There’s a new way to get those Christian Louboutins of your dreams without cashing in your 401(k). Luxury Shoe Club, an iPhone app-based trading service for pre-owned designer footwear, has launched, replacing the need to consign and resell shoes.
For a one-time membership fee, it gives women the opportunity to buy, sell and trade new and gently worn footwear with points instead of cash. Each point is valued at $1. When a member lists shoes for sale, the club uses its proprietary algorithm to determine their fair market resale value and then pays up to 50 percent of that value to the listing member. The remaining amount is paid once they are bought.
According to CEO and founder Scott Van Valkenburgh, the method allows members to immediately earn points to shop other fellow members’ closets without having to wait until their shoes sell. The more a member lists, the more points he or she earns upfront for purchases.
There are three levels of membership, depending on one’s frequency of shopping. For the Obsessed, the fee is $149; Passionate, $99; and Intrigued, $49. Shoes are exchanged between members free of charge, with the club providing shipping labels, boxes, at-home pickups and a seven-day return policy.
Van Valkenburgh, whose background is in technology, came up with the idea when he realized how passionate women are about their footwear. Upon coming to the office one day, he noticed a female co-worker excited when a friend in the office, who wore the same size, gave her a bag of shoes she no longer wore. “It was like hitting the lottery,” he said of her experience. “Now millions of [women] can connect their closets to swap.”
Since shoes may not be in tip-top shape — but due to their styling and brand, may still be in demand — the club offers a repair home pickup and delivery service. The club will also donate a percentage of its membership profits to help women in need get back on their feet.
To kick off the venture, Luxury Shoe Club is offering free membership through the next 90 days to those who list the required number of shoes within seven days. This year, the service is planning to add an Android app and create a specific version for the iPad.
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