My fascination with how brands/labels/stores position/brand themselves both online and in physical spaces never ceases. Were I more essay-inclined these days, I'd be going back to school and writing voluntary theses on the subject. This alas makes for dry reading for a lot of you who are mainly after pwetty, purtty pictures. So by the end of the post, you shall be swooning at Marais USA's shoes, styling and overall look because a glance at the website and with its minimal presentation of their simple, quality-made and affordable low-heels, flats and sandals…
You might even be further swayed by the girls on the homepage who are perfect Marais USA ambassadors, with their posing-in-the-park (Prospect Park, Brooklyn of course…) antics, their enviable jobs and whimsical bios. Nay, it's not their shoes you want, it's their damn lives!
Creating a perfectly poised niche for a brand isn't anything new and Marais USA have done that well enough but my ickle niggle is that as I click on tabs like Marais World and check out the video of "A Day With Marais" where the Marais girl suit their Prospect Park surroundings amazingly well, wearing Marais USA shoes exceedingly well, and then see a submissions page where people are asked to submit their favourite outfits to wear their Marais shoes with, I end up thinking "Gosh…. I don't think I'm bloody good enough to be a Marais girl…". Where's my Marais World that consists of Prospect Park, cute Lomo camera shots and a wardrobe of finely tuned dishevelled simplicity?
It's this sort of clever-clogs niche branding, that presents a mental block in my head because as much as I dig the shoes themselves, the very intial thought that comes into my head is "But I'm not a Marais girl…". That's how simple it gets reduced down to in the subconscious thought process of brand interaction and reaction. So as "versatile" as the shoes are, I somehow don't get a sense of versatility from the site. Of course, once I've dealt with the fact I'm not a Marais Girl, all is good, and I'm still ready to hand over my $65. What can I say? I'm into over analysing minor niggles that stick out like a pale green bulging vein on my head. Let's not get too crazy and try and try and delve into the subject of how ACTUAL Marais Girls (as in femmes who live in the 3rd/4th arr. of Paris) figure into this.