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Grenson Handgrade?

post #1 of 66
Thread Starter 
I think Grenson are still producing Rose shoes which are available from their shop on Liverpool Street. You'll struggle to find many online though. I thought Grenson Rose had been discontinued? I was told that a new line is coming out soon - better than Rose.
post #2 of 66
Just for info and for those that missed Tim Littles email to me some time ago here it is.
I suppose it explains Grensons plans although im still waiting avidly agog for the
Masterpiece equivalents....



"Thanks for getting in touch Kevin, its good to know that someone wants to
know the real story rather than just making making it up as many do.

Here is the story:

I was asked to help the fortunes of Grenson back in 2005 when the brand was
sinking fast and I found they were making a few nice shoes (masterpiece and
Footmaster) but the majority were moccasins, made in India retailing at
£100.

I wasn't allowed to discontinue the moccs as they were holding up the
company, but I parked them in "feathermaster".

I then set about creating a factory that could make shoes as well as the
best in Northampton. I ditched the cheap welted shoes that they were making
for other people and concentrated on the Rose Collection. We continued to
make Masterpeice for Paul Stuart and Japan, and we still do on a made to
order basis.

To make a proper welted shoe in England that is truly made in England (ie
not half made overseas) the retail price is £250 minimum. Almost nobody
under the age 40 spends £250+ on shoes so you automatically have an older
and much smaller following and one that isnt sustainable long term. Hence
there are 10 factories left most of which don't make money or they get their
shoes half made overseas and put "made in england" on them.

We decided that we wanted a company that followed in the grenson of old, ie
led by design and attracted young customers as well as old, not the Grenson
of recent years, just rehashing the same old shoes year in year out to a
dying customer base. English shoe companies only became boring about twenty
years ago remember, before that they were a very dynamic industry. People
generally only remember recent history which is why they get upset when you
change something even though it might have only been part of the history for
a tiny fraction of the companies history.

We now have a factory that makes only the highest grade shoes in the highest
grade materials. We are one of the few factories whose shoes are 100% made
in the factory the old way, we don't make anything that is part made in
India. These shoes are called G1 now, I changed it from The Rose Collection
for clarity. I will also be introducing a super high end range (or making
G1 all super high end) like masterpiece only nicer in due course, but you
rest assured that if you buy a G1 shoe, it is made 100% in our factory the
old way - ask other factories if they can guarantee this!

To keep the brand fresh we then make G2 in a partner factory in India,
(remember that we have been making shoes in the same beautiful factory there
for over 40 years). We design the shoes, buy the leather and materials in
Europe, (almost all of the materials are the top grade shoe making materials
such as Steads suede), make prototypes in our factory and then fly
technicians to India to show them exactly how we want them made. These
shoes are superb quality, made the same way, from the same materials and
allow us to keep the brand fresh and relevant and moving forward so that we
don't die like so many have done in the last 50 years.

By the way, we are the only brand that I can think of that makes 100%
goodyear welted shoes. This is our heritage and we are proud of it.

So that's it, two lines G1 and G2, both beautifully made from the finest
materials, one more accesible than the other. I have spent most of my time
since buying Grenson in April, improving the quality in the factory and you
will see our shoes climb to the very top over the next few months. We will
introduce closed channel shoes very soon as I love them but they may be G1
or they might be a new collection. They arent on the website yet as they
arent ready.

Another point is that we want to open up our factory and will be offerning
one day shoe making courses in the new year, so that we can explode the
myths that grow on the internet. Basically if all you want is a handmade
English pair of shoes made to finest quality, then Grenson G1 is one of a
tiny number who you can be sure are "old school" in our production methods.

By the way, the company is the most successful it has been for many years
and is going from strength to strength. Remember I love English shoe making
so much, I bet my house on it, so you cant get more commitment than that,
but we do need a second leg to balance what we do and to fresh and relevant
to the next generation.

Thanks
Tim"

Hope all that helps..............
post #3 of 66
Thread Starter 
Very interesting. Nice to see that Grenson are still going strong.
post #4 of 66
Thread Starter 
I dearly hope they make traditional English shoes i.e. shorter with a rounded toe. And a few plain derby boots, or better still a cap country boot. No-one does a quality cap country boot similar to the Coniston in plain calf leather. There are some wonderful 'military' style zugs which could also feature: there's only Cheaney and old Sargent's now. Tricker's have got rid of the Matlock. I'm very much a traditional English shoe man. It will be so disappointing if they simply do a 337 last variant. It seems that Handgrade equals elongated, slightly chiseled last.
post #5 of 66
I hear most people can actually choose to believe what they want to believe, but for some reason I don't think you believe rabies

That Tim Littles quote (which I read when first posted) still reads like a used car salesman pitch to me.
post #6 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by countbaron View Post

I hear most people can actually choose to believe what they want to believe, but for some reason I don't think you believe rabies

That Tim Littles quote (which I read when first posted) still reads like a used car salesman pitch to me.



Well looking at the Lodger site I can see that those nice looking Lodger Hamiltons selling for £450 are good old Cheaneys. The seconds were selling for £100 at Cheaneys factory shop sale

I love how this business is so .....

Hey Kev you may want to pass this through your mate Tim 'Little'
post #7 of 66
^^^ does any shoes besides Church's get your seal of approval ?
post #8 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by aj_del View Post

^^^ does any shoes besides Church's get your seal of approval ?

sure

C&J, Bally Scribes and Ferragamo (top LOs + tramezza) for the mid price range.

and
JLP
EG
Santoni limited Ed
Zegna Couture XXX
for higher range

I have no experience of many other brands of what seem to be very good shoes like Vass, Lattanzi, etc- or more risky stuff such as Berlutti and Corthay which seem to have too much going on the 'peacock' front.
post #9 of 66
PS: Barker Black are great too biggrin.gif
post #10 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by countbaron View Post


Hey Kev you may want to pass this through your mate Tim 'Little'

No mate of mine as such just asked a question and got an answer then shared it here. I have no horse in any shoe race.
post #11 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by kev777 View Post


No mate of mine as such just asked a question and got an answer then shared it here. I have no horse in any shoe race.



Hi Kev - things that stood out for me in Tim's statement:

'there are 10 factories left most of which don't make money or they get their
shoes half made overseas and put "made in england
" on them'.

I know it's a tough biz with low margins, but this is dismal if true.

'rest assured that if you buy a G1 shoe, it is made 100% in our factory the old way - ask other factories if they can guarantee this!'

' we are the only brand that I can think of that makes 100% goodyear welted shoes.

This last is ambiguous, but if he means at least some shoes that are 100% GW, then how about G&G, Edward Green, Lobb Paris, Alfred Sargent, C&J, Trickers - surely these do?

I know from shoe deconstructions on Japanese fanmags and on Depiedencap that EG and Lobb RTW are Goodyear welted without a doubt.
Any thoughts on who else in the mid to upper bracket doesn't actually Goodyear welt?
Edited by Pliny - 8/1/11 at 2:25am
post #12 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pliny View Post




Hi Kev - things that stood out for me in Tim's statement:

'there are 10 factories left most of which don't make money or they get their
shoes half made overseas and put "made in england
" on them'.

I know it's a tough biz with low margins, but this is dismal if true.

'rest assured that if you buy a G1 shoe, it is made 100% in our factory the old way - ask other factories if they can guarantee this!'

' we are the only brand that I can think of that makes 100% goodyear welted shoes.

This last is ambiguous, but if he means at least some shoes that are 100% GW, then how about G&G, Edward Green, Lobb Paris, Alfred Sargent, C&J, Trickers - surely these do?

I know from shoe deconstructions on Japanese fanmags and on Depiedencap that EG and Lobb RTW without a doubt.
Any thoughts on who else in the mid to upper bracket doesn't actually Goodyear welt?

I dont really want to speak for Tim Little as i'm sure he's capable of speaking for himself but if i may hazard a guess as to what he meant its that his G1 shoe is made solely in their factory and not imported from somewhere like india and finished, to whatever extent, in England. He's further saying that maybe the others dont do as he does? He also seems to be saying that every shoe is a Goodyear Welted shoe and, again, others are not.

I cant argue any point here and merely ponder as for one i havent seen a G1 shoe and secondly have no knowledge beyond what Tim Little has imparted. I tend , rightly or wrongly, to believe folk until such time as they are proven wrong. All i can say is i'm looking forward to seeing some G1's and indeed the "better than Masterpieces" he has promised. I have a pair of Masterpieces and they are fantastic shoes so anything near them will be welcome.
post #13 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by kev777 View Post


I dont really want to speak for Tim Little as i'm sure he's capable of speaking for himself but if i may hazard a guess as to what he meant its that his G1 shoe is made solely in their factory and not imported from somewhere like india and finished, to whatever extent, in England. He's further saying that maybe the others dont do as he does? He also seems to be saying that every shoe is a Goodyear Welted shoe and, again, others are not.

I cant argue any point here and merely ponder as for one i havent seen a G1 shoe and secondly have no knowledge beyond what Tim Little has imparted. I tend , rightly or wrongly, to believe folk until such time as they are proven wrong. All i can say is i'm looking forward to seeing some G1's and indeed the "better than Masterpieces" he has promised. I have a pair of Masterpieces and they are fantastic shoes so anything near them will be welcome.

Well I guess I just hope Tim's exaggerating about the state of the industry in Northhampton. Sad to see closures of makers like Poulsen-Skone and Peel and Co and of course many more. I want to be able to buy great shoes well into my old age I wonder if there's scope for some English makers to go the opposite direction? - more exclusive, more upmarket, and with more hand work - and no more Goodyear
post #14 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pliny View Post


and no more Goodyear

??? So what do you suggest instead ? More exclusive more upmarket more handwork your flying in the face of literally years of tradition with Old English shoe manufacturers with, again, years of combined experience. Your asking them to change ? to what?
post #15 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by kev777 View Post


??? So what do you suggest instead ? More exclusive more upmarket more handwork your flying in the face of literally years of tradition with Old English shoe manufacturers with, again, years of combined experience. Your asking them to change ? to what?

there'd be plenty of peeps in the industry who would relish the chance to do more handwork if it was profitable - perhaps some makers might find a niche making a Vass-like product - hand welted, hand lasted. Keep the artisan skills alive in their country of origin.
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