Stop kicking your heels, gents! It’s time to shine your shoes, tie your laces and get back to business. The last ten weeks have been a drag, but lockdown is finally, slowly lifting — and our spirits with it. We’re picking up our feet, putting our best proverbials forward and vowing to make the most of what 2020 has left to offer.
And we’re not alone. The master shoemakers over at Crockett & Jones have also been polishing up their boots, brogues and sales skills in preparation for the brand’s grand global store reopenings on June 15. Boutiques from New York to Paris to London will once again throw open their doors, primed to help scores of shoe-seeking customers find their perfect pair.
“Nothing beats actually holding the product,” says Steve Murdoch, Crockett & Jones’ Head of Retail. “You can appreciate the quality and workmanship that goes into a Crockett & Jones shoe — which stems from over 140 years of shoemaking. And, ever since we opened our first retail store, we have been renowned for our great service.”
You heard the man. And Murdoch’s teams around the world are preparing in earnest for their first post-lockdown customers next week. Measures have been taken to ensure safety, staff have been briefed and everyone is excited to welcome browsers and buyers back into the shops. Just ask them yourselves…
At 69 Jermyn Street, Chris Tan is prioritising customer safety
In 1997, Crockett & Jones opened its first store on London’s Jermyn Street. Over two decades later, staff at the very same store are preparing to reopen its doors. The top priority, as it should be, is safety. “And I’m looking forward to the smell of leather again,” admits store manager Chris Tan. “Also seeing colleagues and customers, and starting the preparations for our upcoming sale.”
“Everyone can rest assured that the safety of our customers, employees and their families comes first,” agrees Steve Murdoch. “We have safety measures in place and, although we may not be able to shake your hand, we will make you feel very much at home with our enthusiasm, courtesy and kindness. We may well be two metres apart — but you will be well looked after.”
In Burlington Arcade, Thomas Bolton is sharpening his expertise
Nothing beats an expert — especially when you’re investing in a lifelong pair of shoes. And Thomas Bolton, of Crockett & Jones’ Burlington Arcade store, is eagerly anticipating the chance to advise prospective buyers once more. “I’m really looking forward to getting back to some type of normality,” he confesses. “I’ve especially missed the vast range of conversations with my fantastic customers.”
And vast they are. As Steve Murdoch adds, what makes a Crockett & Jones store so fascinating is the scope of its clientele. “And we treat everyone the same,” he says, “from those buying a shoe for their first job to rockstars and royalty. We build long-term relationships, which are the bedrock of our retail ethos. This personal service starts with a friend greeting, before we measure and advise our customers as best we can.”
In Canary Wharf, Csaba Soos is anticipating joy
“Personally,” says Canary Wharf store manager Csaba Soos, “I’m looking forward to the simple pleasures — such as witnessing the joy on a customer’s face when they purchase their first pair of Crockett & Jones shoes. I’m also looking forward to the sense of achievement after a prosperous day’s work, and the priceless banter with our regulars.”
And that’s not all, Soos adds. With bricks-and-mortar locations reopening, customers can rediscover a wide range of services that online shopping simply doesn’t afford. Allow Steve Murdoch to explain.
“There’s the Special Order Bespoke service,” says Crockett & Jones’ Head of Retail. “It enables you to design and create a unique product, to your own specification. It’s something you simply can’t do online, as we have an array of beautiful swatches to flick through — as well as linings and sole options. You’ll be like a kid at Christmas!”
In New York, Kevin Hill is ready to greet old friends
Across the pond, Crockett & Jones has just as firm a footing as it does in London. And Kevin Hill, a New York store manager, is keen to renew the bonds he shares with his customers when the US boutiques reopen in the first week of July. “I’ve always considered our clients friends,” says Hill. “And never has this been more apparent than during the last three months. Throughout the challenges of mandated government closures, at home quarantines, and overall uncertainty, it was extremely heartening to receive emails and calls from customers across the world checking in on us, seeing if our staff members were okay, and voicing their concerns for our company.”
It’s a social element, Steve Murdoch adds, that makes all Crockett & Jones stores more than just retail destinations. “It enables us to engage with our customers,” he explains, “build rapport and trust, as well as getting to know them. Many of our long-established customers will only visit a certain store, as they love the experience and seeing the same faces they have known for years.”
In Paris, Fabrice Rungi is ensuring his store looks its best
Of course, Paris had to have a chic Crockett & Jones store. But every one of the 12 boutiques around the world is put together with a certain je ne sais quoi. “And, after the terrible phase we have faced,” says Parisian store manager Fabrice Rungi, “we are happy to welcome our customers again and contribute to their well-being with the comfort and elegance of our stores.”
“Human beings are social creatures,” adds Steve Murdoch. “We love to meet and talk to other people. Plus, buying a good quality shoe takes time and thought, so you need to get it right. Ordering online may be convenient, but it will never beat a good day out with friends and family, browsing, trying, buying and having a coffee. Imagine if the world ended up just buying online — what a dull place that would be for the next generation to inherit!”
Getting ready for summer? Crockett & Jones’ new loafer collection have you covered in slip-on style…
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