Alligator / Crocodile Shoes

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by SpooPoker, Oct 16, 2009.

  1. nutcracker

    nutcracker Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Regular JL Chapels go for $1500 or so? About how much of that $13K+ upcharge is material fee, I'm not sure, but I suspect most..... :facepalm:

    I know Hermes has an upcharge of $10K USD or so for their Croc Birkins....
     


  2. Texasmade

    Texasmade Senior member

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  3. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    I can buy two, #1 grade, matching NIle crocodile skins...enough for one pair of shoes, a belt and a wallet...for less than $1500.00.
     


  4. SkinnyGoomba

    SkinnyGoomba Senior member

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    One would assume slightly more difficult to work with as well? And the perceived value on the consumer end is very high, warranting an up charge much higher than the cost of material.

    IMO, I think a lot of it has to do with having a return on your materials as well, if you're putting out $1500 in material for the croc, which is probably 2-3x the price of a top grade calf skin one would expect the margin to rise in order to compensate for the added expense and the added risk. You wouldn't want to be in the hole on the project if you wreck a set of skins.
     


  5. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    As far as how hard croc or gator is to work, the answer is not any harder than calf. It is difficult to fold the edges of croc but that's about the only limitation.

    If you pay $600.00 for a calf skin the chances are high you will get two pairs of prime shoes out of the skin. What I referenced above is just enough for one pair of shoes.

    And yes, there is a margin to be expected. It's worth remembering, however, that the dealer also gets his margin. And it's not 700%, by any means.

    In my opinion, it is bordering on exploitative to more than double the cost of the materials. If you wreck a skin it's generally your fault and perhaps the universe's way of suggesting that you aren't ready to work with such expensive materials. Having said, that even a mis-cut vamp can often be used for another, different pair of shoes. Perhaps that's why we see a fair number of "pieced" crocodile shoes.

    In the end, a $10,000 exotic materials charge has got to be questioned. Someone, somewhere is getting taken to the cleaners.
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2013


  6. Xenon

    Xenon Senior member

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    Seriously! Spot on,

    I suspect alot of this has got to be the rarity and beauty factor. At a certain point you rarely see such nice croc that the consumer assume it is supremely expensive and almost impossible to get, just like the croc kelly bag. There is tremendous marketing impact here.

    Of course the reality is different, but this holds for any uber high end luxury labeled manufactured goods.
     


  7. SkinnyGoomba

    SkinnyGoomba Senior member

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    Honestly, when it comes to Hermes bags I would say the end consumer seems pretty happy to be taken the cleaners...in fact they're lining up to do so.

    More than double the cost of the input materials and everything else is going to rise significantly to compensate for it. Cost is typically 25% of retail, so for example if you were charging $4000 and the cost was $1000, now you're charging $8000 and the cost is $2000. Add to that the fact that alligator/croc are likely to sit on the shelf waiting for a buyer much longer than calf skin, so you want to further increase the cost to compensate for the lack of turnover.

    A small operation likely has a different way of scaling their input costs, but it's not entirely different. Also a small shop that has the luxury of purchasing material after they have a buyer can also work at a much lower margin, since they do not need to risk later selling the piece at 25-50% off to get it out the door.

    IMO, the goal of being in business is to make money, so if additional risk is taken, additional compensation is needed. This is especially the case in the corporately run businesses that most of us are buying from.
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2013


  8. chogall

    chogall Senior member

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    Not to say JL SJ already up charge almost twice for croc compare to other makers...
     


  9. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    Does it have to be said? Seriously? "A fool and his money are soon parted." Ageless wisdom.

    Do we have to hold brand whores up as exemplars of taste and perspicacity?


    So basically, what you're saying is that a small shop can afford the ethics...and an honesty...that the major corporations are too sophisticated/cynical to even bother with. In which case, it's probably unreasonable of us to even hope for any accountability in that world. All, by the way, consistent with what I've been saying here since 2008.

    BTW...it's worth noting that the larger operations buy materials at a much lower price than the small shops. What costs me $1500.00 may cost half of that when purchased in the kinds of quantities that you're talking about.

    --
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2013


  10. Notch

    Notch Senior member Affiliate Vendor

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    Wow there are some very nice shoes in this thread! I would love to get my hands on a pair of nice bespoke crocodile loafers, one day I will :nodding:

    But for now, I'm actually looking for a crocodile or alligator skin supplier in the EU.. I have a little project up my sleeve and I'm looking for some nice matching skins.. Thought I could ask here for some much needed help :)
     


  11. chogall

    chogall Senior member

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    Dry cleaned, bleached and then distressed lol.

    But with the price of those chapel, one could almost get two pairs of bespoke croc... More for the lesser known ones.
     


  12. SkinnyGoomba

    SkinnyGoomba Senior member

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    I agree, it's a bit much and there are certainly other options I would take. Somewhere out there however there is a buyer for it willing to pay an insane markup for the implied quality of a more expensive product.

    That being said, anytime I think men's shoes/clothing are expensive I need to look no further than the insanity that is women's couture.
     


  13. VRaivio

    VRaivio Senior member

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    D.W., you have my thanks, as always. The reason I ask is that I may some day have a pair made, likely with someone who's willing to work with the customer's chosen skins.
     


  14. SkinnyGoomba

    SkinnyGoomba Senior member

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    I'm just as happy to pay less for the same thing, but I don't think that pricing at the level at which someone will pay is as criminal as you make it out to be. At the same rate you immediately right off the costs involved in running a larger operation, their material costs may be lower, but I'm sure their structure is a bit more expensive than yours.

    Consider that some of the retail spaces cost upwards of $75,000-$100,000/month plus a portion of the monthly sales, they pay professional wages to the sales staff and have a corporate structure that the small shop does not.

    The ones that provide a volume at which they can produce, rather than diffusing their work, are certainly going to charge a premium for their product because they likely could produce and sell more but chose to operate at a level which can be supported by their craftsmen.

    Their is a customer for every type of service, and while I put things like quality of construction on the foreground of what's important, others want fashion, brand cache, ect.

    Value is one of those things that's certainly in the eye of the beholder. The goodwill of a brand is worth paying for in some cases, and many are often paying to keep up with the current opinion. How many come to styleforum and immediately wonder why the hell anyone would pay $1000 for a pair of shoes and a year or two later, they themselves are coughing up thousands for the right pair.

    I'm not trying to chip away at your efforts, just offering a different perspective.
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2013


  15. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    No...I understand. No worries.

    But while a different perspective is always valuable, invariably its value rests on its legitimacy.

    Whatever legitimacy a $13,000 pair of alligator shoes has rests almost entirely with the marketing hype that surrounds, and is propounded by, the maker. And of course the box...never forget the box. :nest:

    Even the idea that the manufacture has a more valid rationale for pricing than the bespoke maker is suspect. Simply because it's all relative. Beyond the cost of raw materials (which are always cheaper in quantity), almost every critical aspect of manufacturing...from space to time...is less expensive or onerous at scale. Compare the $75,000 dollar a month 1 million sq. ft space to the 800 sq. ft. space at $1000.00 a month. The $15.00/hr unskilled labourer to the $50.00/hr hand clicker.

    And quality has little or nothing to do with it. It's all a matter of expediency and reducing the cost of production. If it weren't, hand welted shoes would be the norm and we'd all be working out of basements (Hobson's Choice) and garrets.
     


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