NikeID for the 1 percent: Farfetch offers customizable $10,000 ostrich-skin sneakers
NikeID took the marketing world by storm with the idea it could offer customized sneakers to everyone. Farfetch is going in the opposite direction: combining customization with the fine craftsmanship, top-of-the-line materials and a creative director’s vision promised by luxury footwear.
In a partnership with London-based footwear brand Swear, Farfetch has launched MySwear, the first online platform for customizable luxury sneakers. The shoes will be handcrafted in Portugal and made with high-end materials like Nappa leather and genuine crocodile, ostrich and python skins, and each component (including the sneaker’s side panels, laces, toe and sole) is selected by the shopper. There’s a total of 80 different material and color combinations that can be dreamed up and purchased on MySwear. Don’t expect instant gratification, however: The process takes four to six weeks.
Attention, ad agency creative directors: identity by way of luxury sneakers doesn’t come cheap. Depending on the style and materials picked when customizing the sneakers, a pair could range anywhere between $385 and $10,000.
“We wanted to find a way of offering luxury and bespoke products to an audience who is increasingly knowledgeable about style and quality,” said Farfetch founder and CEO José Neves, who worked with Swear CEO Ben Demiri on the platform. “Custom-made sneakers offer this audience an outlet for their personal style and creativity, in a luxurious way.”
Neves said that Farfetch’s partnership with Swear was in part inspired by a spike in sneaker sales over the past year. So far in 2015, Farfetch has sold 90,000 pairs of sneakers in its marketplace, a 100 percent sales increase over the year before. He added that Farfetch, which sells online items from more than 300 independent designer boutiques in 80 countries, attracts customers who are looking for pieces to “create their own identity.”
According to Michael Norton, a business and marketing professor at Harvard Business School, people are willing to pay more when there’s a transparent process involved on the company’s part.
Norton said during a discussion about trust and transparency at L2’s event Sold: Why Consumers Buy What They Buy that having a clear handle on the process is more important to consumers than both marketing and immediacy. The luxury sneakers take four to six weeks to arrive once ordered, but customers know each piece of material that’s going into the sneaker and where the pair is being made.
Farfetch isn’t the first company to realize that when it comes to sneakers, people are passionate about creating a personalized pair. Major brands like Nike, Converse, Adidas, Vans and New Balance offer online tools that let customers pick colors and print initials or phrases on their sneakers. Farfetch, however, is the first to create a platform for shoes to be custom-made using luxury materials.
“Customization is becoming more and more important as it becomes increasingly in demand,” said Neves. “Social media is a driving force for personalization — it doesn’t dictate what people should wear but encourages people to develop a unique visual voice and create their own way of dressing.”
Adam Alter, a marketing and psychology professor at NYU Stern, said that customizable goods have the “Ikea effect” — people are more attached to products they feel represent themselves.
“Anything that’s rare is going to be more popular,” said Alter. “And when you make something yourself, you’re really going to love it.”
Social media, according to Alter, has given us the perfect platform to prove how unique and superior our personal tastes are. For its part, Farfetch encourages customers to display what they’ve created in the MySwear store with the hashtag #MySwearxFarfetch.
Neves said that judging from the social media response, customers have been satisfied with their custom creations. That’s a good thing — returns of personalized exotic python-skin and gold foil-embossed sneakers are up to the discretion of Farfetch.
Images via Farfetch
Member ExclusiveMarketing Briefing: Ad execs and marketers say this Olympics has ‘lost its luster’
The typical global fervor for the Olympics is lacking this year, making it less of a marketing must than in years previous. More in this week's Digiday+ Marketing Briefing.
Member ExclusiveCMO Summit Recap: How marketers are adjusting to the delayed phase-out of third-party cookies
Digiday’s CMO Summit on July 19-20 covered some of the big issues facing marketers in this pivotal year, including the new timeline for the phase-out of third party cookies.
Cheat sheet: Comscore hopes to ease advertisers off cookies with new contextual targeting play
Comscore is hoping a series of data partnerships will help accelerate a pivot to contextual targeting, as ad buyers prepare for the end of third party cookies.
SponsoredHow the ad industry can use its borrowed time to future-proof first-party data solutions
Trent Lloyd, co-founder and head of brand solutions, Eyeota Google’s updated timeline for its Privacy Sandbox rollout, including its two-year delay of third-party cookie deprecation on Chrome, didn’t come as a surprise to many industry observers, given the limited utility of Google’s FLoC and the slow momentum of the Privacy Sandbox in the World Wide […]
Netflix’s new vp of game development Mike Verdu brings much-needed skillsets
Earlier this month, Netflix doubled down on its commitment to gaming by hiring Mike Verdu to head up its game-development department.
Stagwell bets on organic growth to power its merger with MDC Partners, as it retires the MDC name
Stagwell Group's merger with MDC Partners will close next week, and the new company expects major organic growth.