‘He likes his fashion to be extreme’

WSU student sells clothing, sportswear, shoes on eBay; business expanded to storefront

Dante%27s+Deals+opened+a+storefront+display+on+Main+Street+in+Pullman+seven+years+after+Dante+Ludlow+created+his+online+business+while+in+high+school.

COURTESY OF DANTE LUDLOW

Dante’s Deals opened a storefront display on Main Street in Pullman seven years after Dante Ludlow created his online business while in high school.

CHERYL AARNIO, Evergreen reporter

For Dante Ludlow, it all started with a pair of $20 Air Jordans.

Dante’s Deals, his eBay store, sells vintage clothing, sportswear and some collectibles. The business opened a storefront on Main Street in Pullman, which is in Daily Grind’s old location. It is not open to the public.

The storefront is displaying some of the nicer items for sale on Dante’s Deals. Owner Ludlow, senior sports management major, said he sees the window as an advertising opportunity to drive more people to his online store. 

He said there are more expenses associated with opening the storefront to the public, including paying to staff the place. Additionally, he gets more money by selling online than he would if people bought in-person, he said.

Ludlow started the business seven years ago when he was 14. He said he bought Air Jordans at Goodwill, knowing they were worth more than the $20 the store was trying to sell them for. He was unable to sell them to his friends because no one wanted them.

“After doing some more research, I learned that they were worth a little bit of money. They ended up selling for 150 bucks to some guy in New Zealand,” Ludlow said. “So when I was 14, I had $150 in my hand, and I was like, ‘Wow, that was easy. I want to go do that again.’”

He continued going to thrift stores, buying shoes and reselling them through high school, he said. When he got to college, he also started selling more clothes.

Ludlow said he sells mostly items he would wear.

Russell Haase, WSU Athletics maintenance mechanic, works at Dante’s Deals and said Ludlow is flamboyant when it comes to his clothes. His fashion draws out his personality.

Haase had gotten used to seeing Ludlow in his work clothes, a T-shirt and jeans, when he worked in maintenance for the athletics department. One time, Ludlow came in off-duty in a bright orange hat, a green windbreaker and USA-themed shoes. 

“He wants to walk into a room, like a classroom, and he wants people to [be] like, ‘Whoa, look at that outfit,’” Haase said. “He likes his fashion to be extreme.”

Ludlow said whenever he wears his American flag tracksuit, it turns heads.

By the time he arrived at WSU, Ludlow’s merchandise for Dante’s Deals fit into a 10-by-10 foot storage unit. In his dorm, he said he took pictures of the items he was selling by laying a bedsheet on the floor with the item on top of it.

Before he knew it, he had to buy another storage unit. After his first year in college, when he brought his items home with him, he said he realized his business had gotten so large that it was not worth moving all the items again.

Ludlow found a small warehouse and hired some of his friends. He even bought another storage unit when he realized how cold it got in the warehouse while they were working. Even though they did it for about a year, it was inconvenient to work with a storage unit and warehouse across town from each other, he said. When Daily Grind closed down, Ludlow leased the space.

His business has only grown larger, he said.

I remember when I first came to college, I was so afraid of being able to make rent on that one little storage unit [that I had] just because I had never had to pay for storage before,” Ludlow said.

Now that he has a storefront, he said he does not feel like there are any limits to his business.

The article has been updated to fix Ludlow’s first quote and the fact that he leased Daily Grind.