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Starbury, I Appreciate You, but Make It Better

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Basketball sneakers became more than just shoes with the explosion of Nike and Michael Jordan. Following that rise came sneaker-related crime and violence. Former NBA All-Star Stephon Marbury is trying to change the game with a $15 sneaker.

Source: The Rise Of Nike — And One Former NBA Player Trying To Change Sneaker Culture | Only A Game

This article on the OAG website is well written. It discusses part of the Nike backstory and then transitions into a discussion on the Starbury line that was once released for 15 bucks a pop at Steve & Barry’s. SnB eventually filed bankruptcy and the Starbury line died. The idea was admirable. A mom could get new shoes for her kid without breaking the bank. There is a problem here however… the default price of 15 dollars is directly related to the failure of Steve & Barry’s.

Unlike most of the people who speak about this, I actually have a shoe company. I know what it takes to make a shoe and import it and then sell it. When I say that I appreciate Steph, I do. When I say “Make it Better,” I mean that because the shoe he’s making is not a comparable product and obviously it wouldn’t be at 15.00 retail. In a traditional marketplace the product that sells for 15 would have had to cost 5 dollars to make (shipped and landed in the US). Wholesale would be 7.50 and retail would be 15.00. Steve and Barry’s was going directly to the customer, but the basic issue with a 15 dollar shoe is the amount you would have to sell to really break even after overhead would have to be enormous. I can’t even guess that amount.

What Starbury needed to do is take more time with the product and actually use a better grade of materials. I would assume he was making a minimum of 12000 pair to get the cost of the shoe down that low. He also could have taken more time to design a better looking product. Here is a picture of the shoe that I made and sold for 40 dollars my first time in the business:

1st version
1st version black
Final Release version

I was able to sell it this cheap because I made 1200 pair. I didn’t create a mold. I used the mold from an And1 shoe that didn’t have a logo on the bottom. The upper I used nubuck and the shoe performed extremely well on court. At 1200 pair they cost me 21 dollars a pair, but for a first shoe it was a solid project.

I admire this report, but if Steph is going to do this again, Make it a 30 dollar shoe. Make 12000 pair to keep the cost at around 12-15 and you can actually use a DTC plus an agreement with an online platform to reach the people. I love the idea of cheap, but when it’s too cheap, you end up shooting yourself in the foot… through fake leather and a cheesy design.