Fouad Hamaidouch – Restocks founder
The payment structure is the backbone of your business, so you have to feel confident with the payment service provider you partner with. I have that feeling with Mollie.
Restocks and Mollie: a success story
On a sunny south Rotterdam afternoon in early September 1995, 11-year-old Fouad arrives home from school, shrugs off his backpack, and goes to wash up before dinner. The house is completely still. Poking his head into the living room, he sees his father, who is holding a big box and wearing a broad smile. Fouad’s dad sits him down and explains that he has taken out a loan to buy his boy the computer he has coveted for many months.
This is the epicentre of Fouad Hamaidouch’s journey in business, the eureka moment that ignited his entrepreneurial spirit. It’s also the root cause of his company Restocks, a leading marketplace for trading sneakers that is currently spreading across Europe. And it’s the origin story of a growth mindset that has seen Hamaidouch work with Mollie for nearly two decades.
“From a young age, I was thinking about business,” Hamaidouch tells us as we sit down with him on a rainy spring afternoon. “Even as a boy, I was always thinking about the next thing I could launch. That computer allowed me to make those dreams real.”
In the early 2000s, while studying business at university, Hamaidouch was already hard at work building online businesses, using the lessons he had learned from repeatedly breaking his first computer (and then fixing it) to succeed.
“I started creating businesses in all kinds of online spaces – websites, webshops, social media,” Hamaidouch says, “I even sold T-shirts online. It was a boom period for internet entrepreneurs, and Mollie was one of the inspirational businesses that started at that time. I was already using it then.”
How Restocks was built
Fast forward 15 years. Hamaidouch has just sold his web-hosting company Hosty after building the business for more than a decade. He is now on sabbatical and exploring ‘what next?’ Working out where his life-long enthusiasm for the new will send him in business. He sees something happening in the US.
“I was exploring the internet, thinking about new adventures,” Fouad sits back in his chair, momentarily retracing the breadcrumb trail that led him to create Restocks. “I saw a trend for sneaker resell sites in America, but didn’t see any big players in Europe. So I decided to create my own.”
Here Hamaidouch’s journey hit a snag. First, there was a choice: build the business on an ecommerce platform or develop his own marketplace platform. The first was cheaper and more straightforward; the second was costly and would take much more time, but offered longer-term opportunities to scale at speed. Ever confident of his ability to grow businesses, Hamaidouch took the second option.
“We got everything built and worked up some hype through marketing and PR,” Hamaidouch explains. “Sellers came, but they wouldn’t ship the product or set too-high prices. Orders stalled, and we spent six months hardly selling anything. One day we had no sales, and my whole life nearly crashed down.”
Building buzz through word-of-mouth marketing
With a can-do attitude constructed in computer crashes and the experience of running dozens of companies, Hamaidouch did what he always did: improvised. His team started to buy sneakers on popular Dutch marketplace Marktplaats, turning up to greet the sellers in their Restocks-branded hoodies and caps and building the business through word-of-mouth marketing.
“We started to get talked about in the sneaker-selling community,” Hamaidouch explains. “Orders increased; more and more sellers started to use our platform. We started to gain the trust of the sneaker collectors and traders – that was huge.”
The momentum sparked by their guerrilla marketing accelerated. Restocks grew, expanding out of the Netherlands and into Germany, France, Belgium, Italy, Spain, the UK, and Scandinavia. They now ship worldwide and have a 130-strong team of ecommerce experts, tech wizards, and authenticators who ensure everything they sell is genuine. “In 2020, we did around €25 million in sales,” Hamaidouch says. “Last year, we did €100 million. It went crazy.”
Mollie: a payments partner to help you scale
Of course, payments are an instrumental part of any business, whether just starting out or expanding internationally. And for Hamaidouch, Mollie was the perfect partner as Restocks scaled at speed.
“The payment structure is the backbone of your business, so you have to feel confident with the payment service provider (PSP) that you partner with,” he explains. “I really have that feeling with Mollie.
“From the moment we started with Mollie, they were there for us. I spoke to other providers, but they were all focused on larger businesses. With Mollie, It was different. We have a very personal connection, are always in direct contact, and they’ve been with us for every step of our journey.”
Effortless payments with Mollie
For Hamaidouch, the effortless aspect of Mollie’s product makes driving growth simple. “The hosted checkout and other payments features are great for increasing conversions. The UI is seamless and delivers everything our customers need in each market – the local language, currency, and payment methods.
“Our developers love it as the API is easy to integrate, and it’s very reliable. We also love the dashboard, which makes it easy to track and manage our payments and business results.
“I always feel so supported by Mollie. It’s a big company, but you still get that personal connection and can grow together. Our Mollie customer success manager is also proactive in reaching out and offering us guidance and insights about how to improve what we do.”
Getting set for the future (and giving something back)
Restocks is now looking for investment to further accelerate their growth. They’re also starting to reinvest some of their success back into the community: launching the Restocks Care Foundation to donate surplus sneakers to disadvantaged children.
“I always remember my family could never afford to buy me the shoes other children had when I was young,” Hamaidouch says. “Now, hopefully, we can provide some to kids that experience the same thing.”
Hamaidouch’s dad lives in Morocco now, so it’s been a while since he’s seen first-hand what his son has achieved. What would he think about it? “He always saw something in me, but I think it will blow his mind,” Hamaidouch says. “I have taken every bad experience and made it into a lesson – from the moment I started breaking Windows 95 on that computer all those years ago.”
Grow your way with Mollie
At Mollie, we want to help all businesses to grow. We do that by providing an effortless payment product that boosts conversion with a seamless, custom-branded checkout and all leading, local, and growing payment methods. Easily integrate Mollie with your website and onboard quickly with no minimum costs, no lock-in contracts, and no hidden fees. Find out more about payments with Mollie, or read more customer success stories.
— Pieter de Ridder and Esther van Bezooijen — LaDress.