But he wasn’t in search of a selfie or an autograph. Instead, the then 13-year-old was there to provide out his enterprise playing cards.
Now 16, the London-based entrepreneur is a self-confessed sneaker obsessive and determined from an early age that he needed to mix his two passions: trainers and soccer.
And he is made fairly a enterprise of his ardour.
In the final three years, he has change into one in all the most foremost suppliers of rare sneakers and clothes to soccer stars all throughout Europe, sourcing unique objects after which promoting them on for revenue.
While most children’ largest concern is maybe which online game they wish to purchase, Gissing was busy beginning his enterprise.
“I noticed I may try this by reselling trainers. So what I began doing was queuing up outdoors sneaker shops in London and shopping for footwear and flipping them for £20, £50 kilos on high.
“I’d queue up for hours outdoors, ready for Yeezys, Jordans, no matter the new excessive launch could be, and I flip it on eBay and Depop, one in all these small interfaces the place reseller meets reseller.”
‘Nice sneakers, child’
Those hours Gissing spent ready in line for brand spanking new releases and making new contacts paid off because of an opportunity encounter with US tennis star Jack Sock at Queen’s Club, which phases a Wimbledon warm-up occasion in west London.
After asking Sock for a photograph, the former world No. 8 observed that Gissing was sporting a pair of rare footwear. “Nice sneakers, child,” he instructed the teenager.
“I simply mentioned: ‘I can get you a pair,'” he remembers. “I knew I may get him the pairs that I used to be sporting.”
“He positioned the order for I believe it was three or 4 pairs of actually rare off-white Nike trainers,” he says. “I went to his home the place he was staying earlier than Wimbledon — he really gained the Wimbledon doubles that 12 months — and I delivered him the footwear.”
Now, Gissing’s enterprise was up and operating.
“He was very blissful and that is once I began the ‘Plug Leon’ Instagram as a result of he needed to shout me out on Instagram,” says the 16-year-old.
‘Some form of joke’
Despite handing out quite a few enterprise playing cards to totally different gamers, the soccer trade initially proved a harder nut to crack.
In the finish, “the spark that lit the hearth,” as Gissing describes it, was a submit on Snapchat from one other of his purchasers which caught the eye of Arsenal participant Reiss Nelson, who was on mortgage at Bundesliga membership Hoffenheim at the time.
“He added me on Snapchat and I assumed it was some form of joke,” Gissing laughs. “I used to be like: ‘Okay, it is a faux account that is added me. What the hell?’ Reiss Nelson, an excellent good, younger participant, there is no method.
“I ship him a message regardless — you have to attempt — and I mentioned: ‘Look, should you’re ever in London and also you want a few pairs of trainers or some some new garments, hit me up and I can kind you out. At this level, I’m form of pondering: ‘Okay, perhaps it’s Reiss Nelson.'”
Around two months later, Nelson was again in London and needed two pairs of rare trainers delivered on his return.
Gissing sourced the sneakers and was ready with them at Nelson’s home on his arrival from the airport.
“He was very blissful and that was basically what I wanted to kick begin the enterprise and to essentially get issues going, in the soccer world at the very least, as a result of from Reiss, I bought Joe [Willock], Bukayo [Saka] and Emile [Smith Rowe],” Gissing explains.
“All of those younger children at a time who’re taking part in academy, fringe first workforce, probably getting on in cup video games or getting despatched on mortgage, to now being the superstars that they’re right this moment.
“So via phrase of mouth from Reiss, basically, I began to develop a shopper base in the soccer world after which one factor led to a different and issues actually snowballed from there.”
The entrepreneur now counts the likes of Chelsea’s Reece James, Manchester United’s Mason Greenwood — who Gissing says may be the largest “sneakerhead” of the lot — and Arsenal striker Gabriel Martinelli amongst his purchasers in the UK, in addition to stars like Barcelona ahead Ansu Fati, Juventus midfielder Weston McKennie and Paris Saint-Germain defender Thilo Kehrer throughout Europe.
While rising his enterprise, Gissing additionally needed to stability his college research.
Completing an schooling was at all times one thing he has been decided to do properly, and earlier this month, he came upon he’d handed his GCSEs with flying colours.
“I’m guaranteeing that I spend enough time on college and likewise give attention to my enterprise and preserve it rising,” he says.
“It’s clearly barely troublesome, however having the workers helps and, you recognize, I’ve realized to have the ability to multitask and handle the two issues and preserve the two issues going and placing most effort into each.”