1. Welcome to the new Styleforum!

    We hope you’re as excited as we are to hang out in the new place. There are more new features that we’ll announce in the near future, but for now we hope you’ll enjoy the new site.

    We are currently fine-tuning the forum for your browsing pleasure, so bear with any lingering dust as we work to make Styleforum even more awesome than it was.

    Oh, and don’t forget to head over to the Styleforum Journal, because we’re giving away two pairs of Carmina shoes to celebrate our move!

    Please address any questions about using the new forum to support@styleforum.net

    Cheers,

    The Styleforum Team

    Dismiss Notice

Vass distributorships, globalization, protectionism, etc...

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by aportnoy, Apr 26, 2006.

  1. Tokyo Slim

    Tokyo Slim Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    19,179
    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2004
    Location:
    Where Eagles Dare!
    (Bold-face above mine.) Thank you. That explains a lot. I had no idea that the latter was a priority. I'm not saying it shouldn't be, just that I hadn't twigged to this.
    How would you feel if someone on this forum cost you your job or livelihood? That is the issue I see at the root of this debate. The right for someone to buy shoes at a price that they feel entitled to is not a good enough reason to destroy 4+ years of Andrew and Gabor's hard work trying to introduce a product into the lexicon of american consumer conciousness IMO. It would just be rude. By the way, congrats on getting stock into Bergdorf. I hope it works out.
     
  2. SGladwell

    SGladwell Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,257
    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2006
    How would you feel if someone on this forum cost you your job or livelihood? That is the issue I see at the root of this debate.
    Globalization has costs as well as benefits. Even if your nightmare scenario were to come to pass - as I'll explain below, I think it's a strawman - I wouldn't feel any more or less sorry for these two gentlemen then I do for a call center employee who was laid off because his firm moved to India or a factory worker who's unemployed because her company couldn't compete with a Chinese company on quality or price. Like it or not, there are costs to basing a business model on the fallacy that borders are still relevant to commerce in the 21st century. It's really quite reckless, if you think about it. It's sad for some of the individuals affected, and in cases where necessary I certainly support government-funded safety nets and civilizing reforms like single-payer healthcare to minimize the human costs of dislocation as much as possible. It is also ultimately for the good of the entire world to see countries like China and India follow in the footsteps of the UK and the US in their development, grow middle classes, and climb their way out of poverty. If Vass or any agents on their behalf wish to prevent prices from more or less harmonizing across borders, they are free to attempt to amass the capital to control the destiny of their shoes from every point up to the end user in every market. If they cannot or will not do that, they are resigning themselves to fight an ultimately losing war against the free market.
    The right for someone to buy shoes at a price that they feel entitled to is not a good enough reason to destroy 4+ years of Andrew and Gabor's hard work trying to introduce a product into the lexicon of american consumer conciousness IMO. It would just be rude.
    Now that's very extreme. For one thing, with the internet being what it is sooner or later almost all of the good niche producers of everything all over the world are going to be known to those who wish to find out about them, regardless of any individual's hard work. Now, someone going into Bergdorf, trying them on, and ordering them elsewhere, I'll agree, is distasteful. But I would venture to guess that the majority of people who are buying expensive shoes over the internet without trying them on have done no such thing, so suggesting that internet sales are taking away from local sales itself is quite the strawman. And frankly, if BG dies drops Vass the more likely reason is that Americans in the main aren't that interested in the Central European shoemaking traditions, and have ingrown preferences for sleeker English and Italian products. I know that people have commented on my Ludwig Reiters for over five years, but nobody has ever asked me where he could get a pair. Also, the requisite disclaimer: I've neither seen Vass shoes at BG or anywhere else, and certainly never considered paying $500+ for a pair of shoes on a last I've never tried. $500 is not pocket change to me. However, when I go to Europe in August I might look for some because I am a fan of that school of shoe design. If I judge Vass to be worth the price difference from Ludwig Reiter then I probably will buy a pair. Unless they raise the European price to US levels, in which case no matter how good they are they won't be relevant to my lifestyle.
     
  3. Tokyo Slim

    Tokyo Slim Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    19,179
    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2004
    Location:
    Where Eagles Dare!
    Globalization has costs as well as benefits. Even if your nightmare scenario were to come to pass - as I'll explain below, I think it's a strawman - I wouldn't feel any more or less sorry for these two gentlemen then I do for a call center employee who was laid off because his firm moved to India or a factory worker who's unemployed because her company couldn't compete with a Chinese company on quality or price. Like it or not, there are costs to basing a business model on the fallacy that borders are still relevant to commerce in the 21st century. It's really quite reckless, if you think about it. It's sad for some of the individuals affected, and in cases where necessary I certainly support government-funded safety nets and civilizing reforms like single-payer healthcare to minimize the human costs of dislocation as much as possible. It is also ultimately for the good of the entire world to see countries like China and India follow in the footsteps of the UK and the US in their development, grow middle classes, and climb their way out of poverty. If Vass or any agents on their behalf wish to prevent prices from more or less harmonizing across borders, they are free to attempt to amass the capital to control the destiny of their shoes from every point up to the end user in every market. If they cannot or will not do that, they are resigning themselves to fight an ultimately losing war against the free market.
    Its up to you whether you feel "sorry" for them or not, but when is the last time you personally were responsible for outsourcing call center jobs to India, or closed a US factory yourself because it was cheaper to manufacture overseas? If Bergdorf decides that the people who would have bought Vass from them, DIDN'T because a well thought of and influential forum on Men's style made it appear that the shoes are "not worth" the $1500 that BG thinks they are.(however correct or incorrect that may be) Then perhaps they would not reorder them. I then would blame the person or people responsible for the action, not the lack of a niche shoe company's mastery of 21st century trans-global marketing ethos. Your way of thinking is a cop out as far as I'm concerned. I'd hope that people here would take more responsibility for their actions. Especially when it comes to friends and longstanding members of the forum. "Dude, I'm sorry we screwed up your huge Bergdorf deal, but your company just isn't globally minded enough to compete with our lust for cheaper products." Seems a little callow.
    So what you are saying is that Vass should stop promoting its shoes. Let me remind you again, that the only reason we know what we know about Vass shoes is because of Andrew and Gabor. The only reason there is an english website is because of Andrew and Gabor. So... without this forum, and without an english website, how many people would be buying Vass shoes? People who spoke Hungarian I guess.
    If people are buying shoes over the internet without trying them on, you are correct, I'm sure they have never tried them on at BG. Whatever you were trying to say here never got out of your brain intact... Hypothetically speaking: If you wanted a pair of Vass shoes, and knew you could get them for $550 shipped online, but wanted to try them on to make sure you liked the last, (as you have stated you would want to do) where would you go? Oh yeah. Bergdorf. Right. So you try them on and like them, but you already know you could get them for a third of the price from the German retailer. So what do you do? Buy from Bergdorf out of principal? That is why this entire conversation is so damaging to BERGDORF. The direct result of this is that they don't reorder the shoes, THAT is when it becomes Andrew and Gabor's problem. And that is what I have an issue with.
    And maybe thats the case, but without anyone SELLING THEM IN AMERICA, it would be hard to say what Americans will and won't like. Vass is still trying to get people to sell their shoes here, which is why this is such a big deal. Bergdorf is (IMMSMC) the first BIG company to order any significant number. This is a crucial step for Andrew and Gabor, and I'm sure they would prefer it if people here wouldn't run counter to their efforts to earn a living.
     
  4. Tomasso

    Tomasso Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,078
    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2006
    Location:
    U.S.A.
    I'm sure they would prefer it if people here wouldn't run counter to their efforts to earn a living.

    I hate it when that happens.
     
  5. Tokyo Slim

    Tokyo Slim Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    19,179
    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2004
    Location:
    Where Eagles Dare!
    I hate it when that happens.
    Yeah. Me too. Luckily the only one here who can do that to me is J. [​IMG]
     
  6. Ed13

    Ed13 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    214
    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2004
    I have been following this whole episode from the beginning and was not planning on getting involved but I would like to make one point.

    My own business is based on territories with products.. We promote the products to generate sales and need to make a certain margin for this. At times I deal with other distributors poaching in my territory at lower margins. How do I fight this? I keep better stock levels than most other distributors, convenient locations, etc. I try to add value. The most important thing is to offer the product at a price which is still competitive. I may charge a little more than the outside distributors but if the difference is insignificant to the customer he will still buy from me. In this way I will lose sales from some customers but keep most. My other option is the threat of poaching in the other distributors territory and forcing his margins down by offering bargain pricing. This leads to both companies making next to nothing and either territories are respected or the company with the deepest pockets survives.

    This leads to my main point, the huge price discrepancy between BG and other distributors of Vass. If Vass was able to place their shoes in BG at a lower retail price point this whole episode would not have happened. If customers only had to spend say 25% more ($150) at BG then I don't think most would bother ordering online and would just buy from BG. If Vass can not offer the right price point they may not succeed in the US market. I don't feel sorry for any company or individual who is not successful in business. It is what it is.
     
  7. VMan

    VMan Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,103
    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2003
    Just an idea...

    Perhaps BG priced the shoes based on their quality over other brands rather than on the wholesale/general retail price of Vass.

    Maybe the decision makers figured that they sold Gucci shoes for $500 with no real handwork, Lobb at $900 (not sure on the exact price or level of handwork) with some handwork, and then chose to put Vass at a higher price based on the level of quality in the shoe.

    If they placed them at $700 or whatever the typical number is, the consumer would equate them with a lower quality than the shoes they sell for $800 which may actually be the 'lesser' shoe.
     
  8. SGladwell

    SGladwell Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,257
    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2006
    Its up to you whether you feel "sorry" for them or not, but when is the last time you personally were responsible for outsourcing call center jobs to India, or closed a US factory yourself because it was cheaper to manufacture overseas?

    Every day of the last several years of my life, as long as the phenomenon has been going on. And assuming you haven't dropped out of the economy, so are you.

    If Bergdorf decides that the people who would have bought Vass from them, DIDN'T because a well thought of and influential forum on Men's style made it appear that the shoes are "not worth" the $1500 that BG thinks they are.(however correct or incorrect that may be) Then perhaps they would not reorder them.

    I wouldn't imagine that Bergdorf, or anyone who can afford $1500 on a pair of shoes, gives a rat's ass what is said about them on the internet.

    "Dude, I'm sorry we screwed up your huge Bergdorf deal, but your company just isn't globally minded enough to compete with our lust for cheaper products." Seems a little callow.

    Well, one of the principles of Vass USA told me that they're doing quite well, so it seems your fears are unfounded. But if they were, sorry, that's life in the real world.

    The only reason there is an english website is because of Andrew and Gabor. So... without this forum, and without an english website, how many people would be buying Vass shoes? People who spoke Hungarian I guess.

    Funny, but last I checked the proprietor offering these shoes was German, so clearly all over Central Europe there are people who have discovered Vass shoes outside of this forum. Es gibt eine grosse Menge männliche Schuhe-fans, die Deutsch können.

    Hypothetically speaking:
    If you wanted a pair of Vass shoes, and knew you could get them for $550 shipped online, but wanted to try them on to make sure you liked the last, (as you have stated you would want to do) where would you go?

    Oh yeah. Bergdorf.


    Actually, if we're talking about me I would go to a German or Austrian shoe store on my next European trip (August), because I don't have time to schedule a Budapest leg. (I've been there several times.)
    It's not that much more bother to hop on a plane from ATL to FRA then it is to hop on a plane from ATL to NYC, after all.

    I'm sure they would prefer it if people here wouldn't run counter to their efforts to earn a living.

    Indeed they may. But if they're running counter to the currents of the free world market, then perhaps they need to reëvaluate their strategy.
     
  9. tiger02

    tiger02 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,799
    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2004
    Location:
    NYC
    I wouldn't imagine that Bergdorf, or anyone who can afford $1500 on a pair of shoes, gives a rat's ass what is said about them on the internet.
    Have you seen the amount of money spent on shoes by forumites? There are several members who can and do spend more than $1500 on a pair of shoes, from retail locations. Add in the google searchers and the lurkers, and you've got a large number of people. Relative to BG's market? I don't know, but certainly more than "[no]one."

    Maybe, but until then, it's their choice to make.
     
  10. JBZ

    JBZ Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,281
    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2003
    Now, Bergdorf Goodman guys, if you are reading this, please send me a duffle bag full of cash. I sure could use it. I am in the same bag as Tokyo. $600, $1400, doesn't matter to me. I need to pay rent (the second figure is actually my rent - holy cow!)

    I know a company in Germany that will send you a much larger duffle bag full of cash than Bergdorf Goodman. Let me know if you're interested...
     
  11. Matt

    Matt Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    11,179
    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2005
    Location:
    Sunny Saigon
    I know a company in Germany that will send you a much larger duffle bag full of cash than Bergdorf Goodman. Let me know if you're interested...
    I am the official duffle bag distributor for the Boston area and I demand that Steve B edit your post to remove this offer which undercuts my business and all of my efforts in promoting duffles for the starving, hopeless and future-less millions at Harvard
     
  12. Fuuma

    Fuuma Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    25,816
    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2004
    I am the official duffle bag distributor for the Boston area and I demand that Steve B edit your post to remove this offer which undercuts my business and all of my efforts in promoting duffles for the starving, hopeless and future-less millions at Harvard

    I only accept black duffle bags to match my black suits, will your company be able to accomodate me?
     
  13. RJman

    RJman Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    18,647
    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2004
    Location:
    In the not too distant future
    I am the official duffle bag distributor for the Boston area and I demand that Steve B edit your post to remove this offer which undercuts my business and all of my efforts in promoting duffles for the starving, hopeless and future-less millions at Harvard
    I am the official catmere distributor for Western Europe. I demand that Steve B. stop all posters from harvesting catmere without my license. In other words, stop brushing your cats (or anyone else's) unless you send money and a great big box of Pounce Tartar Control to

    RJ Cat Productions
    Cedex 08
    France

    EDIT: Sorry, let the cat walk on the keyboard again... Who knew he could type coherently?
     
  14. Matt

    Matt Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    11,179
    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2005
    Location:
    Sunny Saigon
    I only accept black duffle bags to match my black suits, will your company be able to accomodate me?
    Manton said they were illegal.
     
  15. JBZ

    JBZ Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,281
    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2003
    I am the official duffle bag distributor for the Boston area and I demand that Steve B edit your post to remove this offer which undercuts my business and all of my efforts in promoting duffles for the starving, hopeless and future-less millions at Harvard

    You greedy, monopolizing, [large economics sounding word] bastard! How dare you restrict my rights to free trade and [other large economics sounding words]?! You obviously have no understanding of marketing, the laws surrounding free trade, life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and my right to watch baseball games without being interrupted by annoying phone calls from telemarketers! I'll buy my duffle bags full of cash from whomever I choose. Try to stop me. I dare you. I triple dog dare you.

    I...aw, forget it...my wife is already complaining that I have too many duffle bags full of cash as it is.
     
  16. A Harris

    A Harris Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,582
    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2003
    Edit, why won't the emoticons work? Anyways:

    *laugh*

    Does that mean I can't sell my catsmere duffle bag samples on ebay? "Cash pictured not included"
     
  17. Steve B.

    Steve B. Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    10,272
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2002
    Location:
    San Antonio
    Very funny; it's abut time someone broke the tension.

    For some reason the emoticons don't work on an edit. I tried to cut, paste, and add to your reply...

    Oh No- I edited a post!!!!







    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  18. j

    j Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    14,914
    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2002
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    Very funny; it's abut time someone broke the tension.

    For some reason the emoticons don't work on an edit. I tried to cut, paste, and add to your reply...

    Oh No- I edited a post!!!!







    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  19. Fuuma

    Fuuma Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    25,816
    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2004
    Manton said they were illegal.

    But I've heard some well regarded guy in the 18th century wore black, how can it be!!!!
     
  20. Steve B.

    Steve B. Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    10,272
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2002
    Location:
    San Antonio
    Cool.

    Do I get any severance-lovely parting gifts or book deals?
     

Share This Page

Styleforum is proudly sponsored by