Christian Louboutin On Pricing (How A $50 Nail Polish Will Boost Business.)


(Photo credit: SEPHORA)

I fell off my stilettos when I got this email from Sephora.  

Could you not just die?

Christian Louboutin nail polish in his signature red, with a SEVEN-inch cap, the same length as his Ballerina Ultima shoe – the highest heel he ever designed.

And the price tag? $50. FOR NAIL POLISH.

That’s right. $50. For .04 fluid ounces of red lacquer.

Now, before you go off the deep end, take a moment to think about what Louboutin is doing.

Like all great designers, he’s creating a fantasy.

Something that removes you from the everyday, and transports you to the Fashion Week world, where you’re sitting in a front row seat next to Anna Wintour and Bono while waves of chiffon strut by.

Just like his shoes – and their $1000 plus price tags – his nail polish embodies feeling special. Rich. Luxurious.

Whether you’re rich or not, paying $50 for a nail polish will make you feel that way. You’ll apply the polish more carefully. You’ll admire the bottle more completely. You may avoid chipping your nails for just a little bit longer.

It’s a totally different feeling from that $1.95 bottle of Sally Hansen Tropical Sunset from the drugstore, right?

Louboutin understands the incredible VALUE of what he’s created.

Which has nothing to do with an incredible value like buying bulk panties from Wal-Mart.

Don’t get me started on the time that Chad and I went on vacation in a small town and I FORGOT my undies.

And while I’m into a lot of things, going commando isn’t one of them. So I had to buy what was available – a knock-off version of Hanky Pankys.

Let’s just say that even at $11.00 a pair they were itchy, scratchy, and the cheap lace tore on the 1st day I wore them. As soon as I got home, off came the imitations and on came my $20.00 Hanky Pankys. WORTH the money.

Christian Louboutin WANTS you to feel exclusive, expensive, and lavish. Even when it’s just a bottle of nail polish. So he went one step further than the price.

He launched his nail polish line as a limited edition. With just ONE color.


He actually waited a full month before introducing more colors. 3 sets, 9 colors each, but his signature “Louboutin Rouge” is a stand alone shade – and the most popular.

You might think that launching a product line with a single product at a premium price would lead to a spectacular failure.

Guess what? The first run sold out. There was a waiting list for the next production.

Here’s what Mr. Louboutin said when questioned about the price by New York Times Style reporter Ruth La Ferla:

‘There is no need to add an ordinary product to the beauty category. This is extraordinary.’

– Christian Louboutin

And that’s not just Christian Louboutin being hyperbolic. That’s Christian Louboutin backing up his vision and his product. The formula has been called ‘perfect’ by beauty insiders. The bottle is cast crystal, the same as a flacon for a high end perfume.

And by using the iconic color, and the stiletto cap, even if you only have $50, you become part of Louboutin’s world. And that’s extraordinary.

Just one more note – Christian Louboutin has been building his luxury brand since 1991. In his first year of business, he only sold 200 pairs of shoes. But he never wavered on the craftsmanship he wanted to bring to his brand, nor did he waver on his vision, its design, or how he wanted women to feel when they owned his products.

Mr. Louboutin definitely put in the time to create a brand worthy of premium pricing.

So when you are thinking of pricing, remember, it’s not about trying to guess what someone might pay for your products or services, and then charging a little more or a little less – depending on your confidence level.

It’s about respect. For both you and your prospective customer. Respecting the time and effort you put into creating the best that you can. And respecting your customer’s desire to buy the best she can afford.

And charging appropriate prices for your offering is the ULTIMATE in self-respect.

Remember what Mr. Louboutin says:

“There is no need to add an ordinary product to any area.”

So be extraordinary. And charge appropriately.


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