My shoe career started on the retail sales floor at Nine West. Why shoes? At that time, selling shoes paid commissions. I was driven by a financial need to pay rent while in college, so my choice of work consisted of hustling the sales floor like no tomorrow.
A few weeks ago, I headed to Nordstrom to do some market research. While shopping, I followed a few ladies to see what they picked up, listened in on their conversations, and even dared to sell some shoes (yeah Nordstrom you owe me a commission now!).
I noticed that when the ladies asked for their size, the salesperson returned with just one box. I looked around and saw several customers with A shoe box in front of them. I wondered, “What happened to the 3 pair presentation as Nine West called it or the 4 pair rule at Nordstrom?” (I think that is what they called it, and yeah, I worked there too) The one they asked for, an additional size (if the sizing was off), an alternate shoe in case they didn’t like the one they chose, and a surprise shoe that could lead to another sale. During my shoe selling days we were bringing 3 to 5 pairs of shoes per customer so we could create multiple sales. I remember the sales girls at Nine West got very competitive and wouldn’t dare to bring out one shoe. Your manager sure as hell wouldn’t let you leave the stockroom with just one box, and if you did, you were sure to hear about it.
After my Nordstrom one shoe box selling sighting, I became attentive to this onesie sale, and noticed other stores such as Nine West, Macy’s, Bloomie’s and Barney’s do the same. A few salespeople had multiple shoes, but it was rare. Maybe I got them on their off days??
I asked myself, “What happened to the art of selling shoes?” Do sales associates not care about their business, and are out to just make a quick buck? Wouldn’t these sales associates want to make more? Even more so, when you’re hustling, and in the zone of selling, the days seem to go by a lot faster! Are retailers not encouraging this technique anymore? Are customers today so different they don’t want you to bring out several shoes? Ok, enough of my rant!
I actually get perturbed when I shop and customer service is non-existent. I would rather go online shopping than deal with a sales associate who can’t sell me a shoe, or have knowledge about brands, fit, sizing, etc. I feel it’s just about A Sale, rather than getting to know your customer, build a relationship, and finding out their needs and wants. Maybe I know too much about shoes, and my expectations are too high? If only online shopping had a 3 pair presentation…Hmmm, that’s an idea…
What are your thoughts on the art of selling shoes?
Photo Source: Drawing by me
Last weekend, I stopped by Barney’s NY to see their selection of shoes . As I walked thru the floor, I asked myself which shoes would I buy right now? Of course, as a designer, I appreciate the brands that design shoes of high quality with unique design details. However, I’m getting a little tired of expensive shoes sitting in my closet because I don’t wear them as often.
My realization, buy basics with a twist that are of high quality.
Basics seem to be very difficult to find. A lot of commercial brands create basics, but their is always something off. The most common…an over designed basic (yeah, that is possible), the last is wrong, exaggerated toe springs, looks inexpensive, and design details that don’t make basics unique.
One brand, I believe, that has done a fantastic job at creating homerun staples is Saint Laurent. Hedi Slimane has captured the world of simple designs that are covetable. Yes, they are severely overpriced, but perhaps justifiable. I’ve heard some shoe people say they are overrated. However, when I’m walking thru that shoe floor at Barneys, I ‘m thinking I want this and this and this. Or maybe that’s me…convincing myself I need that all over studded kitten heel bootie. I know I would wear that bootie like crazy though, and the price to wear ratio would make it worth it…(ok, maybe convincing myself again…lol!)
What do you think? Are Saint Laurent prices justifiable? Would you rather find a cheaper version? Or if you had the money, would you splurge on a nice quality shoe? Any other brands you like that make basics with a twist?
Color inspiration is always a challenge for footwear. At the end of the day, brands want basics and saleable; which includes black, a shade of brown that is understandable to consumers or on trend, and then a few pop colors.
I find creating a color palette can be helpful because it creates a mood for the season, and an opportunity to find color that inspires you. Through this process, you never know what else you can find…a trend that fits your brand, a discovery of a color that other shoe brands are not doing, or perhaps create a print based on that color palette.
During my trip last week to New York, I stopped by the MoMA, to see the Henri Matisse exhibit. While waiting, I was able to check out the rest of the museum, and was amazed by their collection, You will see the likes of Picasso, Frida Kahlo, Roy Lichenstein, Seurat, Van Gogh, Gustav Klimt, and many, many others.
I was inspired by the colors from these art pieces, and thought it would be fun to explore color opportunities for Spring 16. Here are a few color palette’s I created:
Picasso- I loved all the nude (sorry for pun) shades with the additional soft colors. Despite its very intricate and powerful painting, the colors are so subtle, yet sophisticated.
I was enamored my this Klimt piece. Such a beautiful artwork, and the colors are so vibrant! I like the idea of a metallic here, and even adding a moss green for a pop with the metallic. Thoughts?
Henri Matisse- one of my painters. I’ve always loved mixing black and blue. The pop of yellow and grey is a fun addition.
Picasso again. I feel there is so much inspiration here… a print, a bright color palette, and textures. So much to work with here.
How do you find color inspiration? Do you find in footwear it’s not necessary?
Photo Source: All photos taken by me at the MoMA.
This past week, I went to New York City for business. Whenever I travel to NY, I try to add in a few days of competitive market research, see my favorite stores, new stores, a Broadway show, and of course museums. This trip was an overdose of shoe shows, and art!
A little cliché for a shoe designer, but I saw the Broadway musical Kinky Boots. I watched the movie, a long time ago, and thought it was very cute. I read Cyndi Lauper scored the show, and that the costumes and shoes were amazing, so I figured why not? We were not allowed to take any photos during the show. I found these two images on the internet to give you an idea of what I saw.
The show started off slow, but soon enough the singing, dancing, costumes, and of course SHOES brought inspiration and sparkle to my eyes! I highly recommend seeing this in LA or NY.
While out to lunch with a friend in NYC, she told me about an exhibit going on at the Brooklyn Museum called Killer Heels. I trust her eye and opinion, and headed to Brooklyn over the weekend. I was more than pleasantly surprised!
The Killer Heel exhibit consisted of two large rooms filled with current haute couture designs, historical shoes, and crazy shoes that are questionable but fun! Additionally, the museum commissioned several artists to create videos and art for this installation. If you’re in Brooklyn, I would definitely check this out, and if you’re not, well, here are some photos I took.
Wearable? Probably not, but fun to look at!
A great pair of shoes to wear on a date when you want to break up with the guy. Or maybe he won’t say anything, and just run!
The black big bird shoe…I kind of like these though.
This inspires me. I love the architectural lines.
United Nude and some other designer that I cannot remember.I really love this white shoe. So lovely, and I wish I could remember if this is a 3-D shoe. There were so many shoes!!
Viktor & Rolf beauties.
Roger Vivier slippers. Very regal…
I really like the upper, and the mixture of this architectural wedge, hardware, and the natural beaded upper. It’s an interesting combination that actually works well considering there different worlds.
Here is a video shown at the exhibit by Marilyn Minter called Smash. I found this on Vogue.com. I’m glad I found this article because it gives a synopsis of the artists inspiration.
Photo Source: Kinky boot images from Google, all shoe pics taken by me, and video from here.