Nordstrom-Owned HauteLook Launches Monthly Shoe Club

HauteLook, the shopping site that was acquired by Nordstrom for up to $270 million, has launched Sole Society, a monthly shoe club.

The company, which offers 48-hour sales events for all types of clothing, is bringing the music-club phenomenon back into style.

But this time, instead of teenagers getting a CD from an artist they potentially never heard of, fashionistas will get a pair of the latest shoes (I hope you have a large closet!).

It works like this.

Registration is free, and your shoe style is determined after taking a short quiz. Each question asks you to pick from a series of photos what best represents your style. One question asks of three Gwen Stefani looks, which do you prefer?

Based on your preferences, Sole Society will then send you an online selection of “designer-quality” shoes every month for $49.95 per month. The styles range from heels, wedges, flats or booties. In response to a question about what designer brands will be offered, a spokesperson said it is offering its own exclusive brands of shoes, including a brand called Marco Santi at launch.

Just like with the music clubs, you are allowed to opt out, however, you must remember to choose to do so by the 5th of the month, or else you will be charged for a pair of shoes and begin to accumulate credit. HauteLook says you will never accumulate more than $150 or three months at a time.

The terms are very flexible, but much like the original music clubs, the catch is whether you were disciplined enough to either pass when not interested or return unwanted to shoes.

There’s no limit to the number of months you can skip, and even if you choose to skip a month, you can change your mind and purchase as many shoes as you would like. If you are not satisfied with your shoes for any reason, you have 30 days to return the shoes for full credit with a prepaid UPS label.

As an added bonus, Sole Society members can earn a free pair of shoes if  they refer three friends to the site that result in a sale.

HauteLook is one of the companies competing in a new wave of e-commerce, which leverages group sales to offer discounts for limited time. Others include Gilt Groupe and Rue La La. The broader category includes Groupon and LivingSocial, which are focused more on offering deals for local services, including discounts to restaurants and spas.

Seattle-based Nordstrom announced last month that it acquired HauteLook for $180 million in stock. However, the transaction size could jump to as much as $270 million if the company meets certain performance goals.

HauteLook will operate an independent, wholly owned subsidiary, to be managed by its current leadership. The transaction was expected to close by the end of this month.

While Nordstrom is now a department store, offering a full range of items for sale, it kicked off as a shoe store. In 1960, it was considered the largest independent shoe chain in the U.S., and its downtown Seattle store was the largest shoe store in the country.


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