It’s a classic movie moment: Morpheus and Neo walking through the drab crowd in black and white… then Neo sees the woman in red. And everything stops.
Red is eye catching. Red lipstick, red nail polish. You can’t help but stop and notice when you see it.
French fashion designer Christian Louboutin purposely chose red for the soles of his high-end ladies footwear after watching his assistant paint her nails red. The red leather soles have become his signature style. They stand out from the black, brown, and white soles so common on the market. Even his men’s shoes have the red soles.
It’s like your feet are saying, “Look down here! Notice me!”
He has designed something that people want because it’s different.
He’s created a brand.
But there’s another, deeper message in his shoes. He’s selling something more than footwear.
It’s Not Just The Shoes, It’s The Experience
My wife Jennie bought Louboutin shoes, a pair for herself and a pair for me. She was sitting at the coffee table, this giant shopping bag the size of a TV in front of her, and she was waiting to show me what she just got from the store.
We were both impressed with the amount of branding for this high-end product. Red ribbons were wrapped around the shoeboxes, and the bag for the shoes was red inside, the same shade as the soles of the shoes.
That shade of bright red has so much cultural significance in North America. That shade is associated with passion and sex. Red roses, lipstick, lingerie heart-shaped boxes of candy on Valentine’s Day, and the “red light district.”
It also means exclusivity and style. The red carpet is rolled out for events like The Oscars and visits from royalty. It’s also the stereotype of the successful man in a red sports car. And for those of you who know me, I have my trademark, bright red suit.
The red-soled Louboutin shoes could be associated with so many symbols, so many feelings.
Affluent buyers, people who buy for emotional reasons and don’t care about the price, want their purchase to be an experience. From the moment when Jennie pulled the boxes out of the bag, to unwrapping the boxes, to unwrapping the shoes… it was like opening a gift at Christmas.
You’re not just buying some shoes, taking them home, and slipping your feet in them.
For high-end buyers, Louboutin makes the shoe purchase into an entire experience. You’re wowed by the luxury of the layers and the colours before you even get to the shoes.
You Don’t Need Salespeople, Customers Sell The Shoes
Jennie told me what it was like to buy her pair of flat-soled Louboutins. They were shimmering silver with lots of bling. They looked like Cinderella’s shoes for the ball.
At the store, she said women were trying out shoes and selling each other. They would tell each other how good, how beautiful each other’s Louboutins looked. They would say, “You should get that!”
They didn’t even need salespeople in the store to help with the sales. These shoes could sell themselves.
As an entrepreneur, that’s exactly the stage where you want to be with your products. When a potential customer can see the value you provide, you will have very little difficulty making the sale. Just name the price, and you will see the money in your hand.
Jennie told me about a woman who tried out a pair of Louboutins with very high heels. Some of these shoes can have heels as high as four inches. Now I’ve never extensively worn high-heeled shoes myself, and Jennie doesn’t like heels, but I don’t think they would be very comfortable.
So there was this woman walking around the store in these high-heeled Louboutins like she was standing on a runway. She declared she loved wearing them. Now, I’m not sure how much of that opinion was from the emotional high of wearing something high-end. Eventually her feet would want to wear something else.
But comfort is not the point of this story. She loved the shoes because of how they made her feel.
It’s Not The Shoes, It’s The Feeling Of Confidence From The Shoes
So here is the truth behind the Louboutin brand: Christian Louboutin is not in the business of selling shoes. He’s in the business of selling feelings.
Four inch heels are not comfortable. You’re not going to wear them for a walk in the park. You’re not going to dance in them all night. But they make the wearer feel sexy. They make the owner feel confident.
When you buy Louboutin shoes, you buy self esteem.
A basic pair costs around $700. A pair with crystals costs around $6000. So for a few thousand dollars, you can buy confidence and sexiness.
The pair Jennie got me was about $3000 so I plan to wear them. They’re black and they shimmer. They don’t look comfortable, but I think they will look good under the right light, like I’m wearing thousands of shining stars on my feet.
When you buy thousand dollar shoes, you must show them off.
Why Buy High-end Shoes
High-ticket items are sold in a different way than something that costs $50 or $100. People don’t necessarily buy using logic. They buy using emotion. Purchasing luxury goods makes them feel like they are part of something more exclusive. They’re buying a better version of themselves.
For example, that woman in the store doesn’t need those shoes. But she’s buying a version of herself that makes her feel as confident as a movie star.
Christian Louboutin’s business model is a successful one. He sells 1.25 million pairs of shoes a year and a million of those pairs are women’s shoes.
So when we buy high-end items, we’re buying for the status. We’re buying for the feelings. It feels good to indulge ourselves sometimes.
Watch this moment when Jennie and I unbox Christian Louboutin shoes.
Would you pay $1000 for a pair of shoes? Comment below.