Name : Kevin Hill
Job Role : Store Manager
Retail Shop / Country : New York, USA
What did you do before you started with Crockett & Jones?
I’ve got a fairly diverse background – I previously worked in marketing and advertising for the hospitality, healthcare, and energy industries. More closely related to C&J, I worked as a Marketing Manager for a British clothier just prior to coming home.
Why did you decide that retail was a career you wanted to pursue, and what brought you to Crockett & Jones?
I often ask myself how I got here… I always loved shoes and clothes as a kid, having borrowed my father’s favourite brogues and threadbare tweed overcoat on one too many occasions in Junior High School (much to his chagrin!). Since then I’ve always been drawn to the classic haberdashery items. While working for a hotel group years ago, I spent quite a bit of time in London, and discovered that Jermyn Street is the ultimate haven for all things that a gentleman needs. It’s magical. I remember visiting the first C&J shop at 69 Jermyn Street and thinking it was incredible. Fast-forward several years (and career moves), and I was given the opportunity to work for C&J – a choice that I jumped at and have been extremely happy with ever since.
Can you remember the first pair of shoes you ever sold?
Definitely. In early 2010, during construction of our New York store, a knock came on the door from a guest of hotel down the street who was in dire straits. He needed a pair of black calf Chelsea 3 boots for an event later that evening. The inventory was packed up in boxes, but I managed to find them with a little luck. The same customer had said boots refurbished this past autumn, which was kind of cool. I think we’ll better prepared for these requests during the upcoming move…
How long have you been working for Crockett & Jones? In that time, are there any standout / interesting moments?
I’ve been with C&J nearly six years now (how time flies!), and every day has interesting moments. In all seriousness, the pace of the job is remarkable. We are truly a destination business with people visiting the shop from a myriad of locations. It’s flattering when the first thing people do when coming to New York is visit our store. We’ve had customers come in to the shop during layovers at JFK just to get our shoes. It’s amazing. We also ship all over the globe. I’ve forged some really nice relationships with customers from afar who’ve been shopping with us since we opened. I’ve never met them personally, but I really enjoy the rapport we have created over the years.
What shoes did you wear to work today?
The Westfield in Tobacco Suede. I love this shoe - an all-around serviceable semi-brogue cap-toe. It’s a workhorse with a suit, and the ideal foil for jeans and a sports jacket. Your friends will be envious.
Working in New York, you must know some hidden gems. Tell us something interesting about the City that you would happily recommend your customers do or see.
Campbell Apartment in Grand Central Station is well worth a visit. It was never really an apartment, but rather it was the luxurious office space for American financier John Campbell, circa 1923. This is the place to get a proper cocktail. While you’re at it, explore the other parts of Grand Central, from the marketplace to the Whispering Gallery. I travel through this station every day, and I never get tired of it. For food, I’m going to call upon all the cheese lovers out there. There’s a place in the Flatiron District called Beecher’s Cellar which is oh, so nice. It’s a subterranean eatery/wine bar in an artisanal cheese factory. If you’re a cheese lover, it’s an absolute must. Three words to live by: marinated cheese curds…
Who inspires you professionally and personally?
I draw inspiration from those who are truly committed to their calling - it’s not just a vocation, it’s a mission. For those of us at C&J, we have that in spades. I’m most proud of the fact that we couldn’t ask for a more honourable family to work for and with. They stand for excellence and true value. Personally, I’m going to give credit where credit is due: my wife is my inspiration as she is a better partner in life than I could possibly have imagined.
In your opinion, what really makes a pair of Crockett & Jones shoes special? Is it the design, the construction, the heritage, the people?
I firmly believe that we are a truly special company. I’ve been fortunate to visit our factory multiple times, and what always touches me is meeting and interacting with the people that make our shoes. The passion they put into our products is on full display – from the Jones family through the staff on the factory floor. I wish I could transport each and every one of our customers to Northampton so that they could see first-hand all the commitment and expertise that goes into our shoes. In an age of mass-production and get-it-quick ethos, I confidently fall back on the axiom that good things sometimes take time.
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