Very weird experience with B. Nelson... What is your experience with them?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by cypi2, Feb 8, 2016.

  1. cypi2

    cypi2 Senior member

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    Just did some quick research on this one. And, it seems that the reason why the leather soles are skimmed off is so that the plastic soles stick better.

    Some other reason seems to be that this way the plastic are almost invisible.
     
  2. cypi2

    cypi2 Senior member

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    I have to admit that if I had not read about that on another forum, I would have never guessed.

    The cobbler to whom I brought my shoes in France also showed me how this is done because i was interested.
     
  3. asturiano

    asturiano Senior member

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    Would you have preferred a long answer explaining the reasons why he didn't want your business? I agree with Nelson in not giving you the business based in your email. I think that sometimes is good to be short and blunt. I think that wouldn't like even less a detailed answer of the reasons why he doesn't want your business.
     
  4. cypi2

    cypi2 Senior member

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    OK. that's a fair opinion.

    And, just to continue on the reasons why it is better to skim off the top of the leather soles before gluing the plastic soles:

    I just read that doing it this way ensures that the balance of the shoe or of the last is not lost.

    Directly gluing the plastic soles on the leather soles could lead the shoe to be off balance and to actually deteriorate quicker.
     
  5. Poloboy

    Poloboy Well-Known Member

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    You did nothing wrong by being very specific in what you were looking for.

    Unfortunately today, there are are too many companies that always look for the easy way out...your request is to difficult or out of the ordinary.

    There used to be a time when most small independent companies would cater to unusual requests, and price the service accordingly.

    Today one has to look long and hard to find a quality dry cleanerr, shirt laundry, or capable tailor.

    Companies can charge whatever they need too, but in the end, they need to satisfy the customers requests 100%.

    Anything else is just unacceptable.

    Consider your self lucky you will not be doing business with these people.
     
  6. cypi2

    cypi2 Senior member

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  7. Topaze

    Topaze Well-Known Member

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    Guess that's the drawback of email communication.

    Nothing is wrong with OP's requests per se. In fact, they're fairly standard (it all boils down to installing some Topys, skimming the outer layer of the leather sole before gluing the rubber - which should be a standard practice for a self-respecting cobbler anyway - and some ideas about toe taps which I don't really share but don't see as too difficult either). I have made similar, and even more specific requests quite often - but in person, as part of a casual conversation with a cobbler, and have never had any problems. At the same time, I can see how reading that email could lead the cobbler to perceive the customer as exceedingly demanding and, essentially, not worth the trouble. Which, again, does not seem to correspond to the difficulty of what looks like a quite reasonable order.

    I must admit, in an email I would skip the part about desperately needing a cobbler and the price of the precious Goodyear-welted shoes, though. Sounds a bit weird, in a Gollum-esque sort of way. :)
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2016
  8. SilchasRuin

    SilchasRuin Member

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    My guess is - extremely specific requirements + member of Styleforum + a very keen shoe enthusiast = high risk of issues if the work is not done exactly as per the customer's requirements (maybe he does a couple of things differently). It could also be that he's had issues in the past with customers like this.

    On a watch forum i frequent, someone recently called out a highly respected reseller of used watches for shipping him a watch with a sticker across the back (apparently, it left some residue on the back of his watch, and it was the "stupidest thing he's ever seen in his life"). We hobbyists tend to be weirdos.
     
  9. Shirtmaven

    Shirtmaven Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    As I am not a shoe maker, I have no idea if your requests are normal or very obscure and a bit OCD.

    I have received similar sorts of list of requests. I immediately think that someone has spent too much time on the internet.

    When someone requests measurements in 1/8", I laugh. sewing tolerance(meaning acceptable error) is as much as 1/4" depending on certain operations and fabrics.

    I would tell the customer what is possible on their list and what is not.

    Or i would tell that customer to try someone else.
    I would tell them, I am not that good to meet the specific requirements.

    I know many of the tailors and shirtmakers in NYC. and yes, we talk about the type of customer
    who wants to tell us how to do our jobs.

    better off turning a customer away, then losing money redoing work to follow obsessive minute instructions.
     
  10. cypi2

    cypi2 Senior member

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    I am happy to learn that: It was my impression that those were rather standard requests.

    Yes, absolutely. I can see how awkward some parts of my email were, and, i understand now now how they might have led B. Nelson to turn me down.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2016
  11. cypi2

    cypi2 Senior member

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    I can understand that. But, on the other hand, I participate and read forums like SF because I appreciate the work of great artisans and these forums turn out to be great sources of good addresses. And in fact, it is to avoid disappointments and problems that I source some artisans in forums like SF, and, so far, it has worked quite well for me.
     
  12. cypi2

    cypi2 Senior member

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    I did spend some time on the internet, and, I also spent some time talking to my old cobbler who is a great artisan and who took the time to explain some of the practices and their reasons to me because I am interested in these things.

    Yes! This is exactly what I was trying to get from B. Nelson. But, all the posts on this thread have also helped me understand how awkward some parts of my email were and how it played against me and led B. Nelson to turn me down.

    I still do not believe that describing a job precisely and asking an artisan if he does that type of job is telling him how to do his job.

    Perhaps, I should have have turned that email into a question like: I am looking to have some plastic soles and toe taps installed on my shoes. Can you let me know how you install them? I don't know...
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2016
  13. cypi2

    cypi2 Senior member

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    My conclusions:

    1) 1) For very specific requests and to avoid miscommunication, it is probably best to elect to work with artisans that you can physically visit and with whom you can talk personally rather than through email.

    2) 2) I am sorry it turned out this way with B. Nelson. Based on the feedback I read about them on this forum, I am sure they are great artisans, and I am also pretty sure that they would have done work that would have completely satisfied me.

    I just wish I could have visited their shop and talked to them personally rather than through email.

    3) I was happy to confirm that my requests are fairly standard and i also realize they were somewhat awkwardly put.

    I
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2016
  14. Shirtmaven

    Shirtmaven Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Yes! This is exactly what I was trying to get from B. Nelson. But, all the posts on this thread have also helped me understand how awkward some parts of my email were and how it played against me and led B. Nelson to turn me down.

    Awkward is a nice term.
    nothing personal, but the way the email is written, I would write you off immediately.

    I will assume that your previous shoemaker has retired.
    It was great that your past shoemaker was able to convey his techniques.
    If the shoemaker had this technique discussion with another shoemaker it would be fine.
    coming from a customer is off-putting.
     
  15. cypi2

    cypi2 Senior member

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    No offense taken.

    The previous cobbler was in France where I was on assignment, and, I am now back on the West Coast.

    Hmm... Why should a customer not know about certain techniques and what he wants?

    So let's suppose that you are looking for a specific type of work and you want to find out if an artisan does it. You only have email for communication. How would you ask?
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2016

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