In this recessionary environment, it's been fairly common to hear of consumers trading down to more inexpensive alternatives. But what about consumers trading up for quality at a price level an order of magnitude higher? It seems a bit unlikely but this seems to be what is happening in the women's footwear market.
More and more women are buying bespoke shoes according to this article by the Independent, a UK newspaper.
Interestingly enough, the anecdotal evidence seems to support this. During Foster & Son's visit last week, this is exactly what I heard from Mr. Edgecliffe-Johnson. Women have been visiting Foster in noticeably higher numbers this year and placing orders. Judging from their core business - men's bespoke shoes - men are also exhibiting the same behavior. Their workshop has been humming with activity these past several months and I suspect the same is true for the other handful of English bespoke shoemakers.
- New York Times article on the recent spike in shoe purchases