Okay, let’s kick off. When did you both join Crockett & Jones?
Jeremy: I joined in February 2019, so not that long ago by C&J standards. I moved to London from South Africa about two years ago, and I was familiar with the Crockett & Jones name. I like that it’s a family business, and proudly British. So, I applied for a position and our retail director placed me in Knightsbridge. I’ve been here, happily, ever since.
Antonio: I moved to C&J from a role managing the Montblanc concession in Harrods in 2014, so just up the street, if you will! I like working in companies that take pride in their product, and selling a product that’s made in England is important to me – it makes a difference.
What was it like joining the company?
Jeremy: The challenge of learning the more technical aspects of shoemaking was a little daunting, but as soon as you get your introductory training done you start to settle in. Learning about a new product is like a driving a car; in the beginning the car’s going to stall a few times, but you learn how to handle it properly over time.
Antonio: The culture at C&J is quite special. Being a family business changes the dynamic for me. There aren’t many businesses where you’ll be in direct communication with the owner’s daughter every week, or with the owner himself for that matter. Of course, the jargon was bamboozling at first, but it’s like Montblanc’s watches and pens; you get used to it. Men like to collect nice things.
Is there such a thing as an average day in Knightsbridge?
Jeremy: Not really, the only consistent thing about each day is opening the doors in the morning. After that, you never know who’s going to walk through them. Knightsbridge has quite a diverse customer base; because we’re close to Harrods we get a lot of tourists who are passionate about British brands. Then we get local customers who’ve been with C&J for decades, and they know more about some of our shoes than I do!
Antonio: It’s always different, but that’s the fun of it. We’re not a hard-selling store, we like to make sure customers are at ease. We’re international team too, with team members from all over the world, so we like to chat to all our customers about things other than shoes. Recently, one of my regulars came in and said “guys, I’m not here to buy shoe’s my wife’s shopping in Harrods and I just want somewhere to relax for a while.” Moments like that are really great to be a part of – it’s nice to know that customers feel welcome.
What do you think is the benefit of ‘bricks and mortar’ retail today?
Jeremy: If you’re going to buy a high-end product you want an experience to come with it. Bricks and mortar stores allow us to build relationships with our customers for life – it’s one of the most rewarding parts of our job.
Antonio: No two pair of shoes are ever quite the same. These are handmade products, after all. So, there’s nothing quite like holding a pair of shoes in your hands and trying them on to make sure they’re as perfect as can be. The in-store experience brings you something you can’t get just from clicking a mouse.
Now, the biggie. If you could only own one pair of Crockett & Jones shoes, what would you choose?
Jeremy: I think I’m the stereotypical Crockett & Jones employee, because I’m going to say Cavendish. There are so many different versions of it, and you can wear it with a suit or you can wear it casually. It’s one of those rare shoes that stands the test of time.
Antonio: I’m also going to choose a pretty safe option, but I don’t think you can go wrong with the Arden in Black Calf – it just works. And that little bit of punching across the toe cap lends it a really elegant finish.
And finally, if you could choose only pair from the SS20 collection, which would it be?
Jeremy: I love the new collection, there’s a lot of great models in there; the Richmond and the Jersey are both lovely. But, if I could only choose one pair, I’d go for the new butterfly loafer, the Selby. It’s something a little bit different, but very smart.
Antonio: I’m a fan of the nubuck Jersey tassel loafers. It’s good to have a couple of ‘fun’ pairs of shoes in the summer collection. I can see these looking the part strolling down the seafront in a few months time.