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From eHABERDASHER - a half canvassed suit in $325 - $350 range. Thoughts? - Page 3

post #31 of 78
My biggest concern would be cannibalizing your own sales. As long as you know you're getting new customers (and not just downgrading current customers) you're making a good choice.
post #32 of 78
I'd consider purchasing the half-canvass model if it followed the Hugo Boss Selection route. Their suits are half-canvassed but use high-end fabrics (C Barbera, Drago, etc...). They make great beater suits that actually look good.
post #33 of 78
Thread Starter 
Thank you everyone for chiming in. The time you've all taken in posting and your thoughts and ideas are very much appreciated... will try to address some of the many points made...
post #34 of 78
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Semi Fly View Post

Since this second line will be targeting different customers, there may be additional marketing time/expenses needed to reach these customers.  There is also increased competition to consider in this price bracket, from retailers with established brands, distribution channels, etc.  Again, buyers in this price range may not be informed, may be indifferent, or may not be willing to buy sight-unseen.  It is a different demographic after all.  
There are also opportunity costs involved with time, design, sourcing, and cash flow.  There may be hard costs involved as well - pre-production, inventory holding costs, additional warehousing if expanding, etc.  

Can the extra time/effort/money be better spent expanding the current line?  Additional fabrics, sports coats, restocked inventory (these all seem to be currently in progress on the main thread).  Will adding these changes to the Sartorial line be cheaper/quicker than starting a new line?  Does the lower price mean less profit per suit or is that offset by being half-fused/using different fabrics?  Is it better to focus on selling more of the existing products, such as through increased advertising?  YLS mentioned that "most" would plop down the extra $150 for a fully canvased suit, but the opposite is also likely.  At the $300 price range, it may be difficult for many to justify spending an extra 50% on a better quality suit, especially when their budget for a suit is modest.  This issue isn't necessarily limited to suits or price-conscious customers either; the Sam Hober vs. Kent Wang grenadine tie discussion is an example ("What's another $15 for a bespoke tie when you're already spending $75 on a tie?") 


Will the new line cannibalize sales from the existing line (I probably would have opted for the lower line rather than springing for the Sartorial line had that been an option).  Maybe the line isn't hyper-exclusive luxury, but there are certainly some benefits to simplified product offerings, too.  


The biggest issue for me is still: "I have a great product right now.  Have I pursued all avenues to maximize this product yet?"  I would put all options (including expanding product offerings) on the table and let the cost/benefit analysis put things into perspective.


Thanks for letting me play along.  I'd totally buy one, by the way.  
icon_gu_b_slayer%5B1%5D.gif

These are all great points, and indeed all things I've pondered. The time/marketing expense would be minimal as I do already have an established audience and customer base (including lots of you guys!), so that is not really much of a concern. And while the vast majority of men in this world would likely, by SF standards, be less informed, there does seem to be a large and growing population of men who are learning/aspiring and yet don't have the means to drop $500 on a suit. I know that 11 years ago I would have definitely been in that same boat (even reverse-inflation-adjusted to say $400 back then). These are lean times for lots of people. Design are N/A, but cash flow, inventory holding costs, warehousing are real concerns.

Regarding focusing more on my current line - yes this is an ongoing project and is still my "baby" and will still get priority and my highest attention. I was supposed to go to China this weekend to work with the technician for several days to hammer out final details, but yesterday had my visa application denied on a dumb technicality and now may not be able to go there until the end of June due to my busy schedule. We are going to try to finalize things remotely, but frankly I have been less than 100% satisfied with the last few samples they sent me that didn't have the adjustments quite executed to perfection. Once finalized then production should be much less of a problem (hopefully), and indeed, if I produce a half canvassed line I can probably command a little bit more attention/priority from the manufacturer as well. Of course lower price would be mean proportionately lesser profit per suit, but again hopefully the new product would be to a new demographic to whom I was unable to reach prior.

As far as cannibalization goes, my thoughts tend to lead me to believe that it may bite in slightly, but ultimately it can introduce the Benjamin brand at an entry level to an educated consumer who aspires to eventually get to the sartorial line.

Again, these are just thoughts and ideas running through my mind recently, and I appreciate your thoughts and insights!
post #35 of 78
Thread Starter 
Would it cheapen the Benjamin brand? I've thought of that too... I tend to think (hope) it wouldn't. The Benjamin Sartorial line will always be a more exclusive line and I am aiming to drive the quality even higher with more exclusive fabrics and with emphasis on full canvas construction. I'll also probably upgrade the lining to Bemberg, not that I've had or heard of any problems with the lining I'm currently using.

Regarding production, once again I do believe it will provide me more leverage and priority with the manufacturing, but only time will tell if I move forward with this.

As I read all of these posts, I do feel that you are all helping me in building a stronger case for this - or at least to give it a try. Thanks again for all of your feedback and thoughts. I'm especially thankful for many of you who have purchased my suits and have provided feedback on the forum or otherwise, and/or have referred me to your friends and colleagues. As everyone knows, word of mouth is the best advertising!
post #36 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by eHaberdasher View Post

Would it cheapen the Benjamin brand? I've thought of that too... I tend to think (hope) it wouldn't. The Benjamin Sartorial line will always be a more exclusive line and I am aiming to drive the quality even higher with more exclusive fabrics and with emphasis on full canvas construction. I'll also probably upgrade the lining to Bemberg, not that I've had or heard of any problems with the lining I'm currently using.

Regarding production, once again I do believe it will provide me more leverage and priority with the manufacturing, but only time will tell if I move forward with this.

As I read all of these posts, I do feel that you are all helping me in building a stronger case for this - or at least to give it a try. Thanks again for all of your feedback and thoughts. I'm especially thankful for many of you who have purchased my suits and have provided feedback on the forum or otherwise, and/or have referred me to your friends and colleagues. As everyone knows, word of mouth is the best advertising!

hmmm...For those of us who aren't familiar, do you mind giving a quick rundown of your suit offerings? Do you sell fused suits?...fully-canvassed suits? What's the general price of those items?

post #37 of 78
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by VinnyMac View Post

hmmm...For those of us who aren't familiar, do you mind giving a quick rundown of your suit offerings? Do you sell fused suits?...fully-canvassed suits? What's the general price of those items?

Currently the Benjamin Sartorial Collection suits are fully canvassed - no fusing. They are $495 for the previous models (Maestro, Lucente, Granoro) and $525 for the Classico model. We do have a few on sale for $330 - a great buy for a full canvas suit.

http://www.benjaminclothing.com

What we are considering is to offer another quality of suit which would be half canvassed for around $350 to provide a great quality garment for those who can't quite (or don't care to) spend $500+ on a suit.
post #38 of 78
I am skeptical. In my experience, low price buyers are the hardest to please. If it doesn't fit perfectly out of the box, they won't want to spend $50 on alterations. I think you'll end up with more returns, more complaints, and more headaches. Their complaints will then be amplified by the interwebs, and may hurt your reputation and put off buyers for the higher end merchandise. Once you go down market, it's hard to come back.
post #39 of 78
Even Ralph Lauren offers half-canvassed and fused suits. Granted the fused crap is just that. Nevertheless, it hasn't exactly hurt their image. More choice for the customer is usually a good thing.
post #40 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by eHaberdasher View Post
... As far as cannibalization goes, my thoughts tend to lead me to believe that it may bite in slightly, but ultimately it can introduce the Benjamin brand at an entry level to an educated consumer who aspires to eventually get to the sartorial line. 

 

I had a long drive this morning, and I found myself (oddly) thinking about this for quite a while. Now that I have one of your Sartorial suits I don't want to step down in quality, even if I could save $175. I think that most of your current customers probably feel the same: they initially bought because the suits are fully-canvassed, and now that they have the nice fabric, they wouldn't want to downgrade. Therefore, I don't think a lot of your sales would be cannibalized.

 

On damaging the brand, here is an interesting article on Packard cars and how they essentially butchered their quality-based brand by reducing quality. The article fails to mention that they made a ton of money doing this in the short term, which is how the company survived the great depression. 

post #41 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by eHaberdasher View Post


Currently the Benjamin Sartorial Collection suits are fully canvassed - no fusing. They are $495 for the previous models (Maestro, Lucente, Granoro) and $525 for the Classico model. We do have a few on sale for $330 - a great buy for a full canvas suit.

http://www.benjaminclothing.com

What we are considering is to offer another quality of suit which would be half canvassed for around $350 to provide a great quality garment for those who can't quite (or don't care to) spend $500+ on a suit.

Oh. I see. That makes some sense. You may be able to pick up more of those $300-$400 customers.

 

As far as cannibalism goes, it's not necessarily a bad thing. If you don't cannibalize your own sales, someone else will. It's a delicate balance. None of us know enough about your demand/supply or pricing strategy to make that call.

post #42 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by eHaberdasher View Post

As far as cannibalization goes, my thoughts tend to lead me to believe that it may bite in slightly, but ultimately it can introduce the Benjamin brand at an entry level to an educated consumer who aspires to eventually get to the sartorial line.
Quote:
Originally Posted by scatterbrain View Post

Now that I have one of your Sartorial suits I don't want to step down in quality, even if I could save $175. I think that most of your current customers probably feel the same: they initially bought because the suits are fully-canvassed, and now that they have the nice fabric, they wouldn't want to downgrade.

I think these are key insights.

There's been a lot of concern in this thread about cannibalizing sales from the existing Benjamin line, but I also think this is a good opportunity to reach folks who otherwise wouldn't have checked you out -- that is, folks with a $250 budget who'd stretch another $100 if it meant a much better product.

Maybe this is just me, but I think that $100, $250, and $500 represent key psychological barriers, where people maybe pause a little longer to ask themselves if it's really worth spending more. In this case, I think once someone's decided they're OK with spending $500+ on a suit, they're less likely to take a downgrade in quality in order to save $150 (as scatterbrain noted about himself). Similarly, someone who's accepted $250+ as a threshold for a suit is probably open to spending up to about $100 more for what they perceive as a disproportionate increase in quality.

I'm no behavioral psychologist or pricing expert though, so what do I know?
post #43 of 78

I would be interested in half-canvassed suits at that price, especially if they have decent fabrics, the quality of construction is good, as I've heard yours are, and are in a modern cut. This would compete with Suit Supply for my dollar since they have half-canvassed suits at $399 and reportedly have pretty good construction standards.

 

It sounds like you would carefully distinguish your different lines to retain the perceived value of the more expensive offerings, a classic marketing strategy that seems to work well in fashion as well as, for example, automobiles (VW/Audi, Toyota/Lexus,Chevrolet/Cadillac,...).

post #44 of 78
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by pendragon View Post

I am skeptical. In my experience, low price buyers are the hardest to please. If it doesn't fit perfectly out of the box, they won't want to spend $50 on alterations. I think you'll end up with more returns, more complaints, and more headaches. Their complaints will then be amplified by the interwebs, and may hurt your reputation and put off buyers for the higher end merchandise. Once you go down market, it's hard to come back.

Interesting perspective... and I'm sure there is certainly a bit of truth to that. Then again there seems to be a general consensus that for entry level suits the customer may be slightly less sophisticated and therefore perhaps LESS picky. How often do we read on this board how most men in the world don't even wear the right size suit - let alone know much about how a suit ought to fit? I'm sure we'd get our share of returns and complaints, but that's just part of doing business. Service is the key, and we'll continue to try to provide the best customer service possible. We don't care to make it a common practice, but we've even taken back clothing that has been worn and altered. We've even accepted returns for items purchased over a year prior. That being said, it would be interesting to see if our experience with a lower priced buyer will be similar to your experience. Only one way to find out I guess.
post #45 of 78
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by scatterbrain View Post

I had a long drive this morning, and I found myself (oddly) thinking about this for quite a while. Now that I have one of your Sartorial suits I don't want to step down in quality, even if I could save $175. I think that most of your current customers probably feel the same: they initially bought because the suits are fully-canvassed, and now that they have the nice fabric, they wouldn't want to downgrade. Therefore, I don't think a lot of your sales would be cannibalized.

On damaging the brand, here is an interesting article on Packard cars and how they essentially butchered their quality-based brand by reducing quality. The article fails to mention that they made a ton of money doing this in the short term, which is how the company survived the great depression. 

LOL I ought to put you on our payroll... thanks for (oddly) taking the time and thought! Your personal experience with our suits provide a valuable perspective and helps illustrate what thisfits also pointed out above.

I have clicked on your article and I look forward to reading it later today - thanks again for your post and perspective.
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