Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Mild Mannered, Sep 27, 2009.
Is merlot a more office friendly color because it is darker?
I could see this being the end of a great company....I hope not.
I'm also very fascinated. If the Company that buys that is public, or looking to take them public, that would put some pressure on the bottom line. One of easiest ways to increase their income would be to move production to somewhere cheaper, which would have me very concerned. I'm hoping the sale doesn't change the business strategy, but who knows. Will be following this very closely.
yes, you have a good point if the decision comes down to the vote. But it's way too early to call.
Apologies for the bad lighting. Just a quick picture of my current rotation minus some Sperry bucks. Well minus the Marlow tassels now as well, those were too uncomfortable for me and have been sold to fund some Alden 1493s. Not the most impressive collection, but I'm just a poor college student ha. All are AEs except the tassels.
Unlikely. AE is already controlled by a private equity company, which means the cuts and streamlining have already occurred. Goldner Hawn bought AE in '06 and the typical time frame for a PE holding is 5-7 years, i.e. its just time to cash out. They bought in at $100M so even at the lower end of the valuation range, they've booked a healthy profit. With the sale of Loro Piana to LVMH last week, I'd imagine luxury company valuations are pretty rich right now which gives Goldner even more reason to sell. Unless Goldner has pulled a TXU, I'd imagine things will be business as usual after the sale.
Re: the time frame, I was told by Allison she would all me in a week or so. That has been almost 2 weeks ago now. I did Vincenzo at the Shoe Bank right away to have him keep an eye out for them when they came in as seconds. Not sure if I want them, but want the option. Also, I too am pleased with the quality control, and am happy the shoes were rejected before I got them and was unhappy with them. While I am a little peaved it has taken so long, I am happy to wait so I can get the shoe I want. I know I will enjoy them for years and years to come.
rydenfan also brought up some good points. The other part of the equation is Paul. He has now taken a company that was on the decline and turned it around making it profitable and increasing market share. I really hope he stays on board instead of moving on to do the same for another company, which would be normal. Because of his Leadership and vision I think his shoes at AE would be hard to fill, pun not intended.
Ron Rider and Paul exchanged comments about this back in May of 2010 on Ron's blog.
May 7, 2010 at 8:39 am
Hi Paul -
Don’t you have anything better to do than follow my blog!?!?!
Joking. For those that might look in on this, Paul and I have spoken numerous times about things in the past, and he has always been forthright in his replies and conversations. We don’t agree (I have offered some blunt assessments of his business that will remain private) on everything – and this is one example.
…..you work for Goldner-Hawn and your job is to build as much equity into the brand as possible so that they can stay to their publicly stated strategy of buying a company and selling it for a profit with-in 5-7 years. You guys are well past your expiration date and need to get things moving. All this is public info – or easily determined – by looking at GH website. While I know a little more than most, nothing here is news. You are doing your job well…far better than your predecessor…but the goal you are working towards is not to provide the best shoes for your customers, but the best financial results for your investors. We’ve all seen this movie before. Johnston & Murphy, Cole Haan, Florsheim, Rockport…the list goes on and on.
Paul Grangaard Says:
May 7, 2010 at 6:48 pm
Hi again, Ron –
I was alerted to your original post and had some time in Japan in the middle of the Tokyo night (jet lag), so I thought I’d respond. Integrity is extremely important both to me and to Allen Edmonds, so I have to admit I wasn’t too thrilled with the selling the Brooklyn Bridge analogy.
Anyway, as you know from our common involvement in the Ask Andy online community, I appreciate the web’s opportunities for direct dialogue with customers and anyone else interested in Allen Edmonds.
I’ll respond to your second post with some overarching comments. You ascribe such mercenary motives to Goldner Hawn, our majority owner, and by extension to me personally in my role. You’re misguided about both. As I’ve said in my own blog, business for me remains about people and is therefore personal. Do the right and fair things for the customers, the employees and the vendors, and the financials benefit. Focus purely on financial motives, and the business declines and ultimately will fail. Goldner Hawn willingly injected extra equity capital into this company last January to help sustain it through the Great Recession. Their investment timeline has been extended indefinitely. With their full support, our executive team’s multi-year goal is to build this company significantly, both in shoes and in other products consistent with serving our customers well and with what our brand stands for. This is why GH bought in the first place – to help take Allen Edmonds to new levels and, of course, also for their investors to be rewarded for success in doing that.
I have 2 shoes that both did that to me. I didn't end up with a blister but a bunion which is worse and very painful. I ended up stretching them myself however if your not comfortable with that then yes take them to a cobbler and have him stretched. Your feet can change as you age or gain weight, and damage to your foot can also cause the bones to spread making your foot larger, ie: stepping into a deep badger hole in SD then rolling the foot on a downed birch tree in the woods in my case.
I had the same thing because my pinky toes are a little crooked because I've broken them several times from dirt biking. I took them to a trusted cobbler and he said its a common issue. Stretched that part of the shoe over a day or two for cheap, came out perfect.
I tend to fall into this camp as well. I seriously doubt that this is spelling the end of the company that we all enjoy so much. It is in all likelihood just "business as usual" where companies are bought and sold, largely to the ignorance of the populace, and not much visibly changes. Obviously exceptions to this abound, but I don't think it is fair to have a doomsday outlook on this. It isn't as if this is the first time AE has been bought/sold.
I would also contend that AE's business model doesn't really have much room for successful change in either direction, and thus, would make a bad investment for anyone seeking to buy them and change them.
In other words, if they increase their quality standards, prices will go up accordingly, which will cause them to start losing business to the other "high-end" shoe manufacturers that are more expensive (but still below $1,000). Paul himself has said that he doesn't consider the Goodyear-welted shoe manufacturers at higher price points than AE to be his competition. He considers his competition to be the cheaper, outsourced shoes that we all like to shun. AE caters to people who spend more "practical" amounts of money on shoes (which I realize is subjective). If they go higher-end, they will lose their grass-roots customer base of people who want and recognize quality, and are willing to invest in it up to a certain point, at the expense of gaining a smaller customer base of those who are willing to spend much more for smaller returns (insert all of the debates about whether Alden is much better than AE even though they are significantly more expensive).
Going down in quality doesn't make much sense either. The "cheap" men's shoe market doesn't need another company competing to sell dress shoes that are overpriced for what you get. Johnston & Murphy, Florsheim, and Cole-Haan put out enough shoes and are large enough companies, that trying to compete with them is senseless in my opinion.
Allen Edmonds fills a niche in the men's shoe market that has very little competition, which is why they are so successful. They have some of the best customer service in the business, and their "no-frills" approach to providing a high quality product at the lowest price point possible appeals to a very large amount of people. We all know that Paul has brought back AE from the brink of destruction by his methods just described, so why would a new investor buy them up and try to go back down the road towards what has been shown to be company suicide?
Spoiler: Warning: Snip
Well said, and let's hope the new investors are as clear minded as you are. We are all seeing stupid decisions that are been made all the time.
That is quite true, unfortunately.
I am hoping any potential buyer will be like the last buyer - realize the history and allure of the brand and also realize that changing that will destroy any value the brand has. The last buyers kept the history, didn't make drastic changes, and actually improved the brand's value. I'm hoping any new owners will continue down that path.
However, if the new owners decide to cheapen the brand, offshore production, and try to turn the brand into a cash cow for a few years before they let it die, I will never purchase another Allen Edmonds product.
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