December Promos. Dress Boots. V4's Shipped. 2017 Wins & Mistakes.

December Promos. Dress Boots. V4's Shipped. 2017 Wins & Mistakes.

December 30, 2017 0 Comments

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carets chronology the primal professional men’s dress boots minimalist barefoot zero-drop  boots

Dear Primal Professional,

In my last update, we rebranded to CaretsCo.Com, stocked our V4's, offered some Thanksgiving promos, and reminded return customers that they have credit earned from past orders. 

In this newsletter, I'll go into:
I. Shipping Now, Jan 2018, and Mar 2018
II. Expecting Shoes?
III. My Mistakes
IV. Dress Boot 01
V. Win a Free Pair of Carets - Charity Competition


I. Shipping Now, Jan 2018, and Mar 2018

The ZETONE Plain-Toe Oxford in Black is fully stocked and shipping now in all sizes. The FER Cap-Toe Oxford in Black and Oxblood are stocked and shipping now in some sizes, but other sizes have already sold out. Y'all really want these V4's!

We have a restock that is already at the border, enroute to our Utah warehouse, and will be shipping to you guys in January. Another restock is scheduled for March. When you select your size, it will tell you whether they are Shipping Now, Jan 2018, or Mar 2018.


II. Expecting Shoes?

Do you have a pre-order that you expected to ship by now?
- AND -
You and I have NOT communicated about it?

Please hit REPLY and we'll get it sorted out!


III. My Mistakes

Since coming up with the "barefoot dress shoe" idea in 2010, I'd say 2017 was the most eventful year of our company's history. Here's everything that was NEW this year:

  • New Sourcing Agency
  • New Country of Origin
  • New Shoemaker
  • New Raw Materials Suppliers
  • New Accessories Suppliers
  • New Design
  • New Color
  • New Brand
  • New Website
  • New Warehouse
  • New Hire - Welcome Darius! You can thank him for all these creative promos =)

What a year!

While still feeling grateful for it all, I also want to acknowledge and address the many mistakes I've made getting all these new things together. 

A lot of these mistakes were brought to my attention by you super-customers, who write me detailed and candid emails with multiple annotated photos. Thank you so much. You're helping not just me but others who might have the same issue. And so I'm writing this also for the guys who do have the same issue but didn't write me, to let you know: I'm on it ;)

Another reason I want to share these is because of Ryan Holiday's blog post,  The Unstoppable Power of Greeting It All With A Smile. It's nice to be able to not only look back on these mistakes with a smile, but to deal with adversity in the present with a smile. I hope you can laugh along with me at me.

  • TOPLINE is still cutting into a small percentage of my customer's ankles. I've spoken to numerous people with decades of footwear experience and nobody has a solution... So if you do, please let me know!
  • LACES are too long. I wanted to err on the longer side, and err I did. Fortunately, it is safe for you to trim them, and sear the ends with a lighter. The laces can still pass through the shoe's eyelets without the aglet.
  • WARMER The v4's are warmer than prior versions. I think it might have to do with the toe support being longer, or perhaps the material of the toe support. I'm looking at other materials to experiment.
  • SPRAY FINISH. My shoemaker said we can either finish with just shoe cream, or shoe cream and a shiny spray. After confirming that the spray wasn't permanent, I told them to try the spray, because customers have asked for shinier shoes. However, we found the spray takes away from the natural richness of our aniline leathers, so we stopped using it. If you have a pair with a clear finish that seems to be flaking off, feel free to take it to your local cobbler to remove the spray finish, and replace it with a proper cream + wax based shine. Happy to reimburse you for this!
  • BARCODES came out with extra random digits, and made our warehouse unable to receive our shipment for a few days, as we were figuring out what happened. The reasons are too boring to explain, but I've since created a new set of 12-digit barcodes that don't have leading 0's.
  • BOXES need to be sturdier. Our beautiful new drawer-style boxes are bending under the extra weight of the shoe trees we include with every pair of shoes. We're researching sturdier boxes.
  • POLY BAGS were first used to ship our packages. These provide very little protection for our boxes. Luckily we caught this early, and we only had to send an email to my warehouse to they switch me over to boxes. 
  • RAN OUT of Fer-BlkSmo-11... Due to a bunch of circumstances too long and boring to explain, some guys who have been waiting TWO YEARS for shoes were unable to get them now, and have to wait until January. When everything came together, I was like "No… not these guys. They’ve been patiently waiting the longest! $H!T..." I refunded them an additional $50.
  • ADDRESS confirmations... I missed a few.
  • SHIPPING the wrong item, or the same thing twice. A customer got hot sauce instead of shoes and wrote me this silly email.

This was also inspired by Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike. Phil Knight's candidness is a big part of why this is now my favorite business autobiography. Many of you have wrote me saying this is why Carets are the only business newsletters you actually read =)

IV. Dress Boot 01

carets chronology the primal professional men’s dress shoes oxfords minimalist barefoot zero-drop  fer cap-toe zetone plain-toe boots

Alright all you thirsty boot-lickers! (no offense, I wanna lick 'em too).

I told you I went to Mexico back in October to oversee production, develop a new last, and develop new dress boots. Since then, I've only talked about the production, as that was more pressing and filled our newsletters all on its own. Now I have some space. Here is a little Christmas gift to y'all: a look at the first dress boot prototype we made on a new last. 

carets chronology the primal professional men’s dress shoes boots oxfords minimalist barefoot zero-drop  fer cap-toe zetone plain-toe

LAST: You notice the last of these is quite different from anything we've made, right?

It looks Italian. 

I reduced toe spring, made wide parts wider, made narrow parts narrower

I do feel some pressure on the outer edges of my big toe and pinky toe, so I'm going to make the sides steeper to make room for them. 

This last is also made with a removeable footbed, in order to give more fit options. 

carets chronology the primal professional men’s dress shoes boots oxfords minimalist barefoot zero-drop  fer cap-toe zetone plain-toe

EYELETS: I was inspired to try blind eyelets because of these Meermin boots. But when I got this prototype, it reminded me of a tall chukka, and so it looked less dressy to me. While the Meermin boots have blind eyelets, they have visible hardware in the speed hooks at the top. I think that boots look better with some visible hardware, so I want to request color-matched eyelets in the next prototype.

SPEED HOOKS: I'm not sure if I ever mentioned this, but I opted out of speed hooks because one time I was "tired" leaving a house party and I found the speed hooks difficult. And you want your boots securely fastened when you're "tired", you know?

QUARTERS: I wanted to try quarters that are closer together because I think it looks more formal. However, quarters further apart allow for more adjustment to personal fit. 

carets chronology the primal professional men’s dress shoes boots oxfords minimalist barefoot zero-drop  fer cap-toe zetone plain-toe

PULL TAB & EXTRA LONG TONGUE: I asked for these features to make it easier to grab when you're putting your boots on. (And they look cool. Maybe that's the real reason?)

That's all the design details I have thoughts on. Feel free to share your thoughts on the above, or things I haven't mentioned too.

V. Win a Free Pair of Carets - Charity Competion

I was thinking about all the advantages I have/had.

  • I was raised in Hacienda Heights, a community where college and a professional career were an unquestioned default.
  • I was raised to be cost-conscious, enabling me to keep my living expenses low and give me the best chance to succeed with Carets.
  • I have great friends. They support me no matter what I decide to do and believed in me.

Most of us are lucky to be in successful jobs and leading healthy lives. This Christmas season, we want to continue the spirit of giving from Thanksgiving. To do so, we’re going to give away a pair of Carets to the person who donates the most to charity.

A few ground rules:

  • To enter, submit a screenshot or forwarded email of your receipt. 
  • Donations must be made _after_ this email gets received. We’re trying to encourage new donations. 
  • Entries must be sent before Jan 1st, 2018 starts

We’d really appreciate it if you would take a picture with our shoes but we understand if you’d prefer to win anonymously.

On a final note, Santa didn’t give us a present this year. If you want to make our Christmas extra merry, we would be grateful if you supported our cheer by getting a pair of shoes on our site. Use code XMAS7 for $50 off before the 2018 starts! 

That's it for now! Thank you guys for a great 2017, and we wish you a lovely 2018 ahead! Happy Holidays!

Best Regards,

Mountain Evan Chang


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In this newsletter, I'll go into:
I. April Shipment: On-Time, w/ Generic Shoe Trees
II. Dress Boot Prototype 02
III. Have Ideas for New Outsole Tread?
IV. Outlet Store Restocked, with Limited Time Discount
V. HIRING: Outlet Store Manager
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HIRING: Outlet Store Manager (Work From Home, Set Own Hours)
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I think this job would be ideal for a Stay-at-Home Parent with a spare bedroom who wants a part-time job that they can do from home and at their own pace. Or, a shoe repair shop with extra storage space.

Sizing, Fit, & Feel

I. Sizing

  1. Let's start by asking: What shoe size (US Men's) normally fits you best? To convert from other sizing standards, see this chart.
  2. Is that a Narrow width? Go one size down for our shoes.
  3. Is that a Medium width? Depending on how roomy you like the toebox, go one size down OR order the same size.
  4. Is that a Wide width? Order the same size for our shoes.
  5. Don’t know the width of your shoes? They’re most likely Medium. 

II. Fit & Feel

This image shows roughly how/where your feet should sit inside a pair of Carets, at right. 

At left is a typical dress shoe, same size and same Wide width. You can see that it is still 1 or 2 cm longer than ours. Most sleeker dress shoes have a fair amount of unoccupied space in the front. We took advantage of that and used it to give you a wide toebox without looking like it. Dress shoes get even longer if we start looking at chisel-toe and pointy-toe styles. But even though these conventional dress shoes are longer, you still feel cramped because of the heel lift and the fact that their shoes are widest at the ball of the foot. Ours are widest at the toes, as a foot naturally is.

If the widest part of your feet (i.e. your toes) occupies the widest part of our shoes, then you are wearing the right size.

Regarding groundfeel, Carets' outsole is 4mm thick, with another 4mm of leather and cork between that and your feet. The polyurethane we use for the outsole was selected for durability, which is more important than groundfeel in a shoe like this. The 2-part (polyurethane + leather/cork) design allows for the shoes to be resoled like good dress shoes and unlike most minimalist shoes.

Expect Carets to feel less like FiveFingers and more like flat-bottomed skate shoes with the insoles removed.

In the end, what matters most is that you are happy with your shoes! We will gladly take them back (365-day free returns and exchanges, click for details) and I am honored that you gave us a shot.