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scurvyfreedman

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After 1.5 years of waiting on the outstanding custom trousers and denim orders I made all I want now is a refund on what isn't finished and ready to be sent to me. I get the pandemic has been hard on everyone but thats precisely why I can't have my money locked up for years.

To date I’m still missing:
  • 2x Wilhelm Chino’s in Yoshiwa Crosscut Pique
  • 1x Wilhelm Chino's in Woolrich American Tweed
  • 1x Ultrafleck Midnight Wilhelm Jeans.

Let me share with the forum what has my experience been like while waiting for this 1.5 years.

For starters the custom jeans they have completed are totally off in sizing. If you compare the Size 35 Nisshinbo Jet Black Wilhelms to the Size 35 Andalou Earl Greys and Nisshinbo Antique indigos they’re about 2 inches larger in the mid thigh (see photos below). I wasn’t notified of the cut change either so I can only chalk this up to lack of quality control. I say anything because after waiting so long for them sending them back to be recut would have just been pointless and caused more delays and cost more money out of my pocket.

I should mention that they wouldn’t send the above order until I reviewed a negative review I posted. That kind of hostage negotiation tactic just sits badly with me but I complied because they have both my money and product. Eva was kind enough to throw in an extra pair of Antique indigos they had due to the inconvenience.

They lost a cookies and cream chain stitch shirt which I ordered and had to replace it with a different shirt.

Since this started to go south I started to document all the exchanges Ive had. I'll share TLDR version of the 18 email changes so far regarding the rest of my orders that are missing:

March 2021 - After reaching out to Ming and he explains there are production delays in their LA factory and they also lost my material for the Ultrafleck. They did offer a refund at this time which I should have taken but I had confidence they would come through with the new changes to their production so I rolled the dice..

April 23rd 2021 - After reaching out via email after no word and Ming notifies me they would send the material to Hertling after production issues with LA factory and to expect a 6 week turn around. They also managed to source more Ultrafleck. Says he would update me on progress.

June 14 2021 - After I reached out due to no response, Ming tells me that Hertling hasn’t finished them. Promises to update me as things progress.

July 12, 2021 - After no updates yet again I reach out again, Ming tells me that they had to move production to RTC because Hertling is with a backup of 6 months. Offers me custom buttons as consolation further delays, I decline and just ask for the default production selections. Ming promises to inform me of updates.

August 2nd 2021 - After no further updates I reach out and request a refund. Ming declines to give me a refund because the fabric is cut. Promises mid September delivery.

September 24th 2021 - I reach out again and find out 2 trousers are finished and should be sent in the next two weeks. No mention of which two have been finished or whether the other 2 items were in production. Maybe they don’t have fabric, who knows?

October 8th 2021 - I reach out and request a refund for the remaining items that aren’t in production and can’t be sent. Still haven’t received anything and haven’t heard back.


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I can tell you that Hertling is disingenuous with its direct customers and I assume the same is true from its commercial customers as well. I've recounted it here before. But, after a sustained campaign I finally got them to respond to an email. I emailed, emailed their CEO, sent a website contact, and posted on their IG. Anyway, 7 months into a 3-4 weeks order - and after two separate group emails promising 3 more weeks, 4 and 3 months ago respectively, they let me know that they were going to make my pants. I got a shipping notice Friday. I wouldn't put the Hertling business on Epaulet. I have a feeling they will be filing for bankruptcy pretty soon.
 

CaptainCrunchy

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SASHIKO FW21 HEADS UP

Hey guys!

So, it's been a long time since we've had a proper restock of our Sashiko essentials. This year is (no surprise) a little bit insane for these products, but I've got a plan.

We have about 400 yards of Sashiko on hand. That's enough for a little over 100 Doyles and 100 Rivets. After that, the fabric is kaput until at least late January. With the mill running late in Japan and sea shipping being a total disaster these days, there's no way for me to get more cloth before the end of the year. Which kind of zapped by ambitious blanket plans for the holidays, but we're rolling with it.

On top of that, my factory here is moving more slowly than ever before. They're backed up with production and have been contending with constant absenteeism. Our Sashiko preorder last year went totally sideways, and I want to absolutely ensure that doesn't happen this time around.

SO.... here's the plan...

1) Typically we place our order after the preorder window closes, but this time... I've ordered the size runs up front. With luck, we'll have the fabric cut by late next week. Rivets will be available in size 30 to 38, Doyles in 36 to 46. When you preorder your size, we'll pull it from the incoming stock count. So it is possible for sizes to sell out.

2) Doing it this way can cut nearly a full month out of the turnaround time. We cut all of the garments in white anyway... the dye process comes later, so it's entirely possible to let people pick the color that they want right up until the final day of the project.

3) Like the Chainstitch shirt project happening now... you'll be able to choose buttons for this! We have some killer upgrade options, including some insane white MOP and smoke MOP. This is the first time we've ever offered this for our Sashiko garments...


4) I think we can offer four colors. We'll definitely do Indigo & Gunmetal... those haven't been in the running for a long time, I'm thinking Aubgerine alongside that. I'd love to hear your suggestions for any other colors!

5) Delays have been a constant issue, but it's rare for production to be held up after the garments are cut. That's an extensive and pricey step. The factory pays for cutting up front, so they're incentivized to finish the sewing as fast as possible afterwards, as they don't get paid until the final items are delivered. I'm optimistic that this new way of running preorders will get us our goods a lot faster than before. It's not possible with every fabric, but it works really well with these "garment dyed with button choice concepts"

6) I need to get an existing preorder in before I launch this. So planned date is next Thursday Oct 14th, at which point we should have the Fall 21 Rivet Chinos (stock and preorder) in hand and ready to go. They should have the Sashiko totally cut and primed by then too. With that in place, I can confidently commit to shipping around Thanksgiving.
Please bring back mink. Just purchased the size 40 jet black doyle that was on sale (adding to my collection...)
 

Epaulet

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Hey guys,

Hope that you all are well and thanks for all of the notes and feedback. I want to be transparent about things so I'll break this into four sections:

1) We've been in regular contact with @thegenius throughout this process, and I sincerely apologize for the issues that he's had. For his specific trousers -- which were custom Wilhelms -- we've actually paid for both the fabric and the make on them twice. They are scheduled to ship out to us from Rochester around the end of next week.

Our first time was last year in Los Angeles. You guys might recall that we did an order round for custom Rivets and Wilhelms. These had to be cut a small sample room as our usual factory cannot make individual pants, just jackets. They took fabric and payment for about 25 pairs of Wilhelms and then closed up shop. There's actually a pair of Natural Sashiko trousers in there for Ming as well... which he bought months before he started working with us.

We kept trying to get them done last year and eventually settled on sending the cloth and orders to Hertling. They should have arrived this past Summer along with the 70-odd pants that we successfully received from hertling, but none of the Wilhelms were made. That fabric, and the payment for those units, was lost once again. When we buy stuff at wholesale like this, we pay via a bank transfer, so there is no chargeback or real recourse. It's not a ton of money or a ton of units, but it did anger and inconvenience quite a few of our customers.

The ball is now in Hickey Freeman's court. We have around 30 trousers leaving next week, which will largely be super old backorders from this ill-fated Wilhelm round and some lost Southwick & Hertling units. We are keeping track of any and all unfulfilled orders and no one is going to get cheated out of their product. They're also the best pants maker that we've ever used, so I'm happy to say that the final product will be superior to both the LA and Hertling units that were originally scheduled.
 
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Epaulet

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2) I want to say how grateful we are for everyone' support. Honestly, I'm happy to be here and still be in business. There's lots of people in our sphere who couldn't say that. We're very far off from what I had planned and hoped for in October 2021, but there is a lot to be hopeful and excited for.

Looking back, we've produced and delivered approximately 6,000 items since this day last year. That includes stock merchandise, custom shirts, Aero jackets, Rochester goods, Hertling Trousers, Gitman Shirts, blankets... you name it. A good amount of it was stock, but about 60% of it was preorder and custom. And while we've certainly had had some mishaps and mistakes, the majority of this product went off without a hitch and arrived in (more or less) a reasonable time frame.

Styleforum is a challenging place for feedback. Life is busy these days. A lot of us have kids. Things are still really f**ked up and distracting in the news It seemed like COVID was ending, but it just keeps dragging on. The olden days of guys getting a shirt and immediately posting up a celebratory fit pic are most likely gone forever. A lot of that feeling has moved to Instagram or -- even more so -- just gone away completely as our community of busy and stressed professionals are just happy to buy a Doyle jacket and wear it. In the absence of that good feedback and community discussion, our thread is just increasingly a forum for sales pitches from me and Ming.. or for guys to air their grievances. That's totally fine and appropriate for them to do so, but it does skew the overall picture; as you don't really hear the positive stories.
 

GentlemanJeff

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2) I want to say how grateful we are for everyone' support. Honestly, I'm happy to be here and still be in business. There's lots of people in our sphere who couldn't say that. We're very far off from what I had planned and hoped for in October 2021, but there is a lot to be hopeful and excited for.

Looking back, we've produced and delivered approximately 6,000 items since this day last year. That includes stock merchandise, custom shirts, Aero jackets, Rochester goods, Hertling Trousers, Gitman Shirts, blankets... you name it. A good amount of it was stock, but about 60% of it was preorder and custom. And while we've certainly had had some mishaps and mistakes, the majority of this product went off without a hitch and arrived in (more or less) a reasonable time frame.

Styleforum is a challenging place for feedback. Life is busy these days. A lot of us have kids. Things are still really f**ked up and distracting in the news It seemed like COVID was ending, but it just keeps dragging on. The olden days of guys getting a shirt and immediately posting up a celebratory fit pic are most likely gone forever. A lot of that feeling has moved to Instagram or -- even more so -- just gone away completely as our community of busy and stressed professionals are just happy to buy a Doyle jacket and wear it. In the absence of that good feedback and community discussion, our thread is just increasingly a forum for sales pitches from me and Ming.. or for guys to air their grievances. That's totally fine and appropriate for them to do so, but it does skew the overall picture; as you don't really hear the positive stories.
That's true. I got six Doyles on a coat hanger by the door I cycle through every day and another twelve or so in an armoir nearby if that makes ya' feel better. :)
 

Beav

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2) I want to say how grateful we are for everyone' support. Honestly, I'm happy to be here and still be in business. There's lots of people in our sphere who couldn't say that. We're very far off from what I had planned and hoped for in October 2021, but there is a lot to be hopeful and excited for.

Looking back, we've produced and delivered approximately 6,000 items since this day last year. That includes stock merchandise, custom shirts, Aero jackets, Rochester goods, Hertling Trousers, Gitman Shirts, blankets... you name it. A good amount of it was stock, but about 60% of it was preorder and custom. And while we've certainly had had some mishaps and mistakes, the majority of this product went off without a hitch and arrived in (more or less) a reasonable time frame.

Styleforum is a challenging place for feedback. Life is busy these days. A lot of us have kids. Things are still really f**ked up and distracting in the news It seemed like COVID was ending, but it just keeps dragging on. The olden days of guys getting a shirt and immediately posting up a celebratory fit pic are most likely gone forever. A lot of that feeling has moved to Instagram or -- even more so -- just gone away completely as our community of busy and stressed professionals are just happy to buy a Doyle jacket and wear it. In the absence of that good feedback and community discussion, our thread is just increasingly a forum for sales pitches from me and Ming.. or for guys to air their grievances. That's totally fine and appropriate for them to do so, but it does skew the overall picture; as you don't really hear the positive stories.
Thanks for this Eva, I've been a customer for 10+ years and have always appreciated you and your teams work. 👍 You've got lots of folks here on your side, like me, and sure not all projects work out as planned every single time but that's OK. You're a good person to do business with, and I got so much respect for those running businesses during the pandemic.
 

Epaulet

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3) I've been in this business since 2008 and I've never seen anything like this before. None of us have. The news is filled with reports of supply chain and labor disruptions and believe me... this is very real. If we sometimes seem like broken records when we say "it should be ready in a week or two" -- then that's exactly what we're being told by our factory. When you're a small or a medium size brand, there's only so much you can do.

Outside of full-scale meltdowns like Southwick folding, Hertling going dark, and Gitman getting slammed by the Delta wave, everything about our normal production has been disrupted. I intended to sell a large quantity of Sashiko blankets via direct and wholesale for holiday. That's not happening as I can't get any cloth until next Spring. Even if Japan could finish it immediately... there's no way to get it here quickly via sea freight due to the crazy situation at our ports.

Everything was great with Hickey Freeman when we visited in June, but as the Delta wave happened, everything got backed up. Some crucial employees left for good. Samuelsohn in Montreal sent them a bunch of work that they couldn't do with their restrictions in Canada. Our promo merchandise with them that was planned for early September has only started to ship this week. When it comes to leverage, all that I can really do is be friendly and patient and constantly ask for updates. In retail, there's a huge emphasis on the "sense of urgency," but all of us have had to learn the necessary virtue of patience.
 

Epaulet

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4) I do want you guys to know that we are ON THIS. We're fighting through things and thinking outside of the box to get stuff made... and make things better.

If you have an old order that hasn't been filled, then please know that we will make it. And it will be made beautifully. It's almost twice as expensive to make a Doyle at Hickey than it was to make it in LA, but the end product is incredible. We have our very first custom Doyle, Sinclair, and Overcoat arriving by Monday. I'll post them up here and do a video, and I think that you guys will be blown away. Friends like @Texasmade who did not get their custom Doyle from LA will get a custom Doyle from Hickey, and trust me... it's a huge upgrade.

Our LA factory hit a major rough patch. The owner is a relatively young guy (36) but he's in poor health and was hospitalized briefly for high blood pressure. Absolutely nothing happened at the factory during this time. Our big order of Fall Rivet chinos was stuck with no one to direct the work for them. Our Doyles (including the corduroy) should have been cut a month ago and already put into work, but nothing was happening. Without the owner, no cutting or new projects can start. The staff was only sewing some existing items for larger wholesale clients.

But I'm happy to say that we turned it around. Instead of freaking out and leaving, we gave the owner some space and he's recovered. In order to make up for lost time, we had all of the fabrics cut out of house. It's expensive and a pain, but can save us three weeks of lead time and means that the factory staff can simply concentrate on sewing everything. Here's a pic of around 400lb of fabric all shoved into the back of my Ford Escape. We drove this stuff personally all over town to have it cut and processed so that we can deliver the preorder Doyles that we promised and get all of our Fall stock made in time. I'm not looking for props on this... but just trying to show that we're not sitting on our laurels and just accepting the delays. If there's something that we can do to expedite and deliver, then we're doing it.

AND those Rivets are finishing and shipping next week for sure!

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(also if you ever want to get into retail, then I'd encourage you to take up weightlifting or bodybuilding. You'd be surprised how much of the job is carrying insanely heavy things)
 
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suuteebird

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Eva and Team have been great to work with over the years. I’m waiting on a few things but I know they will get here and be great. I’ll post pics when they arrive. In the meantime here are a few older pieces from Epaulet that I wear as much as possible.
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Racing Green

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10 year+ customer here too but haven't bought much from Epaulet in recent years. (I'm about 90% Gorp these days LOL) but I got the sashiko blanket for my wife as a birthday present and it's a thing of beauty.

No shortage of lovely Donegal blankets and throws here in Ireland (at least in this house) but this is another level. The horrible green couch is going but the blanket will outlast us all.
 

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losrockets

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Speaking of guys receiving a Doyle and wearing it w/o throwing up fit pics, I need to put up a few shots of possibly the last Kamigata ever made, a sick piece I had done up in the indigo block print lawn fabric available this summer. It got slightly delayed but I was still able to wear it through the long Texas summer. Just a super versatile piece that works w/ a lot of my casual clothes from other brands but at a fraction of the price you'd pay through a big-name brand. I hope Eva and co are able to resurrect the shape at some point and offer it in their rad collection of ends and rare cuts. I actually have only one Doyle (an OG green canvas I got off the old Buy and Sell), but it was my gateway drug into Epaulet and have two tweed Sinclair (one OTR, one MTO) and two Kamigata (navy Sashiko and the above) now!
 

CharlieAngel

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@Epaulet I had mediation yesterday so had to spiff up. First time I've gotten to wear that Woolrich Donegal Sinclair and I have to say it really looks sharp on camera with a collared shirt. It was also cold AF in my apartment all day yesterday (time of year where the building next to mine blocks the sun) so it was perfect. Are y'all doing in-person fittings at all anymore? Eventually I'm going to have to get a suit and also truly figure out my Doyle sizing. The Doyle I have is amaze-balls, several years later, and still gets envious looks from my friends. I seriously think it's my new Golden Bear in terms of popularity. I have a feeling my OG buddies would've jacked me for it a long time ago if I wasn't their friend... :)
 

ericgereghty

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10 year+ customer here too but haven't bought much from Epaulet in recent years. (I'm about 90% Gorp these days LOL) but I got the sashiko blanket for my wife as a birthday present and it's a thing of beauty.

No shortage of lovely Donegal blankets and throws here in Ireland (at least in this house) but this is another level. The horrible green couch is going but the blanket will outlast us all.
Great purchase. I love mine. Perfect weight for lazy Sunday naps too.
 

Epaulet

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I can tell you that Hertling is disingenuous with its direct customers and I assume the same is true from its commercial customers as well. I've recounted it here before. But, after a sustained campaign I finally got them to respond to an email. I emailed, emailed their CEO, sent a website contact, and posted on their IG. Anyway, 7 months into a 3-4 weeks order - and after two separate group emails promising 3 more weeks, 4 and 3 months ago respectively, they let me know that they were going to make my pants. I got a shipping notice Friday. I wouldn't put the Hertling business on Epaulet. I have a feeling they will be filing for bankruptcy pretty soon.
Ah glad that you're getting the trousers after all, and sorry that happened. Justin's a good guy and we've been friends for years. He means well, but his current business situation would be difficult for anyone out there. I really do hope that they get things stabilized in the future sometime. We're still waiting on about 16 units (some for customers, most are inventory items for us), and I'm not going to offer any future items until things are reliably working there.

Please bring back mink. Just purchased the size 40 jet black doyle that was on sale (adding to my collection...)
Haha awesome. I don't think that I'll offer Mink again, but we'll definitely do a darker chocolate brown. Our fabric is literally being cut today, and I'm getting 70 units of Sashiko Doyles. I'll put up this project when the cut pieces are safely at the factory and on the actual machines for assembly. At that point, we KNOW that things are going to come through.

I struck a deal with my factory owner that requires him to pay for this external cutting. It's not a huge amount of money, but it's significant. That way, he's incentivized to finish things quickly, as he's taking on the up-front cost, and only getting paid when he has everything ready for pickup. I think that this will make a huge difference in speed and reliability for our stock pre-order projects.

That's true. I got six Doyles on a coat hanger by the door I cycle through every day and another twelve or so in an armoir nearby if that makes ya' feel better. :)
Haha absolutely... I know that you have a fantastic collection. Thank you so much!!!

Thanks for this Eva, I've been a customer for 10+ years and have always appreciated you and your teams work. 👍 You've got lots of folks here on your side, like me, and sure not all projects work out as planned every single time but that's OK. You're a good person to do business with, and I got so much respect for those running businesses during the pandemic.
Thank you Beav!! We absolutely appreciate your support, and barring some other new global crisis, I feel really confident that we can be back up to business as usual in 2022.

In many ways, this forces people like me to innovate and improve our overall model. Prior to the 2008 financial crash, I was running a small boutique that sold mostly good womens items and had debatably good menswear brands like Modern Amusement and Cheap Monday. When the market tanked, women entirely stopped shopping in our store. That forced me to go into the NYC garment district and make our collection of in-house slim shirts. I never would have made it this far simply running a boutique storefront, so forcing us to adapt was ultimately a good thing. I'm confident that this never-ending COVID slog can yield a positive result ultimately.

It already has in some ways. We received about 100 finished garments from RTC in the Spring, and really --- they're the best custom pieces that we've ever made. Their production on the Nuovo jacket and the Nico pant is absolutely world class. And very fairly priced. I've hesitated to hype them up too much while we're still so backlogged, but really: the combo of our designs and their production is seriously good. We'll be going hard with it very soon.

Eva and Team have been great to work with over the years. I’m waiting on a few things but I know they will get here and be great. I’ll post pics when they arrive. In the meantime here are a few older pieces from Epaulet that I wear as much as possible.
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Thank you so much @suuteebird ... it's always an absolute pleasure to work with you! Your taste level is incredible, and it's so cool that you often opt for the unexpected fabrics out there. We are so grateful for all of your support!

10 year+ customer here too but haven't bought much from Epaulet in recent years. (I'm about 90% Gorp these days LOL) but I got the sashiko blanket for my wife as a birthday present and it's a thing of beauty.

No shortage of lovely Donegal blankets and throws here in Ireland (at least in this house) but this is another level. The horrible green couch is going but the blanket will outlast us all.
Awesome... thank you so much! I remember shipping that out! I always love shipping our locally made products abroad, there's something that's so validating about that. We had big plans for the Sashiko blankets this holiday which won't happen... but they'll be back and better than ever in the Springtime. Already looking at some new options for personalization with holiday gifts too.

Speaking of guys receiving a Doyle and wearing it w/o throwing up fit pics, I need to put up a few shots of possibly the last Kamigata ever made, a sick piece I had done up in the indigo block print lawn fabric available this summer. It got slightly delayed but I was still able to wear it through the long Texas summer. Just a super versatile piece that works w/ a lot of my casual clothes from other brands but at a fraction of the price you'd pay through a big-name brand. I hope Eva and co are able to resurrect the shape at some point and offer it in their rad collection of ends and rare cuts. I actually have only one Doyle (an OG green canvas I got off the old Buy and Sell), but it was my gateway drug into Epaulet and have two tweed Sinclair (one OTR, one MTO) and two Kamigata (navy Sashiko and the above) now!
Awesome... would love to see those pics!!

Yeah the Kamigata is always a tease. The guys who love it... really LOVE it. I regularly see pics on IG of Kamigata's that are approaching 8 or 9 years of wear, and they look amazing. It's just finding enough new customers for a production run. Preorders are often kind of tepid against them, and the stock has a hard time moving until it's being significantly marked down. I think our core is still bizcaz, so garments which can be dressed fully up or down tend to perform better.

THAT SAID... I spoke with Bob Kidder from New England shirt last week. We're planning to do some lightweight shirt jackets with him next year. Given that the Kamigata is largely a shawl collar shirt, it might be something that he could realistically make. It's more work to execute the shawl, but other things are easier and less expensive.. particularly the lack of a collar. We'd probably have to change the inside welt pockets to exterior patch pockets, but I think the overall vibe could be maintained.

And then with that... we open the door to complete MTO ordering with custom lengths and a huge range of available fabrics, including rad linens. Plus I can do small stock runs rather than the much larger commitments I have to make here. Definitely something that we're looking into it. Plu

@Epaulet I had mediation yesterday so had to spiff up. First time I've gotten to wear that Woolrich Donegal Sinclair and I have to say it really looks sharp on camera with a collared shirt. It was also cold AF in my apartment all day yesterday (time of year where the building next to mine blocks the sun) so it was perfect. Are y'all doing in-person fittings at all anymore? Eventually I'm going to have to get a suit and also truly figure out my Doyle sizing. The Doyle I have is amaze-balls, several years later, and still gets envious looks from my friends. I seriously think it's my new Golden Bear in terms of popularity. I have a feeling my OG buddies would've jacked me for it a long time ago if I wasn't their friend... :)
Awesome, that's great to hear, and come by for an in-person fit anytime! Just drop Ming an email at custom[at]epauletbrand.com and we'd love to schedule it.

Great purchase. I love mine. Perfect weight for lazy Sunday naps too.
So great to hear!
 

Epaulet

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Oh and btw... I was late to the pandemic dog-buying trend, but I've joined the club with a new Boston Terrier. She'd made life a lot more exciting these days, and she luckily has a much larger desire to murder my outdoor succulent garden than eat all of my shoes...

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