Are $300 Jeans an Innovation?

by Braden Kelley

I came across an interesting article by Chip Heath and Dan Heath in Fast Company. The article hypothesizes that people’s enjoyment of luxury goods has moved beyond the feeling of status to personal enjoyment. Think about the concept of wine connoisseurs moving beyond wines to jeans, watches, mens dress shirts, and even coffee. Traditional luxury goods consumers would prefer that every one knew that they were wearing or using a luxury product. Connoisseurs instead are happy to remain invisible to the masses but conspicuous to other connoisseurs. They are passionate about jeans or coffee or whatever it might be, and enjoy talking about their choice with other connoisseurs. The question the Heaths pose is: will the proliferation of new “connoisseurs” spread to even something as mainstay as socks?

A designer named Nagrani is already selling $35 socks, but is there really potential for sock connoisseurs to be a large enough group to create a $300 sock market?

What do you think?

This idea of the luxury market evolving towards a connoisseurs’ market begs the question of whether there is a connoisseur innovation that you could lay claim to in your industry. Can you think of a way?


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Braden KelleyBraden Kelley is a Social Business Architect and the author of Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire from John Wiley & Sons. Braden is also a popular innovation speaker and trainer, and advises companies on embedding innovation across the organization and how to attract and engage customers, partners, and employees.

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