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Epaulet shop - Official Affiliate thread

Discussion in 'Streetwear and Denim' started by LA Guy, Apr 1, 2009.

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  1. skeptical jesus

    skeptical jesus Senior member

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    I personally think Alden fits in perfectly with the EP aesthetic, so it would be a shame to see it dropped, but economics are economics.

    I personally would keep them around as a halo brand. Stocking them reflects well on everything around them.Keep a low volume of few core models that best represent the EP aesthetic. The Innesbrook Indy, an alt wein, and something simple like a tan calfskin boot (like this one at TSM), then offer unique makeups as pre-orders only with 50% deposit.
     
  2. CommodoreMarvel

    CommodoreMarvel Member

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    Thank you, I hope you had a good New Year
     
  3. Epaulet

    Epaulet Senior member Affiliate Vendor

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    Hey guys,

    Thanks so much for all of the feedback, this has been incredibly valuable! A lot of you guys really took the time to write out your thoughts, and I very much appreciate it.

    I agree with the overall sentiment: Alden is a good brand to have as a premium name, and I'm proud of the contribution that our styles have had to the overall mix. Some of our best customers have come from the Alden world, and I really like them as a company. Our documentary video from 2009 was a real labor of love. I remember how many pairs of black calfskin wingtip boots we sold when that video was published on A Continuous Lean.

    Yeah. Just chew on that sentence for a minute to see how much the menswear world has changed.

    Anyway, I think that we've got the way forward. When I was doing Carmina - especially their shell models - I always tried to order tough-guy boots, but their stuff never had the same presence as Alden. No one really does. So we'll stick with boots. I think that the Innsbruck is our central focus, but we can offer things like the Plaza-last Cardiff too. I'll keep the styles tight and concentrate on keeping good communication on the preorders and regular order intervals. We can build out that little section of the business and be the go-to for these specific styles. I'll up the deposits to $250, which should still be reasonable for those who want in, and will hopefully eliminate more of the abandonments. With the better logistics, I can promise quicker turnaround times and stay in contact more effectively.

    Regarding our footwear collection in general, that's a whole other discussion, and I've got a ton of ideas to run by you guys. Thanks again!
     
    7 people like this.
  4. applky

    applky Senior member

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    I agree with all this. EP's exclusives have been excellent, the Innsbruck especially. And I wouldn't hesitate to charge a full 50% deposit for preorders. Nice stuff costs money.

    Mike knows this but I found EP in 2009 looking for some stock 403s (brown CXL Indys). I still own those Indys and they've held up amazingly well, but if I had bought more recently I would have gotten the Innsbruck Indy. It's an amazing shoe. I'm not a massive shoe guy but regardless, that one purchase introduced me to Epaulet and eight years later I buy nearly everything I wear from EP. No matter how difficult Aldens are, it seems important to me for EP to carry them to introduce people to everything EP's house line is known for: shirts, chinos, trousers and tailored clothing, sneakers, the works.

    Also that documentary is still great after all these years.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2017
  5. shunted22

    shunted22 Senior member

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    Count me in as someone else who discovered EP via Alden. It's led to about 10 orders of other stuff. Happy to hear you're leaning towards keeping them.
    Running something in reverse green chamois or smooth tobacco would be awesome! Also shoes with eyelets seem too rare today. EP/Alden fills a great niche for those of us who don't dress super formally but still wish to look nice. Much of my business goes to B&M these days because they really push the envelope with some of their creative designs.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2017
  6. bkotsko

    bkotsko Senior member

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    Actually Carmina was the gateway to EP for me.
    I won't admit to the numbers of orders I have.
    That being said, I have a few other ideas (suggestions on Alden), Mike. @Epaulet
    I'll shoot you an email.
     
    1 person likes this.
  7. Akeem

    Akeem Senior member

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    What happened to the Brixton line? Nobody does a wingtip boot like Alden. I am guessing it's not unique enough to set it apart from other retailers?

    I concur with others that you should keep a few core models around. Forget the preorders for new styles. Nobody wants to wait 2 years for boots. Better to be surprised with a new model every now and then rather than getting frustrated waiting.
     
  8. budapest12

    budapest12 Senior member

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    Same. I'm late to this very interesting conversation and I know a decision has already been made but I discovered Epaulet in 2013 after I could not locate Alden's color 8 wingtip boot with commando sole in stock with any stockist. I discovered Carmina as an alternative and my first purchase from Epaulet was a pair of color 8 wingtip boots on York sole (Fitzgerald? Steinway?) that are my most worn pair to this day. I didn't really know much about Alden at that time and was surprised that what I wanted to buy for $700+ dollars was so hard to find and that retailers were telling me that it could be months before they had more in stock. It just seemed weird to me. Since then I've purchased many pairs of Alden, Carmina, and other brands. I have nothing against Alden, per se, but these days I'm leaning toward C&J and other brands. Between the price and the various quirks and difficulties of getting the pair of Aldens you want, and the fact that it takes a lot these days to make me add more to my footwear rotation, Alden is a brand I admire looking at but am unlikely to buy unless the makeup is really extraordinary (in my personal view, of course). Anyway, as far as what Epaulet does, I like the Alden makeups a lot but am fairly indifferent because I am so unlikely to buy. I actually think the Carmina makeups were just as much - or more - of a fit for EP's aesthetic but if something doesn't sell or make money - or otherwise fit in with the business strategy - then I fully understand a decision to stop carrying it.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2017
  9. JR Magat

    JR Magat Senior member

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    I'm another guy that discovered Epaulet through the Alden thread. In this forum, it just seems to be the natural transition to go from nice shoes/boots to want to pair it with nice trousers/shirts/suits, etc. which is where EP came into the picture.

    However, I'm also one of the people that has moved on from Alden, not that it isn't a good quality shoe/boot, but because my personal style tastes shifted & that seems to be the case with a lot of EP's Alden market; or (more likely) most of the customers are overstocked in Alden makeups to jump on more pre-orders.

    I do think there is a brand association with Alden that still attracts customers to EP - like Mike mentioned, it looks good on the website & display window. If you go to the Alden thread, there are new faces on a regular basis so a new wave of interest will be coming up & hopefully there are EP makeups that attract them to place orders (ie. Alt Wein, Brixton, Indy boots)

    I agree with others that a deposit of 50% would be fair and would (hopefully) discourage people from not paying the balance.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2017
  10. Michigan Planner

    Michigan Planner Senior member

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    @Epaulet - My rambling thoughts regarding Epaulet and Alden:

    I hope that you guys keep stocking them into the future, particularly the make-ups that Epaulet seems to have perfected (Innsbruck, Alt Wien, Brixton, etc.). You guys also put together some great one-off make-ups as well and I'd really like to see that continue.

    I've ordered my fare share of Alden from Epaulet (both from stock and pre-orders) and my main concern when placing a pre-oder is how long the pre-orders can take.

    Like others have mentioned, I wouldn't be opposed to paying a slightly larger deposit and having the pre-order being opened for a shorter amount of time (or being limited to X number of pairs right from the get go, similar to the Leffot model) if that meant that the order could be confirmed by Alden faster, or even before they go on sale, so that the order would be fulfilled faster.

    For me, the positives in favor of keeping Alden are:

    • consistently sized lasts
    • lasts that go well with the Rudy/Walt aesthetic
    • finish on their shell cordovan
    • their suede (Alden suede is underrated)

    I can understand the hassle on Epaulet's end with basic Alden stock that doesn't really sell through all that well or has a high return rate, that's why I'd suggest sticking to the special make-ups, or maybe even slightly different versions of their stock stuff (finding an alpine grain LHS loafer shouldn't be as hard as it seems to be!).

    Alden's Barrie, Grant, and Plaza lasts go so great with the Rudy or Walt trousers that I think it would be a hard void to fill in the same quality:price ratio. Allen Edmonds is available everywhere and though I've tried Carmina, they generally are a bit too sleek for my tastes so I've ended up selling those. The other closest option seems like it would maybe be Vass but if you have a hard time selling Alden, this might be even more difficult (though I love my Vass and have slowly been gravitating more towards them than Alden over the past 12-18 months).

    The other thought besides Alden would maybe be Tricker's. I have a few pair and have been very pleased with their quality. They have some designs that are similar to the traditional American look that Alden has, without being as English looking as C&J or Loake or as costly as EG and they seem to be willing to do custom make-ups for pre-orders. However, their sizing does seem to sort of be all over the place and can be difficult to lock down.
     
  11. CLTesquire

    CLTesquire Senior member

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    I know everyone is chatting about Alden at the moment, but would anyone have an opinion as to how the Southwick Estrato wool/mohair blend fabric would breathe in a hot, humid Southern summer? I would definitely go 3/8 lining on the jacket.

    Thanks!
     
  12. applky

    applky Senior member

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    I have to say that as someone who did snag one of the original Ravello Brixtons, those boots would indeed be worth a two-year wait, or even a three-year wait.

    But of course your point still stands. As you say, the Alden wingtip boot is second to none, partly because of the design and also partly because the Barrie last is maybe the ultimate boot last (sometimes blobby for shoes, but perfect for boots). The Indy boot and tanker are also unmistakeable.

    It seems we're all in agreement that Alden is a common "gateway" product to EP. Mike just has to figure out how best to present it or what to stock. It seems like the very particular styles to EP are:

    • Innsbruck Indy
    • Alt Wein bluchers, esp in #8 shell
    • Brixton boots
    • Anything in Cognac Alpine Grain leather

    No disrespect to the other makeups, of course. If EP carried one of every one of those four makeups regularly, and then did preorders and maybe some rotating fifth makeup, would that be enough to both solve the Alden issue and still have EP's Aldens be a gateway product to EP's clothing?
     
  13. peppercorn78

    peppercorn78 Senior member

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    Will Alden start treating EP less seriously if they decide to stock fewer models?
     
  14. Steel28

    Steel28 Senior member

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    [​IMG]


    I consider Mike my friend but Alden has a lot of issues with their service.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2017
  15. unclesam099

    unclesam099 Senior member

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    RE: Deposits for special orders - you should bill for your cost as a deposit so that if someone abandons a deposit, you at least have a $0 hit. I'm sure that you're doing that now, but perhaps asking for MORE than your deposit is fair, too, since you have to put time ($$) into building the page, processing the order, associated office time, etc.

    RE: Special makeups - these are awesome, and shouldn't be dropped. I don't buy many of them, but it's a nice differentiation between you and a stock model store.

    RE: Alden's product - they do make a very nice product, but their price increases are getting harder to swallow. I can get a competitive Carmina shoe now for less money. They used to be about even in price, but Alden depends on a (relatively) large increase year over year.

    These are just a few thoughts, hope it all helps. I am wearing my Innsbruck Alt Weins today (and Individualized brown gingham shirt, Southwick Dark Green Corduroy Jacket, Khaki Regimental twill Walt trousers...), so it's certainly a good program!
     
  16. sirswag

    sirswag Member

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    As a shoe collector, the first thing i would think about when cancelling an order is if I could make up the difference on the secondary market. At $150 deposit, I might not and even if I did, it might not be worth the time and effort. So there is some incentive to just cancel. I would raise the deposit to at least 50% to limit this thinking.
     
    1 person likes this.
  17. notwithit

    notwithit Senior member

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    A couple of thoughts from the sidelines, since I'm more of an occasional EP customer and have no immediate plans to purchase Aldens (I have one pair - #8 shell chukkas from J Crew - and I'm much more likely to buy EP sneakers and / or blake-stitched boots in the coming year):

    1. People have mentioned that Alden occupies a middle ground - above AE but not on the level of EG, JL, &c. - but to some extent so does Epaulet. I see Epaulet as miles above what's being served up by mass-market brands but not necessarily in the luxury category (beyond some select offerings). Moreover, as many people have mentioned, the Epaulet aesthetic meshes very well with Aldens: classic and 'elevated', for lack of a better term, but not so sleek or formal as to interfere with versatility.

    There are, of course, significant differences: Epaulet has a much stronger value-to-price ratio; offers almost unparalleled transparent two-way communication with customers; provides top-notch customer service; and focuses on innovation, improvements, and adapting to meet customer needs with its portfolio of products and services.

    2. This probably goes without saying and may not be helpful, but stock offerings should probably be restricted to a few models that are more unique to Epaulet and have a faster sell-through rate (assuming a reduction in purchases won't significantly damage the relationship with Alden).

    3. It sounds like an increase in deposit cost and a decrease in wait times should reduce the rate of pre-order abandons, barring situations in which Alden doesn't quite deliver as promised. I would think ideally the deposit would cover the break-even point, although not knowing what it is I can see arguments for coming in somewhere above or below that level. I also think it makes sense to add a kicker of maybe $50 to the deposit on non-standard sizes (reducing the balance price by $50, of course), since abandoned uncommon sizes are more likely to sit on the shelf than standard sizes.
     
    1 person likes this.
  18. justinkapur

    justinkapur Senior member

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    What originally hooked me to Epaulet was Carmina's offerings, but it was less so that there were so many shops offering Epaulet. It was more that there was someone on Styleforum that offered it before most did. I knew that in order for them to be an affiliate on SF there are fees and other things that go into it. More importantly they were on SF for a long time and had positive feedback after positive feedback. Why do I share this? I was hooked by Epaulet because they were an affiliate that offered a brand that I was interested in. I dont know the answer to this but what other affiliates on this forum offers Alden? Then what other affiliate offers Alden plus other stuff that goes hand in hand with Epaulet?

    I think Alden is a great way to hook a customer especially if a customer is looking for them, but with that comes the expansion of what Epaulet offers as well as their amazing customer service. I would say if not Alden then what? I do agree that Alden X Epaulet combos are always intriguing and like I said in my previous post. I was never interested in Alden but the makeups made me really question why I shouldnt buy them? Hence I have bought 2 from Epaulet, and I probably will end up buying the shell cordovan tankers.
     
  19. bry2000

    bry2000 Senior member

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    As a related aside...I know Epaulet does well with basic business casual clothing and therefore has a lot of business casual customers ("Office Bros", as it were). But I am surprised that of the Office Bro customer base and thread participants, there appear to be very few Finance Bros (or other Economics types). That has really become apparent from this Alden discussion.
     
  20. bry2000

    bry2000 Senior member

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    Back in the early days, Epaulet sold more 3rd party brands and likely had a much higher % of in-store sales vs on-line sales. Those relationships appear to have flipped in recent years. However, I think it is important for Epaulet to sell some popular 3rd party brands that have name recognition to continue to attract new customers. Does not have to be Alden, but it has to be something that will bring a casual new buyer that can then be transitioned to the high margin Epaulet branded business casual offerings. I don't even thing Epaulet has to make any money on those 3rd party sales as long as new customers become Epaulet customers. Without the hook of a 3rd party brand, I think it will be a challenge to convince non-Epaulet people to buy your minimalist trainers or Chelsea boots when the market is flooded with lookalikes, for instance.
     
    1 person likes this.

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