The price of handmade Northampton shoes has risen dramatically in recent years as some brands have been taken over by global luxury goods companies, whilst others have moved their focus to serving only the uber rich.
We set out to change that by putting premium 100% English handmade shoes within reach of as many people as possible.
THE TRADITIONAL APPROACH
THE BEST-SELLER SUBSIDES THE REST
All men’s shoe companies stock a wide range of styles of varying popularity. For formal men’s shoe brands the best selling shoe will invariably be the black oxford toecap. This shoe is rarely, if ever, on sale.
Profits for the bestseller cross subsidise other less popular designs. If they were priced fairly, the unpopular styles would be more expensive as they sell in smaller volumes. Instead they’re all priced the same. In fact, less popular designs will often end up being even cheaper when they’re discounted in the sales.
The other styles are also the ones which require “cool” new designs and heavy promotion and marketing. The design of the black oxford hasn’t changed in over 100 years.
COMMON SIZES SUBSIDISE TAIL SIZES
Men's shoe sizes follow a normal distribution. The median size in the UK is 9. This means most of the demand is for the sizes we produce: 8, 9, 10, 11.
Of course, the traditional model is to offer a far wider range of sizes. Again, profits from the popular sizes subsidise the less popular ones. Why else would a size 5.5 wide-fit cost the same as a standard 9? Again, it's the tail sizes that end up being sold cheapest in the sales.
The traditional approach to luxury is why the incumbent charge such huge mark ups on their products. They have to subsidise the wide product ranges - lots of crazy styles that rarely sell and end up discounted. They have to subsidise the tail sizes. They have to maintain an air of exclusivity with expensive shops and marketing. All of this serves to put well made shoes out of reach for most consumers, as their products are marked up 3, 4 or even more times.
It’s our belief that a product can be luxury, in that it is beautifully crafted from the best materials, without the need for the trappings of the luxury goods companies. Our shoe doesn’t need to be priced ridiculously high in order to confer status. It doesn’t need to be endorsed by celebrities or featured in glossy magazines. It doesn’t need a royal warrant.
We are taking the opposite approach to incumbents. We only produce the best selling shoe in the most popular sizes and we try to sell it for as little as possible, putting quality English shoes back in reach for everyone. We focused on the quality of the product and on removing anything else that adds cost between the shoe and the customer.
What we ended up with is a product we think can stand proudly amongst the very best on Jermyn Street. A beautifully made English classic.