Martin Dingman Mens ShoesLeathergoods for Life. A concise slogan under a signature, plus the passion of a lifetime.

Are these the only ingredients that make the Martin Dingman men’s shoes the preferred brand for so many consumers? Or maybe…

It is this philosophy that Martin Dingman was founded on, that elegance and sophistication were not a birthright of Europeans, but a luxury that should be available to American men as well. By using the worldโ€™s finest leathers, rarest exotics and unique hardware, Martin Dingman gave the U.S. marketplace a homegrown alternative on par with the finest dress shoes and accessories anywhere on the globe.

(source: MartinDingman.com)

The mens shoes legend, Martin Dingman, explains the possible reasons for his success:

โ€œOur customers longed for shoes and accessories that made them feel special, refined but not over the top,โ€ says Martin. It seemed as though the choice was either basic American or fast-forward Italian. I offer looks that are new and fresh, yet are so timeless and elegant they can be passed down from one generation to the next.โ€

Although I don’t think that people who afford to buy such shoes would ever think to pass them to the next generation, Martin Dingman spotted an opportunity, a need for refinement and discrete elegance, without the Italian fashion glamour, a need which he fulfilled in a brilliant way by choosing very a fine leather. Just like people from newer countries, like USA, dream to travel to Europe, to feel good while staring at incredibly old and partially collapsed buildings admiring the marvels of centuries of architecture, American men wanted to feel the elegance in their day to day life, because comfort doesn’t have to translate into ugly looks (and who can say that sneakers look good?). Sometimes, such ideas can be easily passed on to the target audience via direct marketing, whenever this is possible as an option.

Who knows how many shoes designers before him thought that America has no potential for elegant shoes, because almost everybody wears blue jeans and cowboy boots (like the famous Marlboro man)?

This reminds me of this story Philip Kotler tells in one of his books:

Two businessmen wrecked on a savage island, where people walked barefoot. One of them said: “look, there’s no potential for a shoes business on this island”. His colleague argued: “on the contrary, I can see an immense potential: nobody wears shoes and there’s no competition yet!”

The question is how to make the difference between an opportunity and a lack of interest. What do you think? What made Martin Dingman realize that the Marlboro man needed elegant shoes?