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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. Mauro

    Mauro Senior member Affiliate Vendor

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    Shipping is my number one expense outside of making samples. If I could help people get around shipping I would but my margins aren't there. I wholesale to rewards members and sometimes I don't even keystone products because they are that expensive. I will tell you this massdrop has contacted me and we will being doing something special together.

    I feel the reward member is special because when you buy into it you are assured quality. I don't think anyone to my knowledge hasn't been treated fairly. I really do try to go the extra mile. SOmetimes I get bogged down but I really try to do my best. The other reason is financial. I use the reward money to go straight into making more stuff. This gives me the extra cash flow when things fuck up and things always fuck up for every designer no matter what so I don't see away around it. Unless a mega investor rolled up and wanted to not only blow up WvG men's but do womens, kids, and all the other crap that goes with it. I don't see that anytime soon, lol.
     
  2. msg

    msg Senior member

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    Do exactly the opposite of anyone who says "I studied economics and..."
     
  3. dribas

    dribas Member

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    Haha, notice that I didn't bring it up in the email... Just needed DD to take me seriously.
     
  4. jm22

    jm22 Senior member

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    I should've put a disclaimer that I don't work for the World Bank.
     
  5. Klemins

    Klemins Senior member

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    I disagree with dribas about completely eliminating the rewards program. I think a "1st time buyer's" credit of 50% off makes sense, at least for certain items. Of course, Mauro would need a way to track this since people would inevitably try to re-use it, which becomes an issue.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2014
  6. kwanon

    kwanon Senior member

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    There's a lot pf psychology tied up in what I see at the WvG business model. As it stands the effect you described I'm sure is very strong. At the same time many desirable fabrics come in limited runs. You seemingly have to watch the thread, or your email, like a hawk. It keeps you very engaged in the brand. I suspect a lot of people in the rewards program probably buy way more than they otherwise would because they don't want to let something "unique" slip away. WvG truly does have a lot of unique fabrics but the one thing you can be sure of is that something else awesome will always come along.

    The above is why I haven't joined. The $100 up-front cost is a turn-off, and I know my brain will try to convince me I need everything. I just don't have enough money to buy all the cool stuff from any one brand. I have to be more strategic in my purchasing.
     
  7. ajg esp

    ajg esp Active Member

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    I was thinking the exact same thing, even down to the issue you described. As a potential fix, what if the promotional codes were tied to each account? E.g. when you create an account, it comes with a promo code for 50% off one item. You can only create one account per e-mail and mailing address. Additionally, you could tie the toteholder discount to the account as well so we won't have to type in the code and it could prevent people who haven't bought in from using that toteholder code (not sure if this is an issue).

    Obviously there may be people who find a way to game the system by ordering clothing to friends'/relatives' houses, but hopefully no one goes that far. It doesn't seem like it would be too sophisticated to implement in the system the website has now, but I'm no expert.
     
  8. VLSI

    VLSI Senior member

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    I'm not an economist, but it's pretty clear the way the rewards program is structured at present is broken. Unfortunealy it's a bit late to just tell all the current rewards members "too bad" and radically change things.

    My first purchase was some shirts on sale at 70% off. Had I not had initial access to the brand so cheaply, I would have never bought a tote and would not now be a customer.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2014
  9. cyc wid it

    cyc wid it Senior member

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    Except a lot of Gustin's stuff is kinda garbage and the QC Is lacking. Also, from the creative side of things: crowdfunding = loss of design identity/ownership.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2014
  10. pyroxyze

    pyroxyze Senior member

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    I don't think price anchoring is an issue that will hurt WvG too much at this point. If Mauro keeps the same quality (which I'm assuming he will) and knocks down all prices, SF will pick up on this and he'll be known for a great quality/price ratio. I would say anchoring is a much bigger issue for the average customer and less of an issue for SF customers since they can all share their experiences. I think the best example of this is Luxire/TOJ, which are definitely cheaper for the same quality than their counterparts, yet they have a great following on SF.

    Just my 2 cents.
     
  11. Teger

    Teger Senior member

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    The problem with eliminating the rewards program and pricing everything at the rewards price is that it eliminates the ability for WvG to be carried by retailers.

    The point of the program has always been that the shirts should retail for $200, thus buying them at $200 isn't a 'bad deal' in a general sense, only in comparison to the rewards pricing. Need Supply sells a lot of shirts at $200.

    Personally, I'd eliminate the rewards program and raise the pricing of everything 50%. People have become accustomed to the idea that a WvG shirt should cost x, when x is the wholesale price, not anything close to what it would actually retail for. If all the shirts retailed for $150 they would still be a deal.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2014
  12. Teger

    Teger Senior member

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    Or, if you want to keep the rewards program as is, kill the idea of purchasing at 'retail' price, either from the website or other stockists. Make the website member only, although produce 3 basic shirts - blue oxford, white oxford, grey oxford - that if you purchase at retail and then buy a reward membership, you get 50% back and access to the rest of the site. Will let people trial the shirts.
     
  13. Teger

    Teger Senior member

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    I would also change the rewards membership to a $50 yearly fee instead of a $100 up front fee.
     
  14. VLSI

    VLSI Senior member

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    If there were always available core items and timely seasonal collections, this might make sense. As is, you'd just be hoping he releases a few shirts you like (in your size... outside of members, monkey arm gets screwed) to help recoup the cost. I dont care if he uses this model though as long as legacy tote holders are exempted :hide:
     
  15. dribas

    dribas Member

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    Just to be clear - I'm a rewards member. Been in since it was toteholder.

    I'm definitely not suggesting that the rewards program should be canned. I'm just saying that retail prices should be lowered - I would put them at the same mark as what rewards members currently receive.

    Rewards members would still:
    Receive newsletters
    Have access to special orders
    Have access to pre-orders

    That would be enough for me to be perfectly happy. And there's no way that I'm buying less just because people who aren't rewards members can now buy at the same price. I still get the coolest stuff, and Mauro can sell more basics and sitting stock. Think of all the SW&D people who would instacop the lounge pant 2.0 or hoody, but aren't interested in anything else Mauro has to offer. They definitely won't buy into the rewards program, and depending on how much they want to spend on clothes, might not ever buy either of those products for full retail. Now Mauro's sitting on dead stock of those awesome pieces and we're sitting talking about the direction of the brand... No one wins in that situation.


    @Teger - Yeah, this would mess with selling to stockists, which could definitely be a problem. Sounds like Mauro's selling to stockists at the same price as he sells to rewards members though, so should it matter to Mauro if the shirt is sold to a stockist or someone going directly to his site? I'd say the latter is better because he gets to connect more with the people buying, has more control of the operation, and gets people thinking about becoming a rewards member.
     
  16. Teger

    Teger Senior member

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    The problem for the stockists is that they won't purchase a brand knowing that they're selling it at a significant markup over what the brand itself is retailing it for -- Need Supply needs to sell clothing at the retail price, not the tote member price, to make money, and if the tote member price becomes the regular retail price on the site, as well as the wholesale price for stockists, it's a losing proposition for any other retailer.
     
  17. Teger

    Teger Senior member

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    Stop with the newsletters, shift everything to a website, and have capsule collections of the more exotic fabrics side by side with always produced basics (white oxfords, tan chinos, tees).
     
    1 person likes this.
  18. who8mahrice

    who8mahrice Senior member

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    I'm a rewards member, but I've only bought like two or three items directly from Mauro off the website. Other pieces I've gotten are either sample pieces or second hand off the marketplace.

    Some quick thoughts that turned out longer than I originally intended. Cost of buying in to the program without knowing I"ll buy more to make it worth it was my biggest issue when I joined. Eventually I succumbed because I purchased a few items with the rewards program ending up being cheaper. I agree with the idea that customers might be able to get retroactive credit to join the rewards program after buying their first piece at full retail. Not full credit though - reserve that as an extra incentive to those that are willing to take the chance, but a sizable, non-negligible chunk.

    Y'all who are saying that WvG is worth retail and that the rewards program makes clothing prices a steal. The reality to the vast majority of guys is that it isn't. I think you guys are a bit out of touch with the average consumer. Granted, most guys are looking at brands like WvG, and those who are are probably willing to spend a bit more - but how many guys are you going to be able to convince to spend $100-200 on a shirt, when brands like Brooks Brothers and Banana Republic are seen as nice?I do think WvG is a GREAT value compared to the other brands that retail around this price point or make similar items, but SF and /r/MFA only make up a microcosm of guys, or even Mauro's target audience.

    At the beginning, I mentioned that I've purchased most of my WvG at significantly discounted prices. There's a lot of pros of Mauro being so open about his business and sharing all the insider info with the world. However, that comes at a price, literally. While I don't know specific numbers, so it's probably all worth it in the end...but it has created pricing expectations. People expect to get shirts at low, low prices. Even Mauro has admitted to this - people expect Black Friday prices of 70/80% off. Resell value of WvG is pretty poor, tbh. I've never spent more than $50 on a piece in the marketplace, nor have I been able to sell anything for more than that. Hell, I have a pair of chinos that retailed for $180 that I can't sell for $35. People expect deals on WvG. On a grand scale of customers across the board, it's probably brought more people in to WvG, but it might have made selling to individuals on a case by case basis harder.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2014
  19. falathar

    falathar Senior member

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    I like the newsletters and the way WvG is run at the moment. Of course I would like Mauro to grow his business because not only because I feel he deserves to reap the rewards of his passion and dedication but also in results in a better (or more varied) product for the rewards members. But I don't think it would be worthwhile to grow the business in a way that lost the core values of WvG as a brand. I'm sure WvG is not the only company out there producing high quality, American made goods at a good price. However, I think one of the things that sets WvG apart from others is the personal communication with have with Mauro. When I buy WvG, I don't feel like I'm buying product from a company, I feel like I'm buying clothes from Mauro. This is a view that's reinforced both by the attention he gives to each of his customers and the newsletters. I think there's tremendous value in this; in buying a shirt and knowing there is a real person with a name and a face who is willing to stand behind that shirt 110%.

    Lots of interesting comments in this thread so I figured I'd give my $0.02 on the loyalty pricing. I can definitely relate to the "high barrier" to entry into the brand as when I first found WvG on SF, I debated for at least a week (if not longer) whether to give it a try or not. $150 is a lot of money to pony up for a shirt that you know very little about. Even reading the overwhelmingly positive comments here about quality, you never know how well that shirt will fit you (as an average joe that doesn't check body measurements before buying a shirt). Then there was the loyalty program, which of course is an awesome deal but is also useless if that shirt ends up not fitting you.

    That's definitely a problem. But I don't necessarily agree with offering rewards pricing to everyone. We can talk about access to special fabrics, pre-orders, first pick at product, etc. all day long but in all honesty, I would think the 50% is the biggest incentive to joining the rewards program. Also for every vocal person in this thread there's probably another 10 (if not more) rewards members who may not be aware of SF. And if you end up offering rewards pricing to everyone, you may risk leaving a bad taste in these peoples mouths and potentially even losing customers. Not to mention the problem with stockists that other people have already brought up above.

    I think there's a middle ground to be had here. A solution that makes it easier for new people to get into the brand without potentially alienating long time rewards member. Think about it, when does WvG has the most potential to bring in a group of new customers. In recent memory I'd say right after Mauro hosted one of those AMAs on Reddit, it created awareness of the brand and a surge of interest, maybe a few brand new rewards members. But how do you capture those customers who expressed interest during the AMA but not quite enough to overcome the previously mentioned high barrier to entry? By offering a temporary and limited discount code.

    So, let's say Mauro has a large pile of stock he needs to move. Well ok, have an AMA or whatever, generate awareness and interest in the brand. Then offer a temporary discount code for 50% off, the code be used an unlimited number of times but is only good for a day or maybe two. Enough time for people to browse the site and find something they want to try. If they like the product they'll be back for more. When that 50% discount code is gone, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to do the math and find out how amazing the rewards membership is.
     
  20. Teger

    Teger Senior member

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    who8 raises an important issues - people have become conditioned to buying WvG at an artificially low price. in my eyes, WvG is not comparable to brands like Banana Republic, and shouldn't even be in the same conversation - it's a premium product. Look at Epaulet pricing. $500+ shoes, $250 pants. A market is there.
     
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