When I joined AG Meek’s in the 1990s the manager of our Newport shop took me on a tour of the stockroom.
He pointed to 6 bays of floor-to-ceiling racks of brown boxes bearing the Dr Marten’s logo.
“Black boots are in those 2 bays” he said
“Then Cherry, then Purple, then Green.
The shoes are in the two bays behind you.”
At that time DM’s were our biggest brand and cost £45 a pair
We’d been selling Dr Martens since the 1970s when they were a cheap and customisable work boot.
They waned in popularity in the early 2000’s and Grigg’s, the family run business who had manufactured Doc’s in Northamptonshire since the 1960’s, took much of the production to Asia to save costs
In the summer of 2019 we received an email informing us that Dr Martens were closing our account as
“We No longer feel the Dr Martens brand sits comfortably alongside your offering and the other brands that you sell”
Dr Martens had decided that their customer base was 18 to 25 years old and we and our broad range of mature customers didn’t fit their brand profile.
Also Dr Martens were in the process of withdrawing supply from all independent retailers to ensure they had Total price control.
Dr Martens had been bought by venture capitalist, Permira in 2014 who had been pumping up the brand value ever since.
First by raising the price from the then £70 (the equivalent price to £45 of the 90s) to £110
Then cranking it up further to £140
Followed by withdrawing supply from all eBay sellers in 2018
In March 2020 the venture capitalists took the brand public so extracting their profit.
It also made their accounts available for public viewing
Digging into those accounts reveals
Dr Martens are now making 30% net Profit on the brand
10% is very very good in normal circumstances.
This means you are paying £50 a pair for the Dr Marten’s brand name.
When Dr Martens informed us that they no longer required our business we were at first shocked and a little worried.
We realised we were also a bit relieved because one of our main brand
value for money
The truth is Dr Martens were no longer meeting our standard.
Their design was becoming formulaic.
At £150 for basically plastic coated leather boots (so the cheapest leather)
An ancient sole unit technology originating in the 1940’s
Mass produced in China
and long supply chain
Not to mention that as the tools and lasts are now in China the copies were flooding out of China.
(Some of which are much cheaper and better quality.)
The dear old Doc wasn’t meeting our brand values
So what does?
Fly London for cool styling, exquisite leather, quality and comfort,
Rieker for latest technology, styling, quality and comfort,
Heavenly Feet for fun fashion, quality and comfort.
All these brands cost less than a pair of black 1460 Dr Martens.
All these brands supply excellent value for money.
All these brands don’t need 2 weeks of breaking in and blisters before they’re comfortable.
These brands easily meet our brand values of
Style, Quality and Comfort
That’s why we say
The Choice is Unique at AG Meek.