As many of you might know, I have been doing a lot of thinking lately. Part of that thinking has to do with the blog, The Shoe Snob, and of course the other part has to do with the direction and future of my footwear line J.FitzPatrick (for those that don’t know, I am also a shoe designer and J.FitzPatrick is my brand). A lot of you gave great advice on the direction of The Shoe Snob and I am going to start implementing many of your ideas (the ones that I can do on my own) and hope to use my upcoming intern to help with many of the others! But as my day job is my shoe line and some of you are interested in that, I thought that I would also write a bit about what I am up to on that front.
Growing the brand since day one has been really fun. Of course there have been and always will be many challenges along the way, but I guess that comes with anything in life, from your day job working for someone else, to parenthood, to being your own boss. Learning to roll with those punches has been a great learning roller coaster. But I feel that the more challenges I deal with, the better I get at handling them, so that is good. When we started, I won’t lie, we were probably a bit under-prepared. Thankfully we had Gieves & Hawkes (a massive company) to help us, in the sense that they gave us credibility as a new comer and a base to sell and meet customers. Like a teenager leaving the house, we went out into the great big world to try and make it on our own. Of course we have since teamed up with the great Timothy Everest, a tailor whose image I feel really merges well with our own, but this only encompasses London where as our main goal is become an international brand seeing people across the world wearing J.FitzPatrick shoes. This is where the new challenge has begun and where the online world takes form.
Upon launching the website, it was really about getting the shoes out to all of you. Many of you knew that I had a brand, but did not know so much how to obtain the shoes and I am beginning to think that even more of you did not know that I even had a brand. So we launched the website to make that fact more obvious and known. While I think that the site had a nice clean look upon launch, I knew that there were many things that needed to be changed/added to it in order for us to fully present ourselves as a capable ‘player’ in the industry.
Since that day, I have thus been on a quest to make it look better, by taking more photography and by ultimately working on having more pages to make it look like a more substantial website. Part of that was adding a lot more ‘hero shots’ on the site (every model of shoe now having a few) as well as a page that we just had go live, called “Why Choose J.FitzPatrick?”. Clearly for those of you that have been reading the blog for a long time, knowing my history and credibility, the answer to that question might seem somewhat obvious but for many others who don’t know me so well it becomes a very valid question, particularly when one is about to spend upwards of £320.
Other things that we are working on implementing are an MTO program (as you can see a sample of photography from the picture at the top) and a refurbishment service. I started to realize how easy it is to say these things, but then how difficult it is to actually prepare and implement them. You need photography, swatches, webpages put in place, costings, systems put in place with the factory to ensure smoothness of running the program etc. There is a lot of prep to it. But it is all fun and exciting and hopefully within a few weeks time, we will have all of these things going live and thus be ready to start taking MTO orders and resoling for those of you that just might already need one.
Lastly is the direction of the company. Our ultimate goal is to have our own free standing shops in select cities around the world, but of course this is a lofty and long term goal. The world seems to be turning into a online portal however and thus moving away from the brick and mortar. But I am traditionalist, so I think that a shop is definitely necessary! But to prepare in the meanwhile, we are looking to implement certain ideas. Something we have always hated was the how much it cost to get a pair of shoes to someone across the world, especially when that person is taking a risk by trying something that might not fit in the end. In the beginning as a very very small company the shipping rates were ludicrous. But as we have grown slowly but surely, we are able to finally get an account with a major shipping carrier and utilize our power to lower these rates and extend that difference to all of you. Ultimately our goal one day would be to offer free worldwide shipping, forever. Unfortunately we are not quite there yet being still a relatively small company in the grand scheme of things.
However, while we strive to reach our goals, we are proud to announce that we are making a change in our shipping rates and will now extend free shipping to the EU (countries in the agreement) and Switzerland and the Rest of the World is now only £20. That being, Australia, HK, SG, US, Canada are all now £20….(This of course ONLY extends to shoe purchases. )
We hope that for some of you that have been thinking about getting a pair of our shoes but were on the fence due to the shipping costs, that this will help ease your minds. On another note, for those that simply enjoy watching the brand evolve, I thank you for always tuning in and supporting along the way. I can only dream of where we will be in a few years time!
I hope that everyone has a fantastic weekend
Justin, “The Shoe Snob”