As part of a rather clever marketing campaign the folks at Dr Martens had a special few minutes this morning when they opened their stores and sold their classic Monkey boot at its original 1960s price – that was £3 – nowadays £110. Obviously there was a limited stock at this low, low price and obviously there was a long, long queue snaking up to their doors.
Queuing outside the Dr Martens shop in Norwich – quite early!
Queuing outside the Dr Martens shop in London – very early!
My daughter and I launched a two-pronged attack, she went to Schuh at Marble Arch in London and I trekked into to join the queue outside the Dr Martens in Norwich. When I arrived it was already over 100 people long with some determined people queuing since 3.00am, but I thought I’d wait anyway. Even in England where we Brits are famous for queuing you still get the odd queue-jumpers. This pair of lads shuffled up to join their friends and then stood their sheepishly as a wave of muttering rolled over them. As it was no-one this far down the queue got anywhere near the £3 boots, but we were all given 25% off vouchers by a helpful shop assistant at 8.50am.
You might well look at your feet – queue jumper!
Mmm – 25% – they don’t look too impressed.
Despite my failure, all was not lost because my daughter (a true early bird) in London got the boots she wanted at the 1960s price.
Some products are the epitome of ‘form and function’ and, for me, Dr Martens boots and shoes are just that. I remember the feeling of liberation the first time I bounced down the escalators at Highbury and Islington tube station wearing my first pair when I was a 19 year old student. I had switched down from the high-heeled, dainty shoes that my mother approved of into black DMs that I could actually walk, run, and climb stairs in.
Last month, Dr Martens opened their second largest store in the UK in Norwich and needless to say I had to get along and have a look at all the fun designs. I do have some ‘lady-like’ party shoes, but most of the time I live in my boots.
Dr Martens is a British company based in Northampton where they have been making footwear for over 100 years. Originally, the Griggs family started as traditional family shoemakers in 1901, but in the 1950s they began a collaboration with a couple of Germans, Dr Klaus Märtens and Dr Herbert Funck. Märtens and Funck had developed a novel air-cushioned sole made from rubber and together with Bill Griggs a new working boot was designed. The first pair of Dr Martens were made in the Northampton factory in April 1960.
Now, over 50 years later we can even find a Dr Marten boot for our tots or treat ourselves to an arty pair from the eclectic range made in the brand’s original factory at Wollaston, Northamptonshire, reopened in 2007 to produce vintage styles.