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Vass discontinuing US sales?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by kabert, Apr 6, 2005.

  1. alchimiste

    alchimiste Senior Member

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    If I were you I'd pronounce it Vass. Whenever I pronounce a French brand name properly salespeople have no clue what I am talking about. Proper pronounciation is bad for communication.

    Mathieu
     


  2. alchimiste

    alchimiste Senior Member

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    Mike C.,
    When you shoot yourself in the foot please aim well to avoid 3 billion collateral casualties.

    Thanks,
    Mathieu
     


  3. esquire.

    esquire. Distinguished Member

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    The problem isn't their pricing is too low, but that nobody's ever heard of this brand. You're not going to have any more success selling more shoes for double the money if you haven't heard of this brand. The problem is that people are going to pay more of a premium for shoes from England than shoes from Hungary, regardless of the quality differences.

    It was a mistake if they only sought to increase awareness through something like style forum, where nobody pays full retail price.

    If they increase the price to increase promotion and marketing, then that would be a good reason.
     


  4. alchimiste

    alchimiste Senior Member

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    Andrew, do some retailers have requirements regarding advertising? Like they would accept to carry your brand only if you advertise enough so they should sell enough shoes to make money?

    Mathieu
     


  5. TKDKid

    TKDKid Senior Member

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    I would've thought people who would normally buy shoes at the $1000 level would know a thing or two about quality shoes and so would've heard of Vass, if not by word of mouth from people they know also buying shoes at this price level then by doing a bit of research after seeing Vass shoes sitting next to their beloved Edward Greens/JL Paris/Lattanzi/whatever in a shop.

    I think my point is that most (rational?) people will know or will learn about what's available at the price range they normally buy stuff at.  Most people I know have never heard of C&J, Edward Green etc (never mind Lattanzi) because the shoes they buy are at the £50-100 price range.  Similarly, I've never heard of most of the shoe brands that they buy at this price range (I can name Clarks but that's about it).  Ditto with suits, shirts, ties etc.
     


  6. alchimiste

    alchimiste Senior Member

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    Knowledge does not come with money. You don't know about expensive stuff magically when you get rich.
     


  7. Alexander Kabbaz

    Alexander Kabbaz Distinguished Member

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    Anathema as this may be to members of this forum, the vast majority of whom have, by virtue of their readership, an infinitely greater knowledge than the average luxury clothing consumer, Mike C. is 99.9% correct. My sole disagreement with Mike's entire statement (see Page 5) is one of implication, not fact. I would disagree that the implication that the perceived value of luxury goods is greater than the actual in all cases is veracious. In the instance of certain bespoke makers - and perhaps a few non-bespoke makers as well - the perceived and actual values are equal.
    On the other side of the coin, this proposition is 50% ... wrong. Value proposition, yes, but Vass (V-ahhh-shhh) shoes are not sensibly priced. They are, in relation to the market niche they occupy, significantly underpriced. One merely has to look at the two simple driving forces behind this to understand: 1] Hungary has a great tradition of shoemaking. Hence, it has a long history of breeding shoemakers. Shoemakers are remunerated according to the laws of supply and demand and 2] Given the bettering but still tenuous economic realities of the countries of the F.S.U., the demand is not strong enough to meet the supply. Thus the prices of Vass remain below that of the other makers of shoes on the level of Vass ... not sensibly priced but greatly underpriced.
     


  8. TKDKid

    TKDKid Senior Member

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    I wasn't talking about people who suddenly get rich.
     


  9. jcusey

    jcusey Distinguished Member Dubiously Honored

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    This is a reasonable proposition, but, unfortunately, it isn't very accurate from what I've seen. Two sorts of people buy shoes that retail for $1000: shoe people and people who do it because they can. The latter are much more numerous than the former. The number of people who have heard of Vass before in this country is miniscule, and selling Hungarian shoes to someone who doesn't know much about shoes is difficult. Shoes made in England or Italy are a much easier sale, even at the $1000/pair mark.
     


  10. Phil

    Phil Senior Member

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    I think the lack of brand recognition hurt Vass, as some have aluded. No one knows the brand is pretty accurate. Not only that, the shoes are made outside of the popular and well known shoe making centers of the world. There may be a long and illustrious history of shoe making in Budapest (I think thats where Vass is, right?), but to consumers, they like their expensive shoes made in England or Italy. Thats a hard mentality to break. No matter how handmade something is, its still made in Budapest, and to the average consumer, its outside of their scope of experience. Im not saying I agree, cause I dont, but think of it this way:

    A new watch brand comes along, made in Slovakia. Great watch, but its not Swiss made. I think it would have a hard time. Even if it was the most well made watch in the history of watches.

    Hand made suits from Turkey. A guy sets up shop, makes the most beautiful suit ever, but works in Turkey. Its just not gonna get the same respect as perhaps a lesser tailor in England or Italy.

    At the end of the day, I honestly think that 99% of people who buy expensive shoes do it for brand recognition and status. There are the 1% ofcourse that love hand made items and appreciate them for what they are. The problem with Vass is you basically eliminate the 99% right off the bat. Its a tough sell. Feel free to disagree, this is ofcourse one man's opinion.
     


  11. johnapril

    johnapril Distinguished Member

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    I'd buy Vass shoes were they available but they are not. Period.
     


  12. kabert

    kabert Distinguished Member

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    Well said Phil.
     


  13. nightowl6261a

    nightowl6261a Distinguished Member

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    I agree with you here, and very few people, with money or not, will know the Vass line as well made and fine as it is. Outside of the fashion forum people like involved here and AA, few if any shoppers would have a clue as to what they are buying, and a good point is made about sales personel, I have been in the biz for a while, and until joining this forum, many of the higher end brands outside of EG, Lobb, and C&J, I had not heard of, so if a customer would have called me months ago, I would have at first thought the customer might have been meaning Bass as mentioned or my next thought would have been Vask, as in the hiking boots. The normally high end consumer in the US is just not educated in the better European brands to this point, I think because the European manufacturers do not really want to stress their sales on the US consumer, IMO because of the high volume very on demand needs of the average American shoppers attitude of "I want it now, and I want it cheap." We as a whole in the US want quality, want price, and want it now, and quite often, buy only because of a reputation as to name recognition and not nescisarily because of quality recs.
     


  14. johnnynorman3

    johnnynorman3 Distinguished Member

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    I would also argue that the quality of Vass shoes are not immediately apparent by just looking at them sitting on the shelf. Next to a Kiton, Lattanzi, or even Edward Green shoe, the Vass looks "ordinary" by comparison. Sure, the U-last might have a distinctive look, but that's not the last that will appeal to most consumers. It's the Peter, P2, or Banana probably.

    Why do I say they look "ordinary"? Because they don't have the type of antiquing that a Kiton, Lattanzi, or Green has (don't know about Lobb, since I've never seen one in person). To really understand the quality, you have to get up close to see the stitching, turn over the shoe to see how well made the sole is, and put the shoe on your foot to see how perfectly fitted to the arch the shank is, and walk to see how light and springy it feels on the foot. But you never get to that point if your consumer depends upon how the shoe looks on the shelf before he decides to try it on.
     


  15. Carlo

    Carlo Distinguished Member

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    How many shoes in Vass' pricerange are made like this? The best thing in the world for Vass is an educated customer. They don't need to sell shoes - they need to sell that shoe book. An educated consumer will buy Vass and see it as a steal for the price given that the other shoes of similar (and many of lesser) quality are several tiems the price. Subjective factors of beauty are hard to rank, objective construction/quality points are what they are. [​IMG]
     


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