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Vocans

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Here is my non MTO #4 just for your comp.

View attachment 1343567
They look great. Could be the pool table top throwing me off but those almost look Rubi. Really interesting how much variation there was in color 4 in what was a pretty small run of shells. Would be interesting to see all of the pairs arranged in one album for comparison.
 

ThinkDerm

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Seems like forum groups like this are comprised of a self selected demographic of enthusiasts who like hearing others opinions and giving their own opinions about topics, products, they are interested in.

Styleforum likely wouldn't exist without that pretty dependable dynamic. I've found comments regarding Carmina on this forum and thread pretty fair and reasonable but pointing out real issues. That is what I look for in forum discussion groups, movie reviews, restaurant reviews. You read enough posts with their points/counter points and you can pickup on whats really going on, trends, patterns.

Regarding Carmina, I have ordered 4 pairs of their shoes/boots over the past 2 years. Every single time there was a QC issue. I did admire the eventual resolution of each issue. The most noteworthy was the Massdrop from 2017 where they got the sizing wrong and offered everyone to keep their shoes at no charge. Very smart and generous on their part.

In that same time period I've ordered 1/2 dozen pairs of Aldens and had zero QC issues.

I'm conflicted with Carmina, so glad I stumbled across them a few years ago but I think they are going thru some fairly significant growing pains/hiring/training pains.

Hopefully Carmina is following this forum and is getting some useful feedback. Often times that is the most effective tool to initiate changes/improvements.
Agree with you here. This is styleforum and we are an interesting intersection of society - those with resources to buy these shoes and those with the appreciation of the finer details that we notice and look for in our purchases. We come here to discuss the good and bad. That's the point of SF.

I am a big Carmina fan. I have over 10 pairs. The pairs I have purchased in store were all perfect (granted I had the opportunity to inspect them). I have handled over 100 pairs of Carmina in various Carmina and other physical stores and they all appeared perfect. I had a pair of Carminas that were about 13 years old resoled and they came out essentially perfect and flawless and look new on the outside (they were well cared for before resoling).

Let me say this about Carmina. I really like the company and I like the people tremendously. They are warm and awesome. They have a track record of taking care of people and providing personal service and care.

I am in a customer service industry. I face "clients" day in and day out. As one of my clients told me yesterday: she said "I expect perfection from you" - and I agreed and said - I expect same from myself! (for me, most things have some level of acceptable flaws)

The MTOs I have received (three in the past four months) all seem to have flaws.

a) one would have been (mild) seconds quality (the penny slot on the penny loafer was misaligned by a bit - I never said anything and let it slide as the rest of the shoes were so wonderfully executed).

b) The second pair was my amaretto MTO. Excellently executed, but two concerns - excess edge dressing and other brown stains on uppers and secondly there was some weird large unsightly bulging fold in the cordovan. My threshold for shoes I pay full price for is: would I walk into a store and pay full price for shoes I receive by mail? If not, they are seconds in my book, and likely everyone else in here. I spoke with Carmina, told them it's not a big deal, and we worked something mild out (still pending) and moved on.

c) the third pair, "color #4," which I posted here since someone requested I post had several flaws. if they weren't cordovan, I would think these were made of scrap leather (I've seen scrap leather look better). Firstly, the color is not #4. The color I received is some shade of dark brown. There is a six inch long fold on the vamp that appears the leather was rolled and flattened flat causing a permanent crease in the cordovan prior to being used and then simply unfolded and used to make shoes irrespective of the obvious major flaw. Additionally, there are random other issues that make the shoes below seconds that do not need to be discussed here. The positives - the build aside from the leather flaws are pretty. The styling is fantastic. Carmina offered a remake, which I accepted, but they never answered if they have any color #4 cordovan remaining. I'm keeping my fingers crossed, as I really would love this pair done to the high level Carmina can make to!

They look great. Could be the pool table top throwing me off but those almost look Rubi. Really interesting how much variation there was in color 4 in what was a pretty small run of shells. Would be interesting to see all of the pairs arranged in one album for comparison.
Agree here, would be nice to see all the col #4 in one place. None really look like Alden #4 color, which is interesting...
 

Vocans

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Agree with you here. This is styleforum and we are an interesting intersection of society - those with resources to buy these shoes and those with the appreciation of the finer details that we notice and look for in our purchases. We come here to discuss the good and bad. That's the point of SF.

I am a big Carmina fan. I have over 10 pairs. The pairs I have purchased in store were all perfect (granted I had the opportunity to inspect them). I have handled over 100 pairs of Carmina in various Carmina and other physical stores and they all appeared perfect. I had a pair of Carminas that were about 13 years old resoled and they came out essentially perfect and flawless and look new on the outside (they were well cared for before resoling).

Let me say this about Carmina. I really like the company and I like the people tremendously. They are warm and awesome. They have a track record of taking care of people and providing personal service and care.

I am in a customer service industry. I face "clients" day in and day out. As one of my clients told me yesterday: she said "I expect perfection from you" - and I agreed and said - I expect same from myself! (for me, most things have some level of acceptable flaws)

The MTOs I have received (three in the past four months) all seem to have flaws.

a) one would have been (mild) seconds quality (the penny slot on the penny loafer was misaligned by a bit - I never said anything and let it slide as the rest of the shoes were so wonderfully executed).

b) The second pair was my amaretto MTO. Excellently executed, but two concerns - excess edge dressing and other brown stains on uppers and secondly there was some weird large unsightly bulging fold in the cordovan. My threshold for shoes I pay full price for is: would I walk into a store and pay full price for shoes I receive by mail? If not, they are seconds in my book, and likely everyone else in here. I spoke with Carmina, told them it's not a big deal, and we worked something mild out (still pending) and moved on.

c) the third pair, "color #4," which I posted here since someone requested I post had several flaws. if they weren't cordovan, I would think these were made of scrap leather (I've seen scrap leather look better). Firstly, the color is not #4. The color I received is some shade of dark brown. There is a six inch long fold on the vamp that appears the leather was rolled and flattened flat causing a permanent crease in the cordovan prior to being used and then simply unfolded and used to make shoes irrespective of the obvious major flaw. Additionally, there are random other issues that make the shoes below seconds that do not need to be discussed here. The positives - the build aside from the leather flaws are pretty. The styling is fantastic. Carmina offered a remake, which I accepted, but they never answered if they have any color #4 cordovan remaining. I'm keeping my fingers crossed, as I really would love this pair done to the high level Carmina can make to!


Agree here, would be nice to see all the col #4 in one place. None really look like Alden #4 color, which is interesting...
Keep in mind that Alden hasn't used Color 4 in several years. I believe the Color 4 wingtip boots and captoes you previously posted were run by TSM around 2012, for example. Even when new it wouldn't be surprising that the shade has shifted some from current Color 4 but those pairs at this point have roughly 8 years of wear (albeit very light wear).
 

stephenaf2003

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No, he means that some Style Forum members expect to expect Ferrari F60 America for the price of Toyota Corolla.
I don't think anyone is saying that but I think it can be handled between you and Carmina's CS without necessarily resorting to asking whether Carmina has any quality control on their public affiliate thread.
92A5A780-8EC4-4E00-A6AE-1CCEDCA8B082.jpeg


I for one, feel very fortunate that this thread has not turned into a mutual appreciation society like the certain threads. Where any mention of other than glowing terms for the maker are shouted down. It’s one of the reasons I don’t purchase Alden rare shell, their customer base will accept anything, and this has been reflected in the two rare shell Alden products I’ve received. I do purchase Carmina rare shell, because Carmina isn’t thin skinned, and values customer feedback; both positive and negative. If folks want nothing but happy talk, head over to that thread. Here on this thread, we’re having honest discussion, after all that is the point of SF.
 

DL120

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View attachment 1343870

I for one, feel very fortunate that this thread has not turned into a mutual appreciation society like the certain threads. Where any mention of other than glowing terms for the maker are shouted down. It’s one of the reasons I don’t purchase Alden rare shell, their customer base will accept anything, and this has been reflected in the two rare shell Alden products I’ve received. I do purchase Carmina rare shell, because Carmina isn’t thin skinned, and values customer feedback; both positive and negative. If folks want nothing but happy talk, head over to that thread. Here on this thread, we’re having honest discussion, after all that is the point of SF.
Agreed and well said! On my pair of color 4 boots (well mine now lol), there was a very small fold on the rear quarter around the ankle. The rest of the boot is flawless, and once I bent my ankle the shaft began molding as expected and it’s basically resolved itself as I anticipated. So nothing I was or am concerned about, but also not afraid to admit they weren’t perfect.

I do have a general question but related, why don’t they wait to create the tongue lace loop until the tongue is stitched and the boot is lasted. On every pair of carmina boots (and Enzo, meermin, every maker practically besides Zonkey Boot) I have the tongue lace loop is centered on the tongue if it were laying flat, but once lasted and on the foot, it always ends up to the side. And then it either is awkward to use, looks like it may rip or just doesn’t actually perform the function. Any other experience or observations on this?

I’m sending down to Jim McFarland now for toe plates, so I may just have him make a small stitch on the inner side of either tongue to keep it centered so I can just avoid them.

9976A72D-B1F7-443C-B458-2EC47D0AAE2D.jpeg

70B43631-88A9-4DB1-82FE-81097CE5C149.jpeg
 

laufer

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View attachment 1343870

I for one, feel very fortunate that this thread has not turned into a mutual appreciation society like the certain threads. Where any mention of other than glowing terms for the maker are shouted down. It’s one of the reasons I don’t purchase Alden rare shell, their customer base will accept anything, and this has been reflected in the two rare shell Alden products I’ve received. I do purchase Carmina rare shell, because Carmina isn’t thin skinned, and values customer feedback; both positive and negative. If folks want nothing but happy talk, head over to that thread. Here on this thread, we’re having honest discussion, after all that is the point of SF.
You have a point regarding the mutual appreciation society threads, those threads annoy me too. However, what's an honest discussion is a matter of debate. I am not visiting this thread as often as I used because I am not in the mood to read about "laces being too long" or " HELP, my Carmina shoe bags were not made by virgins hands"

There comes a point when every business must decide whether some customers are too much of the trouble. So I hope Carmina decided that on case by case basis instead of doing punishing all customers, for example, discontinuing their yearly MTO fee-free program or limiting the number of their offerings etc.

Carmina offer at least 15 different last configurations, tens of different shoe/boot models, countless leather and soles. I am very grateful to Carmina.
 

djdanniedee

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Carmina two eyelid derby in shell cordovan. Don't wear them as much as I'd like due to the 2 eyelids being hard to get a good fit.
IMG_20200224_212531.jpg

Carmina CXL frankenstitch jumper boot for the crazy Canadian weather today. I usually just give them a coat of Reno and then a quick splash of wax but this time used the mirror shine to see how'd it look. While the shine came out nice it definitely did not match the profile of the boots and a quick walk from the parking lot to train collected salt all over and ruined the shine!
IMG_20200225_070545.jpg
 

stephenaf2003

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You have a point regarding the mutual appreciation society threads, those threads annoy me too. However, what's an honest discussion is a matter of debate. I am not visiting this thread as often as I used because I am not in the mood to read about "laces being too long" or " HELP, my Carmina shoe bags were not made by virgins hands"

There comes a point when every business must decide whether some customers are too much of the trouble. So I hope Carmina decided that on case by case basis instead of doing punishing all customers, for example, discontinuing their yearly MTO fee-free program or limiting the number of their offerings etc.

Carmina offer at least 15 different last configurations, tens of different shoe/boot models, countless leather and soles. I am very grateful to Carmina.
I applaud your willingness to voice your stand on the matter.

The relationship Carmina has with its customers are beneficial to both. We give them a nice chunk of money, and they produce a product for us. Giving feedback to the company on that product is the customers prerogative. I approach all the same; I give company’s praise at times, criticisms at other times. Some think kissing up to a company will put them in more favor, perhaps they are correct. I feel honest feedback on a product results in a better product, if the company is capable of it. Some issues are going to really perturb some customers, and they will react in a myriad of ways. If a company decides they don’t want the money from a customer anymore they are well within their rights. I for one would not fault them; but I’ll never pull punches just so they will be nicer to me.

For me Carmina is an amazing company, because they do value ALL feedback. It’s one of the reasons I really support them....with my wallet.
 

George Red

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I applaud your willingness to voice your stand on the matter.

The relationship Carmina has with its customers are beneficial to both. We give them a nice chunk of money, and they produce a product for us. Giving feedback to the company on that product is the customers prerogative. I approach all the same; I give company’s praise at times, criticisms at other times. Some think kissing up to a company will put them in more favor, perhaps they are correct. I feel honest feedback on a product results in a better product, if the company is capable of it. Some issues are going to really perturb some customers, and they will react in a myriad of ways. If a company decides they don’t want the money from a customer anymore they are well within their rights. I for one would not fault them; but I’ll never pull punches just so they will be nicer to me.

For me Carmina is an amazing company, because they do value ALL feedback. It’s one of the reasons I really support them....with my wallet.
“nice chunk of money” = UNDERSTATEMENT OF THE YEAR. 😂
 

stephenaf2003

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Agreed and well said! On my pair of color 4 boots (well mine now lol), there was a very small fold on the rear quarter around the ankle. The rest of the boot is flawless, and once I bent my ankle the shaft began molding as expected and it’s basically resolved itself as I anticipated. So nothing I was or am concerned about, but also not afraid to admit they weren’t perfect.

I do have a general question but related, why don’t they wait to create the tongue lace loop until the tongue is stitched and the boot is lasted. On every pair of carmina boots (and Enzo, meermin, every maker practically besides Zonkey Boot) I have the tongue lace loop is centered on the tongue if it were laying flat, but once lasted and on the foot, it always ends up to the side. And then it either is awkward to use, looks like it may rip or just doesn’t actually perform the function. Any other experience or observations on this?

I’m sending down to Jim McFarland now for toe plates, so I may just have him make a small stitch on the inner side of either tongue to keep it centered so I can just avoid them.

View attachment 1343872
View attachment 1343873
If your feeling really handy, you can try this which was posted by another member. My apologies to that member for not remembering their name. Great idea they have though.


Pinning Rouge Boot Tongue in place



Pinning the tongue is a 5 minute job if you have the right tools.

It is a 15 minute job if you dont. But it is easy. The critical thing is to have nylon thread instead if the cotton thread you usually find in sewing kits.

Doesnt have to be thick...just strong. You will need some pliers to push and pull through the leather. Did my tankers just now....first pic is before, last is after. I went in and out on the original seam and tied the knot between the shoe and the tongue



Attachments



Image.png




Image_1.png




Image_2.png




Image_3.png




Image_4.png
 

Vocans

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View attachment 1343870

I for one, feel very fortunate that this thread has not turned into a mutual appreciation society like the certain threads. Where any mention of other than glowing terms for the maker are shouted down. It’s one of the reasons I don’t purchase Alden rare shell, their customer base will accept anything, and this has been reflected in the two rare shell Alden products I’ve received. I do purchase Carmina rare shell, because Carmina isn’t thin skinned, and values customer feedback; both positive and negative. If folks want nothing but happy talk, head over to that thread. Here on this thread, we’re having honest discussion, after all that is the point of SF.
Just to be clear, I think you may have misinterpreted my point which wasn't that the thread should be whitewashed of criticism. I do, however, think there's a distinction to be made between constructive criticism and unproductive bashing and if we want to continue to receive the benefits Carmina has continued to give us on these forums it's important to focus on providing the former. You mention that Carmina is thick skinned and values customer feedback, which may very well be the case, but I'd point out that despite them continuing to read this thread, they've largely gone radio silent from a posting perspective.

Not sure how this turned into an Alden discussion but keep in mind that, like most other shoemakers with threads on SF, Alden isn't a paid affiliate on these forums and doesn't have any official presence here. As a result, the Alden thread isn't really an effective channel to provide feedback to the company. From my own personal (anecdotal) experience, I'd also add that some of the recent QC snafus I've seen posted in this thread in the past few weeks alone are worse than anything I've seen from Alden in the Alden thread and the two minor issues I've personally had with Aldens in the past were promptly fixed by the factory.
 

stephenaf2003

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Just to be clear, I think you may have misinterpreted my point which wasn't that the thread should be whitewashed of criticism. I do, however, think there's a distinction to be made between constructive criticism and unproductive bashing and if we want to continue to receive the benefits Carmina has continued to give us on these forums it's important to focus on providing the former. You mention that Carmina is thick skinned and values customer feedback, which may very well be the case, but I'd point out that despite them continuing to read this thread, they've largely gone radio silent from a posting perspective.

Not sure how this turned into an Alden discussion but keep in mind that, like most other shoemakers with threads on SF, Alden isn't a paid affiliate on these forums and doesn't have any official presence here. As a result, the Alden thread isn't really an effective channel to provide feedback to the company. From my own personal (anecdotal) experience, I'd also add that some of the recent QC snafus I've seen posted in this thread in the past few weeks alone are worse than anything I've seen from Alden in the Alden thread and the two minor issues I've personally had with Aldens in the past were promptly fixed by the factory.
It’s not an Alden discussion at all, it was simply used as a good example of in worst cases boot lickers, in best cases simple fealty to the brand. Big Alden doesn’t have a presence on SF, their presence is wielded by their vendors who are very present.

At any rate, as I said I applaud those who voice their opinions, especially yours. I can’t determine what is acceptable criticism of a vendor, and don’t have any designs to place myself in that position. The idea that Carmina have gone radio silent is debatable. We tend to view the world through our own prisms, and I’m sure I have no illusions/desire of changing yours. Again, I have the feeling this thread will always have healthy debate. Yes, the credit goes to Carmina, but the credit also goes to the Carmina customers in this thread, who are open to real discussion, good and bad.

Sometimes, not everyone gets a trophy.
 

ecworks

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It’s not an Alden discussion at all, it was simply used as a good example of in worst cases boot lickers, in best cases simple fealty to the brand. Big Alden doesn’t have a presence on SF, their presence is wielded by their vendors who are very present.

At any rate, as I said I applaud those who voice their opinions, especially yours. I can’t determine what is acceptable criticism of a vendor, and don’t have any designs to place myself in that position. The idea that Carmina have gone radio silent is debatable. We tend to view the world through our own prisms, and I’m sure I have no illusions/desire of changing yours. Again, I have the feeling this thread will always have healthy debate. Yes, the credit goes to Carmina, but the credit also goes to the Carmina customers in this thread, who are open to real discussion, good and bad.

Sometimes, not everyone gets a trophy.
Just scanned thru most of the posting here from 2019 and this year so far, overwhelmingly positive reviews and comments about Carmina the company and their products. Started to notice pattern of QC issues middle of last years postings.
Don't really understand some of the comments lately that seem to frame negative comments and observations about Carmina as hyper sensitive problematic high maintenance customers. The comments I've read and posted myself seem to be based on real issues with orders, backed up by photos. Every single time I've contacted Carmina about poor quality and workmanship in shoes I've purchased I've sent photos to document the conditions of the leather and workmanship they have reviewed the photographic evidence and agreed that that shoe did not meet up to their standards and offered to resolve the issue with a refund or re-order. Lets not forget the price point we're talking about, and they just recently raised their prices. (As did Alden)
 

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