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What is the deal with is Kirby Allison’s business model?

classicalthunde

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I’ve been curious about this for a while, but I just got an email that pushed me over the top

KA is selling copies of Simon Crompton’s Bespoke Style book for $85, which is $30 over the price on Crompton’s own Permanent Style! What gives with his business model, why would anyone buy it there?


I watch most of his YouTube content, even if it does lean a bit into the “sir, I am a gentleman” aspect of menswear. But I’m genuinely curious about the retail arm of his operation...things just seem to be priced super high in comparison to other places. For example, all of his Saphir products are $5-10 more expensive than you can find elsewhere with a simple google search. Also, whose buying $2K tuxedo studs?

Does he just drop ship/upcharge these items?
 
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Nobilis Animus

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I watch most of his YouTube content, even if it does lean a bit into the “sir, I am a gentleman” aspect of menswear. But I’m genuinely curious about the retail arm of his operation...things just seem to be priced super high in comparison to other places. For example, all of his Saphir products are $5-10 more expensive than you can find elsewhere with a simple google search. Also, whose buying $2K tuxedo studs?
The man advocates for collar stays, for goodness' sake.

One of his: (paraphrase) "following the rules of Black Tie shows those that matter that you know what you're doing... " :bored:

We can't expect too much by way of judgement. The poor fellow does what he can.
 

OldTown

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There is a lot of stuff on his site that is very overpriced. Also a lot of stuff I don't think anyone would actually use.
 

JFWR

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Kirby is a great source of information on Youtube and a very nice person to deal with, but he basically sells a brand. In this sense, he is not at all different from designer clothes, or brand name liquor, or even cigarettes.

Do you not think that say, Armani upcharges because it comes with the Armani name? Yes, will an Armani suit be higher quality than a suit from Men's Wearhouse? Sure. But Armani's quality is matched by many others with lesser names and lesser prices. Likewise, MacCallan might be a lot better than Old Smuggler, but consider the 40 year old MacCallan costs 25,000 v. Tomintoul's 40 year old at 600 dollars. Do not tell me that it is literally worth 50 times more.

Kirby is seling a brand, an image, etc. As such, he prices things higher. Plus, people are buying his stuff.
 

FlyingHorker

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Pretty sure that was the only place to buy Tarrago Nano Protector in Canada for a while.

Even now, looks like it's just sellers through Amazon.

I'd rather support a small business and continue buying my nano protector from there, not much of a price difference.
 

classicalthunde

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Do you not think that say, Armani upcharges because it comes with the Armani name? Yes, will an Armani suit be higher quality than a suit from Men's Wearhouse? Sure. But Armani's quality is matched by many others with lesser names and lesser prices. Likewise, MacCallan might be a lot better than Old Smuggler, but consider the 40 year old MacCallan costs 25,000 v. Tomintoul's 40 year old at 600 dollars. Do not tell me that it is literally worth 50 times more.
At least in these examples above, it’s their own products they are up charging, which is understandable since the costs/specs are probably not public. I feel like in this instance, it would be if Barney’s was selling a Brooks Brothers suit for 15% more than it would cost at Brooks Brothers itself due to the Barney’s “brand”

I don’t begrudge him for marking up his own items, that makes that sense to me. But turning around and selling someone else’s product (especially in the same small world) for 15% more just seems like a weird flex to me.
 

JFWR

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At least in these examples above, it’s their own products they are up charging, which is understandable since the costs/specs are probably not public. I feel like in this instance, it would be if Barney’s was selling a Brooks Brothers suit for 15% more than it would cost at Brooks Brothers itself due to the Barney’s “brand”

I don’t begrudge him for marking up his own items, that makes that sense to me. But turning around and selling someone else’s product (especially in the same small world) for 15% more just seems like a weird flex to me.
Well, I mean, it's certainly strange that he'd be selling it more than him. But it is not at all uncommon for retail stores to sell higher than what the company would sell it for directly, as that is part of a being a business that isn't an actual creator of the stuff they're selling.

Still, yes, Kirby occasionally has horrendous prices. I personally do not shop from him because his prices are too off, but I do think he does a great job on instructional videos.

Gotta pay for the 15 pairs of Bespoke shoes from John Lobb somehow?
 

Jmr928

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At least in these examples above, it’s their own products they are up charging, which is understandable since the costs/specs are probably not public. I feel like in this instance, it would be if Barney’s was selling a Brooks Brothers suit for 15% more than it would cost at Brooks Brothers itself due to the Barney’s “brand”

I don’t begrudge him for marking up his own items, that makes that sense to me. But turning around and selling someone else’s product (especially in the same small world) for 15% more just seems like a weird flex to me.
Seems pretty normal to me and kinda standard across the menswear industry as a whole. The pricing on polish and creams seem fairly in line with what I’ve seen elsewhere and if there is a markup it is nowhere near as egregious as what I’ve seen in the shoe business. Whether it’s Crockett Jones or Vass the variation in prices out there is astronomical.
 

9thsymph

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On another note, there's a cigar vid in which he actually (earnestly) asks the manager of the cigar shop if "churchill"-size cigars have any connection to Winston Churchill. Just sayin...
 

BomTrady

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I know of a very young neurosurgeon who recently completed his residency (a really nice guy who is a frequent poster on SF hahah) who buys everything from Kirby because he can get everything pretty quickly from one place. He likely has little time to "Google" and is not price sensitive, at least not with respect to KA's products. I imagine there are plenty of people like him who find the convenience well worth the extra prices. I suspect that when he gets married next summer he'll discover a sudden sense of price sensitivity.
 

dieworkwear

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I watch most of his YouTube content, even if it does lean a bit into the “sir, I am a gentleman” aspect of menswear. But I’m genuinely curious about the retail arm of his operation...things just seem to be priced super high in comparison to other places. For example, all of his Saphir products are $5-10 more expensive than you can find elsewhere with a simple google search. Also, whose buying $2K tuxedo studs?
 

dieworkwear

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"Quick, someone is calling out the advertisers on my site on their bullshit pricing!"

Are you speaking to me? Kirby isn't an advertiser on my site and he doesn't advertise here (I don't think he advertises here, anyway).

You could, of course, engage earnestly instead of posting memes, which means watching that video I posted and posting a thoughtful reply.
 

Blake Stitched Blues

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Are you speaking to me? Kirby isn't an advertiser on my site and he doesn't advertise here (I don't think he advertises here, anyway).

You could, of course, engage earnestly instead of posting memes, which means watching that video I posted and posting a thoughtful reply.
No, I just like poasting memes. Pretty sure the Hanger Project advertised on your site at one point though?
 

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