Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Pump It - De-IY Shoes

16 year old American blogger Blair Fowler aka otherjuicystar07 from Charlotte, NC, caused an internet shoe frenzy on Monday by posting this video on her YouTube channel about an Australian site, ShoesofPrey. The shoe boutique, which allows users to create their own shoes from a range of customisable templates, including heels, ballet flats, wedges and gladiator sandals, had sent Blair a free pair of their shoes as part of a PR campaign to promote the brand via select blogs. Blair then posted the short video which encouraged other YouTubers to design their own shoes and post videos of the results. As a result, Blair's video got in excess of 450,000 views with ShoesofPrey, a relative newcomer to the eCommerce market having been set up in October 2009, receiving over 200,000 visits in one day alone. Not many of these hits translated into sales as Blair's teen market is probably still waiting for their parents' permission to spend up to £180 on a pair of shoes, however, it did generate a massive amount of awareness for the company, once again demonstrating the power of social media in brand marketing. I was tempted to have a go myself and it really is a fun little site, kind of like a grown up Fashion Wheel for shoes. The prices are pretty reasonable (£115 for ballet flats, £150 for 1.5-3.5 inch heels and £180 for heels up to 4.5 inches) and there's a great selection of styles, heel heights and widths, colourways and fabrics to choose from- including calfskin, python, fishskin, silk and patent leather with vegan leather to follow later this year. The site can cater for special width requirements and you can even send in a photo of your feet to help make sure your shoes fit perfectly, however, if they don't, as long as you send them back within 30 days in an unworn condition, then you can get a full refund, including the postage (£15 for worldwide on all orders) - you just have to pay to send them back again. These would make a great present for the girl who has everything and, handily enough, gift certificates are available.

If you like the idea of designing your own footwear but are looking for something a bit more urban, in addition to the NikeID studio and MiAdidas where you can book in or go online to design your own trainers, try comparatively new kids on the shoe block, the Kings of Neon. These guys will produce anything from one off's to short runs (great for new bands, sports teams and clubs, promo events and stag do's) onto plimsolls (plain or with a rubber toe cap), Vans Authentics or Chukkas or Converse Oxs or High Tops. Prices run from around £29.99 to £64.99 for adult one offs and gift vouchers are also available. The site was ranked as one of FHM's top 100 places to shop online and you can get designing for kids, mens and women's shoes at their new site

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