A giant, racy-red motorised stiletto is not what you expect to see cruising down the avenues of Iran’s capital but it certainly attracts attention, and business, for intrepid shoe-shine man “Aliwaxima”.
In conservative Tehran, where Islamic morality police still mount patrols, 42-year-old Aliwaxima proudly plies his trade unhindered, in his coquettish scooter.
He even has fans in this city of near 13 million residents little used to public flights of fancy like his motorised high-heel.
Be they on foot, car or motorcycle, people stop in awe and clamour for selfies both in and outside the three-wheeled fibreglass stiletto.
His business moniker merges his name and the English word “wax” tweaked into an Iranian superlative to give “Aliwaxima”, the man who gives the best shine.
In sync with digital times, Ali has customer service 2.0 down pat. He carries a mobile phone, of course, for client calls but also has an Internet site, an Instagram account and a Facebook page — with scores and scores of friends — featuring his red high heel as the cover photo.
Daringly, he has displayed these addresses on his vehicle, notably the one for Facebook, a site officially blocked in Iran — though residents bypass the ban by downloading VPNs, networks that can transfer information via secure servers in other countries.
And on the driver’s side is the understated slogan: “The first shoe shape car in Iran”.
After working the streets of central Tehran for 18 years, Ali is, however, known to many.
– Women clients now –
The idea came from abroad after Ali saw pictures of giant shoes used to advertise shoeshine stands. “But they were not motorised,” he notes with a mischievous glance behind his dark glasses.
It took him two-and-a-half months to build the red stiletto shape and “people adore my vehicle. They love to sit in it and take photos.”
It also turned into a wise — and lucrative — business move.
As reported by AFP