Glad that you dig them, and thanks for the honest post. We're certainly developing a lot of new things, and you'll see a mix of price points coming down the road. I feel that everything we make has a very competitive value for what it delivers, but the higher end items will always cost more in real dollars. My goal is to have a lot of different ways for customers to interact with the brand. It's boring if everything is really expensive, but also unappealing if everything is really pedestrian and cheap. Working within our parameters (first world production, great quality and finish, correct sizing, proper materials), I'm going to work on developing a mix of formal and casual pieces at all price points.
The Derby (PTB) is a very "Epaulet" item. It's a really great value for the money, especially when you see the materials in person. The fit is excellent and I believe we designed a very nice last for it. It's an easy biz-caz piece that pairs nicely with dress trousers or jeans.
You made an interesting point about dressier offerings. I thought about those a lot and even put through some samples of really nice goodyear welted pieces. We could offer something really competitive at about $350. But actually, I decided to pass. Even from just logging on Styleforum, it appears that there's a new imported and faux-bespoke shoe brand every week. It's used to be just Meermin and a few others, but man, I can't keep them all straight anymore. I feel that cheaper mens dress shoes are in a race towards the bottom, and it's probably not a space where I can be competitive. I felt that this product was lacking: a well-priced, comfortable, and versatile piece that can be worn with a huge range of looks.
That said, if this is a hit, we can certainly develop a Shortwing and an Alt Wien on the same last and profile.
I appreciate both the original question, as well as the considered response, given that I have often felt the same as OP. I can appreciate everyone getting excited about $1k sports coats, but that's not even conceivable for me, personally. I appreciate Mike being receptive to this as Epaulet has decidedly gone in a more "luxe" direction over the last few years, while still wanting to appeal to a "lower tier" customer base as well.
I, for one, will definitely be trying the EP PTB, and hopefully the various iterations to follow.