Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Female Problems

There was a party last night on the rooftop of Etnies SoHo showroom, which, in part, highlighted the launch of the Etnies brand at the all-women's sneaker boutique, Laces. In case you haven't noticed, active brands like Etnies are pushing like crazy these days to capture the female customer, who've they've more or less ignored because they were too busy trying to blow smoke up the asses of the male customer all these years. You could understand why of course. They figured that young male was where the money was at because--hands down--he bought more pairs per year compared to anyone other demographic.

Now that the salad day sales of athletic shoe sales appear to be over, companies are looking to fill-in sales with niche customers they had previously ignored. The thing that these companies don't understand is that the sneakers that are fly to men are the same sneakers that are fly to women. And what's super frustrating to the female sneakerheads out there is that a company like Nike claims it has a committment to females, but they won't issue super hot limited edition styles in women's sizes.

And while I understand the women's side of the story, I also understand that for a massive company like Nike or Adidas or even Puma, it isn't so easy to toss the plan that's brought you to the party and suddenly change course. I'll bet these guys are looking at the market and for whatever reason, there just still not convinced that there's enough of a dedicated female sneakerhead to make it worth their while to create whole new woman-centric limited edition programs. I'm sure Nike thinks, fuck it, the number of girls who want a limited shoe, but can't fit in a men's size is too small a number to matter.

Plus, I think they look at females and feel like they're not a great investment because they're not brand loyal enough. And there's some truth to that. The females I photographed at the party last night were wearing lots of different brands. You could just tell that they were going with whatever struck their fancy at the moment they bought them. The guys on the other hand were almost all wearing Nike. People like to go on and on about how females are all into status when it comes to fashion, and while that may be true in certain high-end circles, overall, it's been my observation that guys are not only more invested in brands, but are also more loyal to them.

Anyway, that's my written analysis. On my next post, I'm going to throw up some images I took at the party and show why I think the female customer matters.

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