Yes, with tens of thousands of places to buy from we had to generalize a bit but we think we have categorized firms pretty well. You all know who the "Ultra Professional" firm is, right? Goodness knows they put enough money into product promotion so, if you don't, someone is definitely not doing their job. The "Professional" firms are the ones like Eddie Beans End in Vermont Country, catalog houses so to speak, with well recognized names. The "Semi Professional" firms are the ones who just, for the most part, sign on with a distributor who drop ships, and set up a store with anyone of hundreds of hosting companies from big name outfits to places you will never know about like this one.
We do wish to make one thing perfectly clear. While the "Unprofessional" column is, in this case, strictly about us, we do know people from other firms, especially ones here in the USA, that are pretty close. The smaller, "unprofessional" firms with whom we communicate are the first places we suggest when we can't provide what you are looking for but know they can. We wish to make it very clear how much we respect them and their product lines not to mention how nice it is to "chat" about the trade off and on so to speak. Ultimately we all have to compete with all the more professional firms so it does not hurt to stick together.
|CATEGORY||ULTRA PROFESSIONAL||PROFESSIONAL||SEMI PROFESSIONAL||UNPROFESSIONAL (US)|
|Years/range of experience with shearling (sheepskin)||Purchased brand name/import business in 1995||Many years selling slippers and perhaps a few other items from various sources.||Start your own store, anyone can do it (none).||40+ years starting with tanning/dying/finishing and progressing to consumer goods|
|% of shearling in product||Used to be 100%, not anymore even in their "sheepskin" goods.||Who knows, read the fine print if there is any and watch out for "lined" as opposed to 100%.||We aren't sure, we never see the product we are selling.||100% (except for obvious things like stitching and crepe soles.)|
|Skin Sources||Well labeled under product "details".||Say Australian a lot but that is because everyone else does.||Who knows, we don't.||Fully Posted/primarily USA|
|Country in which tanned/dyed||Not documented.||Not documented||Who knows, we don't.||Fully Posted/primarily USA|
|Country of Manufacture||China, Vietnam, and USA they say on some items but buyer beware. (Been unable to verify the USA claims).||Say "imported" a lot. Sometimes they will actually tell you.||Who knows, we don't.||USA (Gloves are primarily a product of Portugal)|
|Production of merchandise||Produced by contractors.||Produced by contractors/bought from manufacturers' stock offerings.||Who knows where the stuff comes from? You might not want to know and we don't really care.||Right here in our "factory".|
|Sales and discounts||Did not used to, sure do now.||All the time.||Not likely, no investment in inventory. Post fake "normal" prices to make it look like discounts are being offered.||Never|
|Marketing||Uggressive; product placement, celebrity endorsements, advertisements, tons of press releases to make you buy more, buy more.....||Rely on the over all brand as shearling is just a tiny part of the catalog and offerings.||Why, I have an Internet/Ebay/Amazon store? That is enough.||Low key, primarily word of mouth and face to face references. No advertising except to underwrite ad costs for local non profits.|
|Website||Maintained by well paid professionals most likely using off the self software.||Maintained by well paid professionals most likely using off the self software.||Maintained by store "owners" using web interface provided by store hosting firm. One example.||Maintained by the same people who make the products. Adapted from a 1995 geometry project. Old software that still works just fine for our needs.|
|Photographs||Lots of them taken by professional photographers with high paid models and celebrities.||Professionally done photographs.||Use images supplied by the wholesaler/distributor.||Just amateur photographs, both our own and the ones from our wonderful customers.|
|Social Media||Everything possible, monitored by paid employees. Primary purpose to make you buy more, buy more....||Everything possible, monitored by paid employees. Primary purpose to make you buy more, buy more.....||Maybe, maybe not; not active.||Just Facebook, we have to cut and sew sometime. Primarily just for fun, not sales. Monitored by the same people who make the products.|
|Branding||Uggressive branding since that is all the parent company does. "Your friends have to see you in this because they bought one (or a dozen) and if you don't you are so not cool."||Rely on the overall "brand" except for that place in ME which has a trademarked slipper name.||What is that?||Yep, but not "in your face". More of a secret society. (We like that one.)|
|Social responsibility||Have a policy.||Generally have a policy.||Huh?||Work only with a few trusted suppliers with which we have very long term relationships and a personal connection/contact. No employees to abuse.|
|Repairs||No||No||What, how?||Yes, when practical, with set prices for most common repairs. (Our products only.)|
|Customer service||Paid employees with limited knowledge.||Paid employees with limited knowledge.||Store "owners" with limited knowledge.||All customer service is done by the people who actually make the item you are ordering. No third or fourth parties involved.|
|Payment||Prefer Credit/Debit Cards||Prefer Credit/Debit Cards||Can they take anything besides cards?||Discount applied for payment by check but cards are okay if that is your choice.|
|Ordering||Point and click, please.||Point and click but maybe by phone.||Point and click please.||Phone or mail only, no point and click, period.|
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Friday, September 14, 2018 03:09 PM
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