sneakers full-time.

But six years on, he has no regrets as he’s laughing all the way to the bank.

At the helm of The Sneaker Laundry, the innovative 31-year-old entrepreneur spearheads a globe-trotting sustainable shoe-cleaning business with an impressive annual turnover of $1 million.

Eugene Cheng launched The Sneaker Laundry in 2017. Credit: supplied.
Eugene Cheng launched The Sneaker Laundry in 2017. Credit: supplied.

“I got two degrees, a Law and a Commerce degree with a major in Marketing and when I finished [studying], I started The Sneaker Laundry,” Cheng told BACKCOVERNEWS.COM.

“I said, ‘At the end of the day, worst case scenario, if everything goes to s***, I’ll just go apply for a job and my resume will look a lot better than a lot of the law guys anyway so if you think of it that way there’s no risk at all.”

From scraping by on $400 a month during his time in the Singapore army, Cheng is now a multimillion-dollar business owner. His secret sauce? A dash of manifestation, a sprinkle of risk-taking, and a whole lot of elbow grease on sneakers.

Initially skeptical of the concept of manifestation, Cheng’s views shifted as his business began to take off when he first launched six years ago.

The Sneaker Laundry is set to expand to Thailand. Credit: Supplied.

“When I first heard of manifestation, I was like ‘what a crock of s***’. The idea of ‘let’s all sit around in a circle and manifest’ – yeah right,” he laughed.

“I’ve learned manifestation is actually just something that sits in the back of your mind. It’s this nagging belief that you will get there. It’s subconscious and everything you do drives you towards achieving your goal.

“You’ve already got this picture in your head of where you want the business to be and the type of person you want to be and it steers every decision whether you like it or not. So I do 100 % believe in manifestation but probably not the younger people version of sitting around and holding hands and saying lets manifest this outcome.”

The Sneaker Laundry, launched with a capital investment of around $120,000, has become Cheng’s vehicle for both financial success and environmental responsibility.

The business not only saves customers money but also prevents shoes from ending up in landfills. Australians alone discard a staggering 23kg of clothing and shoes annually, and The Sneaker Laundry has come to the rescue, cleaning over 40,000 shoes alone nationwide.

“People go, ‘I’ll just wear my shoes and throw it away,'” Cheng observed. “You have a big demographic of people that buy shoes from anywhere from $500-$1500, anything that has a brand on it like Gucci, Balenciaga, Louis Vuitton… they’re all $500 and up. You wear them out, and all it takes is one night out or a day at the races, spilled drinks, whatever, and they will look like trash. We will always be the most cost-efficient way to keep your sneakers looking premium.”

With stores across Melbourne, Sydney and other locations as far-flung as Lebanon, Riyadh, Doha, and Peru, Cheng is not stopping anytime soon. “We’re gunning for Bangkok in the next few months,” he said.

Despite his triumphs, Cheng, like many entrepreneurs, grapples with imposter syndrome. However, his secret weapon is a daily 10-minute meditation.

“To overcome it is to understand that life is not a race; it’s one big giant journey, and you really just have to enjoy it.”

Mibenge Nsenduluka

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