How Gucci, Balenciaga, Dior are killing the “shoes specialists”

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A few years ago articles on must-have shoes were full of recommendations for Louboutin, Sergio Rossi, Charlotte Olympia, Roger Vivier and the “shoes specialists”.
Now the spotlights are on Gucci, Dior, Balenciaga shoes and boots. Sales have peaked and the best sellers are related to big, flamboyant fashion brands instead of small, niche artisan brands.
The shoe makers that are still very hot are the likes of Gianvito Rossi and Manolo Blahnik, strong brands with their founders still at the helm: Gianvito and Manolo are the king of “classic” shoes.

Shoes specialists are getting weaker because:

  • they think inside the box. They do not explore, because they are too technical brands
  • they lack storytelling around the brand, emotions and a lifestyle
  • they lack meaningful creativity and investments
  • they are followers, not first movers anymore.
  • they are stuck in the past glory and too often managed by people with no medium-long term interest in the development of the brand

Shoe makers should:

  • get out of the factory hamster wheel
  • get closer to the women’s desires and dare to make them happy
  • hire top managers with fresh mindset

The secret is to start thinking as a fashion player instead of a shoe maker