Monday, December 28, 2009

Sam the Butcher

In our recent post about taking our business offline we discussed the fact that we're keen to explore the offline retail world to show customers our custom made women's shoes. This has us thinking about retail displays and how we can best introduce the concept of designing your own shoes online in a physical retail space.

It was with this thought in mind that I walked past a new butcher on Crown St. in Surry Hills - Sam the Butcher. Here's the display in their window:

While I'm not vegetarian, I'm not a fan of killing animals either (I'd like us to offer vegan shoes in the near future), but I think this is a brilliant retail display.

1. It grabs your attention - every time I walk past this display people are standing in front of it. Some people love it, some people hate it - but everyone stops to look.
2. It's buzz worthy - the fact that it's a controversial and different means people are going to talk about it and will very quickly know, and remember, that there is a new butcher in town.
3. It exudes quality - Sam the Butcher is a high end organic meat shop. The clean, polished stainless steal helps show this is a quality butcher.

The other reason I like this display is that in contrast to countries like China, in Australia we've become desensitised to where our meat comes from. This display makes it pretty darn obvious and is a good reminder that when we choose to eat meat, it comes from an animal rather than a plastic packet.

Have you seen any inspiring retail displays lately?


  1. Sweet post. I'd say that the flagship Nike stores always have pretty sick displays- huge graphics that catch your eye and a clever slogan... My favorite recent one I saw was "Pleased to beat you"... a play on "Pleased to meet you..." =)

  2. Hah, that's a great slogan! Nike do some great stuff retail wise. Unfortunately they closed down their only Australian flagship store in Melbourne but they are most definitely on my list of places to visit next time I'm in a city that has one. Apparently the in-store retailing they do around their customisable sneakers is awesome.

  3. yeaaa. their in-store retailing for customized shoes is amazing!! but your (and jodie and knappsters :) shoe company is pretty ingenious.... I just read an article in the NY Times about how customized products are in demand (they highlighted Zazzle, which I'm a fan of)... they should have included Shoes of Prey in the article! :)
    and TOMS shoes is also pretty big here in the states because of their 1 for 1 idea. (for every pair you buy, the company gives a pair to a shoeless kid in a developing country).
    i don't know if you guys have thought about the social aspect of your company yet, or if you want to wait until you're bigger, but it's definitely something positive... people LOVE it, especially our demographic because we have a social conscious apparently :) xoxo

  4. If you want to see something different, take a few weeks to travel abroad. I've seen similar displays in the Mid East and Asia, where there is less sensitivity towards vegetarian issues. Depending on your direction, you might go to Malaysia/Singapore/Japan for high tech & funky ideas, Germany/Amsterdam for raw, thought provoking stuff, etc. I'm sure if you do your research or ask colleagues in each market to send pics you'll get a good range of ideas :) Good luck!

  5. Hi Jess, we love the concept behind Toms Shoes. Another socially conscious site we recently came across is And reading up on them we came across which helps just about any business to do what Toms Shoes are doing. We're not sure if it works just yet for Shoes of Prey but we've got some other business ideas that we're thinking thru that tie in nicely to the Buy 1 Give 1 concept...

    Shaden, good tips. I love looking at retail displays in other countries, great ideas and so inspirational. Since writing this post I've found some more awesome displays in other parts of the world via the web eg. these shoe retail displays: Let us know if you come across anything cool in Egypt and I hope you're having fun over there!

  6. The retail displays of the tongan "fale koloa" iinvolve a lot of corn beef and maggi noodles. Not that much help. Fiji on the other hand is interesting with mixes of lush tropical island plants, mixes of traditional culture with modern and detailed historical stories of cultural momentoes. I think the more you know about how things are made, the effort behind the process and the tradition, the more attached you will be to them. Like an art gallery. We are working on that for the handicraft shops.

  7. Oh and one of my favourite art galleries (also a wine tasting venue) has really sexy suspension shelving. Massive big slabs of red oak hanging fromthe ceiling for leather wares and pottery and othger objects.

  8. The Fiji displays sound great Sib. Good thoughts on sharing how things are made in the display. We're actually about to put photos of our shoes being made up on the website, might be good to include some of that in our physical displays as well. Cheers.

  9. I can see you are intelligent but you sound like a really confused person - don't worry this is 'normal' on planet earth so don't be offended.

    I refer to your "While I'm not vegetarian, I'm not a fan of killing animals either (I'd like us to offer vegan shoes in the near future), but I think this is a brilliant retail display."

    Do you see the confusion in your own writing? can you see the hypocrisy in your words?

    If you are not a vegetarian (ie you eat meat) then how can you 'not be a fan of killing animals?

    How can you 'not be a fan of killing animals', yet still eat meat?

    How can you have a desire to offer vegan shoes yet 'love' a whole bunch of dead animals hanging in the window of a shop? People buy vegan shoes because they are vegan - vegans are pretty smart people, they see a lot more of the world than meat eaters (by that I mean, meat eaters can't feel the depth of feeling and emotion that vegans do, otherwise they wouldn't eat meat, they'd be vegan) so they would be pretty shocked, even horrified if they found out the money they were spending buying vegan shoes was going directly into a guy's pocket so he could go down the street and buy dead animals.

    I'd say you are a likely candidate for veganism, but maybe you need to think a little deeper about the way your mind works, and really unleash your intelligence, compassion and creativity. Why not be a really unique shoe retailer and don't sell any shoes that even have a wiff of animal skin, especially if you are not a fan of killing animals. Selling leather shoes is supporting, justifying and advocating the very thing you say you are not a fan of - killing animals. But then again you eat meat... you are confused.



  10. Hi Aaron, thanks for sharing your thoughts and I can see you're very passionate about veganism.

    While I'm 'not a fan of killing animals' I do still eat meat. As humans we evolved as omnivores and while I think our society is in a position now where most of us won't starve if we avoid meat, I'm of the view that it's still ok to eat meat. We should still aim to treat animals with respect, I try to buy free range products when the choice is available, but I don't think we need to all become vegans as a race.

    And I think that fits with my point about the retail display. My point was it's great from a marketing point of view because it promotes discussion and is a little controversial.

    On the shoe side of things, as I've pointed out I want us to be able to offer vegan shoes so consumers have the choice to order the shoes they like. Unfortunately offering vegan shoes is actually much harder than I would like it to be. Finding high quality non-animal materials is difficult. Unfortunately most man made materials don't breathe correctly and are much more uncomfortable to wear and we don't want to offer an inferior quality produce. Then we also need to source new glues that can work with those materials.

    It's also been pointed out to me that man made shoe materials are mostly made from oil based products, which as we've seen with the BP oil spill, oil is hardly an animal friendly product either. A reduction in consumption is probably the best approach for helping both animals and the environment and our retail approach supports that - we only make shoes to order so we don't need to discount excess stock which results in shoes being sold to people who wouldn't otherwise buy them. Using our site customers can order exactly the shoes they want to go across a number of outfits meaning they can buy less shoes, and our shoes are handmade and well constructed so they last longer than most shoes on the market.

    I take your point and appreciate your passion for animal welfare Aaron, but I'm not convinced to turn vegan, only eat non-animal products and sell animal free shoes. Given how we've evolved I don't see a moral reason that we need to do that, and I'm not sure only offering vegan shoes is necessary either. That said offering that as an option is something we'll continue to work on.