Down Under: A Conversation With Underground Society
Let’s start with who you guys are - name, age, occupation and what do you study?
LT: Hey, I’m Louis Tran. I’m 19 years old – born and raised in Melbourne. I studied at University High School for my secondary education, and am currently at Monash University studying Commerce. I work in internal finance at InfoCentric, we are a data consulting firm on Collins Street.
RO: I’m Revan Oluklu, also 19 years old and Melbourne born and raised. Currently I am studying a double degree of Laws and Arts at Monash University with the goal of becoming a barrister practicing principally in commercial litigation. I’ve been working in HR and legal for InfoCentric for about a year and a half.
RA: Yo what’s up guys. My name is Riyadh Alfata I was born in Jakarta, Indonesia and my family moved to Australia when I was 4 years old. I moved to Melbourne in late 2014 after graduating high school to study Economics and Finance at RMIT University. In present I manage landscaping sites to fund my morbid addiction for fine garments.
Riyadh, how did the Facebook group form? And what were the early conversations like?
RA: Pre Underground Society era, resellers and the act of reselling were always frowned upon in the sneaker/streetwear scene in Australia. It was strenuous for me to sell my stock on all the existing platforms and being a reseller myself I noticed an influx of “resellers” in the market. So I thought why not make a platform for resellers to buy, sell and trade while forming something greater and more tangible community.
The early conversations predominantly involved me approaching Louis multiple times, after meeting him during the Yeezy Moonrock line up, with new ideas on what we can do to innovate on the current scene.
Louis, when was the first time you realised you were onto something good and found a niche in the market?
LT: Honestly, I didn’t really see it coming. We were hitting milestones very quickly and there wasn’t much time to reflect on what we had built. We were only at 14,000 members in September of 2016, and a few months later we were already at 40,000 – numbers that I simply can’t fathom.
It was game-over when we were the biggest marketplace in Australia after only six months. But if I had to guess when I knew we were onto something – I’d say it’d be when we hit 10,000 members in the timeframe that we did, I was like ‘wow, this is going to be huge.’ I’ve grown to not question how fast we grow though; right now, if we accept all pending members in one night, we would have another 1,500+ waiting to join the next day. Facts.
Revan, what’s the day to day or week to week management of the group like considering you all have commitments such as work and university?
RO: The daily management of the group is somewhat pervasive. Really, every time we check our phones, we have to attend to tens of notifications and have a quick scroll of the feed to ensure everything is running smoothly. Some nights, if there is drama - something the group is known for – we will have to be glued to our screens as we are ultimately held responsible for what goes on in the group. It would be untruthful of me to say it didn’t meddle with work and uni, but we try our best to prioritise.
Where do you all see the group in five years time? I assume pretty big ambitions with the momentum moving forward.
LT: In five years, I can’t even guess at how many members we might be on. Hopefully, we remain a viable marketplace, while still maintaining the meme-factor and humour of the page. What we’re focusing on is building and retaining community engagement as the group grows exponentially. I also want the group, as well as myself, to leave a positive mark on the ‘scene’.
Lastly, I hope the group continues to be a place where fond memories are made, and for it to keep connecting me with new people and likeminded individuals.
RO: Five years is a madness. If we are at 100,000+ members and still kicking you can bet we bust our ass putting together more dope events and fostering the culture. That’s what motivates me the most personally. The fact that so many people got around us and we have developed a tangible ‘youth culture’ within not just the group but Australia itself. Mad.
It’s truly a humbling experience meeting likeminded people who appreciate the job we do at providing the best platform in the country to do your business.
RA: In five years time, I know that we would probably be the biggest trading social media page globally. With hosting trading events on different continents, building influences on the brands that define what this community is. Its truly astonishing what has happened just over one year.
To conclude I’d hope that the people in ‘Underground’ do not change the way they are. The current ‘youth’ would probably no longer be the youth anymore but I’d hope that the current generation will educate the future members.
Follow Underground Society on Instagram.