Birth of a Shoe Company
The Twenty-Second Rule of Acquisition says that “A wise man can hear profit in the wind.” He sense opportunities and maneuvers around obstacles with ingenuity. That’s what fashion mogul Kenneth Cole did in 1982, when he was just getting started in the business. He needed to show his shoes at a New York City fair, but didn’t have enough money to get in. He rented a large truck and hoped to park it on the street for a mobile fashion show. But Cole couldn’t get the necessary permit from the Mayor’s office. Only utility and motion picture companies could park trucks for extended periods of time. It was in this exemption that Cole found a way around the permitting problem:
So Mr. Cole decided to do just that — shoot a movie. He filed for a permit to shoot “The Birth of a Shoe Company,” and outfitted his trailer with a director, cameramen (although not all of them had film), and “actresses” who played the “roles” of models, displaying the shoes.
And yes, the shoes were indeed for sale. Kenneth Cole sold all 40,000 pairs of shoes over two and a half days, establishing itself as a force in the fashion of footwear, and giving the company a much needed cash infusion as it expanded toward greater heights.