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A visit to John Lobb in Northampton

post #1 of 107
Thread Starter 
I wanted to thank everyone for all the knowledge I've gained from having been a long-time lurker on the forum. I recently took a vacation to London to visit some friends and family and decided, as a direct result of reading posts here, to take a day trip to Northampton (February 23, 2007). I took the train--about an hour long ride--into Northampton and from there took taxis to visit John Lobb, Edward Green, and Crockett & Jones at which point Tony Gaziano very kindly offered to pick me up and take me to his shop and home in Kettering. I took a bunch of photos that I wanted to share with you guys. I'm still very new to digital cameras and am learning how to format photos for easy viewing on-line so bear with me if the EG and G&G reports are slow in coming (re-adjusting back to work life has also kept me busy).

I know this has come up in several posts already, but I wanted to include this e-mail in case there was some confusion about where the shop was located and when it was open:

Thank you for your interest in John Lobb's products.

Very kind of you to come and visit us, however, the factory is not open to
the general public. You can still visit our factory shop situated :

J L & co Ltd
Westminster Works
Oliver Street
Northampton
Northamptonshire
NN2 7JL

Tel = + 44 (0) 1604 715011

The shop is open Monday - Friday : 9am - 12.45 and 13.15 - 5pm
Saturday : 9am -12 noon

Hope to see you soon

Kind regards,
Valerie Guerin-Goff,
Commercial assistant.


During my time in London, I swung by Udeshi and he indicated that JL had begun to outsource the production of some of their shoes--that the loafers, for example, were made in (don't quote me on this) Mexico or something along those lines. This might be why factory tours are not offered, although there does seem to be some sort of factory still extant as you will see below.

I should note that Valerie was great and did come by and say hello while I was trying on shoes in the factory shop.


The humble exterior.




I left my bags and coat in the conference room. Which, upon closer inspection, revealed the...



John Lobb 2007! Am not sure if this is in stores yet. We don't have a John Lobb retailer in Toronto so it was news to me. After one of the caretakers offered me a coffee, they showed me into the shop...




Which was pretty much a do-it-yourself affair. It took quite a while for me just to get a good idea of what size fit me depending on last. All the grey boxes in the corner were of current season models; the rest of their stock was in the stacks organised by size. There were small pockets here and there for overstock direct from the Paris store as well as a small section of old vintage John Lobbs (mostly 1999, 2001). No distinction is made between regular and prestige line shoes--Chapels were going for 235 pounds! Most shoes sold for 235, although very old models ran slightly cheaper and those vintage JLs cost 300 pounds if they included shoe trees. Shoe trees were also sold. They only had trees for the 8695 last at 28 pounds and for the Vintage 1999 at 30.

Managed to grab a shot of what I thought might be the factory before I left:


All in all, it was a worthwhile trip. I am a small size and so it was hard to find the styles I was particularly interested in. I would have died if there were a pair of Chapels that fit me. Instead, I left with a pair of dark oak antique Derwents on the 8000 last in UK size 6E and a pair of chestnut museum calf Brackleys on the 7000 in UK size 5.5EE.

I hope that helps demystify a bit of the experience!
post #2 of 107
prices?
post #3 of 107
geebus, those tan wholecuts look sick as hell!!!! is that a new model, or something that's been available for a while?
post #4 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by bishop24
No distinction is made between regular and prestige line shoes--Chapels were going for 235 pounds! Most shoes sold for 235, although very old models ran slightly cheaper and those vintage JLs cost 300 pounds if they included shoe trees. Shoe trees were also sold. They only had trees for the 8695 last at 28 pounds and for the Vintage 1999 at 30.

OMG! 235 for prestige? I need to get me to Northampton!
post #5 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by Connemara
OMG! 235 for prestige? I need to get me to Northampton!
post #6 of 107
Wow. Thanks for sharing!

And those boots in the corner...do you have any close-up pictures of those? The riding boots on the top shelf are calling to me from across the pond.
post #7 of 107
i must have to reply, this is one awesome thread thanks Bishop!

just looking at all those yellow shoeboxes is enough to invoke a Pavlov dog reaction within me!
post #8 of 107
Wow. Incredible prices indeed. When members visit Northhampton, they should be obligated to take orders.
post #9 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by Connemara
OMG! 235 for prestige? I need to get me to Northampton!
I don't think the British are as charitable, especially to an Irishman.
post #10 of 107
wow-- what a trip that must have been, thanks for the excellent info and photos. a short stack of Chapels, and a whole room full of JL boxes with various models? nice!

so, it's 235 british pounds for a pair of killer prestige shoes? that is incredible.

maybe someone could simply ask an employee from the shop to post shoes for sale here on the forum, buying and selling area.
post #11 of 107
Wait...where did you see Tony Gaziano? At Crockett & Jones?
post #12 of 107
What is the typical degree of defect that gets a shoe sent here instead of to retail?
post #13 of 107
I believe most of the Lobbs for sale from certain sellers are in fact purchased from this factory outlet. There's probably some shoes with worse defects than others, but I would have to say the defects are minimal.

At 235 GBP per pair, I'd like to think SF could guarantee to buy at least 15-20 pairs, I wonder if that would be enough to make it worth their time to put an inventory list together for us?
post #14 of 107
Don't bother calling the factory, it doesn't ship unless you're "introduced" by the Jermyn St. store. When it ships and if it ships, it doesn't take out VAT, shipping and handling is £50 a pair.
post #15 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by bishop24
During my time in London, I swung by Udeshi and he indicated that JL had begun to outsource the production of some of their shoes--that the loafers, for example, were made in (don't quote me on this) Mexico or something along those lines.


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