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The Allen Edmonds MTO Thread - Page 122

post #1816 of 3194

Damn, those are beautiful!

post #1817 of 3194

From the horse's mouth here on AAAC:

 

Quote:
 Greetings AAAC Members and Great Allen Edmonds Friends --

Here's the whole story --- Quite a while ago now, I found out about the Allen Edmonds Appreciation Thread over on the StyleForum and was amazed to see that it contained tens of thousands of posts, the vast majority of which were truly supportive and helpful. In a reply to one of them, I expressed my amazement at the thread and said that I'd wanted to be personally helpful to the regulars, and I gave out my email address. The first message I received was from someone who wanted existing shoes done in a leather color that we had in stock but that we hadn't been offering for that style -- easy enough. I said yes and waived the MTO fees (there were no other changes beside the leather color). Fast forward a few months and somehow the word was out that we would basically allow SF members to design all components on a shoe pattern, including resurrecting patterns long discontinued, with no fee. It was a snowball that started with the one color change and then grew through the great people we have working our customer center phones and leading our production, who knew that we wanted to do all we could for -- as they call them -- "Paul's friends". Many of these unique designs were difficult to make and would cause hiccups in our production rhythm as we tried to work them in to the flow. We ended up "damaging" (i.e. not being able to sell) numerous shoes in the process of trying to get the one pair made to our standards and yours, knowing you all are the most discerning customers we have. Since they were "one-offs" we couldn't sell the damages in our Clearance or Outlet channels readily. You can imagine that making 4 or 6 shoes to sell 2 isn't a very smart business proposition, given the cost of leather. The cost of leather, btw, has risen (depending on the type) 20-30% in the last 18 months or so -- and that's if we can get it, which isn't always so easy, given the cordovan shortage you all know about and the huge increase in calfskin demand asbriefcase etc. styles change back to cool leathers of high quality. I had intended to be flexible and accommodating for SF and AAAC members -- and I still do -- but the requests were more and more frequently beyond our realistic possibilities. Moreover, we needed to re-do our custom processes on the website for functionality improvements, and we're also in the midst of realigning our production paradigm in our plant both to achieve some efficiencies that counteract the leather price increases, and to allow us to keep growing sales next year while improving quality consistency even beyond where it is already. We're costing the new MTO process to be attractive and fair to you, but to reign in the requests for style changes that throw our system off kilter.

I hope this helps and makes sense to you. I also hope that you all will be watching for our Rediscover America Sale special offerings in early October. It's the strongest line-up we've ever had (IMHO), with some terrific new styles (including a dress captoe calfskin chukka boot designed by the AE contest winner from Parsons School of Design -- fantastic shoe), and the price/value relationships will be truly incredible. We want you wearing Allen Edmonds and we hope you'll tell all of your friends, family members and associates about them.

Thanks as always for your support!

Best wishes,
Paul

 

This is completely baseless speculation on my part, but I wouldn't be surprised to see the MTO fee waived during the occasional special sale, maybe once or twice a year during a lull in their production. I'm not so certain that the full range of options and customization will return though.

post #1818 of 3194
^
What i got from that is that we really are a pain in the ass, as i thought we were, to AE. I don't see why they would waive their MTO fee during their sales period going forward, but i guess we can hope. I'm also a little disappointed that Paul did not do the same here, like he did on AAAC. He started this project, it would have been nice to hear him officially explain the situation, and properly put it to bed.

In any case, I'm looking forward to their new collection this Fall/Winter, my SA just returned from the yearly meeting at corporate, and i'm going to pick his mind on what is coming...
post #1819 of 3194
IMHO, I dont think AE expected it to take off as much as it did. Perhaps the numbers exceeded what they could do without compromising production for stock models.
post #1820 of 3194
Seriously. Kind of making me feel guilty for having bought expensive shoes from his company. I understand abd appreciate the reasoning for ending it, but this statement about us on another site makes me feel kind of bad.

Regardless of whether they made as much money off of this promotion (I'm sure they didn't and appreciate that), the bottom line was that I chose to spend $2000 on shoes from this company instead of Others because of this program (doesn't count the money spent on my other 10 non-MTO pairs).

I thought I was a good customer. Turns out I was just an opportunist taking advantage of AE by spending my money with them.
post #1821 of 3194
Quote:
Originally Posted by JubeiSpiegel View Post

^
What i got from that is that we really are a pain in the ass, as i thought we were, to AE.

This.

My guess is they didn't expect the level of specificity, and the subsequent returns, they received on the orders. The offer probably did not intend to honour clearance prices as with the Eagle County and such.
post #1822 of 3194
Quote:
The first message I received was from someone who wanted existing shoes done in a leather color that we had in stock but that we hadn't been offering for that style -- easy enough. I said yes and waived the MTO fees (there were no other changes beside the leather color). Fast forward a few months and somehow the word was out that we would basically allow SF members to design all components on a shoe pattern, including resurrecting patterns long discontinued, with no fee. It was a snowball that started with the one color change and then grew through the great people we have working our customer center phones and leading our production, who knew that we wanted to do all we could for -- as they call them -- "Paul's friends".

I don't care for this part really, it seems like AE was just a naive kid that got taken advantage of. If i recall correctly, the offer was given, not coerced. Here is a copy of the original offer post:
Quote:
StyleForum Friends -

Thanks very much for your great interest and support of Allen Edmonds. I'm seriously impressed and, on behalf of the company, honored by the 615 pages in this thread. I want you to know that we strive to live up to your high standards every single day, not just in product quality and styling but also in customer service. Customized shoes require special processing and, as you'd expect, aren't as efficiently done as our long production runs of in-line shoes. However, in return for your support, if it's a leather we carry in another style that you'd like on your chosen shoe but is not currently offered -- or if it's a width on a legacy last (such as the 5, the 7, the 8 or the 1) that isn't currently offered -- just send me an email at pgrangaard@allenedmonds.com. If we can do it for you, we will. The pricing will be "ad hoc" based on degree of difficulty, but I'm eager to give you a special deal. If we can't do it, I'll explain why. In other words, we'll do whatever we can to return your loyalty and trust.

Thanks very much again to you all and best wishes,
Paul

He basically gave us carte blanche, not the other way around. I am ok with them terminating the program, but Paul makes it seem like we are sort of the villains in this story. Well, i appreciate my SAs enough to still give AE some future business, but this ending leaves a bad taste in my mouth... plain.gif
post #1823 of 3194
I dont know but I read Pauls initial letter as any leather and size...not eyelets, liners, midsoles, soles, etc..independence this an that.

Hey they let it go though and really could have dialed back the program to the original intent instead of axing it completely.

Edit...seems others recall Paul saying other stuff was ok after that letter..so I will shut up on the subject
post #1824 of 3194
I don't see that Paul is casting anyone to be a villain. It seems that he was merely trying to explain, in an honest fashion, why. The state of affairs as it presently exists cannot continue.
post #1825 of 3194

I think his response was reasonable. Do any of us really want to see AE lose money, cut jobs, or stop making shoes in the US?  

 

I'm looking forward to the rediscover America sale.

post #1826 of 3194

While I do think Paul deserves some criticism for ending the MTO program the way he did, I don't think we should lose sight of the fact that it was extremely generous to begin with, it was fantastic while it lasted, and a lot of us were able to get a lot of amazing, unique shoes at terrific prices because of it.

 

As an aside, there's something that's still not clear to me - can we no longer get one-off MTOs at all, or can we still get them but we just have to pay the upcharge now?

post #1827 of 3194
Quote:
Originally Posted by halfnhalfnhalf View Post

While I do think Paul deserves some criticism for ending the MTO program the way he did, I don't think we should lose sight of the fact that it was extremely generous to begin with, it was fantastic while it lasted, and a lot of us were able to get a lot of amazing, unique shoes at terrific prices because of it.

As an aside, there's something that's still not clear to me - can we no longer get one-off MTOs at all, or can we still get them but we just have to pay the upcharge now?

Allison told me that i could still order MTOs through her, with all the usual variety of changes, but there will be a normal SMU charge associated with our MTOs now. It was also interesting that only through Allison can some options be had, since your local AE SA has to get approval for a variety of options that we are use to. All in all, i will probably still get a few Allison MTOs, i think it's worth it for just the variety of options allowed...
post #1828 of 3194
That's good to know... although the extra 19% is making me think hard about the MTO I was going to order soon. I wanted to get a black shell Leed with natural welt, black exposed eyelets, and Dainite or Tempest soles. The tough part is, I could get all of that except the shell for about $250 less after adding a topy, or get all of it except the eyelets for probably even cheaper if I snag a pair of Leeds/PTBs on eBay and get them rewelted by B Nelson.
post #1829 of 3194
Quote:
Originally Posted by peppercorn78 View Post

Seriously. Kind of making me feel guilty for having bought expensive shoes from his company. I understand abd appreciate the reasoning for ending it, but this statement about us on another site makes me feel kind of bad.

Regardless of whether they made as much money off of this promotion (I'm sure they didn't and appreciate that), the bottom line was that I chose to spend $2000 on shoes from this company instead of Others because of this program (doesn't count the money spent on my other 10 non-MTO pairs).

I thought I was a good customer. Turns out I was just an opportunist taking advantage of AE by spending my money with them.

+1 on this if I was to be honest about how I felt as I was reading the response.

That said, I'm thankful that AE allowed me to snag 9 MTOs at really great prices that I otherwise couldn't get from other shoe makers. Now that the MTO fee won't be waived I just have to look harder at AEs stock models if there is anything I'd like or check whether what I wanted to MTO is available stock at Carmina, Alden and C&J which would be at a comparable price to AEs if we add the custom fee. If MTO price is still signfivantly lower I'd go for AE.
post #1830 of 3194
Wouldn't it be ironic if some of the new offerings from the Fall line up was inspired by the MTOs in this thread. I'm hoping that one of Bl@sters MTO makes it, then I could get them as a stock model. Ha!
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