Crocs, a brand of footwear known for being comfortable, non-slip, unattractive, and incompatible with escalators, has made a comeback. The secret has been going back to the thing that made it a success in the first place: Hideous clogs that you can easily hose off.
Returning to what works
After experimenting with wacky ideas like drone-powered retail stores and Crocs brand shoes that look like normal shoes, The Washington Post reports that the company is thriving again because it’s sticking with what it does best: Making colorful rubber clogs.
The brand debuted about 15 years ago, had a brief period of controversial trendiness, and then experts wrote the brand off as dead at the beginning of last decade’s recession. Yet Crocs survived as a company, still has standalone stores, and began listening to its customers even more carefully to find out what they’re using the shoes for.
The original shoes have stayed popular with medical professionals and people who work in food service, perhaps influenced by celebrity chef and noted Crocs enthusiast Mario Batali.
Crocs are popular again, if not necessarily cool
More people are walking into standalone Crocs stores, with visits up 12% this back-to-school season. For the last few years, Crocs’ sales have been above one billion per year, and its profits were up 54% last quarter.
How did this happen? By analyzing sales, the company found some unexpected markets, like high school and college sports teams that buy matching Crocs to relax in before and after events. Maybe they’re wearing them ironically, or maybe not, but the younger generation may have worn the shoes as toddlers and children, and thus, may find them comfortable and comforting.
“Whether or not they’re actually cool — well, that’s up for debate,” a market research executive told the Post. “But our data shows that they’re popular again, especially with the back-to-school crowd.”