You landed on our page
expecting to see nice pictures of gorgeous models wearing our product or some sports star lounging around the house
in his slippers. We know that. We are actually much more knowledgeable
about marketing then we let on. But, it isn't our style nor do we make the
profit per item that "other places" make. If so, we could
photographers and models/sports stars not to mention buy special packaging that you
just throw in the trash anyway. Our parents/grandparents called that "waste"
as they struggled through the Depression reusing everything they could.
Companies spend millions of dollars trying to attract your eye, be it a
bottle on a
shelf, a hamburger, or a pair of slippers. That is okay with us but all
we really want as consumers is a good product and decent
customer support if necessary. Seriously, when was the last time you
bought a burger that actually LOOKED LIKE the
pictures you see? Do you
really think you are going to look like that model if you wear the same
items? If our philosophy is
old school then so be it.
we market our way to our 15th anniversary as a "Dot Com" we are
going to take a step back in time and look at this wonderful world of
electronic marketing, how it has changed the/our retail landscape, and pledge
to stick to our principles even if some people just don't get it or we
lose business because of our refusal to "conform".
came into existence as a business in 1979, selling its goods at flea
markets and craft shows. In our area, where there was a
locally, the competition was fierce but we believed we stood a chance as a
business and felt that we could do things a bit better than the rest of the pack. Our
trademark was initially registered in 1983 and, yep, that is a real
registered trademark (expensive, but our one "packaging" venture) at the top of the page.
We actually went "on line"
in 1995, the same year that
LLBean.com hit the Internet. But, at that time, the "dot com" tag was
way out of our price range, approximately $100 for 2 years if one was
lucky. That was a lot of money to us in '95 when we had two children to
take care of.
We can even remember the
first "order" we got, a pair of women's gloves. But, what is indelibly
etched in our mind is the elementary school boy in Maine who had to do a
report about ear muffs (invented by
Chester Greenwood in Farmington,
Maine) for his class. We worked with him along the way and he got an "A"
on his assignment, and by extension, we got an "A". We like getting "A's". We were proud, he was proud, it was a great connection. To us this new age was about people, and a opportunity
to meet new customers, not so much about cash. By 1995 the local shearling
tanner and many others, world wide, were out of business as were most of our local
competitors. The new age was also sucking off the entire manufacturing
base in the USA and Europe. Companies realized they could do their manufacturing
elsewhere, put additional millions into marketing, and still make a great
deal more money.
We have been called lame,
old school, weird. Other comments like "Why can't you be like everyone
else?", "I can't find my way around.", "There is too much to read.", etc
come our way. One youngster actually found us scary and had their parent
place the order for them. Scary?
first of all, we are not lame. We actually have a
Facebook page so,
like come on, give us old timers some credit for keeping up a wee bit.
We may not have the number of fans
the big boys have but it is as personal as everything else we do and we
watch it closely. That is a great deal easier when you don't have ten
gazillion fans. We even have a contest every once in awhile so you can win
some small prize. Only trouble is, we don't just give stuff away, we
expect you to participate in one form or another. AAUGH, so not fair. But,
we love our fans, all 400+, and we have a bit of fun with them. Believe
us, the marketing non-experts, it is a rather worthless marketing platform,
especially with the changes since the IPO flopped, but it can be fun. The page is public so
you can check it out even if you are not on Facebook but you do have to be
a fan to participate in the contests.
original 1995 web site was a geometry project for our son in early high school. That
is why the pictures are in triangles, circles, etc. They were
painstakingly taken by non professionals and scanned with cut out paper masks
over them to create the geometric shapes. Who could afford even the most
simple image editing software at that time? Like all good parents we just
happen to cherish our children's school projects and, while the site as a
changed a great deal, we try to keep the original essence alive. That is
not lame, that is a parental thing. (Acknowledging, of course, the fact
that parents are lame.) That same child was the one who originally
purchased the dot com for us as a Christmas present. Forget pros and
models, this was a family endeavor. Bet you wish just one of those school
projects that you and/or your parents suffered through had turned into a
significant source of income.
Now, if you have made it
this far, past the lack of "packaging" you are probably our kind of
potential customer. See, marketing, the old school way, no flash.
products right here in Vermont, USA. That is correct, you can still
purchase sheepskin slippers that
are made in America. We are not "bringing back
production", we never left. Something about old school has kept us going
while others vanished or moved production overseas. This includes almost
our entire domestic supply chain and the jobs they represented. (Remember
that new age sucking sound? As a word of note, the US tanners did not move
overseas, they just permanently ceased production.) Take a look at our
ultra modern factory
and meet the boss of the outfit. The operation has moved from room to room
and floor to floor over the years but it has never left this location. That is so old school it probably dates back to the
continue to get most of our shearling supply from a US tanner, basically the
last high production shearling tannery in the US. Other skins have to be sourced
from non US sources although some are still US skins, just tanned and finished
is not our preference, just the way things have evolved. But, old school means don't lie
to your customers or even mislead them. If you want a full
disclosure of where the shearlings we use originate you can find it
If you have further questions just email us.
It is that simple.
We are happy to answer your questions as honestly as we can. We even
have two sections on our FAQ page that
explain the global market that we
have to deal with now if you really want to go in depth. We want to
make it very clear that we know our supply chain and they are all reputable
companies regardless of the country in which they are located. We do not ever
deal with a company that we do not have a personal connection to/with and our
personal connections are so old some of those contacts have simply passed away.
We know our supply chain and we make the products.
Our products are 100% (real)
shearling except for
sundries like thread, ear muff bands, etc. We do not use any other leather, fur,
polyester, foam, what have you, nor do we falsely sell you shearling "lined" cowhide
items by tucking specifics into the fine print. Inside and outside, 100% shearling right
down to the inserts in our fabulous ear muff collection. We know shearling and,
while we could make things on the cheap with the addition of other raw
materials, we don't and won't. You never have to worry about what you purchase
We do so much more than just make your product. We take your order, correspond
with you via phone or
email, cut and sew the merchandise, pack
the order up, and ship it out. We do the behind the scenes stuff as well like
the accounting and the web site changes. It is all "a product of the USA" right
down to the "call center". In contrast, the ultimate new age way, one which many of our
competitors use, is called drop shipping. You will find many of them in the over
two million results for "sheepskin slippers" on Google. They never even see the merchandise.
They take your order and send it off to a manufacturer/wholesaler/importer somewhere who
fills it for them and then pocket their profit without any effort what so ever. Even their web
site is likely to be some template used by millions of other retailers to sell
millions of other products though certainly not as lame as ours we admit. The
new age philosophy is hands off with as little customer contact as possible.
Our customers are special people and we try to
treat them in the old school manner. Customers are not "order numbers", credit card
numbers, phone numbers, or data to be sold/traded at will. Our customers have
names and, like that little store owner you used to have in your neighborhood,
eventually we learn people's names when they "stop in" and chat often enough.
Yes, if you contact us about an order that is in your possession we will ask for
the invoice number (which gets assigned when the order is shipped) even if we
know you well. That is because we do everything on paper and it is a great deal
easier and faster to find your information using a number when leafing through a
ream of paper. We actually keep no information about you on computer. Old
school, yes, but for a reason. If it is not available in electronic form, it
can't be "hacked".
If the big boys can't keep your info safe how could someone as small as we are
do so? Nuf said?
Speaking about data and the
sale of such, we
don't. Did that store owner on your block sell everything he/she knew about you
(And, of course, they knew everything about you, everything.....)? No. Old school dictates
that one makes a profit on merchandise not on your customer's data or by
violating your customer's privacy. To that end we have one of the easiest to
read Privacy Policies you will
ever find. No small print at all and we throw in a host of information about how
you might protect your data a bit more than you do now. We do not attempt to
solicit additional business from you in any manner. You know how to find
us. If you want to make a purchase you will let us know when the time comes. If
you are nice enough to send us a post purchase email, we will respond with our
thanks but we do not constantly harass our customers. That is what Facebook is
for and then it is your choice. :)
We do not do "fashion".
Fashion is about making something the company hopes will be worn once and stuck in
the back of the customer's closet when a new
style/finish/color is introduced. (See earlier statement about The Depression.)
are what we are about. You will not find a hundred different
styles/colors/items on our pages. We offer you a small but nice
of shearling slippers which can be
purchased with plain shearling bottoms or an add-on outsole for those who
run in and out of the house a lot in their slippers. We have a variety of
shearling hat styles,
mittens, and smaller items like
boot/shoe innersoles that we have
been informed are life savers for forestry professionals in the northern
Midwest. We also have that wonderful
earmuff selection we mentioned earlier. We do not want our items
sitting in your closet, unused or barely used, and we don't care if you
don't call us back for years. (Recent call- "I have this hat I bought from
you 25 years ago and it is getting kinda ratty, time to buy a new one.")
don't do boots. Actually, we do not believe that 100% shearling footwear
is suitable for constant outdoor use. Yes, we have customers who wear our
footwear all year, inside and outside, but those folks do so because we are
the only people who can produce something for them to wear. We are making
a very big issue of this because of the
promotional campaign of Deckers Outdoor Corporation, the parent company of UGG Australia®.* We
understand their desire to protect their trademark which they have spent
so much money on. Don't get us wrong. However, we tire of having folks
refer to our products as "fake UGGS®"
simply because they are made of sheepskin. FACT: we have been deeply
involved with the actual production of sheepskin (1973) and sheepskin items
much longer than Deckers and the original sellers of UGG®
boots in the USA who were nothing more than
importers. We bet you that
not one Deckers' employee has ever had their arms deep in a pit of tanning
solution pulling the skins out of the pit. So, we are taking a moment to
strike back and set the record straight. We are not usually this mean and
scary but we are really "ticked off" about this. * UGG Australia®
is a registered trademark of
Deckers Outdoor who are a mean and UGGLY type
US corporation. We are making it very clear that we have/want absolutely
nothing to do with them or their product/multiple trademarks especially since it is our belief
that they accelerated the demise of the US and UK shearling industry.
If you want more info on their uggressive tactics from the very beginning,
just click here or
Our old school ways even extend into repair (which you can't get from
Deckers). Our soft soled
slippers can be
resoled for a small fee as long as the upper will hold a
stitch. If the band in your earmuffs
breaks after a time, no worry, we
will replace that for a small charge as well. Sometimes, but not always,
we can do a patch on your soft soled slippers (sorry there is little we can do for
the crepe soled ones) or replace your mitten thumbs at nominal cost
to you. When was the last time you had something repaired instead of
buying new? This applies only to the products that we make/sell so,
seriously, don't even bother to ask if we did not make the item. You can
understand that, right?
We do thank this new age for helping us cut back on a seriously grueling
schedule of fairs and festivals. That was just fine when we were young,
being on the road 25 or more weekends a year and dragging the babies/kids along
with us. That is how we built our business. We still make a point
out of doing some face to face business with people and for good reason. There is nothing more old
school than face to face and the reward is greeting familiar families from
year to year, watching the children grow and become adults and, better
yet, meeting our fourth generation customers in their strollers. Only face
to face makes that possible. So, we continue to do a
few fairs and festivals in the North East and
even get down to Maryland once a year. As physically demanding as
it is for us old folks, seeing our customers and conversing with them once a year is
something we will continue as long
as we are able.
We don't do sales and we do not manipulate prices based on your
income level either. That is a new age concept as far as we know. Prices
on the web site are the same as they are at the fairs and festivals. They are firm and, we think, fair. We are going to skip to the
future of Internet marketing and state that we will never manipulate our
prices based on your perceived income, ethnicity,
religious beliefs, sexual orientation, etc. We will make a deal with you,
you treat us with respect and a dose of good humor and we will do the same
for you. Good humor is always welcome in our little world.
We don't do "point and click" ordering. Remember when you had to mail in
an order form or phone in an order when you wanted something from a
company? Well, as much of a hassle as it is, that is the way you have to
do business with us. There are real solid reasons why and we have outlined
them for you here. Sure,
such is easy when you do the drop shipping thing but not when you actually
make the merchandise.
If you decide to order by phone,
the "call center" consists of a single phone line, hard wired no less,
with no "prompts" or even an answering machine. The "operators standing
by" are the same two people who are doing all the rest of the work so we
are available during the prescribed hours most of the time but not always
(please note the clock to the left of our phone number before calling) .
When we answer the phone, we will just say "Hello"
(no packaging so to speak). If the phone rings more than 4 or 5 times we
might have stepped out for a minute or actually taken some time off. We do
understand just how much you enjoy being stuck on hold and/or pushing
buttons for an hour or better but we are sorry, we just can't satisfy your
needs in that area. Our failing, we admit it.
We do charge shipping and
handling. We do the static price thing on the merchandise so we have
to add s/h charges because such are very expensive. Free s/h is not honest
largely because the customer is paying for it in the price of the product,
it is just hidden. Again, we have posted a lot of
detail about s/h and how
much it costs, especially for a firm as small as ours. But, we tell you
the costs right up front so you do not have to place and order, give out
all your personal info, etc. before you find out what the charge will be.
We start at $7 and the maximum is $14 for all US and Canadian customers.
Big old school note here, we DO ship to PO Boxes. All merchandise is
shipped via USPS unless you request otherwise and are willing to pay the
additional costs. For all you PO Box owners, some respect, finally! (Only
PO Box holders understand that statement.)
We actually encourage the use of checks as a method of payment (checks or
cash in face to face situations). Say what? Checks/cash? You do remember
those, right? We grew tired of "bailing out" the financial industry with
every purchase so we are going to give you a 5% discount if you go old
school with us and don't pay with a credit/debit card. The
details are quite simple, it
is like "instant rebates" in theory. Take the 5% right off the top, no
special coupons, codes, what have you and that includes the s/h charges.
Okay, we admit to the "weird" thing but we really don't think we are all that scary.
By now you already get the "read" thing. You don't have to read all our
information, we just put it out there for the sake of honesty and your
entertainment as we do try to interject a bit of humor (remember, we
admitted the weird thing). We believe it helps to know a bit about the
product you may purchase as well as where and by whom the product is made.
Otherwise, you end up supporting this
kind of activity. If you don't mind
reading and you really want to know all the facts, you can start at the
very beginning of our FAQ page. That is what all the financial analysts
have been doing the last few years as they tracked the rise and fall of
Deckers' stock price and we have enjoyed
our in depth phone conversations with each and every one of them,
especially the "short seller".
As for finding your way around, see the
button above. Mouse over it. This was/is a carefully crafted site menu
designed to be completely out of the way unless you want to call it up.
We have no idea just how many hours went into adapting it for each page.
You will find a similar button at the TOP of all of the main pages. When
you want it, it is there, when you don't, it is not in your face.
Remember, we are old school. Blue text with an underline means it links to
something in almost all cases though it will change color once you have
clicked on it. That is the way it was in 1995 and, yes, we
do understand that many folks are clueless so this is an educational
endeavor as well. (How many of you remember "floppy disks"
All text links are there for a reason, they ARE NOT advertisements. They
either link to internal pages or carefully researched and relevant outside
sources of information.
If you are
viewing a page with a close up of the merchandise on a black background then the links are white
text with white underline though all of those actually open up in a new
tab. Just shut the tab down and you will be back to the original page.
(Note that we listen to our customers and what may be second nature to you
is not to someone else. We are NOT being condescending, we actually pay
attention. We had to explain how the tab thing worked to a customer
At the very bottom of each of the main pages is a section which contains
text links to all of the main pages, our
address and phone #, and
information. We have tried very hard with all our links to determine
which should go to a completely separate page or which should open up in a
new tab in your browser. This has been a judgment call on our part. If we
have failed, we apologize but it does show that time and thought goes into
this web site.
As for being like everyone else, why?
Really, we are not into "cookie cutter" web sites, trying to make as much
money as possible with as little work as possible, invading your personal
life, etc. We should be like everyone else?
So, if you really have to deal with a
company that is a bit more conformist, we will take our
customer service to
to an even higher level and refer you elsewhere with no hard feelings at all. Visit
our list of competitors
which will allow you to locate many additional sources, some which you
would likely never find unless you Gooooooooooogled all day and night.
Have a great day. Thanks for your time
and remember that good humor goes a long way the next time you have to
call someone else's call center. Be nice, it is not their fault. They are
so removed from the production of the merchandise you are
asking/complaining about all they can do is follow a script.