The product life cycle is as real as it gets. First, a new product is introduced. Then, it takes a phase of growth as it becomes more popular. Eventually it will reach maturity, where it becomes an established product. After that, when it becomes old news, the product declines.
Sometimes it’s a sharp decline, other times it’s a gradual decline. Sometimes it disappears forever, other times it makes a roaring comeback.
Crocs once disappeared.
Now they’re back.
And boy are they bigger than ever.
“I have four pairs of Crocs,” Castleton freshman Amanda Brault said with a smile.
It’s important to note here that Crocs usually go for about $45.
The Crocs decline was pretty sharp. At one point they were trendy, but they were always criticized. They were loved and hated. Some thought they were stylish, others thought they were ugly.
The Croc phenomena then hit a dreaded wall. The maturity phase was over. The decline began. Fewer people wore them, an increasing number of people thought they were ugly, and soon they almost disappeared.
But the Croc-makers didn’t give up, and a few years ago people started wearing them again, almost as a joke. Then more people began to wear them as a statement.
Now, they’re everywhere. And those who wear them, adore them.
“I love them because you can express how you feel, like my favorite color is yellow and I just got a yellow pair. I’m really excited about those,” Brault said.
Croc owners love them because they say they’re unique. You can get different colors, designs, and styles that fit who you are perfectly, they say.
And that’s not even the best part. The charms, or “Jibbitz” as the Crocs company calls them, allow for even more specialization.
Mitchell LaFlam loves the Jibbitz.
“I actually bought a pack of 100 of them on Amazon. I was selling them to some of my buddies, like two Jibbitz for $1, so I could get my couple dollars back to buy another pack. But I like Captain America and the Starlord ones. My buddy Max told me I’m Starlord. Then I really like Master Splinter because the Ninja Turtles are awesome.”
Not many shoes can hold special meaning through little charms that plug into a hole.
Brault is a big fan of the Jibbitz too.
“I have some from my favorite movies and my favorite characters,” she said.
Abby Mayo, a sophomore, explained why her Jibbitz have importance to her.
“I think my Jibbitz are pretty snazzy,” she said. “I used to work at a summer camp and I got them from my co-counselor and the kids really like them so I kept them.”
Personal expression is not the only perk of the funky looking foamy-feeling shoe.
“They’re easy on-the-go. You can just slip them on and just leave and you don’t have to worry about tying your shoes,” said Gabby Coons, who also owns four pairs of crocs.
“Very comfortable,” she added.
So, they’re comfortable, easy to slide on, and unique to their patrons. What more could you ask for in a shoe?
To Castleton freshman Ryan Boeke, they’re even more than that. His Crocs-and-socks get-up has become popular on campus.
“I am wearing my famous tie-dye Crocs with the long tube white socks,” Boeke said proudly. “I love Crocs. One of the things I really like about them is that, unlike other shoes where you get to a certain point and you wear them in and then they just start tearing apart, you can’t do that with crocs. The more you wear them, the more comfortable they become.”
From there, Boeke went into a full-on Croc analysis, almost as if he was salesman trying to sell them. He discussed the easy cleaning process of just “stepping into a pond,” and said he loves the aerodynamic holes and their strong grip.
He even went into the three modes of Crocs, which he claims change just by moving that little rotatable strap on the roof of the shoe.
“You’ve got your adventure mode, which has the strap in the back. You’ve got your creative mode, which is the strap on the front, or if you’re kind of a daredevil, I’m not, I don’t prefer this, take the strap off and you’ve got suicide mode,” he said with a smile.
Others may not be this passionate about a shoe, but Crocs seem to be something special. Fans rave about the comfort, the simplicity, the uniqueness, and of course the versatility. Oh, and the durability.
Boeke summed that up perfectly.
“You wear yours for like 20 years or something. I mean it’ll probably get a little thin, you might have to put some duct tape on, but it’s still going to feel like a nice pillow on your foot.”