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Vass distributorships, globalization, protectionism, etc... - Page 14

post #196 of 240
Quote:
Originally Posted by j
You have been very hostile on this thread, jumping down quite a few members' throats about this issue.
J, I really think that the term "hostile" is quite wide of the mark, and if you'll read my several posts in this thread, I think that you'll see this. I have been critical in what I consider a non-abusive way. Hostility is a negative concept; criticism is more neutral. If you consider my posts "hostile" because I was disagreeing with others, are you fair-minded enough to characterize Harris's posts as "hostile" too, because he was attacking some of us (as in his putdown of me) and Steve B.'s moderating as "hostile" because he actually infringed on a member's post? One's choice of words is a clear indicator of their viewpoint, and as owner of this forum, I would think you'd want yours to be neutral.
post #197 of 240
^^^ Dude. Chill. Please.
post #198 of 240
To me, the difference between $550 shoes and $1500 is negligable. I can't afford either one of them. Thus, as a completely disinterested 3rd party, I feel comfortable saying that Gabor and Andrew (and on a larger scale, Vass as a company) has every right to control the distribution channels for a market any way they see fit. It is not greedy, it is not unethical, or illegal. It is business. And in fact, it is how they earn their living. It seems that, however well-intentioned the original post was that pointed out that you could get them cheaper from Germany, it was ultimately a bad thing, as it literally takes money from the pockets of those people who brought the shoes to our attention in the first place.

If BG is aware (and they obviously are) that we are discussing how to bypass their exclusive US Vass dealership status in the US on a public forum, anyone who looks up Vass on google has the knowledge that you can aquire the same shoes at a lesser price with little or no effort, why would BG continue to carry the shoes? If they don't reorder, what then happens to Andrew and Gabor? What if other companies who would potentially be interested in carrying the shoes get turned off by this whole debacle and decide that Vass isn't the right shoe for their store? Singlehandedly destroying someone's business, even with the best of intentions, is still destroying their business.

Some of you might think that I'm reaching here, and that this scenario is unlikely to happen, but let me assure you that it is entirely possible, and I for one wouldn't want it to happen to anyone who has been such a valued asset to the forum.

My 2 cents.

Steve is a loose cannon? When did that happen!??
post #199 of 240
I think that Tokyo has hit the nail on the head. Also, as moderators, we are forced (it is not pleasant) to balance the free flow of ideas on the forum with the legitimate commercial interests of some of our valuable members.

Now, Bergdorf Goodman guys, if you are reading this, please send me a duffle bag full of cash. I sure could use it. I am in the same bag as Tokyo. $600, $1400, doesn't matter to me. I need to pay rent (the second figure is actually my rent - holy cow!)
post #200 of 240
Quote:
Originally Posted by LA Guy
I think that Tokyo has hit the nail on the head. Also, as moderators, we are forced (it is not pleasant) to balance the free flow of ideas on the forum with the legitimate commercial interests of some of our valuable members.
(Bold-face above mine.) Thank you. That explains a lot. I had no idea that the latter was a priority. I'm not saying it shouldn't be, just that I hadn't twigged to this.
post #201 of 240
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger
(Bold-face above mine.) Thank you. That explains a lot. I had no idea that the latter was a priority. I'm not saying it shouldn't be, just that I hadn't twigged to this.
How would you feel if someone on this forum cost you your job or livelihood? That is the issue I see at the root of this debate. The right for someone to buy shoes at a price that they feel entitled to is not a good enough reason to destroy 4+ years of Andrew and Gabor's hard work trying to introduce a product into the lexicon of american consumer conciousness IMO. It would just be rude. By the way, congrats on getting stock into Bergdorf. I hope it works out.
post #202 of 240
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tokyo Slim
How would you feel if someone on this forum cost you your job or livelihood? That is the issue I see at the root of this debate.
Globalization has costs as well as benefits. Even if your nightmare scenario were to come to pass - as I'll explain below, I think it's a strawman - I wouldn't feel any more or less sorry for these two gentlemen then I do for a call center employee who was laid off because his firm moved to India or a factory worker who's unemployed because her company couldn't compete with a Chinese company on quality or price. Like it or not, there are costs to basing a business model on the fallacy that borders are still relevant to commerce in the 21st century. It's really quite reckless, if you think about it. It's sad for some of the individuals affected, and in cases where necessary I certainly support government-funded safety nets and civilizing reforms like single-payer healthcare to minimize the human costs of dislocation as much as possible. It is also ultimately for the good of the entire world to see countries like China and India follow in the footsteps of the UK and the US in their development, grow middle classes, and climb their way out of poverty. If Vass or any agents on their behalf wish to prevent prices from more or less harmonizing across borders, they are free to attempt to amass the capital to control the destiny of their shoes from every point up to the end user in every market. If they cannot or will not do that, they are resigning themselves to fight an ultimately losing war against the free market.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tokyo Slim
The right for someone to buy shoes at a price that they feel entitled to is not a good enough reason to destroy 4+ years of Andrew and Gabor's hard work trying to introduce a product into the lexicon of american consumer conciousness IMO. It would just be rude.
Now that's very extreme. For one thing, with the internet being what it is sooner or later almost all of the good niche producers of everything all over the world are going to be known to those who wish to find out about them, regardless of any individual's hard work. Now, someone going into Bergdorf, trying them on, and ordering them elsewhere, I'll agree, is distasteful. But I would venture to guess that the majority of people who are buying expensive shoes over the internet without trying them on have done no such thing, so suggesting that internet sales are taking away from local sales itself is quite the strawman. And frankly, if BG dies drops Vass the more likely reason is that Americans in the main aren't that interested in the Central European shoemaking traditions, and have ingrown preferences for sleeker English and Italian products. I know that people have commented on my Ludwig Reiters for over five years, but nobody has ever asked me where he could get a pair. Also, the requisite disclaimer: I've neither seen Vass shoes at BG or anywhere else, and certainly never considered paying $500+ for a pair of shoes on a last I've never tried. $500 is not pocket change to me. However, when I go to Europe in August I might look for some because I am a fan of that school of shoe design. If I judge Vass to be worth the price difference from Ludwig Reiter then I probably will buy a pair. Unless they raise the European price to US levels, in which case no matter how good they are they won't be relevant to my lifestyle.
post #203 of 240
Quote:
Originally Posted by SGladwell
Globalization has costs as well as benefits. Even if your nightmare scenario were to come to pass - as I'll explain below, I think it's a strawman - I wouldn't feel any more or less sorry for these two gentlemen then I do for a call center employee who was laid off because his firm moved to India or a factory worker who's unemployed because her company couldn't compete with a Chinese company on quality or price. Like it or not, there are costs to basing a business model on the fallacy that borders are still relevant to commerce in the 21st century. It's really quite reckless, if you think about it. It's sad for some of the individuals affected, and in cases where necessary I certainly support government-funded safety nets and civilizing reforms like single-payer healthcare to minimize the human costs of dislocation as much as possible. It is also ultimately for the good of the entire world to see countries like China and India follow in the footsteps of the UK and the US in their development, grow middle classes, and climb their way out of poverty. If Vass or any agents on their behalf wish to prevent prices from more or less harmonizing across borders, they are free to attempt to amass the capital to control the destiny of their shoes from every point up to the end user in every market. If they cannot or will not do that, they are resigning themselves to fight an ultimately losing war against the free market.
Its up to you whether you feel "sorry" for them or not, but when is the last time you personally were responsible for outsourcing call center jobs to India, or closed a US factory yourself because it was cheaper to manufacture overseas? If Bergdorf decides that the people who would have bought Vass from them, DIDN'T because a well thought of and influential forum on Men's style made it appear that the shoes are "not worth" the $1500 that BG thinks they are.(however correct or incorrect that may be) Then perhaps they would not reorder them. I then would blame the person or people responsible for the action, not the lack of a niche shoe company's mastery of 21st century trans-global marketing ethos. Your way of thinking is a cop out as far as I'm concerned. I'd hope that people here would take more responsibility for their actions. Especially when it comes to friends and longstanding members of the forum. "Dude, I'm sorry we screwed up your huge Bergdorf deal, but your company just isn't globally minded enough to compete with our lust for cheaper products." Seems a little callow.
Quote:
Now that's very extreme. For one thing, with the internet being what it is sooner or later almost all of the good niche producers of everything all over the world are going to be known to those who wish to find out about them, regardless of any individual's hard work.
So what you are saying is that Vass should stop promoting its shoes. Let me remind you again, that the only reason we know what we know about Vass shoes is because of Andrew and Gabor. The only reason there is an english website is because of Andrew and Gabor. So... without this forum, and without an english website, how many people would be buying Vass shoes? People who spoke Hungarian I guess.
Quote:
Now, someone going into Bergdorf, trying them on, and ordering them elsewhere, I'll agree, is distasteful. But I would venture to guess that the majority of people who are buying expensive shoes over the internet without trying them on have done no such thing
If people are buying shoes over the internet without trying them on, you are correct, I'm sure they have never tried them on at BG. Whatever you were trying to say here never got out of your brain intact... Hypothetically speaking: If you wanted a pair of Vass shoes, and knew you could get them for $550 shipped online, but wanted to try them on to make sure you liked the last, (as you have stated you would want to do) where would you go? Oh yeah. Bergdorf. Right. So you try them on and like them, but you already know you could get them for a third of the price from the German retailer. So what do you do? Buy from Bergdorf out of principal? That is why this entire conversation is so damaging to BERGDORF. The direct result of this is that they don't reorder the shoes, THAT is when it becomes Andrew and Gabor's problem. And that is what I have an issue with.
Quote:
And frankly, if BG dies drops Vass the more likely reason is that Americans in the main aren't that interested in the Central European shoemaking traditions, and have ingrown preferences for sleeker English and Italian products. I know that people have commented on my Ludwig Reiters for over five years, but nobody has ever asked me where he could get a pair
And maybe thats the case, but without anyone SELLING THEM IN AMERICA, it would be hard to say what Americans will and won't like. Vass is still trying to get people to sell their shoes here, which is why this is such a big deal. Bergdorf is (IMMSMC) the first BIG company to order any significant number. This is a crucial step for Andrew and Gabor, and I'm sure they would prefer it if people here wouldn't run counter to their efforts to earn a living.
post #204 of 240
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tokyo Slim
I'm sure they would prefer it if people here wouldn't run counter to their efforts to earn a living.

I hate it when that happens.
post #205 of 240
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tomasso
I hate it when that happens.
Yeah. Me too. Luckily the only one here who can do that to me is J.
post #206 of 240
I have been following this whole episode from the beginning and was not planning on getting involved but I would like to make one point.

My own business is based on territories with products.. We promote the products to generate sales and need to make a certain margin for this. At times I deal with other distributors poaching in my territory at lower margins. How do I fight this? I keep better stock levels than most other distributors, convenient locations, etc. I try to add value. The most important thing is to offer the product at a price which is still competitive. I may charge a little more than the outside distributors but if the difference is insignificant to the customer he will still buy from me. In this way I will lose sales from some customers but keep most. My other option is the threat of poaching in the other distributors territory and forcing his margins down by offering bargain pricing. This leads to both companies making next to nothing and either territories are respected or the company with the deepest pockets survives.

This leads to my main point, the huge price discrepancy between BG and other distributors of Vass. If Vass was able to place their shoes in BG at a lower retail price point this whole episode would not have happened. If customers only had to spend say 25% more ($150) at BG then I don't think most would bother ordering online and would just buy from BG. If Vass can not offer the right price point they may not succeed in the US market. I don't feel sorry for any company or individual who is not successful in business. It is what it is.
post #207 of 240
Just an idea... Perhaps BG priced the shoes based on their quality over other brands rather than on the wholesale/general retail price of Vass. Maybe the decision makers figured that they sold Gucci shoes for $500 with no real handwork, Lobb at $900 (not sure on the exact price or level of handwork) with some handwork, and then chose to put Vass at a higher price based on the level of quality in the shoe. If they placed them at $700 or whatever the typical number is, the consumer would equate them with a lower quality than the shoes they sell for $800 which may actually be the 'lesser' shoe.
post #208 of 240
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tokyo Slim
Its up to you whether you feel "sorry" for them or not, but when is the last time you personally were responsible for outsourcing call center jobs to India, or closed a US factory yourself because it was cheaper to manufacture overseas?

Every day of the last several years of my life, as long as the phenomenon has been going on. And assuming you haven't dropped out of the economy, so are you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tokyo Slim
If Bergdorf decides that the people who would have bought Vass from them, DIDN'T because a well thought of and influential forum on Men's style made it appear that the shoes are "not worth" the $1500 that BG thinks they are.(however correct or incorrect that may be) Then perhaps they would not reorder them.

I wouldn't imagine that Bergdorf, or anyone who can afford $1500 on a pair of shoes, gives a rat's ass what is said about them on the internet.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tokyo Slim
"Dude, I'm sorry we screwed up your huge Bergdorf deal, but your company just isn't globally minded enough to compete with our lust for cheaper products." Seems a little callow.

Well, one of the principles of Vass USA told me that they're doing quite well, so it seems your fears are unfounded. But if they were, sorry, that's life in the real world.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tokyo Slim
The only reason there is an english website is because of Andrew and Gabor. So... without this forum, and without an english website, how many people would be buying Vass shoes? People who spoke Hungarian I guess.

Funny, but last I checked the proprietor offering these shoes was German, so clearly all over Central Europe there are people who have discovered Vass shoes outside of this forum. Es gibt eine grosse Menge männliche Schuhe-fans, die Deutsch können.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tokyo Slim
Hypothetically speaking:
If you wanted a pair of Vass shoes, and knew you could get them for $550 shipped online, but wanted to try them on to make sure you liked the last, (as you have stated you would want to do) where would you go?

Oh yeah. Bergdorf.

Actually, if we're talking about me I would go to a German or Austrian shoe store on my next European trip (August), because I don't have time to schedule a Budapest leg. (I've been there several times.)
It's not that much more bother to hop on a plane from ATL to FRA then it is to hop on a plane from ATL to NYC, after all.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tokyo Slim
I'm sure they would prefer it if people here wouldn't run counter to their efforts to earn a living.

Indeed they may. But if they're running counter to the currents of the free world market, then perhaps they need to reëvaluate their strategy.
post #209 of 240
Quote:
Originally Posted by SGladwell
I wouldn't imagine that Bergdorf, or anyone who can afford $1500 on a pair of shoes, gives a rat's ass what is said about them on the internet.
Have you seen the amount of money spent on shoes by forumites? There are several members who can and do spend more than $1500 on a pair of shoes, from retail locations. Add in the google searchers and the lurkers, and you've got a large number of people. Relative to BG's market? I don't know, but certainly more than "[no]one."

Quote:
Indeed they may. But if they're running counter to the currents of the free world market, then perhaps they need to reëvaluate their strategy.
Maybe, but until then, it's their choice to make.
post #210 of 240
Quote:
Originally Posted by LA Guy
Now, Bergdorf Goodman guys, if you are reading this, please send me a duffle bag full of cash. I sure could use it. I am in the same bag as Tokyo. $600, $1400, doesn't matter to me. I need to pay rent (the second figure is actually my rent - holy cow!)

I know a company in Germany that will send you a much larger duffle bag full of cash than Bergdorf Goodman. Let me know if you're interested...
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