Start Your Own Sneaker Biz: Design-It-Yourself and Sell
You may have already heard of Zazzle, an online service that allows you to print on a variety of goods (tees, mugs, posters, etc.). You can design-it-yourself, or choose from Zazzle's library of available designs.
Of late, Zazzle has partnered with Keds to offer something a bit more interesting- design-your-own sneakers. You can choose from hi-tops, lo-tops or slip-ons, with prices ranging from $50-65. The best part? You can sell your designs through Keds Collective.
According to the Wall Street Journal:
"The program involves a 'wholesale business-model change' for Keds, says the company's president, Kristin Kohler Burrows: 'Marketing has evolved into a conversation with the consumer.'
The shoes don't permit total customization; the fit is uniform. But the patterns, embellishments, trim, color and other details can be chosen from a palette or, in some cases, uploaded and incorporated into the factory system.
Of course, companies like Keds won't get richer selling one pair of shoes at a time. Custom products sell at a slight premium over regular items, but they cost more to produce, too. (Prices differ depending on the designs.) But the true riches are in the marketing. Social media can turn those custom sneakers into an advertising juggernaut when the designers—you and me—proudly holler about them from the rooftops of the Internet.
Ms. San Juan (one of the participating fans), for instance, has posted her Keds designs on Facebook and is adding a Keds link to her Web site. 'People feel much more connected to the brand, because they're part of the advertising, in reality,' says Darren Paul, co-founder of the Night Agency, a social-media-marketing consulting group that worked with Keds on the Collective."
Contributing to Keds' advertising initiative or not, it's a fun tool and offers interesting possiblities (Etsy store perhaps?). As a kid of the 90's, I used to customize my Keds by drawing directly on them (with flourescent puffy paint pens, of course). Now I can design, upload, and ship. Cool.
- Don't steal images. I gave it a try and designed these Lil' Wayne slip-ons. However, Zazzle does abide by image copyright laws, so I was dinged and unable to purchase.