Now that’s something you don’t see every day. Big sports star thinks trainer prices are too expensive, launches own shoe line, sells them at $15 a pair.
The BBC reported today that Basketball star Stephon Marbury is reviving his Starbury shoe line (it originally launched in 2008 but failed a year later) with shoes set to sell for around $15 (£9.70).
The ex-NBA star, who now plays in China for the Beijing Ducks, not only thinks high-priced trainers are rip-offs but that they encourage crime.
The BBC said there are no official figures for trainer-linked crime in the US but plenty of individual incidents have been recorded from a teen killed while trying to steal a pair of Air Jordans to a boy shot for queue jumping while trying to buy Kanye West shoes and a ram raid that saw 15 men robbing a FootLocker store.
Marbury has been pretty outspoken about what causes such crimes and has directly accused sports shoe brands and celebrity endorsers of encouraging it. Some customers might not agree, but many do agree that prices seem very high, especially when the shoes themselves are made in low-cost locations around the world.
But we all know that there’s more to an expensive products than just the materials and labour (think about the design, materials, marketing, import costs and so on), Marbury thinks he can compete.
However, he may find it even tougher now than he did eight years ago, given the tech advances in the sector, the huge variety of designs available, increases in marketing costs and the larger number of sales channels.
One thing he can rely on though is not having to pay an expensive sports star to promote the brand as he’s his own celebrity endorser. And given the attention the news that he’s reviving his brand has garnered, that’s one marketing challenge dealt with.
But it’s design and quality that will really count. If he’s going to make people want to wear his shoes enough to not pine for some Air Jordans or a little something by Kanye, then his biggest challenge is just around the corner.