Name : Alexis Epron
Job Role : Store Manager
Retail Shop / Country : 14 rue Chauveau-Lagarde, 75008 Paris
What did you do before you started with Crockett & Jones?
My first job was working for another high-end footwear retailer. I worked in this store for seven years. During this time, I discovered various shoes manufactured all over the world, but it was the British shoes that caught my eye, such as Edward Green, John Lobb and… Crockett & Jones. This developed my interest for British made shoes, and I have not looked back ever since.
How long have you been working for Crockett & Jones? In that time, are there any stand-out / interesting moments?
I have now been working for Crockett & Jones for 15 years. I joined the company three years after the first Parisian store opened back in 1998 and have enjoyed helping Crockett & Jones Paris become the success story it is today. I have seen the stores evolve greatly. In early days, the brand was quite reserved in France, it was known only by shoe lovers. Today, we are much more advanced, La Madeleine store (the original) is now the Crockett & Jones Parisian flagship, and in 2014 we extended our collection to incorporate ladies shoes.
Can you remember the first pair of shoes you ever sold?
The first pair I sold… I believe were the Eastgate, an Oxford featuring punching detail across the toe cap, similar to Belgrave from today's Hand Grade Collection.
What shoes did you wear to work today?
Harlech boots in Cordovan. The Cordovan leather is easy to care for, very comfortable and resistant to everything. The Harlech style can go as well with jeans as with suits or fitted trousers as I am wearing today. I absolutely love these boots, and would not be without them!
From the current collection, what is your favorite Crockett & Jones style?
Harlech is one of my favourite styles, but I also love Barrington, the semi brogue Oxford with medallion punching on the toe. A Hand Grade style. It is a typical English style, perfectly proportioned, that represents exactly the Crockett & Jones spirit.
Working in Paris, you must know some hidden gems. Tell us something interesting about the City that you would happily recommend your customers do or see?
I know Paris quite well because I have been living in this City forever, I love it. One Parisian address that I advise our customers to visit is Bouillon Chartier restaurant, in the 9th district. It is one of the oldest brasseries in the city, that opened more than 100 years ago. Historical decoration, excellent value, relaxed ambiance and French specialities. Despite the size of the brasserie, there is always a cue outside... A sign of good cuisine!
As a fanatical Paris Saint-Germain fan, I advise going to the Parc des Princes stadium to watch a match. It is a memorable experience, the atmosphere is unbelievable (especially when beating Chelsea in the Champions League)!
Finally my last ‘hidden gem’ would be my favourite museum - Quai Branly located a stones throw from the well-known Eiffel Tower.
In your opinion, what really makes a pair of Crockett & Jones shoes special? Is it the Design, the Construction, the Heritage, the people?
For me, what really makes a pair of Crockett & Jones shoes special is their pure British style. And indeed, the styles that our customers prefer are the typical English ones, Pembroke and Skye for example. Styles made on the 363 last such as Barrington and Lonsdale are also very well received. Classic styles of the House that remain on trend today.
There has been a wave of excitement towards English manufacturing and English brands over the past 5 years, where do you see the men’s footwear industry going over the next 5 years?
In my opinion, the wave in favour of British shoemakers will continue. It is true that we see more and more new customers coming to our stores. First of all because the English style is indeed in the trend, but I also believe that during difficult financial times, such as the years we are experiencing now, people prefer durable products that offer value for money. At Crockett & Jones we propose high quality collections, both modern and timeless, this is what our customers are looking for today. The finest skins are becoming harder to source, but our Managing Director is very hands on and spend much of his time on the important areas such as materials and product development.
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