‘I was invited to a VIP party to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Mephsito Originals – the cult-classic walking shoe – at Sportie LA on Melrose Avenue.
I had a great time networking, eating street tacos, listening to live music and trying on some of their kick-ass shoes.’
I managed to get a conversation with James Rowley CEO/ President of Mephisto USA – MEPHISTOWALKS
Steve: What did you think of the Melrose launch?
James: “LA / Melrose was a kick off of the Brand has been a huge success both from online and wholesaler wanting to carry the Rainbow and the Lady. We are doing a good little business. We excited about the direction it’s taking.
James asked me where I thought shoes would fit here in LA
Steve: it belongs to the Hip Cool people on Los Feliz to Melrose Place. What excited me about the brand was going to the website and first seeing models with no socks and another one with two different socks. Stealing from Steve Jobs thinking outside the box on the branding. Second and the most important was the shoes are handmade.
Steve: How long does it take to make a pair of shoes?
James: There are about 100 processes and depends on how many are going down the line around 50 hours on a pair of shoes. It’s not an easy process like apparel. The other thing about apparel in women’s it a high number around 25% purchases is adjusted to fit bring the waist in, adjust the length or shoulder with a seamstress. With a pair of shoes, it either fits or doesn’t do it a much more complex situation. you have to look at the spec. You can tell a good shoe vs bad shoe when it hits the market its based on fit. Our shoes are the Top of the Line but when it comes to sales it is about how the shoe fits.
Steve: What is the fast lacing system I saw it on your website?
James: The speed shoe lacing is known as an Alpine lace up. It’s been around for a long time but we are the ones who created it when we created the shoe. It’s one of our trademarks and was used in other things. Instead of tying a shoe with little leather holes where the tension doesn’t get adjusted you have to pull the lace from bottom up. This system just pulls from the top. It gives an even fit its called speed lace.
Steve: One of the things I noticed at the event was the quality of the shoes it’s not going to fall apart in 2 months.
James: These really are forever shoe you can buy them once. We actually can have them recrafted if the leather or bottoms wear out we can send into our recrafting center where they are recrafted for you for 100 or 85 dollars something like that.
Steve: That is amazing. I know when I get a shoe and it’s worn in a little bit I want to keep that shoe.
James: A lot of people like to recraft. A lot of high-end companies will do these. We have been offering to do it for 50 years.
Steve: What is your goal for the LA market?
James: What we are trying to do is link back into what made us today. This shoe the Rainbow has a cult following around the world. It has started a life of its own in Europe. That’s where consumers are a bit more about products having a certain care. The value around quality and durability has left the USA there is so much cheap product accessible they have kind of lost track what is a great product and because of some many disposable products. We are trying to pull the strings and get something that is truly authentic but cost a little more but truly a quality product.
I think authenticity is becoming important to a lot of consumers. The higher level of consumers. When you think to yourself I want to buy a lace to toe sneaker. The classic lace to toe sneaker is Stan Smith by Addis. This first cup toed sneaker that took off in the 60 / 70’s. I think it was the number shoe produced in 2017 around the globe. Because people were like I am going to get an authentic item. We are kind of going after that mentality which is “If you want the quality authentic shoe, that is comfortable, Durable, Classic and this is the shoe for you”
Website to Buy your MEPHISTOWALKS https://originals.mephisto.com/us/