Reebok has introduced an internet platform through which consumers from all over the world can determine the fate of the company’s new sneaker designs. The first design is actually a redesign, the “Bee Keeper” Classic Leather, by Emily Gibbemeyer and Alex Chou.
Called First Pitch, the new internet platform was launched on Aug. 10 with a first sneaker design, and the public is now voting on it with their wallets. Every design must garner at least 500 votes to reach production, and every vote is in fact a pledge to buy. The first consumer to vote in favor buys a pair at $1, the second at $2, and so on until the retail price is reached. Each design gets a window of 72 hours to 30 days. Designs that fail to reach the level of 500 votes within that timeframe are scrapped. Produced designs are shippped in about nine weeks. A video on Reebok’s website explains the whole thing.
Shoes aside, the selling point of First Pitch itself is the environmental angle. According to the company’s press release, Reebok views the platform as a way to make the company more sustainable – by limiting production to styles that are guaranteed to sell.
We have asked the company about the public response to this interesting new initiative, and we hope to get an answer in due time. We wonder whether Reebok’s bigger sister, Adidas, will launch a similar site. On the other hand, we cannot help recall that The North Face and other brands have been using the Ispo Innovation platform to achieve a similar goal for some of their models. Some start-ups have adopted Kickstarter as a similar tool to help launch new products.