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A visit to John Lobb in Northampton - Page 6

post #76 of 107
great little post about G&G and it is great to be able to see inside his studio as to wear the magic happens!
post #77 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by bishop24 View Post
Tony was most passionate about his bespoke shoes and clientele: he envisions the day that demand increases such that the bespoke process becomes by invitation only.

Holy smokes. Talk about exclusivity! Are there other custom makers that work like this? I know Ferrari invites people to buy certain models of their cars, but that's at the astronomical range of consumption.

Thanks for the great inside look at G&G's workshop.

--Andre
post #78 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andre Yew View Post
Holy smokes. Talk about exclusivity! Are there other custom makers that work like this? I know Ferrari invites people to buy certain models of their cars, but that's at the astronomical range of consumption.

Thanks for the great inside look at G&G's workshop.

--Andre


Sounds more like a Ferrari dealer practice. If you wanted to get an F430, they'd asked you to buy a used Ferrari or a Maserati then wait 2 years.

G&G probably wants you to buy a couple of MTO to get on the bespoke list.
post #79 of 107
Wow just read the entire thread, nice job bishop. Looking forward to expanded details.
post #80 of 107
Thank you Bishop for exploring Northampton for the forum; one looks forward to the stuff on EG
post #81 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by sysdoc View Post
So you were asked into the conference room and as soon as you were alone you took out your camera?

I hear that one of the clickers had seen you waiting for the shop assistant and out of pure niceness he asked you into the conference room and then left to make you a cup of coffee. That guy is in big trouble now, as you were never meant to be allowed into this room.

Then again, how would the friendly fellow know that you would repay his hospitality with taking out your camera and taking pictures of shoe models that are not meant to be released for months? I am sure he also didn't expect you going on about an alleged JL shoe production in Mexico that happens to be based on pure hearsay.

Go on, flame away guys!

This event will make sure that people at JL Northampton will think twice next time they feel the impulse of being friendly or helpful to a customer they don't know.

This is called the style forum. Your taking advantage of a genuinely nice person has to be considered terribly bad style. At least in my book.

Oh, the drink is a harsh mistress, isn't she?
post #82 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andre Yew View Post
Holy smokes. Talk about exclusivity! Are there other custom makers that work like this? I know Ferrari invites people to buy certain models of their cars, but that's at the astronomical range of consumption. Thanks for the great inside look at G&G's workshop. --Andre
Invitation only firms remind me of tacky Robb Report-like advertisters that utilizes an unnecessary amount of calligraphy script and paneled wood in their corporate image.
post #83 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by LabelKing View Post
Invitation only firms remind me of tacky Robb Report-like advertisters that utilizes an unnecessary amount of calligraphy script and paneled wood in their corporate image.

Bijan!
post #84 of 107
But from a marketing standpoint I'm guessing there's one thing in its favor. It's probably the rare customer who makes and keeps an appointment, then casually heads for the door with a 'just browsing' tip of the hat as a farewell thank-you.
post #85 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by well-kept View Post
But from a marketing standpoint I'm guessing there's one thing in its favor. It's probably the rare customer who makes and keeps an appointment, then casually heads for the door with a 'just browsing' tip of the hat as a farewell thank-you.

I thought Bijan once said that the average customer spends $100,000.
post #86 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by Manton View Post
Bijan!
Worse still are those companies that attempt to portray a classy image. At least Bijan was, and is, really gaudy.
post #87 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andre Yew View Post
Holy smokes. Talk about exclusivity! Are there other custom makers that work like this? I know Ferrari invites people to buy certain models of their cars, but that's at the astronomical range of consumption.

Thanks for the great inside look at G&G's workshop.

--Andre

Exclusivity, yes. But it will also result in higher profit margins. If everyone's already an existing customer with a perfect custom last, that takes a major, time-consuming and expensive step out of the bespoke process. They still charge 1550 GBP but don't have to make any next lasts unless someone decides to go with a different shape than their usual. Sounds like a good biz plan. \t
post #88 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by bishop24 View Post
Rest assured I haven't blown you guys off. I wouldn't let the feelings of a few ruin it for all of you guys. Work keeps me busy, particularly on the weekends so I probably won't have the EG installment ready until next week as it is a photo-heavy one. However, until then, I can offer you a small installment regarding my visits to C&J and G&G.

CROCKETT & JONES

As with Lobb, I thought it might be best to e-mail C&J to let them know about the possibility of my visit. This was the information they e-mailed me the day prior:

Thank you for your recent e-mail. We do have a Factory Shop at our premises in Perry Street, Northampton. It is open on Friday afternoons from 2.00 p.m. until 5.30 p.m. and Saturday mornings from 9.30 a.m. to 1.30 p.m.

Tel:- 01604 631 515

Kind regards,
Crockett & Jones Ltd.


With that knowledge, I arrived just before 2 PM. Going up to the second floor to reception, the lady informed me that the shop was about to open and that it was downstairs just to the right of the main entrance behind a fairly non-descript door. Inside, they had quite a selection. Of all my visits, the factory shop at C&J felt most like a regular shoe store. It was also the busiest--with two other groups of 3-4 people waiting for the store to open. In terms of prices, I only noted down that C&J Handgrades were being sold for 220 GBP.

I, unfortunately, don't have any pictures of C&J. With chances to purchase shoes from JL, EG, and G&G, I didn't have a heck of a lot of a budget left and I really didn't want to spend a lot of time keeping Tony Gaziano waiting. I browsed briefly with Tony who seemed chiefly interested in the handgrades. I asked what he was looking for in particular when he inspected other shoemakers' work. He said that he was primarily interested in the quality of construction--how they handle the rolling and beveling of the waist, for example--as opposed to the vagaries of styling. While we were looking them over, an older gentleman came out and greeted Tony. I'm not sure what his function was (I don't think it had anything to do with the store as the receptionist indicated that the person who ran the store was a woman), but they seemed on good terms--Northampton, particularly the shoe sub-culture in Northampton seems a small one.


GAZIANO & GIRLING

We talked about a few things while in the car. He had just returned from Japan and was amazed at the level of service stores offer their customers: that the entire staff greet a customer at the door; that they read a customer very well and are attentive without being smothering. He talked a little about where he felt the company was headed. He did say that currently the bespoke operations of G&G are what is keeping the company afloat. He didn't think nor did he seem to want the company to become particularly large. Once they've made enough RTW stock, they'd like to liaise with a company or two to sell some of their shoes abroad while possibly establishing a small boutique in London. Tony was most passionate about his bespoke shoes and clientele: he envisions the day that demand increases such that the bespoke process becomes by invitation only. He'd like to create a bespoke brochure should Dean (who seems to handle most of the financial side of the business) give him the green light featuring the many options available to a customer. I asked him about his time at Edward Green of which he had only positive things to say. He did mention that he feels that it was only after he moved to Cleverley's that he felt like he truly learned the art of shoe-making. However, he is grateful for his time at EG, especially as it has done him a great service in lending him credibility and repute to his company.

We spent most of our time in Tony's workroom. There, he showed me the lasts he's made for his bespoke customers. The ones you see in the pictures below represent about 1/3 to a 1/2 of his current bespoke clientele. The ridged last that you see on the table is essentially the blank canvas he begins with before shaping it to a customer's foot.



Some shoes in progress


The man himself


Tony asked what size I was fitted for under the 888 last at EG and he said that I would probably be the same size as his current MTO lasts are modeled after the 888. In terms of the fit between different last styles that G&G offers, he said that they were all fairly comparable as the major differences were in the toe shape. He then drew an outline of my feet and measured both the length as well as the circumference around my arch.

I ended up ordering the Carlyle in vintage cedar on the TG73 (Mitchell) last. With no VAT, the price for MTO was 445 GBP and 74 GBP for the shoe trees (I opted for the very sleek-looking mahogany). They will be ready in 5 months or by the first of August; the production process is taking a little longer than initially expected.

The shoes that I did see were really quite beautiful and I think it's awesome that many of us are supporting a smaller, more independent company.

Hi Bishop,
I am desperately waiting for your report about EG in Northampton, or did I miss anything?

Thanks.
post #89 of 107
I too have been anxiously waiting for the continued report. Bishop disregard the negative comments!!!!!!!!!!!!!
post #90 of 107
Quote:
Bijan!

Billionaire Couture!

Stefano Ricci!
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