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An Open Letter To Our Customers


Dear friends of Ed Et Al Shoemakers,
 
My name is Edwin, and I am the founder of Ed Et Al Shoemakers.
 
I’M SORRY.
 
If you have ever encountered unacceptable delays in your orders, poor service in store and after sales service, I apologise sincerely. If you would stay with me, I will attempt to explain what happened, and what we have done about it. 
When I started the company in 2010, we had a simple philosophy – to provide the discerning gentlemen in Singapore with good, honest shoes at reasonable prices.
 
TOO MUCH, TOO SOON.
 
Driven by our early apparent success, I embarked on an aggressive expansion strategy. We launched multiple product lines, upgraded raw materials and grew from a one man show to a crew of over 10. We expanded our local workshop and invested into overseas production facilities.
To pay for all this, we incrementally raised our base prices beyond what I had considered to be my hard ceiling – S$300. I was extremely hesitant about this move as it violated my founding philosophy, but external and internal pressures eventually led me down the rabbit hole.
Our cost to value ratio was no longer as attractive, and we justified the price increase with multiple product lines and options.
 
IN OUR RUSH TO GROW, WE HAD LOST OUR WAY AND OUR FOCUS.
 
We started new product lines which required considerably more man hours – our fully handmade Prestige and Bespoke lines. We added multiple options to our base service such as outsole options, numerous patina colour choices, and much more. Our customers became confused, and my staff grew dispirited. 
 
IT WAS OVERWHELMING, AND SUDDENLY OUR PRODUCTION RATES STUTTERED. 
 
Our most popular service was and still is our Pre-Order system. In a blog post months ago, I promised you that every order taken would take no more than 8 weeks for delivery. I was confident that we would be able to meet and exceed those expectations, and we did – for a short while.
Our ever-growing product lines, all with different designs, finishes and materials broke our logistic backbone. Our material suppliers couldn’t keep up and our production team became increasingly backlogged. We went overdue on many orders, sometimes taking up to 12 weeks or more to deliver on our orders. As production became rushed, we had more orders with quality issues. These went back for remakes, and the cycle goes on.
 
CUSTOMERS COULDN'T GET ANSWERS, BECAUSE I HAD NONE.
 
Beyond pushing our production team to keep up, we had no real answers to the problems we faced. I was getting increasingly burned out due to the multiple roles that I had to play, and for a extended period of time subconsciously ignored the elephant in the room.
 
I MESSED UP, BIG TIME.
 
I recognise that through our misguided strategies and processes, I had alienated and confused our core customers, put my hardworking staff through undue stress and pressures, caused delays and quality issues, and basically lost sight of my founding philosophy.
Our once sterling reputation suffered as dissatisfied customers hungry for answers started leaving poor reviews on our social media sites - we deserved every one.
My loyal crew began getting increasingly demoralised and dispirited - there was way too many issues for them to handle. With no clear guidance or solution from me, it was inevitable that I started losing my talented staff.
 
 I APOLOGISE UNEQUIVOCALLY – I MAKE NO EXCUSES.
 
I needed to own my mistakes, because I am responsible for the problems you faced with us as a paying customer and because my head has been in the sand for too long. The buck stops with me, and here’s what we have done about it.
 
WE ARE GOING BACK TO OUR ROOTS.
 
Since early 2017, we have simplified our processes and re-introduced our Made To Order system, with prices starting at S$289.00.
To read more about the MTO system, please click here.
In order to focus on fulfilling all MTO commissions, we will only accept a limited number of Bespoke and Custom work a year.
 
WE ARE GOING TO IMPROVE OUR CUSTOMER SERVICE.
 
If you have ever called or emailed us with delayed or zero response, we are going to fix this. We realise communication is key and have been hard at work improving on this.
We are once again a small team and while response times may be slower, you will get a response to your query. Most of the time, I will be the one answering all your emails, because who better to?
 
WE WILL WORK TO REBUILD YOUR TRUST.
 
Since early 2017, we have been slowly but surely resolving your order issues one by one. If you still have outstanding issues, please email us at enquiry@edetal.sg.
 
I AM BACK AND IN CHARGE.
 
The issues described above happened from mid to late 2016. Since 2017 and with the re-introduction of the Made To Order system, we have largely resolved our production issues and are keeping up with current customer service queries.
I am glad to report that we are delivering on-time for most orders, and ahead of schedule for some. 
I am grateful to our customers who despite all our problems with production and customer service, has stuck with us and gave us your support. 
For every poor review and comment left on our social media sites, I am thankful for the feedback and have taken every criticism seriously and to heart, for how else will we improve?
For every customer that leaves our store happy with their shoes, I am reminded again of the reason I started this endeavour in the first place.
I make this personal promise that while mistakes and delays are inevitable, moving forward we will return to being the Ed Et Al Shoemakers that you know.
Yours sincerely,
Edwin Neo
Founder, Ed Et Al Shoemakers