Love: M Gemi

M Gemi, shoes, designer shoes, luxury footwear, fashion, expensive,
I’ve been feeling very disillusioned with the fashion industry lately. Actually, I’ve felt this way for a while, but right now the disillusionment is focused on retail. The downside to having a brand that is stocked with tons of great retailers is that you end up having to work with big players who are incredibly demanding. And that’s why I look at brands like Everlane and M Gemi and think: you are doing it right.

M Gemi, shoes, designer shoes, luxury footwear, fashion, expensive, everlane, t-shirt

M Gemi is a recent addition to the direct to consumer fashion companies. In bypassing the wholesale route, these companies can offer a high end product at a very reasonable price, directly to their consumer. To better understand the markups, you can click onto an Everlane product, for example, this t-shirt, and if you scroll down, you can see the cost of the manufacturing, materials, shipping, and then retail (shown in the image above.)

What they show is that for a brand to sell to a department store or boutique they need to add their own profit, and then the department store has to add their costs and profit. For example, a $10 t-shirt would be sold to a department store for $20, and then the department store would sell it for $45 (more, actually, but nevermind the details.) When a brand sells directly to the consumer, they might add a bit more of a markup (to cover retailing expenses) but they can still afford to sell it at a much lower price ($30 for the t-shirt versus the department store’s $45.)

M Gemi, shoes, designer shoes, luxury footwear, fashion, expensive,

This system only works with brands who don’t do any wholesale at all, but we are in a time where, thanks to social media and the internet, brands can market directly to their consumers and they don’t need to depend on major stores to get sales.

M Gemi, shoes, designer shoes, luxury footwear, fashion, expensive,

Anyway, back to M Gemi. This is a company who is producing very high quality shoes in Italy. Because they are selling directly to the consumer, they don’t need to consider the wholesale and retail mark ups. So the shoe above left is priced at $298. That means they probably paid around $120 to have it made and shipped to the US. If they were selling it to Saks, Saks would buy it for around $260, and then they would be selling it for around $675. So when you are shopping at M Gemi, you are getting a $675 shoe for $298.

M Gemi, shoes, designer shoes, luxury footwear, fashion, expensive,

And while I’m not exactly salivating over theis cuts and shapes, I’ve spotted quite a few pairs that I’d gladly add to my wardrobe. I also remind myself that they are very new, and I would not be surprised if they increased their fashion offering over the next few seasons, as the business and the customer base grows. Yes, I know $300 isn’t exactly a “steal” when it comes to buying shoes, but you are gtting Italian craftsmanship for less than half of what you’d pay for it elsewhere. That’s a pretty good reason to go and buy some new shoes.

  • jasper

    hm, i feel like their mark up is still high. you can find cheaper shoes made in italy. i used to work at browns shoes and they have tons of shoes under their own label made in italy with a much lower price point – ESPECIALLY on sale

  • R.S.

    The big problem with why brands continue to endorse economically and environmentally unsustainable practices is because they feel pressure to conform. You have to have a retail presence in every city (no matter how pointless, with tons of stock that will never actually be sold/worn), you have to be stocked by the big names, and you have to play the game and waste tons of time and resources on insane amounts of packaging and promo materials (know a brand that commissioned about 300 CDs of their most recent show. Not a single person took a copy), runway show included. For an industry that outwardly endorses iconoclasm and blazing your own trail, people are shockingly conservative when it comes to business practice.

  • alexandrasuhnerisenberg

    On sale doesn’t count, because they aren’t making the proper margin. And I’m not sure I agree with you on price, it could be that the shoes you are talking about were 95% made in China and then shipped to Italy for the last stitch, and then they get the “made in Italy” tag. I just know, from manufacturing clothing, that it is really hard to make a pair of high quality shoes in a European country, in smallish quantities, for less than $100.

  • alexandrasuhnerisenberg

    Ugh, I know. I feel like I deal with this all the time with my business. On that note, I do think people are more open to “uncommon practice” nowadays than they were 10 years ago.

  • deb

    Alexandra, I sent you a fb message to your other folder to ask you a few questions :) Thank you!!

  • R.S.

    I’m not keen on designing for myself after I graduate, but I think there’s something to be said for the old way of doing things. Custom-made, with fittings and genuine relationships between in-house staff and clients. I’ve kind of stepped away from shopping anything but secondhand and vintage, or making things for myself, and there’s just a lovely feeling when you have to wait/search for something or produce it yourself as opposed to having so (too?) many options at your fingertips. The fashion cycle on both ends of the spectrum is spinning way too fast for me!

  • alexandrasuhnerisenberg

    Nothing there!

  • alexandrasuhnerisenberg

    The whole custom-made process is wonderful, but unfortunately people don’t want to invest the time and money for it…