Originally Posted by Peter1
I'll weigh in, because I've been eyeing WvG for years but haven't pulled the trigger.
I' m definitely in your target demographic: I work in a biz-cash office, I prefer traditional styles at work but off-duty like to wear some "interesting" stuff like EG and Spellbound, and I almost always buy from smaller companies that source from living-wage factories, whether MiUSA or MiJ etc.
To me WvG's competitors, at least among the SF set, are Epaulet, GV and MTM outfits like Luxire. I own a lot of EP pants and GV shirts, but why not WvG? I think the main reason is perceived consistency in fit and styles. I've been able to try on Ep stuff in-store, and with only a very few exceptions I know that a Rivet chino will fit me, for example. I think Mike at EP has been very strategic in how he's moved his clients upscale -- where the margins are higher.
It's not price: I've paid WAY too much for EG and GV at retail -- I'd pay $150-175 for a WvG shirt if that's what I wanted.
I don't get the sense that WvG is a coherent brand -- individually the pieces work, but it's hard to see what the vision is.
the pyschology of branding is crucial -- for example, when I spend $200 for an EG shirt, it connects me in some way to Daiki Suzuki, a cool Japanese dude. Same with all those kids who went apeshit for A&F a few years ago. Silly and irrational, I know, but there you go.
Intellectually I know that WvG makes superior quality shirts at loss-leader prices, but I haven't made that emotional connection.
As for the tote program, yeah, it's a barrier. I work in journalism, and the sense that everying on the Web should be free has decimated the industry. I just can't wrap my head around the fact that people are too cheap to spend 10 bucks a month to fund quality journalism. But they are. Just like the tote program -- sure, you get the benefits as soon as you buy a second shirt, or whatever, but why can't I get that benefit RIGHT NOW, and why do I have to pay for it upfront?
Maybe Peter1 is saying something that hits home to majority on SF and that's a real problem. I am by no way knocking the brands but I am not like those brands. The construction techniques and fabrics are simply better. I don't mind be compared to Epaulet because Mike is a great guy and has a great business but the two brands are not similar. EG, on the other hand is my competition and Daiki tells a good story. We both have stockist and we both cater towards a fashionable client that appreciates not only design but wants to buy American Made goods.
Now if you don't agree with my aesthetic and fit that's a different issue and I can't help anyone their.
As the discussion goes on longer patterns are forming and I am curious to wonder what is really what. The rewards program is what it is but if you see something you like and don't feel compelled to buy into the rewards program why wouldn't you buy into that product anyway? If you are buying EG or GV you are paying retail ( unless you are a sale shopper) and WvG retail prices are very similar to EG and GV. So, if you like a shirt trying it at retail seems like the right thing to do. If you don't like it you send it back for a refund just like you would do with the other brands. If you do like it and think you will buy one or two items a year it only makes sense for you to join the club, with the savings made from the rewards program you can still buy GV , Epaulet, and EG with the money you saved from WvG.
Let's take RKD for example ( most people are familiar with him here) this dude shops like its his job. He buys a LOT from me but he still buys EG and the other brands he likes such as RRL. The buying process doesn't need to be just WvG because of the rewards program. You still have options.
Peter1, I hope one day you give WvG a whirl but I can tell you this with certainty. My customers have a connection with me for sure. Hell, I don't know when the last time you partied with Daiki but I can rattle of shit load of people on SF that have fun with me. Not to insult you or make you feel bad in anyway but I am here pretty much 24/7 for my customers.
I feel I personally make a strong product and I back it 150%. I am a little lost with the lack of a cohesive collection, true. However for my point of view why would I make a whole collection if the majority are in the mind set of " I only know his shirts and tees so why would I try the rest", that is a HUGE waste of money on my part. I figure if I dial in all the pieces one at a time and launch the as items I will gradually get to the point where a whole collection will be easy to put together. I have to look at things from not only a design perspective but a financial perspective.
Peter1 and anyone one else if you are ever in the DC area you may stop by try stuff on and we will probably have drinks and food to. I think that's pretty standard in the WvG world. If you are ever in Toronto, Richmond, Dallas, or Pittsburgh I have stockist there that you could try things on from.
I would really like one or two stockists in Cali. The bulk of my sales come from Cali, anyway.
I think I am going to play around with the shipping idea or if you buy at retail over $200.00 and keep the garment you will get a membership.
1. It might help attract the clients I am trying to target. ( sorry sale shoppers)
2. Shipping is an issue with most people and having the ability to return something is a good thing.
a. interestingly enough once a customer of mine dials in their size I get very very few returns ( knock on wood).
b. I have to have a b. because that's good english
3. My stance on quality speaks for itself and I will beef up the website to make that known to potential customers.
Any other ideas would help. I would like to get the ball rolling.
Peter1- hit me up firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send you a shirt to try maybe this will help!