Popular flash sale site, HauteLook, has just launched a new venture, Sole Society to meet its customers’ desire for more shoe options at affordable prices. The new platform allows for an interactive experience for its members (anyone can become a member and membership is free), whereby you log onto the site and take a multiple choice style quiz. Once the site assesses your style, you’ll be sent a curated selection of shoes at the beginning of each month based on your style bio. From that personalized selection, you can opt to buy any of the styles, buy none of them, or see other options than the ones you were initially shown. Everything on the site is priced at $49.95, which incidentally many studies have shown is about what the average woman spends on a pair of shoes.
Each member's style bio includes a short description, but if you feel like it’s not accurate or you’re not impressed with the selections you are being sent, you can take the quiz again to receive a new bio. Shipping is free, members have access to monthly styling tips, trends, “How to Wear it” advice on the site, and as of now, there will be about 30 new styles added every month with some additional styles being carried over from month to month.
I went to a preview event where I was able to play around with the site for a bit and see this month's shoe selection in person and was impressed at how many of the styles I was actually tempted to buy. Further, I like that the shoes are styled on models on the site so shoppers can get an idea of how to wear them. Many of the designs are clearly inspired by luxury brands (Christian Louboutin, Elizabeth and James, and Yves Saint Laurent were among the ones I spotted most often), and while I didn’t try any of the shoes on, a number of them struck me as a bit stiff when I held them in my hands. That said, given the affordable prices, it might be worth the risk of a painful shoe experience. I am, however, a bit disappointed at Sole Society’s return policy. You can opt to return an item and receive a credit on your Sole Society account for the price of the shoe, but if you want the money back on your credit card, you are charged a $7.95 restocking fee and a $9 return shipping fee – that’s about 1/3 the price of the shoe!
Currently, Sole Society's selection is limited to its exclusive label, Marco Santi, but that's expected to change in the coming seasons.