Have you heard of Buscemi shoes? They’re quickly making a name for themselves for their $800-a-pair pricetag and scarcity. Oh, and names like 2 Chainz, Justin Bieber and Diddy are among its clientele.
The brand is the brainchild of Jon Buscemi, who has been a part of the fashion industry for more the a decade. In a recent story for the Wall Street Journal, he explains how he’s created a buzz for an $800 shoe that is nearly impossible to get.
At a time when almost anything you want is a click away, it’s become harder for consumers to stunt online with possessions no one can buy. So, Buscemi shoes makes perfect sense.
The year-old company produces sneakers handmade in Civitanova, Italy, at a factory that also produces goods for companies including Chanel. The solid-colored leather high-tops are stamped on the tongue with “Made in Italy,” and feature golden padlocks dangle from the ankle strap of each shoe; tiny keys are included.
The idea was inspired by the Hermès Birkin bag — an expensive and sought-after handbag that the French company doesn’t advertise and offers only to selected customers.
According to WSJ, co-founder Rob Heppler came to Jon with the idea two years ago. After mulling on it, both dropped everything, and raised $100,000 to start a website and manufacture 600 pairs in Italy, which were distributed last August to 10 trendy retailers around the world… and sold out within days, thanks to a quiet word-of-mouth marketing push.
2 Chainz name-dropping the shoe on his latest mixtape. He spotted them in New York last summer and added four pairs to his collection… and rapped about them. “It’s definitely not a brand that a lot of rappers mention — I try to stay ahead of the trends,” the rapper tells WSJ.
Diddy also bragged about getting a pair in October, via Instagram.
Organic word-of-mouth marketing like this has helped Buscemi become a brand people want… but just can’t have.
This January, Buscemi released 4,000 additional pairs, which have also sold out… and the strategy doesn’t seem to be changing any time soon.
Jon says he will stick to the plan of “not just selling to anyone that wants them.”