Affordable-luxury dress shoe startup Paul Evans has “come along way since launching 4 years ago,” according to co-founder Evan Fript. Modern Fellows first profiled Fript’s fledgling brand in 2014, when the company was working to expand an initially limited selection and sizes. Fript reflects on how the brand has evolved and signals the arrival of bespoke footwear and design upgrades in the fall in a new interview with Modern Fellows.
Over to Evan (pictured below at a visit to his supplier in Italy):
How has Paul Evans evolved since you founded the company?
We’ve certainly come a long way since launching nearly 4 years ago. Our product has improved significantly since we launched, with higher quality calfskin leather being used and closed-channel stitching being introduced this Fall. Our focus has always been on producing the highest quality men’s dress shoe possible, and we’re proud to have achieved that.
Have there been changes to your manufacturing process or your supply chain since you first started?
We’re still using the same factory in Naples because we have such a strong relationships with them and they understand our vision for both the product and brand so intimately. We’re working on launching our own production line within the factory so we can improve our production times, but we’re not quite at the volume necessary to do so.
What is the most important thing you have learned from your customers?
Communication and empathy. Customer service is the most time-consuming activity so we strive to make sure we treat customers fairly and respectfully, which starts with open lines of communication and understanding where they are coming from when they aren’t totally satisfied. At the end of the day our customers are the lifeblood of our business and we need to ensure they are taken care of each and every day.
How important is it to get your shoes physically in front of potential customers? How are you trying to do that now (for example through your showroom) and going forward?
Our guide shop generates approximately 15% of our total revenue, so it’s very important we’re able to get in front of our customers because some guys need to try on the product before purchasing. We’d like to continue opening new guide shops nationally and then internationally, as we already ship into over 80 countries around the world.
What other menswear brands (not necessarily shoe brands) do you admire?
I’m a big fan of Brioni, Paul Stuart, Berluti (editors note: one of my favorite destinations for luxury sneakers for men) and John Lobb. Basically I love high end menswear!
Are international markets important to your business? If so, which markets are most important?
Yes! Approximately 10% of our revenue is from international customers. We love shipping around the world and are excited to have a physical presence in these locations one day!! Look for a new multi-language website in Fall.
What’s new or next for Paul Evans?
Bespoke footwear in Fall! Stay tuned. (Ed. note: Paul Evans has also started producing a line of high-end sneakers, pictured below.)
Photos courtesy of Paul Evans.
About JakeJake is passionate about exploring entrepreneurs' global journeys. He founded Modern Fellows in 2012 to get to know the entrepreneurs behind the innovative brands helping men dress sharp in the digital age. Jake has written about entrepreneurship, international business and/or fashion for outlets including Business Week, Forbes, Inc., Details Style Syndicate and Primer Magazine, and has provided analysis on international business for BBC Radio, NBC News, CNN and Time Magazine.
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