Sole Searching

Sole SearchingDocumentaries are nice, but who has the time to learn about China's emergence as an industrial power, when the spring line from Manolo Blahnik has yet to be perused? Powderhouse Productions, known for award-winning original series on the Discovery Channel and PBS, are finally using their mastery of multi-platform 360 video production to do something worthwhile: sell shoes., which launched in February, provides a "central location online for women to connect, celebrate and share their love of shoes."

Luring women to the site with sneak peeks at the latest designs, advice on walking in heels, and a discussion board for fellow "fashionistas," Shoetube is an online advertiser's dream come true. The site is so craftily loaded with vendor links, you'll be pulling out your credit card in just a couple of clicks. Consider the "tag cloud" where clicking on the word "confidence" will guide you to a pair of strappy silver stilettos available with free shipping from - you called it - And then there is the Boutique section, where Shoetube helps advertisers design their very own high-tech microsite complete with video, slide shows and, because what would online advertising be without the opportunity to connect with the consumer - blogs, polls
and contests galore. Of course, Powderhouse hasn't completely sold out: by partnering with charity organization Soles4Souls, they give women the opportunity to unload last season's Prada's on someone less fortunate.

How on earth did Powderhouse go from exploring the theory of evolution and the history of mummification to "satiating the cravings of the shoe-obsessed woman," you ask? While they argue boldly that "shoes are not frivolous," we think the fact that online footwear sales are projected to surpass $3.5 billion this year (according to NPD Group's Consumer Tracking Service), probably has a little something to do with it. [The writer immediately purchased three pairs of shoes online upon finishing this piece. Did she mention
the free shipping from Zappos? - Ed.]
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