Reinventing The Relationship Between Man and Luxury
Cobbler Union is a luxury men’s shoe brand aiming to reinvent the luxury industry by offering traditionally crafted, high-quality shoes at an accessible price.
At Cobbler Union, we understand that true luxury needs to be more than ridiculously expensive — it needs to be authentic and unique and, perhaps most importantly of all, it needs to deliver quality and craftsmanship that justifies the number on the price tag.
Cobbler Union is on a mission to reintroduce the world to the real meaning of true luxury. That’s why we offer our customers something never-before-seen in the menswear space: meticulously crafted small-batch shoes that embody the craftsmanship, quality and authenticity that are the true definition of luxury — all starting at just $395.
We’re all familiar with the legend of Amazon — how twenty years ago an upstart online bookstore introduced the world to online retail, turning traditional ideas of commerce completely on their heads in the process.
The e-commerce revolution is alive and well in 2015, but at this point, online retail is old news. The real story is cutting out expensive middlemen—and the 150-200% markups that come with them—and delivering their products directly to the people that want them.
Cobbler Union is one of a select group of innovative direct-to-consumer brands leading this new generation of e-commerce transformation. From Warby Parker in eyewear to Bonobos in casual clothing to Harry’s in shaving, these innovative companies are overturning the status quo in their respective industries and challenging assumptions about how brands should interact with their customers.
Cobbler Union is honored to be bringing the revolution to the luxury industry as one of the first luxury brands to adopt a direct-to-consumer model. And while we don’t plan to only offer our products online in the future, we believe it is here where the biggest opportunity in luxury exists today.
When we look at these numbers all we see is opportunity. As entrepreneurs, nothing gets us more excited than the idea of turning an entire industry completely on its head. After all, that’s what innovation is all about.
With our renegade take on men’s luxury footwear, Cobbler Union is shaking up a space that is in desperate need of a wakeup call: the $250 billion+ luxury industry.
For the past two decades, the price of luxury goods has soared, while the quality of so-called “luxury” products has deteriorated beyond belief. Blinded by a brand name and the promise of “status,” too many well-meaning consumers don’t realize they are paying more and more money — for less and less substance.
We’re bringing the focus back to what really counts in luxury products, banishing inflated price points and empty marketing and putting craftsmanship and quality squarely in the spotlight.
The Cobbler Union philosophy is defined by a relentless commitment to three core principles of luxury:
All Cobbler Union pieces are exclusively handcrafted in Europe to ensure top-of-the-line craftsmanship. All of our shoes are Goodyear-welted, a process that requires over 220 operations involving over 20 artisans from beginning to end.
With one of our founders and our master shoemaker both residing in Spain, we ensure that the strictest standards of quality are followed at every stage of production.
Cobbler Union shoes are crafted out of the finest top-grade calfskins and materials available – the same used by some of the most famous luxury houses in Europe.
But Cobbler Union’s revolutionary take on luxury doesn’t stop there — on top of everything else, we’re also committed to delivering shoes at a price point that reflects their quality, rather than inflating it.
How do we do it? By circumventing traditional retail channels and going direct-to-consumer, Cobbler Union is able to dramatically lower the cost of delivering our shoes to customers — savings that we are then able to pass on to them.
At Cobbler Union, membership is our standard, not a privilege for the select few.
Welcome to the Union! These are the words every new member receives in a handwritten card upon making his first purchase.
Men today want to be more than a name on a credit card: they want to feel like a part of something, to know that their business is valued and that the things they buy are a reflection of who they are and what they value.
And, of course, these men are essential to the vision of Cobbler Union. If we’re going to make good on our mission to preserve our craft and transform the luxury industry, we need to build a strong brand, sure. But more importantly, we need to create a community of like-minded men who share our passion for preserving extraordinary craftsmanship and believe in the power of style and self expression.
At the end of the day, the direct-to-consumer revolution is about more than just an innovative supply-chain model, more efficient distribution or even dramatically lower prices. It’s about the chance to build a powerful, intimate, one-on-one connection with our customers, and get to know them, their taste and what matters to them.
Cobbler Union may be an online company, but we pride ourselves on forging a direct connection with each one of our members. At Cobbler Union the guys making the shoes are talking to the guys wearing them. To us, that’s just common sense. To the luxury industry at large, it’s unprecedented.
Genuine craftsmanship is the heart and soul of true luxury — the component that sets a luxury product above and beyond any other product out there.
At Cobbler Union, our dedication to our craftsmen and the preservation of the shoemaking tradition is a core principle of our brand. In the past 50 years the ‘luxury industry’ has turned luxury into a commodity. People are now buying the work of very clever marketers and salesmen, not the meticulous work of craftsmen.
Cobbler Union was created to celebrate our artisans, the true heroes who have dedicated 30, 40, even 50 years of their lives to perfecting their craft. At Cobbler Union we’re committed to preserving and promoting our exquisite craft, while simultaneously giving men around the world the ability to express themselves and experience true luxury.
Cobbler Union has seen some tremendous success already, and it’s all building toward even bigger and better things to come.
We successfully launched in beta mode (without any inventory on our shelves) in April/May 2014, but our business has really started to pick up speed since our official website launch in September 2014.
Despite spending under $5,000 in marketing since our launch, we’ve seen exponential growth in sales in just the past 5 months: Since Jan 1 of this year alone, we’re on pace to organically reach a significant portion of our projections for 2015.
Just as importantly, Cobbler Union has been rapidly gaining the attention of various stakeholders—true shoe aficionados, luxury sector professionals, journalists, and expert retail consultants—validating our assumptions and value proposition.
Here’s a quick overview of some of major milestones achieved since May 2014:
From day one, we’ve been proud to offer men one of the most diverse and complete lines of luxury shoes and boots in the market. Today, we continue to invest in product development and are currently working on several exciting projects that will add even more depth to our brand as well as additional revenue streams.
We’re also working on our inaugural line of Cobbler Union leather goods (i.e. bags, briefcases, belts), which we expect to launch in the fall.
For more information about the future of Cobbler Union and how you can be a part of it, please request access to the Business Plan page of this profile!
For us, reinventing luxury is not an idea. It’s what we’re passionate about.
Cobbler Union is the story of two life-long friends and a cobbler. Together, we embarked on an exciting journey to bring “bespoke-inspired” luxury shoes to men around the world.
Our bespoke experience helped us appreciate the unique relationship successful men have with luxury and, specifically, the role shoes play in a man’s life. It’s our strong belief that beautifully-crafted quality shoes have the power to transform a man. However, bespoke shoes, while extraordinary, are only accessible to a very select group of men. We felt we could do something even more significant to promote our wonderful craft and build a larger and more exciting company in the process.
With this in mind, we shifted our strategy and founded Cobbler Union – a new type of luxury company rooted in the high standards of bespoke shoemaking but designed to offer men luxury shoes at accessible prices. We adopted a new business model but we didn’t change our mindset in terms of quality and craftsmanship.
Prior to Cobbler Union, Daniel was an investor and CEO for a boutique bespoke shoemaking company based in Barcelona, Spain. Raised in Argentina’s Patagonian region, Daniel moved to the United States when he was 18 to attend college. Before venturing into the world of luxury shoemaking, Daniel had a successful business career, part of which was spent as a Partner at Gallup consulting (2003-2011) where he developed and led multi-year consulting projects in the US, Latin America, and Europe. Daniel has also worked for multi-national giants Unilever and Prudential. Daniel earned his MBA from the Goizueta Business School at Emory University and a BA in Economics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Daniel currently lives in Atlanta, GA with his wife and two children.
Prior to starting Cobbler Union, Santiago was an investor and COO at a boutique bespoke shoemaking company based in Barcelona, Spain. Santiago is a passionate entrepreneur and an expert in the luxury leisure sector. He holds a degree in Industrial Engineering from the prestigious Instituto Tecnológico de Buenos Aires (ITBA). Before becoming an entrepreneur, Santiago worked in strategic planning at Techint, on of Argentina’s largest industrial conglomerates. In 2001, he launched Terra Sur—Trip Ideas, a firm specialized in custom-made luxury travel solutions. He sold the company in 2010 to pursue bespoke shoemaking full-time. Santiago lives in Barcelona where he oversees European operations for Cobbler Union.
Miquel has dedicated his life to the craft of shoe making and is one of the world’s few remaining true bespoke master shoemakers. Miquel had worked with Cobbler Union founders, Daniel Porcelli and Santiago Pereiro, on a previous shoemaking venture and decided to join the Cobbler Union team in early 2014. Miquel lives in Barcelona where he oversees production, quality control, and Cobbler Union’s made-to-order program.
Stephen has been a serial entrepreneur from an early age with endeavors ranging from film, reality television, apparel, and e-commerce. Raised in Hawaii and Kansas City, Stephen moved to Atlanta to attend college at Emory University where he studied marketing, consulting & venture management, and film. Stephen currently lives in Atlanta where he oversees North American operations and global marketing for Cobbler Union.