Max Hayden, a 16-year-old in New Jersey, has his business take off after the pandemic. How did it all start? We interviewed Hayden’s challenging experiences and daily life from his creation of MH Book Store and Hayden’s perspective ambitions and health.
During the pandemic, many items people want have been out of stock. Individuals who do have the highly sought-after items have been able to resell them at outrageous prices.
For Max Hayden, it has become the perfect time for price gouging.
In an interview with 8forty, Hayden said, “Some people just have an urge to buy the hot-selling products they need it, they need it”
During the pandemic, many popular products have fallen into shortages. Video game consoles like the PlayStation 5 or the Xbox Series X have been hard to come by, along with graphics cards for computers due to the semiconductor shortage. Other items such as pools or patio heaters have been in short supply, and Max has been selling these items at huge markups.
Through the sale of these items Hayden has been able to generate $1.7 million in revenue for his company in the past year and a half alone. His e-commerce business has been growing substantially and rapidly. At only age 16 it has been a busy journey to get to where he is.
Max began his business career when he was in grade 6.
“I started my Amazon store by selling books,” Max says, which later became incorporated as MH Book Store. Amazon itself started as an online book store and retailer. Max had various entrepreneurial visions. He tried “cookie-cutter business plans,” such as fixing and flipping used iPhones and drop shipping on Shopify. These ideas were the start of Hayden’s extensive business. But of course, success isn’t immediate, and Hayden didn’t strike rich in his initial years.
Eventually, Hayden found himself in the sneaker reselling community, where he would spend his days waking up early to “scoop up as many pairs as possible with my hands and keyboard, sell and then rinse and repeat.”
He joined a paid Discord server which kept him informed of the resources needed to buy the sneakers. Hayden looked around and found other groups, which prompted him to switch most of his focus to the new method of “retail arbitrage,” known to most simply as “reselling”.This painted the path to where he is right now.
After his reselling success, Hayden’s life drastically changed. He was featured on the Wall Street Journal, Business Insider, and Yahoo Finance. Those around him started to learn of his business’s success, despite Hayden rarely mentioning his business in school since, in his words, “it’s not a topic of interest among most high schoolers.”
Hayden only talks about his business to his two classmates who are employed under him, working for his impressively successful business. He told his two teachers about his job earlier this year and they were impressed. “Many people have changed their perceptions of me.” Hayden appreciates that his closest friends still look at him the same way. His whole family has congratulated him and is very happy about his business as an young entrepreneur.
Even as a teenager, Hayden savors his hard-earned money. So far, his largest purchase was a used Volvo from his mom, who needed to upgrade to a newer car. He initially wanted a “Tesla Model 3” but decided “ I don’t really need to spend that much money on a first car.”
Hayden has been excited to be able to purchase gifts and cover expenses for his spending. “I don’t care for unnecessary or impulse spending, i’m fine with keeping my spending to a minimum.”
Hayden would like to attend college to study business. He said he believes he will major in Management Information Systems and obtain an MBA graduate degree. Hayden see’s his e-commerce business growing and probably will grow into multiple more businesses.
In the Spring of 2020, his sales took off as everything was closed, and online purchasing was one of the only methods of buying items. Hayden found himself spending over 40 hours a week operating his business. He has a whiteboard to map out things and balance his priorities.
“There was too much going on in my head to care about going by the list, especially when school got out.”
Many people questioned Hayden’s success if he would ever “bother” going to college. Hayden wants to go to college, but due to his business it has been hard to keep his focus. He has many AP courses to study for. Hayden made the difficult decision to shut down his business in the winter to focus back on school, and he was able to “pay my undivided attention to my schoolwork and realize my academic potential.” He is currently creating his applications to over 20 schools. He has visions of going to Harvard as another fellow reseller was selected having similar business success.
Noob (online name), a fellow reseller in Delta BC, has also seen the effects on his freshman year of University. He has also generated a fortune near Hayden’s numbers. Noob has seen himself not caring for school as much as he sometimes doesn’t attend class to work on his business and feels like he can have reselling instead of his Computer Science major. He is looking to also start another business.
Price gougers and scalpers often have a bad reputation. When you buy a gaming console on a third-party marketplace, whether it be eBay, Amazon, or Facebook Marketplace, you’re paying for the convenience of delegating all of that time, effort, and sometimes resources, required to obtain a console. Noob feels bad when a customer can barely afford a pool, but there is a huge market of people that want to buy products at a higher price. The Province of Ontario and British Columbia has made it illegal to sell essential items for markups and if reported will be punished. As most resellers like Noob and Hayden say that big-billion dollar corporations manipulate and pay minimum wage for most workers while. At the same time, they take away most of the profits for themselves, “that is one of the bigger problems.”
“Like the proverb says, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade, and I took the opportunity to sell my lemonade. “
Cover Image: Enick Cho Via Max Hayden