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I wonder if our esteemed Moderators JCusey and Medwards might contribute your thoughts to this thread - along with others in our community?

My question is "Does the economic crisis make you ponder which shoemakers to buy/order from? Do you consider any particular makers vulnerable more than others?"

Obviously one does not want to buy shoes which in fives year's time cannot be recrafted because the maker is no longer there. ( please no posts about using local cobbler, I like to have my shoes rebuilt to original spec)

LM
 

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Hi LM,

My answer is Yes it does. I like you l prefer to have my shoes rebuilt as they were made.

I do wonder out of the dozen or so manufacturers left who will survive. Apparently Alfred Sargent went into liquidation on Friday, as reported over on SF.
 

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Obviously, an economic downturn can affect shoemakers -- and other artisans, stores, and businesses -- in a variety of ways. How well one weathers the storm depends on a mayriad of factors -- the nature of the business, the client base, the overhead and indebtedness, cash flow, the reliance on other suppliers, workforce issues, adaptability, and so on. There is little question that many businesses are faltering and some may not make it through this current economic tide. Small businesses are often particularly vulnerable though some can be true niche markets that can carve out a safe harbor in perilous times or or can be more flexible than their larger colleagues. It is almost impossible to discern the financial health and staying power of such an enterprise from the outside. Consequently, it is hard to predict which of the current shoemakers is most likely to stat afloat let alone prosper and which are in jeopardy of not being around in four or five years. That said, I recognize that one should be prudent in not taking undue risks in placing orders or hoping for a longterm relationship with a firm that is less likely to survive. However, while grounded in this, my own way of looking at the world is a bit different. Indeed, I have a somewhat countercyclical approach inasmuch as I believe that this is precisely the time to be supporting artisans such as bespoke shoemakers if we wish for this art to continue. Consequently, I do not anticipate making any changes in the firms with whom I do business...but I should note that, for the most part, I have a long relationship with these companies, have faith in their quality and staying power, and have stayed away from more speculative enterprises even in strong economic times. Keep in mind that should such a firm run into undue financial hardship, it is certainly possible (if not likely) that they would be aquired by or amalgamated into another such enterprise and the original lasts and documentation might still be available for such refurbishments.
 

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I don't think that the current market will lead to a downturn to Bespoke Shoemakers for several reasons. Firstly, the current exchange rate (£/$) gives the average American client a 30-35%% discount on the last round of trunk shows. Example being Cleverley. During their next trip (if the exchange rate stays as is), a bespoke pair of shoes will run at £1,700 for export, which is $2,450. This would make their bespoke shoes the best price I have ever seen since ordering shoes from them. Secondly, I agree with Medwards. People that buy bespoke, clearly know quality and suport artisans, especially during tough times.

There is my two cents.........
 

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May I ask, by whom was this reported, and how was this statement confirmed? Do you have a link to a press report of this?

TIA
A bit naughty of you to miss out the word "apparently" from my post Flanderian.

It was reported over on style forum via contact with an employee. I've been looking at the northants news website over the past few days but nothing in the press yet.

Curiously, all references to AS have been removed from their website which hasn't been updated for 2 years, in fact on friday afternoon it was still reporting they were opening an online store in 2007. The fact that all the information has been removed leads me to believe something is happening. I guess it's a case of watch this space.

Anyway, there's already a thread for the AS situation, let's not take Leather Mans' thread off topic.
 

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A bit naughty of you to miss out the word "apparently" from my post Flanderian.

It was reported over on style forum via contact with an employee. I've been looking at the northants news website over the past few days but nothing in the press yet.

Curiously, all references to AS have been removed from their website which hasn't been updated for 2 years, in fact on friday afternoon it was still reporting they were opening an online store in 2007. The fact that all the information has been removed leads me to believe something is happening. I guess it's a case of watch this space.

Anyway, there's already a thread for the AS situation, let's not take Leather Mans' thread off topic.
Thank you for the update.

It is apparent :icon_smile_big: to me that AS has been having financial difficulty, but that is different thing from being in liquidation, and while that may be the case, or may yet be the case, it is not at all yet apparent to me. It was reported via 3rd and 4th hand information a month or so ago that they were entering liquidation. Since then, I've received a rather nice pair of shoes that they made subsequent to that report. Obviously, that information was mistaken. It would seem likely that there are former employees who aren't very pleased with AS, and perhaps deservedly so. As such, anonymous, unconfirmed Internet rumors need to be considered in that light.
 

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It is appearant :icon_smile_big: to me that AS has been having financial difficulty, but that is different thing from being in liquidation. It was reported via 3rd and 4th hand information a month or so ago that they were entering liquidation. Since then, I've received a rather nice pair of shoes that they made susequent to that report.
and they have delivered Lodger's MTM shoes. Whatever the problems at AS, they are still making shoes.
 

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As reported on the AS thread they have gone into administration, so still trading. I predict the debt will be sunk with the old company and a new one will emerge asap on a pre-pack arrangement. Creditors get stuffed. :(
 

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The only real question I have is that if the artisans specifically targeted the financial world and the financial world is hurting, causing a 10-30% dip in the amount of orders (or worse, 50-75% dip) then are their operations sustainable at that level?

If I worked for such a company I would create a line of "budget" items for professional. If I was buying $2400 shoes and I knew I could accept a $700 OTR shoe given that my bonus was 25% of what it was last year, then I know I would buy that $700 shoe.

I don't think we'll see the financial whizzes buying $50 shoes, but I would be shocked to see anyone who targeted wall street as their major client survive.

Take the shoe ads out of WSJ and put them in medical journals.
 

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The only real question I have is that if the artisans specifically targeted the financial world and the financial world is hurting, causing a 10-30% dip in the amount of orders (or worse, 50-75% dip) then are their operations sustainable at that level?

If I worked for such a company I would create a line of "budget" items for professional. If I was buying $2400 shoes and I knew I could accept a $700 OTR shoe given that my bonus was 25% of what it was last year, then I know I would buy that $700 shoe.

I don't think we'll see the financial whizzes buying $50 shoes, but I would be shocked to see anyone who targeted wall street as their major client survive.

Take the shoe ads out of WSJ and put them in medical journals.
I do know that some of the bespoke firms indeed try to diversify their customer base to help offset dislocations in a certain economic sector, geographic region, or currency exchange. Moreover, some try to avoid dependence on a particular client -- no matter how large or reputable (I know, for instance, of one shoemaker who found it advisable to forego a very lucrative deal with Ralph Lauren because of how it would affect the remaining customer base and the consequences should the contract end) That said, much of the bespoke trade is word-of-mouth and there is a natural tendency to build up a client-base within a somewhat closed circle...even if that is not intended. It is hard to let easy opportunities to add immediate new customers pass simply because of some possible long term concerns.
 
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