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A visit to Astor & Black

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by xkmasada, Jul 21, 2007.

  1. OTCtailor

    OTCtailor Well-Known Member

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    Dec 24, 2012
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    All you have to do is look above to see that the product itself was working just fine.....which is a product of the knowledge of the person selling it.

    It's a said story, but the menswear world won't even notice...

    Carry on, boys...

    And contact me if you're within 1-2 hrs of NYC or Philly if you'd like to look at similar custom options with the same quality construction/fit/fabrics except better price.

    Yes, I will shamelessly plug myself.
     
  2. David Reeves

    David Reeves Well-Known Member

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    Love that light blue suit.
     
  3. CousinDonuts

    CousinDonuts Well-Known Member

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    you were an affiliate for a bit, right? do yo have any insights as to what went wrong with the new management team, process, investments, etc?
     
  4. OTCtailor

    OTCtailor Well-Known Member

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    There were so many problems that brought the company down. It was sold as a company two times bigger than it really was. The exec team was being paid as if it were twice its actual size.
    The marketing was expensive. There was a lot of employee overhead. The remake/alterations rate was extremely high because of lack of synergy/continuity between the clothiers and the actual factory production. Also, there were no upcharges for any customized options no matter what level you bought at so you could get a fully canvassed suit in wool 100s with every custom option imaginable for only $650. That gave little incentive to move up the levels so most of the total sales volume was in the lower end range.
    Because of the looming insolvency, the exec team and the private equity firm who owned the company were looking into a merger with a company in LA called Elevee.
    I don't know where the exact breakdown occurred, but I believe when the main factory liaison became aware of the potential merger, he froze all production/shipping of all orders so that he could adjust his contract for his protection. I believe orders were backed up and delayed almost 3 weeks solid because of that. The 3 parties (A&B, Elevee, and the liaison) were in negotiations for a good week or two before something ultimately fell apart with the terms and the merger didn't go through. The merger would've saved the company, but when it didn't go through they just had to file bankruptcy and call it quits. Pretty messy situation that many people are still trying to clean up.
     
  5. CousinDonuts

    CousinDonuts Well-Known Member

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    So moral of the story...if you start one of these companies....get it to a decent size and sell. Sell, Mortimer, sell!
     
  6. aravenel

    aravenel Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like pure mismanagement, which based on their history here, isn't too surprising.

    Crazy executive pay + out of control expenses + poor operational efficiency = disaster waiting to happen.
     
  7. OTCtailor

    OTCtailor Well-Known Member

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    actually the real moral of the story is to be vertical if you own one of these companies. We could trash Tom James all day for their ho hum suits made here in the USA by honestly antiquated manufacturing, but at least they own the fabric mill and the factories that go into their garments. Probably why they've been around since the 60s
     
  8. CousinDonuts

    CousinDonuts Well-Known Member

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    I'm pretty sure Schottenstein started the business by buying a production facility in China. So he was partially vertical. But you're right, other parts of the chain he was missing.
     
  9. Docofcloth

    Docofcloth New Member

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    Great business lessons to learn here..he never owned factories, all subed
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2013
  10. OTCtailor

    OTCtailor Well-Known Member

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    Well don't be misled...Not many brands whether RTW or custom are actually vertical entirely. A&B was just one example. Also, a custom clothier may have a supplier who builds and owns all the patterns in house so manufacturing is more "owned" than otherwise.
    The problem within production was less about proper production efficiency and more about relationships efficiency. Let's say the leader of Tom James (Spencer Hays) suddenly institutes policies that start to screw the employees in their factories. Yeah, he'd still be verytical but an an ensuing strike due to poor people management would screw production. Same with A&B. David Schottenstein has been out of the picture for quite some time, as well, so he really had nothing to do with the collapse. I'd name the guy(s) who really specifically did but that wouldn't be professional
    It is definitely something in the clothing business that definitely didn't need to happen. A&B was in debt, yes, but it was business debt just like any other business has debt. Stopping up the production/shipping of garments stopped a crucial flow of financial blood across the entire company much like slitting the jugular. The company could've been sold and the new owner would've been very happy inheriting quite a large book of good business, but the liaison in between effectively wrecked that possibility.
    Again, I won't name him by name but I hope someone higher up in this industry ladder catches onto this fact whether from this post or not because that guy's factory deserves to suffer for over 100 ppl needlessly losing their jobs.
    What company would want to get in the production bed with a guy who would do that??
     
  11. OTCtailor

    OTCtailor Well-Known Member

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    To anyone following this thread:

    Astor & Black "the name" was bought by an old A&B agent and will be selling those garments again. I'm sure he bought the name because a great big client list came with it. So, if you see A&B pop up in the #menswear sphere again, that's why.

    Secondly, I have 6 suits that were never received by former clients that I am looking to part with. They all fall in the 40-42 size range. They were made for 2 different clients. 3 for one and 3 for the other.
    Without giving a ton of details right here, 3 are about a size 40R to 40L. Those 3 are made in char grey chalk stripe w/ vest, grey glen plaid with blue overcheck, and navy blue pinstripe in tom ford style (big lapels, 5 button sleeve cuff, 2'' trouser cuff etc). Each of these 3 suits is super 120s wool in all season weight.
    The other 3 were from a higher end client. Size range is more 42L. One is a navy glen plaid with blue overcheck. The suit is made in a 3 roll 2 style with all patch pocket front, single vent and double track pick stitching all around. The shoulder is spalla camicia. The second one is a Lora Piana mid grey solid plain weave travel light. The 3rd is a 3 piece zegna trofeo with full hand construction.
    All are fully canvased and 2 have full hand finished inside and outside buttonholes etc.
    Message if interested. Prices are probably half or lower than retail.
     

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