The finest quality materials and superlative craftsmanship have been at the heart of shoemaker Crockett & Jones since the company was founded by James Crockett and his brother-in- law Charles Jones, in Northampton in 1879. To this day, the company is still family owned, and continues to use many manufacturing methods that have remained the same for over a century.
Yet it’s not just the time-honoured skills of highly trained artisans that sets Crockett & Jones apart. Generations of passion, drive and knowledge have been passed down for more than 140 years, and the current managing director Jonathan Jones is committed to crafting shoes to last.
Jones spends a lot of time working closely with suppliers on the sourcing and development of all of the key shoemaking elements – from leathers to laces – as although it does not follow trends, the company does evolve its styles and constantly fine-tunes its models. The Cap Oxford, for example, has been around since the 1920s, but it looks different now because of updates to the lasts and the materials, which have improved the aesthetic and fit over time.
‘We are always looking to improve the quality of our materials,’ says Jones. ‘And this plays into the training of the staff in our factory, as even if you source the best materials, if you haven’t trained your workforce to the highest standards, you can’t achieve the best results.’
Achieving the highest standards is in the DNA of the company, and most of the product journey, from the design development to the manufacturing, is done in-house, in order to enable better quality control throughout the whole process – whether it is overseeing intricate hand-crafted details or reviewing the final product.
With this in mind, when it comes to pricing structure, the price of Crockett & Jones footwear and the cost of producing it are unequivocally linked, and pricing is handled with the same exacting care and attention as the crafting of the shoes themselves. The retail pricing for Goodyear welted shoes has recently been a topic of discussion, but at the beginning of 2021, Jones had already decided to defer any price increases to later in the year.
‘Due to the interruptions and the uncertainty in business I decided to defer any decisions around price increases until I have a clearer idea of what the real costs movements are from our material suppliers. Materials make up 45 per cent or more of our shoes, so we have to watch the cost price of leather closely.’
While its bricks and mortar stores have now re-opened following temporary closures during lockdown, earlier this year Crockett & Jones launched a new website and e-commerce platform, which offers a comprehensive library of guides to help customers purchase the perfect pair of shoes online. In-depth information on lasts, style, sole and material, as well as an online fitting guide, gives shoppers a simple step-by-step process on how to measure your feet from your home, to ensure the shoes you buy will be comfortable for many years to come.