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Sons of Henrey - Shoes of timeless elegance - Official Affiliate Thread

Notch

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Hi guys!

As promised, I am writing a small update on how things are going. I’d really like to do this on a more frequent basis, as I owe a lot to this forum and feel like by including you in some of the processes it is a way of giving back.

These past few months have been intense to say the least. I have been working on 3 different projects, in a world where travel is restricted, and production countries have been hit particularly hard. The fact that I have not been inside any of the factories for over a year has made a lot of aspects of my job a lot more challenging for sure, and it has also led to me dropping the ball on certain occasions. Only now do I feel that everything is returning back to normal, and I have a bit more time on my hands.

Let’s go over the ‘projects’ one by one:

1) Oct. Tenth

So, Oct Tenth has been running for about one year now, and I am still very happy to have entered into this partnership. After leaving Vass +/- 3.5 years ago, it felt very strange to no longer have a range of hand welted shoes. But at the same time, I wanted to do something disruptive enough to be worth everyone’s time and effort.

Our largest bottleneck currently is the delivery time, of course, but we are trying to work on that. The fault is partly my own as well, as I bundle MTO’s and send in 8-10 MTO’s at the same time. So sometimes it happens that an order is not sent in straight away. Since more orders are coming in now, I am able to place more frequent orders. I try to be as transparent as possible about this but definitely understand that waiting on something is never fun.

Shoe trees have been a bit of a pain as well, as the shoe tree factory has difficulties keeping up with the ever-increasing demand for high end shoes in China, and thus shoe trees. The factory produces for a number of large European and Chinese brands, and with Oct. Tenth being a small MTO-focused business it is not always easy to get an order in.

I do feel we have improved significantly on the clicking, and on the leather finishing. Some of the shoes that have been coming out of the workshop are just unreal, a level of quality unheard of at the price we’re selling the shoes at. The website will receive a bit of an update, with more pictures of the different options, and hopefully with some video that explains the process better.

2) Sons of Henrey

Sons of Henrey has been in existence for +/- 2.5 years now, and while the Fall/Winter collections have always sold very well, I feel that the Spring/Summer collections are lagging behind a bit. It is my own fault as well, as there is not much of a Spring/Summer collection this year, and a lot of it is made in dark brown Utah calf. But that is also because I try to shift my focus to Vekla during the spring and summer months, as I will explain later.

For next Fall though, I am sending in an order of very beautiful shoes and boots, where I will keep my focus on not so easy to find patterns and leather types. I will have salesman samples by the end of this month for many of the models and will then open a pre-order campaign for next Fall, like I have always done.

Lead times for the different GMTO’s have been a struggle, and while I mentioned that I could not provide an accurate finishing date for the Navy Utah, many of the other GMTO’s went way beyond their promised delivery date. I hope that end the end though, everyone will be happy with his purchase.

Timing is the most difficult to manage aspect of the shoe industry in my opinion, especially when you try to produce something different to what is already out there. Ready to wear collections are rarely the issue, but the different MTO’s and GMTO’s definitely are. Having to purchase small quantities of leather, send it to Spain (with Brexit not making things any easier) and then producing what is essentially a limited edition run of unique shoes or boots takes time and effort, but can be very rewarding for both me and you as a customer, so I’ll definitely try to come up with a few more GMTO’s soon.

Speaking of Brexit, I dusted off my relationship with European tanneries and agents (I was purchasing most of the leather through the UK until now) as the import and shipping fees have become too high. While theoretically there is a free trade agreement, in practice this is definitely not the case.

3) Vekla

Then we come to Vekla. A lot of things are about to change here.

In the fall of 2020, we launched the minimal sneakers, which have proven to be quite a success. It is a competitive market, but I was able to stand out thanks to superior construction and the use of more sustainable materials. While I would have loved to expand the sneaker range this summer, financially it was not in the cards. The minimum order quantity for sneakers is 250-300 pair in Italy, and I felt that I was not ready yet to take that leap with Vekla, seeing as I had invested in the Oxford shirts and am gearing up for a large Fall release with Sons of Henrey.

This spring, the Oxford shirt was introduced, and next fall we will expand the shirt collection further. For the summer of 2022 then, I will shift my focus from Sons of Henrey to Vekla a bit more, and I hope to introduce denim, and more sneakers. Every season, the product range for Vekla will be expanded in order to eventually become a full-fledged clothing brand.

Next week I will receive Albini denim shirt samples (and a few other fabrics), and I have been working behind the scenes quite a bit already on the jeans, outerwear etc… All items will be made to the same high standards I have for the shirts and sneakers.

I will also expand the traceability section of each product, to focus more in depth on how and where a product is made. For this, I am working with someone in Antwerp who will help me revamp the website and make everything more immersive.

That’s it for now, but I’ll update again somewhere in June!
 

clee1982

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@Notch

great to hear about your plan, I assume you’re hiring then, sounds like you’re just about to outgrow one man operation soon.

also really curious to see where you position your denim etc, you know the business better, but as a casual observer I would just say “basic nice value driven” denim/chino is really not an easy spot to be in, so many competition (though the US ones would be more workwear while yours would be more minimalist I guess)?
 

Notch

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@Notch

great to hear about your plan, I assume you’re hiring then, sounds like you’re just about to outgrow one man operation soon.

also really curious to see where you position your denim etc, you know the business better, but as a casual observer I would just say “basic nice value driven” denim/chino is really not an easy spot to be in, so many competition (though the US ones would be more workwear while yours would be more minimalist I guess)?
Well, it is a competitive market for sure. And trust me when I say that it is with a small heart that I expand Vekla and enter into 'affordable menswear'. But I still very much believe that there's a difference to be made there, more so than in Goodyear welted shoes.

You see, with GY welted shoes, my suppliers, the factories that I work with, they all follow the book. They care about their social and environmental impact and are all very proactive in this regards. Just the other day I was sent samples by the sneaker factory of new, sustainable types of leather made from bamboo, cactus, apples or recycled leather. I will not go this route yet but it goes to show that a large part of the industry is focused on becoming more sustainable.

For fear of sounding like a broken record, the problem lies with many of the less honest brands out there, and unfortunately also with the consumer. At the end of the day, an uneducated customers buying from a greedy fashion powerhouse is the worst that can happen. Someone, somewhere is paying the bill. So besides value driven, I want Vekla to become 100% supply chain transparent, use more sustainable materials wherever possible but still remain affordable. Only then will I be able to make an impact.
 

acapaca

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What is it about bamboo or cactus that is more sustainable than animal hide?
 

Notch

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It's more complex than that, and I'm currently not looking at substituting leather for anything else. For example bamboo glasses (popular here in Belgium) can become toxic when you drink hot beverages out of them because of the melamine resin, and bamboo clothing actually produces more CO2 because the bamboo fibres need to be broken up for it to become fabric cloth, which requires a lot of energy.
 

George Mason

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Hi guys!

As promised, I am writing a small update on how things are going. I’d really like to do this on a more frequent basis, as I owe a lot to this forum and feel like by including you in some of the processes it is a way of giving back.

These past few months have been intense to say the least. I have been working on 3 different projects, in a world where travel is restricted, and production countries have been hit particularly hard. The fact that I have not been inside any of the factories for over a year has made a lot of aspects of my job a lot more challenging for sure, and it has also led to me dropping the ball on certain occasions. Only now do I feel that everything is returning back to normal, and I have a bit more time on my hands.

Let’s go over the ‘projects’ one by one:

1) Oct. Tenth

So, Oct Tenth has been running for about one year now, and I am still very happy to have entered into this partnership. After leaving Vass +/- 3.5 years ago, it felt very strange to no longer have a range of hand welted shoes. But at the same time, I wanted to do something disruptive enough to be worth everyone’s time and effort.

Our largest bottleneck currently is the delivery time, of course, but we are trying to work on that. The fault is partly my own as well, as I bundle MTO’s and send in 8-10 MTO’s at the same time. So sometimes it happens that an order is not sent in straight away. Since more orders are coming in now, I am able to place more frequent orders. I try to be as transparent as possible about this but definitely understand that waiting on something is never fun.

Shoe trees have been a bit of a pain as well, as the shoe tree factory has difficulties keeping up with the ever-increasing demand for high end shoes in China, and thus shoe trees. The factory produces for a number of large European and Chinese brands, and with Oct. Tenth being a small MTO-focused business it is not always easy to get an order in.

I do feel we have improved significantly on the clicking, and on the leather finishing. Some of the shoes that have been coming out of the workshop are just unreal, a level of quality unheard of at the price we’re selling the shoes at. The website will receive a bit of an update, with more pictures of the different options, and hopefully with some video that explains the process better.

2) Sons of Henrey

Sons of Henrey has been in existence for +/- 2.5 years now, and while the Fall/Winter collections have always sold very well, I feel that the Spring/Summer collections are lagging behind a bit. It is my own fault as well, as there is not much of a Spring/Summer collection this year, and a lot of it is made in dark brown Utah calf. But that is also because I try to shift my focus to Vekla during the spring and summer months, as I will explain later.

For next Fall though, I am sending in an order of very beautiful shoes and boots, where I will keep my focus on not so easy to find patterns and leather types. I will have salesman samples by the end of this month for many of the models and will then open a pre-order campaign for next Fall, like I have always done.

Lead times for the different GMTO’s have been a struggle, and while I mentioned that I could not provide an accurate finishing date for the Navy Utah, many of the other GMTO’s went way beyond their promised delivery date. I hope that end the end though, everyone will be happy with his purchase.

Timing is the most difficult to manage aspect of the shoe industry in my opinion, especially when you try to produce something different to what is already out there. Ready to wear collections are rarely the issue, but the different MTO’s and GMTO’s definitely are. Having to purchase small quantities of leather, send it to Spain (with Brexit not making things any easier) and then producing what is essentially a limited edition run of unique shoes or boots takes time and effort, but can be very rewarding for both me and you as a customer, so I’ll definitely try to come up with a few more GMTO’s soon.

Speaking of Brexit, I dusted off my relationship with European tanneries and agents (I was purchasing most of the leather through the UK until now) as the import and shipping fees have become too high. While theoretically there is a free trade agreement, in practice this is definitely not the case.

3) Vekla

Then we come to Vekla. A lot of things are about to change here.

In the fall of 2020, we launched the minimal sneakers, which have proven to be quite a success. It is a competitive market, but I was able to stand out thanks to superior construction and the use of more sustainable materials. While I would have loved to expand the sneaker range this summer, financially it was not in the cards. The minimum order quantity for sneakers is 250-300 pair in Italy, and I felt that I was not ready yet to take that leap with Vekla, seeing as I had invested in the Oxford shirts and am gearing up for a large Fall release with Sons of Henrey.

This spring, the Oxford shirt was introduced, and next fall we will expand the shirt collection further. For the summer of 2022 then, I will shift my focus from Sons of Henrey to Vekla a bit more, and I hope to introduce denim, and more sneakers. Every season, the product range for Vekla will be expanded in order to eventually become a full-fledged clothing brand.

Next week I will receive Albini denim shirt samples (and a few other fabrics), and I have been working behind the scenes quite a bit already on the jeans, outerwear etc… All items will be made to the same high standards I have for the shirts and sneakers.

I will also expand the traceability section of each product, to focus more in depth on how and where a product is made. For this, I am working with someone in Antwerp who will help me revamp the website and make everything more immersive.

That’s it for now, but I’ll update again somewhere in June!
Very much anticipating the new Fall/Winter boot and shoe collection!
 

Notch

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The Albini denim shirt is enticing. Looking forward to see it soon.
Samples should arrive tomorrow.

I actually have a couple of good leads, not only Albini, but also Canclini, Monti etc. and hope to expand the shirting range every season.
 

ZRH1

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For next Fall though, I am sending in an order of very beautiful shoes and boots, where I will keep my focus on not so easy to find patterns and leather types. I will have salesman samples by the end of this month for many of the models and will then open a pre-order campaign for next Fall, like I have always done.
First off, congratulations Tom! Would it be a hassle to already now hint -at what kind of shoes will be coming? I recall in the past you'd mention the upcoming models first via Excel sheet, then later via sample images.

Thanks
 

Notch

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I need your input guys!

I'm contemplating adding one more model to the F/W collection. The choice is between two models:

- Cortès Adelaide Oxford on Soft Square last in Chestnut calf on leather sole:

Sons_of_Henrey_Product_Cortes_Adelaide_Oxford_Antique_Chestnut_Soft_Chisel.jpg


- Christopher Wingtip Derby on the Round last in Brown suede on Vibram studded rubber sole:

1621259510836.png


Cast your vote please!
 

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