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The New Official Wolf vs. Goat Thread

Discussion in 'Streetwear and Denim' started by fosho, Oct 12, 2009.

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  1. Blackmaged

    Blackmaged Senior member

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    i'm glad i'm not the only WvG customer with this perspective.

    mauro, don't get me wrong but i think the sweaters need a redesign - the raglan sleeve doesn't do it for me, would much rather have a fully fashioned (non-raglan) shoulder that would still be high quality but, in my opinion, much more attractive. i wear my green cashmere from 2012 a lot, but still i try to stay away from raglan nowadays because it just doesn't look as good on me. besides, my more "traditionally constructed" knits are still holding up just fine.
    i'd much rather see the $$$ spent on whole garment construction spent on details like a raised rib collar, texture (although I like the popcorn stitch), and even higher quality wools.

    tees are great, don't mess with those (although a slightly deeper neck on the rollnecks would be ace).

    ditto msg on the whole chinos and loungewear thing.

     
  2. akatsuki

    akatsuki Senior member

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    @Msg - I am completely the opposite as far as preferences. I care a lot more about the inane details that nobody sees (whole garment, etc), don't need lot of random weird stuff that is ultimately very limited, and would love to see Mauro even offer much higher end fabrics and construction (e.g, his pants are great, but my Paul Stuarts by Caruso are still the best made and best fabric I have seen thus far).

    The best model for clothing I have seen is Gustin's where they put up the options and crowdfund it to a peak to know what to go ahead with. I just wish they would branch out and do different things than just jeans, an occasional flannel, and trucker jackets. Frankly, I would love to see a much higher end version of the same (and have considered launching one myself).
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. jmaudi0

    jmaudi0 Senior member

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    going with the Massdrop idea would be awesome. (www.massdrop.com)
    No, I don't work for them. I haven't even bought anything from the site but I think it's really cool how it works.
     
  4. notwithit

    notwithit Senior member

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    On the one hand, you totally should, that would be awesome.

    On the other hand, you shouldn't, that would be so incredibly difficult to launch and make successful, plus you'd have to deal with asshole customers all the time.
     
  5. Mauro

    Mauro Senior member Affiliate Vendor

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    Fashion is subjective and your reasons are valid. I can do a non raglan sleeve. I can do a set sleeve with whole garment. The reason I do whole garment opposed to full garment is because of quantity and the drape of the whole garment is technically better. I can't make the minimums for Full Fashioned knitting in the USA or I would use Full Fashion Knitting.
    There is a boat load of amazing ideas ( I think) I have for knits but knits are tricky and expensive. Even making 1 sample piece can cost between $500.00 and $1,000.00. This is why I stick with the popcorn raglan sweater. Will I make different styles, yes. It will take time and a lot of patience and money. I honestly can't use higher quality yarn than I am using now.The wool is amazing, strong, and handles the looms like a dream. Understanding quality yarns is a very complex situation that goes much further than the actual yarn itself. If I made a full fashioned cardigan or your ideal sweater would you pay the $350.00 to $600.00 it would cost, honestly?
    You can see by peoples responses a good chunk wants one thing while another chunk wants another. It's a very hard balancing act keeping everyone happy and keeping everyone interested in a brand. The one good thing is that people are voicing their opinions so I can make garments for everyone. This is the whole point of the rewards program ,with the rewards program I can offer the highest quality fabrics for those who want it at the same time I can offer a more budget friendly fabric ( with character) for the people who don't care as much about fine fabrics and details.

    My next blog post will be on buzzwords and how they can damage a good thing. It's worth the read. It's a little general but you will get the point. I think we all have fallen victim to buzzwords at one time or another. It's a slippery slope for me to talk about because I don't want to call out another brand for cutting corners will marketing their product in skirting way. My focus is only on Wolf vs Goat , making it the best brand for my customers while standing behind my vision and it's not easy thing to do, lol.
    I do respect your opinion and value your support. Thank you for your comments, they have be noted.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2014
  6. akatsuki

    akatsuki Senior member

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    Well, to be fair, it should be a pretty automated yes/no system. Frankly given the number of MTOs floating around the forum, Styleforum should just build something like that in and let people launch MTOs and other deals that way. Of course, for the most part, I mostly want to hit critical mass for random stuff I want (e.g., alligator chukkas from Carmina or Vass; custom fabric runs for suiting and shirts) and find the soliciting through threads to be too much of a pain.
     
  7. AchtungBaby07

    AchtungBaby07 Senior member

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    Just to chime in on the whole discourse. I'm also of the view that Mauro should perhaps first focus on building on some of the basics such as tees and button downs and complimented with the occasional capsule and members only special fabric runs and not be distracted by producing accessories at the moment.

    It's akin to how epaulet eventually became a mainstay as it has established itself as the go to option for trousers before branching out to other products. Similarly, Mauro could focus on making the normal line of trousers to get people sold on the fit, before selling them the idea of higher quality bloodline pants. I for one can vouch for the quality of the bloodlines and I have tailors commenting on how well made the bloodlines are when I sent in mine for minor alterations. While I enjoy the details and attention that goes into my trousers, ultimately it is the fit and fabric that matters the most to me. Therefore, Mauro should perhaps focus on getting people to dig the fit first before moving on to the next level stuff.

    I also agree that there is a lack in coherence to some extent. I'm again using epaulet as an example. What epaulet has done well is in having a more focus target group which is leaning towards the biz cas vibe. While in the case of wvg, it does appear to be all over the place at times.

    Just my humble 2cents as a loyal customer
     
  8. Blackmaged

    Blackmaged Senior member

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    i agree it's subjective - it's ultimately up to you what you want the brand's core "look" to be (which will ultimately determine your audience). i think i've mentioned to you before, that I am probably not your target customer just based on my wardrobe, but i think you put out some great pieces which is why i continue to pick up some things here and there.

    good point about the true costs of knitwear production, i can see the risks with being more ambitious with them especially given the brand's size. i think a lot of the go-to designer knitwear brands (jil sander, stephan schneider, etc.) have skewed my expectations to be honest but that still doesn't mean i'm willing to stop dreaming :D

    perhaps paring down the color selection would be a way to go? instead of offering 6+ colors of a fabric (and risking taking a loss on one being unpopular) go for 3 or so, and then have a newer style in 1 color? not sure if it's feasible given run minimums, but when i think of sweaters from other SW&D knitwear titans they usually only come in 1-2 colors, sometimes 3.

     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2014
  9. joshg8

    joshg8 Well-Known Member

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    Happy to hear all this. I love my 2.0 Lounge pants, but my day-to-day style is more button down and jeans, chinos, or shorts with leather shoes or boots. I would love to see a casual "throw on" blazer and some more jackets as well as some basic or not-too-crazy shorts and chinos. I have been going to Epaulet Rivets, but I haven't been overly impressed with construction (had stitching issues on 2 of 4 pairs of pants) and the fit, while one of the better I've found for me, is still not perfect.
     
  10. Mauro

    Mauro Senior member Affiliate Vendor

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    That's a numbers game :(
    I offer more colors so I don't have to go in to deep in one particular color. The players you see SNS, jil Sanders, etc... Meet there minimums with their stockists and online shops combined so that they don't need to stretch themselves and can keep their story tight. I do feel I give to many color options at times but it's either more colors or more stock . I feel more colors is the lesser evil. I have around 650 members maybe 10 buy ALL the time. The rest buy maybe 4 to 6 pieces a year on average and that's impressive. Now if I can build my core base to 1200 or 1300 making minimums wouldn't be as difficult and I would have better pricing and we wouldn't be having this conversation. The fashion game is not designed for small fish to survive.
    To be perfectly honest Epaulet has an outstanding business model. I would not call them small either. Mike's rent for his 3 or 4 locations a month would scare the fucking shit out of me. If I sold as much as he pays in rent a month I would be happier than a pig in shit. Two locations in NYC and his LA gig not cheap. I applaud him and wish him even more success.
    In time my business will grow every year it seems to grow in a healthy direction. I will probably hit the 800 number by next year and 1,200 the year after. If people stick around they will see no price increases and a more cohesive brand identity.
    I received an interesting email today for a rewards member who lurks. I asked him to post his email here so we could talk about his idea, hopefully he does. It would be very interesting to see how you guys would respond to his email. If he doesn't post it I will ask him if it's ok for me to post it.

    One quick thing. I would totally do a website like Gustin but with high end product like I do and a much better turn around time. The only problem is that I believe their website is custom made and that shit is $$$$$.
     
  11. akatsuki

    akatsuki Senior member

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    I would suggest lengthening the arms on your shirts a bit and getting rid of the monkey-arms/regular fits. The arms just seem a bit short on the regular ones, and it is a let easier to have a sleeve taken in than let out (of course, I have long arms, so I am biased)
     
  12. dribas

    dribas Member

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    I'm the dude who lurks! Here's what I sent Mauro:

    Hey Mauro,

    I've been following the discussion on SF, lurking as I usually do. I agree a little bit with some of the things that people are saying, but I have a different take.

    I personally think that the rewards program isn't functioning the way that it should be, and I think it has a negative affect on the way your clothes are sold. You're making it hard to give your clothes a try for people who don't already know about the brand (and those people would likely really help drive sale of sitting inventory).

    $100 to get the chance to try your brand out is a lot of money. You're making non-toteholders gamble on whether or not they're going to like your clothes. It doesn't make sense for them to buy at retail because they know that rewards membership exists. But it also doesn't make sense for them to buy in if they don't have confidence in the brand and the way the clothes will work for them.

    I'm not sure how many people buy your products at full retail (through a stockist or the website), but if most of the sales come from rewards members, I think it makes sense to create less of a gap between rewards member pricing and retail pricing (at least what's on the website, not saying you should change agreements with stockists, who are probably paying up-front for goods). Seeing those retail numbers are scary, at least for me - someone who wouldn't be able to buy these clothes at the listed retail price.

    It seems like your heart is in making great quality clothes, made in America, for a good price. You're doing exactly that for rewards members. I'd personally be buying a lot more if I had the funds right now. Both the hoodie and lounge pants 2.0 are on my list of things to get when I have the chance.

    If you allowed everyone to get in on your core focus, and I think you'd have a lot more people buying your clothes.

    I'm not saying that you should get rid of the rewards program. I think it's fucking awesome (and that seems to be the consensus on SF, Reddit, etc), and even if the 50% off pricing isn't exclusive to rewards members only, it's still worth buying into. It would still offer access to special orders (which you're venturing into more) and pre-orders for items, which basically functions as guaranteed stock when it works the way it should. That's more than enough added value for hard core fans of WvG to buy into the program, but you won't get people to join if they can't access the goods easily.

    So what I'm saying is - if you let everyone buy your clothes at the rewards member price on your website, I think you'd alleviate the problem of sitting on stock AND you'd hit your goal of 1,200 rewards members faster.

    It might not be easy given the way you've been doing things to this point. I know it's hard to say, "SCREW IT, we're doing things totally differently". You might have a few current rewards members a bit upset that what they paid for is somewhat diminished because now everyone has access to the better price point. But I wouldn't think that way, and I have a feeling that most others who've already bought into the program won't either. They liked the brand enough that they took a chance, and they're probably the ones that want guaranteed stock and the special orders, which they'll still get.

    I'm definitely interested in hearing what you think about about this. Would be happy to talk to you on the phone or over email!

    Best,

    dribas
     
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  13. notwithit

    notwithit Senior member

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    I'd rather keep the monkey arms as a separate option. I think Mauro said he's releasing more monkey arms stuff going forward so it won't be such slim pickin's for us lanky dudes. It's not too difficult for a tailor to shorten sleeves, but it's so much nicer to have a shirt fit perfectly off the rack, which is part of the appeal of the before-dinner monkey arms cut for me. I'm guessing most shorter guys would agree that they'd rather start out with a shirt that fits perfectly from the get-go rather than paying someone to tinker with it before it's wearable.

    Re: sweaters, I think a popcorn-knit cardigan in the $400 retail/$200 loyalty range is pretty reasonable from the customer's side, although I'm not sure about the manufacturing costs with something like that. The only problem for me personally is that I always want extra sleeve and body length on my knits, which people in the non-monkey arms size range might find excessive.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2014
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  14. DarkDestiny

    DarkDestiny Senior member

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    I'm not saying that you should get rid of the rewards program. I think it's fucking awesome (and that seems to be the consensus on SF, Reddit, etc), and even if the 50% off pricing isn't exclusive to rewards members only, it's still worth buying into. It would still offer access to special orders (which you're venturing into more) and pre-orders for items, which basically functions as guaranteed stock when it works the way it should. That's more than enough added value for hard core fans of WvG to buy into the program, but you won't get people to join if they can't access the goods easily.

    So what I'm saying is - if you let everyone buy your clothes at the rewards member price on your website, I think you'd alleviate the problem of sitting on stock AND you'd hit your goal of 1,200 rewards members faster.

    It might not be easy given the way you've been doing things to this point. I know it's hard to say, "SCREW IT, we're doing things totally differently". You might have a few current rewards members a bit upset that what they paid for is somewhat diminished because now everyone has access to the better price point. But I wouldn't think that way, and I have a feeling that most others who've already bought into the program won't either. They liked the brand enough that they took a chance, and they're probably the ones that want guaranteed stock and the special orders, which they'll still get.

    I'm definitely interested in hearing what you think about about this. Would be happy to talk to you on the phone or over email!

    Best,

    dribas


    Hi Dribas,

    That's an interesting perspective on things. However, I'm opposed to the idea of getting rid of the functionality for the reward members. I have limited studies with economics, psychology, and the mixture of both. There are several effects of the reward programs which actually increase the perceived value of Mauro's products.

    1. The pricing Mauro uses at retail is actually a good indicator of value in comparison to other products. For people that do not know of his brand, seeing normal prices of $60 per his OCDB, they might think it's a sham or an inferior product at such a low price. This is also known as anchoring.

    2. Ownership is a big deal. There are a few studies that indicate once someone has bought into something, their value of it multiplies by several folds. Buying into the brand is an ownership in exclusivity in both product, discount, and newsletter. Once someone has bought into the rewards program, his sales for that particular individual will go up.

    I'm keeping this on the shorter end for my break. There are probably several other factors to it, but you do bring up a good point in that the dichotomy between retail and reward is large, which is a scary factor for beginners to try. I know I had this issue myself when I first bought it. I am still scared to try certain products like the trousers and chinos at the reward member price. Shipping doesn't come cheap, and I'm a cheap ass. Shelling 20 dollars to try on something I may not like isn't exactly appealing, especially since I'm in a bigger city with other big brands.

    To remedy the issue of people trying WvG, if Mauro put several sales yearly out of cycle with other businesses strictly for people to try WvG. That way other people will have a bigger budget to try something, and they get a chance to try WvG clothing. The only issue with this approach is that the stock seems to be depleted for normal sizes on popular items very quickly. There have been several other suggestions like massdrop/kickstarter for special fabrics. This can also be used for regular items on WvG for non-members to try it at a great price, without the stock issue as well.

    Lastly, I'm also curious if anyone knows what the pricing would be for WvG as a community to buy into something like shoprunner. I know I've already spent ~50 in shipping costs for WvG. If all the members were willing to shell out into that for a year of 2 way shipping WITH free returns, it'd be great.

    Best Regards,
    DD
     
  15. 510kut

    510kut Senior member

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    What about leaving the rewards as is but retroactively crediting back the first purchase if that person then decides to become a rewards member?
     
  16. lawyerdad

    lawyerdad Senior member

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    I beg to differ with my fellow arm-monkey.

    I don't know how many other folks are in the monkey-arm camp, so I don't really know what the value proposition is or isn't for Mauro. But offering myself as a data point: most OTR shirts are too short in the sleeve for me. For that reason, I rarely buy them. I either go MTM/bespoke or buy select brands that offer longer-than-average OTR sleeves. If I had to have the sleeves altered, the additional hassle of having to take it to the tailor (more so than the expense) would be a significant disincentive. At that point, I may as well just go to my shirt-maker and get something custom-made. (Admittedly, he doesn't have the same fabric selection as Mauro.)

    I assume the same would be true for many folks if they had to have the sleeves taken in. Adopting an approach whereby the majority (?) of your customers would have to have their shirts altered to make them fit right seems like a terrible idea.
     
  17. jm22

    jm22 Senior member

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    I'm in complete agreement with Dribas and have thought this for a while, just didn't think it was appropriate for me to say it. I think the pricing at retail should be the same as the rewards pricing and just have the rewards program to give an opportunity for special orders and pre-orders. I have a background in economics as well and I don't think it would have a negative impact overall, in fact it could have a very positive impact. The issue of quality could be overcome easily by presenting all the details in the description along with a flexible return policy. New customers would probably be more open to trying out the product at $60 than at $120. I've noticed that a number of people tried out the Everlane oxford, currently priced at $55, so if a WvG oxford retails at $60-70 I'd imagine there would be a similar (if not better) effect. I'm not sure that the critical mass has been achieved yet for exclusivity through pricing to be so impacting, and exclusivity could still be offered through special orders. Anyways that's just my take.
     
  18. dribas

    dribas Member

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    Sorry for the wall, I don't know how to do the spoiler tag...

    I get your points, DD. I also studied economics (behavioral econ included), and while I think that what you said is all very true, I still think what I'm talking about more directly addresses the problem (I mean, I think 'problem' is a strong word to use here, but it gets the point across) that Mauro's having.

    Those two examples you gave are definitely real and change the way people think about what they're buying, but they're gamey. With regards to anchoring - WvG is still relatively small, still mostly supported by the community here and growing slowly through word of mouth and Mauro doing things like AMA's on Reddit. So I'd say that the first thing people hear about the brand isn't its high prices, but its quality. And regarding ownership - what I suggested still gives all rewards members ownership. I said in my post that I still think the rewards program would be valuable to me - would it be for you? We'd still have the feeling of ownership getting pre-orders and special runs.

    Who's buying WvG at retail? I'd have to think no one, given that you can buy one single shirt, or you can get the rewards program and the same shirt for about the same price. So let's assume that everyone who is buying WvG is a rewards member (just to think of the extreme scenario). So everyone who buys WvG already knows the insane quality, and that's one reason why we come back for more. Other people like different prints and that keeps them coming back. But Mauro is still having issues selling his stuff, so what's going on..?

    The subject of us rewards members continuing to buy what Mauro puts out has already been covered in the thread by other people. Like Mauro's said before, he can't make everyone happy. So I think that asking everyone about their personal preference is just beating a dead horse (unless there are really blaring issues, those have to be addressed). I think the real issue is more about opening up the pool of people buying stuff. Mauro's already said that he's having problems getting his sustainable number of rewards members, and I think it's because there's a wall to jump over to buy as a casual person who doesn't know much about the brand.
     
  19. dribas

    dribas Member

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    I thought about that too, but that would be a logistical shitstorm. I mean, unless it was something like a gift card, but I definitely hate it when I get store credit vs. a refund.
     
  20. dribas

    dribas Member

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    Economists unite! Definitely think that whatever downsides there may be for my idea would be outweighed by upsides, by far.
     
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