Started in 1879, Crockett & Jones had been crafting Goodyear-welted footwear for over a century in England’s shoemaking stronghold when, in 1998, it sets foot in Paris’ neighborhood La Madeleine – 14, Chauveau-Lagarde Street. Twenty years later, Jonathan Jones can only rejoice having taken that decision as the family’s business 4th generation representative: “We had to reinforce our corporate identity to entrench the company. That could only be achieved by opening stores in strategic points where all our references and different services to our customer would be presented.”
Since then, Parisians (and others) flock to find those “up-to-date classics” crafted in the proper fashion. Like the chukka, “typical C&J British style shoes” boot, issued as a limited production for the company’s 20 years in France. Approved for its comfort and casual-chic look, “its adjusted shape allows you to accessorise a suit to give it a more casual look” adds the Briton.
You are celebrating 20 years in Paris. What does this represent for you?
It was the first time that we opened a shop in another country. The brand wasn’t known, the shop was very tiny. Today, it is three times bigger and the brand’s renown is global. Paris is our strongest market in Europe. Very specialised, it forced us to imagine designs we would never have considered (like the very thin Goodyear) which revealed beneficial for other countries like Japan.
The reasons for your success?
Quality and our classic English style evolving alongside trends. Our value for money is excellent.
For this anniversary, you are launching two limited editions of the Chukka in Cordovan. Why is this leather so popular?
Its specific tanning and its slightly shiny aspect make for a unique leather. The shoes instantly have an added charm and furthermore, they are easy to care for! Coming from the Horween Tannery, the best in Chicago, the cordovan is a rare leather, hence quite expensive.
You now have the Royal Warrant. What does this mean?
Yes, but not just that. We also have Prince Charles’, with who we have maintained relations for years. He notably visited our factory in Northampton. We made Oxfords, Tassel Loafers for him. He has a quite classic style as you can imagine.
Are you as well the supplier for TV Series “The Crown”?
No, but we were on the feature “A King’s Speech” in which Colin Firth was playing King George V.
You work in family. A chance to remain independent?
Yes, we can make our own decisions. The drawback is the weight of responsibilities, maintaining the business. A new generation has arrived (the fifth). So, we have a future!
What comes next?
For the past 20 years, we have increased the production by 30-40% while still manufacturing in Northampton. We have 13 shops, many retailers, and are established in New York and Japan. Training people is not easy. We don’t want to develop too quickly but rather maintain a high level of stability and quality.
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