Ericko James Ferrer (E.J.) was stuck in a tough situation. Playing college ball in the Philippines was a great opportunity, but a strain financially. Looking to ease the load, Ericko started his own sneaker restoration company, Sole Clinics.

What was supposed to be a nice way to make some side money for school turned into a booming business for the designer, who’s enjoying the success of his company just after recent opening last Spring. Speaking with XXL’s The Good Life, E.J. Ferrer touches on his company, customizing shoes for the stars and more.  —Christian Mordi (@mordi_thecomeup)

XXL: What is Sole Clinics?

Sole Clinics: We are a company that caters to your everyday sneaker needs, whether you need a custom design, sneaker entertainment or information.

When did you know you wanted to make fashion a profession?

I was always a business minded person. When I was younger I used to buy to sell sneakers to pay for prom and different events. Even though sneakers was a hobby, I wanted to make a profit out of it as well. While playing college ball in the Philippines, I decided to come back home and pursue the American dream. I actually started the company to save up to go back to college the next semester, but the company took off.

Why do you feel sneaker restoration is in right now.

Well I feel like vintage is in right now. I think it is in because the more vintage Jordans are becoming harder to find right now as well at a wearable state. No knock to many shoe repair places, but you can’t walk through the door at many places and be like, “I have these OG Carmine sixes, the sole is talking to me, can you fix this,” and they can deliver. We key on keeping vintage sneakers alive.

I heard you guys say “We are a website built on daily tips and helpful topics for the sneaker community.” What is a common blunder that you deal with regarding shoes that many people overlook.

Many people overlook the fact that many are coming back out many sneakers are being re-retroed and coming out again. I feel at times if it is a shoe, than it is a shoe. A lot of kids want to have that street cred and have the most valuable, but in all honesty they may only have a few hundred bucks. Sometimes its ok to rock the new stuff and slowly build the collection with time.

Tell us a little about your childhood. How was it where you were from and how did that effect your fashion sense or savvy?

When I was a kid I didn’t really care what I wore except for my sneakers. My sneakers had to be fly. As I got older and went to high school and my view on fashion and culture changed I adapted quickly to have the whole look come together.

Can you remember the best deal you ever got for a shoe you flipped?

I remember it like it was yesterday. It was a pair of [Air Jordan] Bred 11's from 1995. The guy I got them from was an AAU teammate. We were in the locker room and he was about to wear them to practice. I offered him $10 and he countered with $15 and I closed the deal. This was way before restoration was big, but it was a great deal. I cleaned them up, put them on EBay and sold them for $330.

Is there a “right” way to take care of sneakers to maximize how they’ll last?

There are many “right” ways to take care of your sneakers. Everyone has different practices; some wrap them up between wearing them, some place in the box. I would say if you are fearful that wearing the shoe will destroy it, just don’t wear it. Sneakers in my opinion are meant to be worn, so do your thing.