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Wildsmiths back in London......?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Wildsmith, Jun 29, 2010.

  1. Wildsmith

    Wildsmith Well-Known Member

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    Wildsmiths back in London?

    Hi All,

    I am starting this thread to see if the demand for the Wildsmith brand still exists? I understand the current perspective of the majority, which is Wildsmiths having an amazing past, yet a less impressive present. I am proposing to start up a means of supplying Wildsmith Footwear to outlets or concessions in London. All shoes are to be made by Edward Green as they were in the past and using the original lasts. I would like people’s constructive criticism and opinions on this? Any designs that you would particularly like see? Also we have some new designs on the drawing board that may please.
    My motivation is that it would be a shame to see what my ancestors built up dwindle away into the abyss.

    Thanks for reading.

    Matthew Wildsmith
     

  2. IronRock

    IronRock Senior Member

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    Excuse my ignorance but would be great to see some examples - old photos or something.
     

  3. Wildsmith

    Wildsmith Well-Known Member

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    I can do that for you just not at the moment. In talks with EG at the moment and they are gathering up all the old patterns for us.
     

  4. il vecchio

    il vecchio Senior Member

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    I have 2 pairs of the original unlined loafers. They remain amongst my all- time favourites. If you started again I would almost certainly become a customer.

    with best wishes for your future.

    S
     

  5. emptym

    emptym Moderator Moderator

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    They are definitely a legend around here.
     

  6. JohnnyCrockett

    JohnnyCrockett Senior Member

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  7. Martin Stall

    Martin Stall Senior Member

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    Ooh! Me like.
     

  8. Wildsmith

    Wildsmith Well-Known Member

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    Thank you very much for all the messages of support. I'm hoping to have everything launched by Spring 2011 :)
     

  9. Ich_Dien

    Ich_Dien Distinguished Member

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    You have reasonable competition from EG, Foster & Son, and Cleverley. Wildsmith are a company I have seen some excellent shoes from in the past.

    Where would your shop be? If you want some good advice, follow the example Alfred Sargent are currently setting. You need to be modern and accessible, yet retain your heritage and allure. It's a tough thing to get right.
     

  10. vincerich

    vincerich Senior Member

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    Will Smith's back in London? Dare I say, "Karate Kid II?"
     

  11. JohnnyCrockett

    JohnnyCrockett Senior Member

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    It was my understanding that Edward Green's Harrow loafer is identical to the original Wildsmith loafer. Is this correct?
     

  12. Geezer

    Geezer Senior Member

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    Matthew

    Ich_Dien has hit the nail on the head.

    I wore the heck out of a pair of (EG-made?) Wildsmith "country house shoes" (ie loafers) through the mid-90s until they were beyond repair a few years ago. I still wear two pairs of Wildsmith oxfords from 10 or more years ago. I didn't when I bought them, but I know now that one pair is really C and J and the other is an EG on the (divine) 88 last.

    Since the shop closed and the internet exploded, the higher-end RTW market has got more crowded and more competitive - not always in a good way. And beyond old English folks like me, and shoe geeks, your brand recognition is, I am afraid, far lower than 20 years ago.

    I would absolutely love to see the Wildsmith name back with a range of shoes true to the heritage in a successful business. I hope you can find the right niche to occupy and expand from. If there is one final thing I would say, echoing others, it is that Wildsmith = loafer. Make the country house shoe your core offering.

    Whatever you do, I wish you the best of luck.
     

  13. Wildsmith

    Wildsmith Well-Known Member

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    It is regrettable that the shoes on offering in recent times have not been as creditable as those further back in time. As i said i intend to have the shoes made by EG to wildsmith designs, old and new. I take great pride in the heritage that i am left with and The Wildsmith Loafer will be at the core of my product range.
    as was mentioned earlier, the effects of thew Internet have changed the way people shop today, including in RTW shoes. I have experience in business and web development, so i am looking to transfer these skills in to what i propose.
    I notice that other shoe companies have websites, however they do not have the ability to purchase online. I have often wondered if this is what people would do?? or is the whole process of buying shoes about going to a shop and trying them on due to the expence of high end RTW? Please let me know your thoughts on e-commerce with regards to RTW shoes.

    Thanks

    MW
     

  14. rabiesinfrance

    rabiesinfrance Senior Member

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    As to colours:

    Burgundy, oxblood, chestnut brown. Everyone loves burgundy.

    First two have fallen out of fashion - gap to exploit.

    As to styles (on traditional lasts):

    1. Full English brogue / semi-brogue / Oxford (burgundy, oxblood, chestnut brown)
    2. A country derby boot, smooth leather (brown) - very few out there
    3. Chelsea boot (burgundy) - no-one makes them in that colour
    4. Navvy boots? Military (WWI or WWII) officer's pattern boots?
    5. Make gaiters for boots? Unusual - natty
    6. Balmoral boots

    Marketing

    Good printed catalogue
    Excellent website needed (rotated images, prices needed)
    Order shoes online

    Personally, I dislike the experience of visiting the quality shoe shops - far too intimate + selling pressure (once the shoes is on the foot...). That and there's usually a mark-up. The customer-service is generally 'ok', not great. Depends who you get - sometimes the person who assists you really knows very little at all. It can all be a little bit snotty too. The point is, if I'm paying £300 for a pair of shoes, I want to a) get a heads-up on what I'm buying (catalogue, rotated images on website), and b) have time to examine the shoes carefully (prefer to order online).

    Customer service: nine times out of ten the assistant will not measure your feet or indeed test the shoes for fit. The footrest often isn't offered. When I bought my first pair of shoes from Edward Green the assistant stood around doing nothing and really couldn't be arsed.

    Hope this helps.
     

  15. Bob Wilesmith

    Bob Wilesmith New Member

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    Hi Matthew
    Hope This reaches you as I sent a post earlier today explaining my association to the Wildsmith name and would like to make creditable contact with members of the Wildsmith family to assist in recording our combined family history I have already researched a majority of the family of Matthew and Louise Rebecca Rocke aka Rebecca Wildsmith and Ancestors/Descendants and the rise of the Wildsmith Boot and Shoe manufacturing firm in London.

    by Email address is [email protected]
    Regards Bob
     

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