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Nigel Cabourn - Page 127

post #1891 of 6446




Sorry if this is taking the thread back to prices, I don't normally talk about other companies costings and wholesale/retail prices, but we use a few of the same factories of a few mention labels in this thread, UK production does cost more, but not that much more, but more.   We only make in London but I have travelled all over with Co-Lab work and production work for others.


Retail prices have to be completive with other retailers, there is no RRP in most markets a high retail price is based on a high wholesale price (sorry if this is a bit basic) after production and fabric costs the next big 'lump' in the wholesale mark-up is agency fees/profit, we work with a shallow mark up and no agents, but the larger companies (Cabourn in this case) use a network of agents and distribution, have a large staff and show in four markets every season, thus there increasing wholesale price driving up the retail price.  There are other factors here that I will not talk about as I've been a little to close to them and would not want to cross a line, in regards to respect and history.  But I will say this Fabrics also go through this production/agent/distribution cycle before most labels even start cutting garments, very few brands buy direct from loomers, this simple idea of direct to loomer saved us a LOT of money, same goes for button, zips, washings and everything else you’d use to make the garment.  As you grow this is harder to do.


I’m guessing that a large percentage of us own Red Wings, some old some new, I’ve had my boots since 1990 had them from new, cost me $70, replaced the soles 5 times and the laces a few thousand, same boots are now $175, twenty two years of wear and still going, but other more costly boots don’t make it past their first winter, I use this as an example of quality not costing the earth. 


There has long been an idea that quality and price are locked together, this is on the whole a correct link, sadly we have also made the reverse idea that price and quality is also linked, this is sadly not true, we all know you pay for a name and the name has value but why, what is this idea built on? 

When the talk comes to cost it’s what you get out of it, is what you are paying for… how long does it last and how much do you wear it, how good does it make you feel,  I have two very old jackets, one from the early days of Carhartt, the other early Woolrich, one cost me over $2000 the other I found in a bundle of ragging, love them both, wear them hard and enjoy them.   My point is, if you feel the cost is right and you’ll get the enjoyment out of it, why not spend £2500 on a Parka!


In regard to Nigel not being out there in the stores as much, with the growth of this ‘heritage’ market and need for some to increase their size to best be able to deal with that growth (increased costs which are added to W/Sale prices driving up the retail price), it’s sadly just part of the whole process, if the garments sell mainly in the sales, due to price, then the stores will not return for more of the same, it’s there profit that is lost.    Now the influx of high street identifying with this and pouching the style (this is the business!!)  The effect on the ‘expanded or die’ companies is evident with their loss of footing and crossover products needed to keep the core moving.  Many will fall ,Some will fail, a few will die…..but that is the clothing industry, it’s not built on rock it’s all shifting sands……


sorry for the length.....

post #1892 of 6446
he's growing so he's costs are going up? as in marketing costs?
post #1893 of 6446
post #1894 of 6446


Simply put, no, not just Marketing….


There is a point when your growing has striped past the size it can be managed with the original people, you have to expand your ‘team’ this is not a simple thing to do, depends on the ‘vision’ of the growing business where they want to be in X amount of seasons, also the costs need to be meet by the income of sales, if you only had two people working with you to begin with two wages spread over the sales of say 3000 units is a manageable thing, then you are at peck of your skills (shall we say, need a better word) everyone is busy, pushing for something they believe in, working to their limits, you expand by a 1000 units, you’ll need another two employees to help pick up the dropped work, now 4000 units needs to pay for 4 wages, it a simple view, but in my experience a very small company s more cost effective them a small company(staff wise), the more staff needed to grow a business is in the early stages of growth is out of sync with the cash flow, W/sale price goes up to match needs.  Other staff costs come in the way of agent  fees, more agents to reach more markets cost more money with minimum 6 months before cash flow catches up.  Another area is Distribution, bigger drain on profit with increased coverage….  Thus increased W/Sale prices


Above I mention this and to expand, when your very small you can work closer with weaver and loomers to get the deal you need and the cloth you want as you grow this become more a problem as you’re not big enough to get the cloth volume needed to discount you and too big to run on single or double rolls, it’s easier to get a single/double roll ‘test’ fabric than to get 4 rolls of ‘special’ cloths, bigger orders cost more, then you have to factor in the time needed by the ‘designer’ better to get the agent come see you, that’ll cost you more, they need there cut.  These cost grow and grow, it’s harder to cut a deal when they know you need them…increase fabric costs mean higher W/sale price

Same goes for buttons, zips and other bits, at some point you hope the expand or die gamble will pay off, it does, when you have crossed the company size line where you can forced the prices down.


Again the very small and the big have the best deals here, very small can work around the factory’s production holes and Big company set the time line with the factory, medium size have to fight for space and pay for that space over the odds to a degree.  Example:  let’s say I have 50 jackets to be made, two styles, my factory is a waxed cotton coat producer, they are busy 51 weeks of the year, they will fit in my 50 jacket in there down time, but if I go there with 150 coats, it another story, too busy to fit me in there free space so I have to book time on their main production schedule, that’ll cost….more on the W/sale price



You asked about it, it goes up and UP, to grow you need it, the costs are high and you will lose position as soon as you stop using it…. The bigger you get the more it costs….very small and small companies….cost us nothing, they like to have the little guys in the room to make the bigger ones look good.


What I’m trying to say is there is a point when is not profitable to grow, we have a choice to embrace the smallness of our companies or push through the unprofitable stage to the greener fields, if a company get caught in the space between they have cash flow problems, goods sold need to cover all costs.


I will add this; the process above is not a reflection on any company but from experience.

post #1895 of 6446
easy with the essays my dude
post #1896 of 6446


post #1897 of 6446

Don't say sorry, Neil. I for one am enjoying your insight!

post #1898 of 6446
I agree, Neil's insight is valuable and I thank him for it.
post #1899 of 6446

I agree, fascinating read..


Where does Nigel fit into that then? Surely he's only a small or even very small company?


An odd concept (for me being in a different industry) is that a buyer can't drive prices down as he buys more and more? You'd have thought it'd be the opposite.

post #1900 of 6446
yeah not sure, i would have thought he'd reach greater economies of scale which would offset his higher overheads.
post #1901 of 6446

In the future I would love to see a Nigel Cabourn x Woolrich John Rich & Bros. collaboration instead of the Eddie Bauer collaboration. 

post #1902 of 6446


Anybody a 52?  10% off with EXTRA10 and they deduct VAT for those of you outside Engurlund.

post #1903 of 6446
I had heard that the upcoming sample sale would include the Geddes jacket, but it looks to be the shorter Skyliner.
post #1904 of 6446
Originally Posted by bensolujofin View Post

I agree, fascinating read..


Where does Nigel fit into that then? Surely he's only a small or even very small company?


An odd concept (for me being in a different industry) is that a buyer can't drive prices down as he buys more and more? You'd have thought it'd be the opposite.



You have to order a LOT of fabric to get even a small discount on cloths same goes for production.  you can get maybe 20 jackets out of a roll, less if you match up,(working on a 110 width) so when you buying for 500 pcs your a long way away from short run tests and bulk buying of cloth, I know the tweed comes on a 244 so your cloth use is higher 45-50 unmatched but to bluk you'll be well below the discount level. bearing in mind it's by colour and cloth not off the total ordered.


In regards to size Nigel Cabourn is a medium sized company, both by turn over and staffing levels, when you look at his market and the other labels feeding into it, he's one of the main players there.  but in the industry he's a mid sized business. 

Edited by NeilChristopher - 10/7/12 at 9:00am
post #1905 of 6446
Originally Posted by BLAUGRANA View Post

In the future I would love to see a Nigel Cabourn x Woolrich John Rich & Bros. collaboration instead of the Eddie Bauer collaboration. 



To be a bit blunt, co-labs do not always help that much, good for profile if it's the right company to work with but unless you have a control in distrubution you have very little profit or leverage.  They can in some cases damage the brand and oddly weaken the bigger player in it.    Too many co-labs will in time change the industry view of the brand, weaken the designer and show product that may not be the best it can be.


John Rich has a good market within Italy and German, but has not yet flexed it international business, WWM would be a better fit for Nigel, but it's in a world of McNasty right now, the more towards a ivy league/prep look works well for them and will be the core need of growing there business not really Nigels area.


I think, some of the Eddie Bauer pieces are wonderful but the fit is a bit off and not showing the best of both NC and EB.

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