Offline Customization — Morgan Miller Fashion Shoe Workshop in South Beach, Florida

Ms. Miller and her shoesMadeforone today discovered the link to an interesting story in the Miami Herald about another off line experience for footwear customization.

So to continue the stream of posting around this theme, here some extracts from the Miami Herald article. For me, the entire concept sounds very much like the Via Della Spiga Concept store of watch maker Swatch where consumers also can co-create (craft) their own custom watches in a store (see old posting on Swatch’s customization store). I believe that there is still much growth potential in this business model.

So this is what you can do – since Nov. 1, 2006 — in Miami at Morgan Miller (1634 Euclid Ave., Miami Beach, 305-672-6658), a customization boutique owned by Morgan Miller, 24, a graduate of Marymount Manhattan College with a bachelor’s degree in communications:

“Ever find a pair of strappies you loved, except the straps were all wrong Now you can design your own—from the heel up—at Morgan Miller, a unique design-and-go shopping experience that takes only 30 minutes. At 24, designer Morgan Miller, owner of the new South Beach boutique, has put an innovative, rock star spin on the shoe-glutton movement.

We provide the ingredients for women to be their own designers so they are able to put their own stamp on things,“ said Miller, a New Jersey native. Clients choose from a mélange of soles, straps and buckles to create a shoe exactly to their liking, at prices ranging from $150 to $500.

There’s a buffet of kitten heels, cork and wooden wedges of various altitudes and attitudes. There are high heels, low heels and chunky heels in black or white lacquer. Straps can be had from more than 100 options, including lizard, python, ostrich, alligator, leopard-print hide and the leathers: patent, metallic and pearlized. Buckles can involve Swarovski crystals or faux bamboo Strap and buckle samples are attached with Velcro to a wall of black velvet so clients can handle all their options. And once the style combos are chosen, bubbly is served and the foot is measured.”

Another website, Daily Candy , describes the customization process:

Step 1: The base. Stiletto, kitten heel, cork platform — she’s got you covered, from beach to banquet.

Step 2: The strap. Go conservative with black or sex things up with turquoise python — there are plenty of fabrics and colors to choose from.

Step 3: The accessory. You’ve got more than 100 options: Bling out with crystals and jewels or keep it simple with a silver chain or nothing at all. Of course, you’re not expected to actually make the shoes. The in-house cobblers take care of that.

But in the end it is all about the experience, as the Miami Herald writes:

The boutique resembles a candy store for grown-ups. Big candy jars hold rhinestones and other embellishments. Crystal chandeliers illuminate the sparkling shop. The shoes, which can resemble those by Jimmy Choo, arrive a mere half-hour later—on Tiffany & Co. silver platters. … A self-confessed shoe freak, Miller plans to expand her made-to-order shoe business to include handbags and belts, but with a longer turnaround of two-three weeks.

Context information: Previous postings on offline customization stores:
Adidas Paris miAdidas flagship store
Selve Footwear Customization Experience
DNA Style Lab
Korean iFashion project with virtual mirrors
Personalization Stores collection– at CS Scout
Via Della Spiga Concept store Posting in old newsletter

About the Author:

Frank T. Piller is a Co-Director of the MIT Smart Customization Group at the MIT Media Lab, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA, and a chair professor of management at the Technology & Innovation Management Group of RWTH Aachen University, Germany, one of Europe’s leading institutes of technology. Before entering his recent position in Aachen, he worked at the MIT Sloan School of Management (2004-2007) and has been an associate professor of management at TUM Business School, Technische Universitaet Muenchen. Frequently quoted in The New York Times, The Economist, and Business Week, amongst others, Frank is regarded as one of the leading experts on strategies for customer-centric value creation, like mass customization, personalization, and innovation co-creation. His recent analysis of the crowdsourcing business model “Threadless” (co-authored with Susumu Ogawa), an innovative crowdsourcing business model in the fashion industry, has been elected as one of the Top-20 articles in MIT Sloan Management Review.