Eleanor Jacobs, 91, Dies; a Force Behind the Earth Shoe Phenomenon

from NYTs

Eleanor Jacobs, who stumbled upon a pair of odd-looking shoes in Denmark and, with her husband, Raymond, created a short-lived phenomenon by selling them in the United States as Earth Shoes, died on Aug. 25 at her home in Litchfield, Conn. She was 91.

Her daughter Susan Jacobs said the cause was congestive heart failure.

In 1969, while she and her husband were vacationing in Denmark, Ms. Jacobs’s chronic back pain increased from all the walking she had been doing. She found unexpected salvation with a pair of negative-heel shoes she found at a store in Copenhagen.

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2 Comments

  1. Successful inventions and business ventures often have character witnesses who can attest to a brand’s promises or expected outcomes. Not a lot of times, however, is the character witness also the proprietor of the brand. Eleanor Jacobs was an innovator who was able to cash-out for a long time due to her faith in her branded products, Earth Shoes. According to the New York Times’ article on Jacobs’ life, foot experts and podiatrists do not support Earth Shoes’ claim of health benefits, but when an entrepreneur advertises the relief from back pain that she had once she started wearing Earth Shoes, it is no surprise that they grew to become such a phenomenon for a short time.

    After I read this article, I asked my parents if they had ever heard of Earth Shoes. To my surprise, my mother said yes. Although she was young at the time, she remembers some of the older kids in grammar school who talked about and even wore pairs of shoes. I had never heard of Earth Shoes or their temporary success among the counterculture population. I think that if my mother was older, she may have even bought and worn a pair. Eleanor and her husband, Raymond, were very smart in the way that they advertised the Earth Shoes. They capitalized on counterculture’s celebration of Earth Day decades ago, causing their shoes to become a success. By targeting this group of people, while simultaneously advertising supposed health-benefits and multiple different styles of Earth Shoes, the Jacobs were able to capitalize on the Danish shoe.

    The story of Eleanor Jacobs makes me wonder about modern-day products that are produced and advertised in similar ways. Marketing strategies are quite thorough, and I would not be surprised to hear that certain brands of products focus on specific target groups of people and advertise health-benefits that may or may not be true. Today, however, it may be a lot easier thanks to the widespread use of the internet and other technologies to have an expert or doctor deny them. Regardless, there are probably many products that a lot of us own that we were convinced to buy due to the advertising methods used. Today’s entrepreneurs can learn a lot about the way that Eleanor and Raymond Jacobs were able to become a phenomenon thanks to the way they marketed their products. While the product’s fame may have been temporary, Jacobs will have everlasting importance in the world of marketing and advertisements for sure.

  2. After reading this article, I thought to myself how can one be so creative and make what they want to become famous. For example earth shoes. even though it was a long time since people wore them, back when they were on the market, many people bought them and they turned into a style. Even though they were bad shoes in the long run for your foot, they still caught many peoples attention and many people wore these shoes. For just a short time the brand was on the top, and it doesn’t really work like that, that a brand just comes out or a style and people are quick to react, but with this one it has changed. This was a success to her career because she came up with an idea that would influence people to buy her shoes and she did just that. She made lots of money with these shoes and will always be remembered for her ” earth shoes”. In todays day, we usually have the hype going around first, “oh look at this or we need to try these or see it in person” then it comes on the social media and makes its way all around and people start to get interested. Back then they didn’t have internet and the technology we have today, so for her shoes to make a come up, was really spectacular. A holiday we call Earth Day was another way of getting the brand out there and which caused people to buy the shoe, because of its name and the day was called Earth Day. People today can take a good look or have an idea if you’re trying to start a brand or trying to have your clothing line reach the potential you want it to. they can take a page out of Eleanors book and see how she connected the two and made lots of money, and this way the trend will keep going, and everyone can make their way up financially.

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