Vass is a great case study for a ton of different marketing and product marketing issues. It is possible to have an internet/catalog business that does not disintermediate your primary sales channels, though it is an issue that takes delicacy (you have to have lazer focused product segmentation for the styles/price ranges per channel, for example, which leads to more SKUs--difficult for a smaller manufacturer like Vass. You also can't sell the same product at different prices, especially these days where product pricing is so transparent). Back to product: simply put, the "value" equation of a product is traditionally looked at as Value = Benefits/price. We all know that, at least instinctively. All of us here on this board and AskAndy have strived to cut through the elements we know over-inflate value to the notion of "perceived" value. We all know that a large part of "perceived" value relates to brand image. We all have chosen to focus on tangible benefits of a product, and not just the label. In shoes, those tangible benefits would would be the styling (colors), degree of handmade elements, comfort, fit, and durability (I would guess). Other "tangible" benefits in that numerator should include a product's "staying-in" benefit AND (take a lesson, Turnbull&Asser) the service the company provides to a consumer. But that's just us. No company could ever build a franchise around consumers like us, for the same reason that no company could really build a brand around true bespoke product. There just aren't that many of us who discount brand image to the degree we do. The main purchasing drivers for the vast majority of consumers are the irrational and emotional benefits derived from brand and brand image. We all know this. So for department stores, especially the upscaled ones, they are going to sell the image brands, rather than the quality product "brands." Brands that aren't exactly household words, like Brioni and Kiton, are available, but the department stores are going to make their money on the Armanis, Ralph Laurens, Ferragamo, Prada, Gucci, and Zegnas of the world--companies that spend millions to promote that brand image/intangible value. Why? Because they get A LOT more return on their investment by investing in brand than they do investing on product. Now, this isn't to say that the can just spend spend spend on advertising without addressing their product, but they know the point at which the gap between perceived value and tangible value becomes a purchase hinderance. This is a real challenge for manufacturing/product excellence companies like Oxxford and Vass. Growth relies on brand image and distribution. Distribution is only achievable via brand health (or awareness) and/or channel incentives. Pick your poison.