As you should know by now, finding the right dress shoe is the best way to finish off a sartorial outfit. The best leather dress shoes are often made in Italy, and you better be prepared to drop some serious coin to get your hands on a pair. But there’s a new shoe brand on the scene that’s bringing attainable luxury to the realm of men’s footwear. The company is called Paul Evans. It was started by Ben Earley and Evan Fript, two former finance guys who decided to take a risk and deliver Italian-made, affordable, top-notch leather shoes from the best materials available. Their business model is all about selling directly to consumers and cutting out the middle man. The formula seems to be working just fine. Read our interview below:
“Our core customer isn’t a regular guy. He’s an up-and-comer …”
Can you tell us what the overarching brand philosophy is for Paul Evans?
To create high quality, stylish and comfortable shoes for the up-and-coming man. We sell directly-to-consumers, thus eliminating the traditional retail markup. We want every guy looking good no matter where he is. That’s why we ship internationally for free! Our shoes are “Made in Italy. Designed in New York. Step up your shoe game.”
How (and when) did the brand begin and what do you credit for your quick ascendance in the menswear realm?
We were working finance jobs in NYC and started improving our wardrobe with custom suits and shirts, but were struggling to find high-quality footwear at our price point. Furthermore, we were tired of the traditional retail experience, so we packed our bags and flew to Italy with one goal in mind: stylish, comfortable shoes made from the highest quality materials we could find, delivered straight to consumers. We found an amazing factory in Naples and have been working with them ever since.
Where are your shoes manufactured and what are your best selling styles to date?
Our shoes are handcrafted in Naples, Italy at the same factory that produces many well-known designers. Skills that are passed down from generation to generation allow our factory to create stylish, comfortable footwear that that will last a lifetime. We have quite a few best-selling styles, some of which are The Martin Wholecuts, The Brando Semi-Brogue Oxfords, The Cagney Cap-Toe Oxfords and The Newman Chukka Boots, to name a few.
Give us a little insight to the design process – how long the process takes from style conception to finished product?
This is always an interesting question because our answer is probably very different from your typical designer/brand. We were very focused on a specific lineup of men’s shoes since inception. That is, your usual suspects in terms of oxfords, boots, monk straps and loafers. So we really don’t spend too much time designing new product, rather we focus on refining our existing collection by improving materials and expanding color selections. Having said that, we do introduce new product that is typically the result of a year’s worth of work between design, sampling, real world wear and then feedback from select customers and bloggers.
Do you think you’ll ever open any brick and mortar shops or will you remain strictly online?
We are very focused on opening up a brick and mortar store in 2016. We will follow the Warby Parker and Bonobos philosophy of guideshops, meaning no cash and carry. The stores will function as showrooms where product can be tried on and purchased, but orders will still be fulfilled from our distribution center in order to minimize costs and ensure the best possible pricing for our customers.
Most regular guys seem to be a little wary of high-fashion shoes – who would you consider as your core customer?
Our core customer isn’t a regular guy. He’s an up-and-comer. He wants more out of life and is striving to achieve his goals. He’s educated, urban, and demands the best. That’s why he shops at Paul Evans.
Do you think you’ll ever expand into making women’s shoes too?
Another very frequent question! It’s a thought, but right now we need to stay incredibly focused on our core customers and stay true to our brand mission.
High-end luxury sneakers have become extremely popular in the menswear scene too – is this something you would ever consider making?
Yes they are on our website for pre-order and will be available in December!
How important is social media in your marketing and promotion strategy?
Social media is crucial in positioning our brand to our audience. Specifically Instagram. Our followers crave style inspiration and really knowing the personality behind our brand is something that resonates with them.
Lastly, can you give all our readers one reason why they should try out a pair of Paul Evans sartorial shoes?
Immediate confidence boost.
To get your own pair, visit PaulEvansNY
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