You're right, changed it in my post.
Very very dandy shoks...fantastics.
That's a pity for American folks. I guess NMWA were the step-change: they're also an e-tailer rather than a walk-in store, currently shipping only to the US (although both walk-in and international can be arranged, allegedly), so if Vass shipped direct to their customers there would be direct competition. Considering the investment NMWA have made in a great website and service (and carpet-bombing promotion in SF too!), it would be no surprise to me that Greg had an agreement with Vass to stop serving the US direct and refer to his site instead.
I have some sympathy with Rikod's view of the Vass style expansion, but only to a point: personally I find hatch grain a bit tacky - or any stamped in pattern for that matter - and I don't actually like jodphur boots. But that's a matter of my personal taste. What I do think is that Vass have kept their own limitations and style even in their more exotic offerings. Sure, they do lasts inspired by Italian and English styles, but I think they're also quite distinctively not Italian or English. The mottled leathers bother me no more than an unusual colour request, and I don't think we'll see them on the website any time soon as a standard offering. So I agree with Rikod that Vass should remain true to their own identity. But I also think that they are. For all the practical, even cynical, expansion of their range to meet a wider range of tastes, I think they've kept a pretty strong identity, even if it's not the same as other Hungarian makers. And I like it.
I'll jump in for a second because I was named a few times here, and then I will retreat from this conversation.
As you can imagine, a public forum is not the appropriate venue for a retailer to discuss any of his suppliers' distribution strategy or commercial relationships. I will just make a few quick points to maybe rectify some incorrect assumptions:
1. I am a Vass shoe lover - always have been. Some of you have not been on this forum long enough to maybe realize it but I have been buying and wearing Vass shoes for a long time, I've been posting lots of pictures, reviews, help here to share with fellow Vass fans. I may not have started this thread but I'd say I've been active in it since the beginning.
2. When I drew a plan of what I wanted to do with No Man Walks Alone, I started with a blank page and the idea to offer the best and the products I love from makers I respect. Believe it or not, the first name on that page was Vass. It was for me a dream to share that passion for these shoes with others in the US and make it easy for people to buy shoes, try their size, return/exchange and ALWAYS be satisfied with their purchase
3. Everyone with a modicum of knowledge about shoemaking and the costs of doing so know very well that Vass shoes are an exceptional deal for what they are. Several brands not nearly as well made sell for twice their retail price. There's a reason why so many of us have jumped through hoops and played a little bit of sizing roulette with these shoes... they're a great deal, even after a couple of costly mistakes.
4. I take exception to being called a price gouger. Without getting into details that should not be publicly shared, let's just say that these are probably our lowest margin items in the entire store.
5. I do not have an exclusivity agreement of any sort as alleged or assumed. It is not my role to dictate Vass's distribution and pricing strategy. It is my opinion that once there are authorized channels, it is generally a mistake to feed unauthorized/grey channels and lose control over product distribution - but then again, it is not my role or place to make those decisions for Vass.
6. I am quite pleased with our business with Vass and I believe our customers are pleased with the value we bring to them through well thought-out make-ups, ease of purchase, quick and free shipping & returns. I hope to continue to offer Vass shoes as long as possible. It's a bit painful to read disparaging comments about us here when all we are doing is translate our passion for these shoes into a nice offering for our customers. We're also a forum affiliate, something that tends to be appreciated in other threads but somehow is met with negativity in this thread. I do not know why, and I don't think I can fix it, which is why I've generally been shying away from this thread rather than offer more pictures, insight and info.
I don't know if there is a right conclusion to this other than : continue to enjoy your Vass, make your own decisions as to who you want to support as a retailer and let me know if I can help.
NMWA is a great outfit and offered me tremendous advice and followup on Vass. However the problem is - and I hope no offense is taken here - the paucity of styles offered. Epaulet offers even far fewer styles than NMWA. I'm not looking for anything outrageous in design that would normally require an MTO (unless you call a single monk strap outrageous). So, while I understand carrying a large number of models ready to ship would be a huge investment sitting on the shelves at NMWA, why not have Vass provide its official retail channels in the US with an updated inventory of what they have on hand in Budapest ready to ship, then the retail customer could order through NMWA or Epaulet, pay the retail price of $700-$800 which I have no problem with whatsoever, and drop ship the product from Budapest to the US customer? It seems to me that everything ordered through NMWA or Epaulet has to be an MTO and treated as such by Vass requiring a wait time of 8 weeks or so. All the while, it may be sitting on the shelves of the Budapest store. I may be completely wrong about that process so please correct me if that's the case. For me its about the availability of product, not the price, and I do value the support of a US outlet.