Look Out World, Here Comes the 20-Year-Old Millionaire Hustler

Alex Shlaferman has made millions and been hauled away for how he's spending his cash. He still can't drink.
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Alex Shlaferman has made millions and been hauled away for how he's spending his cash. He still can't drink.
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“I only do huge projects,” explains Alex Shlaferman. “If it doesn’t impress me, I don’t want to do it.”

The Brooklyn-born 20-year-old is the CEO of Vante Toys, a consumer-goods company that sells fanciful bottle openers and boomerang toy airplanes—you know, cheap shit—predominantly manufactured in China. But the what and the why don’t seem to interest Shlaferman. He’s all about the who.

“I’ve always had business in my blood,” he explains. “I can literally sell anything.”

He can support that claim. He earned $10,000 as an 11-year-old, selling a fake levitation video to magic enthusiasts for $100 a pop. "I was just trying to make an extra buck,” he says, which —if he’s being honest—is kind of strange. Most 11-year-old humans don’t think like that. Most 11-year-old humans also don’t receive death threats from clients (even lovers of magic don’t enjoy being conned) much less ignore them. But that’s fine because Shlaferman is not normal. That’s his whole point.

At 15, Shlaferman made his next big business move, pitching kitchen products at state fairs. He claims he sold the stuff faster than it could be packaged and that he made roughly $8,000 a day, ultimately saving some $30,000 to launch his own company, Vante, which he did at 16.

“I come from a family of people who would be considered average,” Shlaferman explains. “My dad used to fix washing machines and my mother worked in a medical office. I realized my parents would never have the opportunity to do what I’m on the verge of doing. I felt like if I went to school, it would detract from that.”

But here is where it gets interesting. Precocious as he may be, Shlaferman is prone to all the usual urges his age entails. He wants to be accepted and admired. He wants people to notice him. He wants to be both part of something and sufficient unto himself. Rather than experiencing these emotions while drinking out of a Solo Cup in the corner of a frat, Shlaferman is—predictably, really—growing up on a grand scale. When he isn’t slaving away on his next big moneymaker, he’s spending his cash throwing extravagant parties free of charge. To attendees he’s better known as Alex Xander, and his most recent rager under the Manhattan Bridge landed him in jail.

“Manhattan Bridge was cool, but that’s old news,” says Shlaferman. “I almost outdid myself, but I’ve got amazing things planned.”

When he isn't promising future parties or planning his reality show, Shlaferman is helping pay back his 28-year-old sister’s college loans and figuring out how to build a new home for his mother, who he still lives with. It’s admirable stuff and very impressive for someone his age. Just ask him about it.

“I have a lot of friends and family,” he says. “I know that if they had the opportunity to do what I am doing, I know they’d be just as generous as I am.”

Consider this a warning: We haven’t heard the last of Alex Shlaferman.