The new C&J store in midtown Manhattan has been open for about a month now and I recently had a chat with Kevin Hill, the manager of the store.
C&J is one of just five or so English shoe factories left in Northampton. The company produces about 2,500 pairs of shoes a week for some of the most well-known retail brands in the business (e.g. Brooks Brothers). They pulled out of their former retail premises at shirtmaker Turnbull & Asser in NYC and Beverly Hills and have decided to go direct to the consumer. It's a delicate but perennial issue in distribution - do you have others sell product for you or do you sell directly? These days the answer in luxury retail seems to be both.
Quick facts: Made to order (MTO) shoes ranges from $1100 to $1200. MTO allows personalized choices off a standard last - so the leather, sole and other details are configurable. The higher number in the price range reflects MTOs done in the handgrade line. Recrafting is available for $220 to $230. Again the higher price is for recrafting of handgrades.
Kevin also mentioned that there are plans for Dimitri Gomez, bespoke shoemaker / bottier based in the Paris outpost of C&J, to visit later this year.
Yesterday Foster & Son were in NYC tending to repeat orders and new customers. I had a nice chat with Richard and Emma. They're doing well and have an enviable backlog of orders to fill. Richard Torregrossa, author of Cary Grant: A Celebration of Style, also made an appearance late in the day.