Meet Jules and Pratik, two relatively new members of retail staff from the 69 Jermyn Street store. We sat down with them to talk shoes, West End shopping and some of their favourite moments from their time at Crockett & Jones.
Okay, let’s start at the beginning. When did you join Crockett & Jones?
Jules (J): I’m coming up to my first year anniversary with the company. Prior to that I was a store manager at a brand called True Grace, in the illustrious Burlington Arcade, and it was quite a quiet shop. While there, I used to see very smartly dressed chaps with dark green bags walking past the windows, always smiling and waving. Of course, they were the team from C&J’s Burlington Arcade store, and I thought “they look like they’re having much more fun than me”, so I asked one of them if there were any jobs going, and that was it.”
Pratik (P): “I’ve been with Crockett & Jones for almost two years now. Prior to C&J, I was with Holland & Holland for a good eight years. I’m into my clothes, and I’ve always enjoyed the product side of retail; C&J’s training is excellent and it really got me into the 'World of the Crockett & Jones' when I joined the company.”
What’s it like working in London's West End?
J: Working on Jermyn Street is a constant source of inspiration. Plus, we have a great range of customers; from seasoned special order customers who know exactly what they like, to younger gentlemen visiting us to invest in their first pair. No two days are quite the same and that why retail is so enjoyable.
P: It’s a dream for me. British menswear has really taken off in the past five years, and I get to walk past the windows of Jermyn Street every morning and keep an eye on changing trends and fashions as they happen.
Any highlights since you’ve been here?
J: We offer a special order service, where customers can make minor amendments to patterns, choose their favourite last and select whatever material takes their fancy (from the many swatches that we have in store) to create a pair unique to them. A few months ago, one of our longest standing customers treated himself to a pair of purple suede Monkton, a single-strap buckle shoes with chiselled toes. They were quite something! We love seeing them go from order sheet to reality!
P: We meet so many different customers that it’s impossible to single out just one moment. I get a great deal of satisfaction from helping customers to make the right choices. Sometimes people come in with a very clear idea of what they want, but find that a shoe doesn’t quite fit them or the style is not quite right. That’s where we come in; we’ll take the customer’s fitting, assess the shoes’ last against the shape of their feet, and discuss how they feel on; and that’s the most important thing in a pair of shoes –never mind sizes or last shapes, it’s all about how they feel and fit!
Care to share any local favourites?
J: I like Davey’s Wine Bar in Crown Passage. When all the pubs are heaving on a Friday, you can head down into the cellar bar and enjoy a very nice glass of wine. Plus, Davey’s has exceptional service, and when you’ve been on your feet all day giving good service, it’s really nice to be on the receiving end for a little while.
P: On the menswear side, our neighbour Turnbull & Asser is a firm favourite, its heritage strikes a similar chord to ours. I often direct clients to Gieves & Hawkes and Hackett too; they are both like-minded British brands that make tailoring that’s well-matched to our shoes.
Now then, if you could only wear one pair of C&J shoes, what would they be?
J: The Lucy for me, in burgundy. They’re my perfect unlined penny loafer; the leather is super-soft and the last is perfect for my feet. Plus, they were my first pair of shoes when I joined.
P: I think my favourite model has to be the Charlton Balmoral boot from the Hand Grade Collection. I love how dressy it is, and the real sense of 1930s elegance that they conjure up. I have both versions; the mid-brown calf and polo suede, and the chestnut calf and dark brown suede. I can’t choose between them, you’ll have to let me have two favourite pairs.
How do you like to style your favourite shoes?
J: I like to pick up Lucy’s burgundy leather elsewhere in my outfit; so I’ll wear a burgundy scarf or some checked trousers with a burgundy overcheck in for example, just to bring everything together.
P: I enjoy wearing different kinds of looks; I’ll dress up Charlton boots with a double-breasted suit, – I love double-breasted tailoring – or down with a classic navy blazer, merino rollneck, and dark denim jeans. The beauty of a boot like the Charlton is that it’ll work both ways.
And finally, are their any pieces in the AW19 collection that you’ve got your eye on?
P: I have my eyes on this seasons Jodhpur boot, Cottesmore in Dark Brown Suede, adding to my ever growing boot collection.