Nonsensical Pricing of a Boot Jack

I have blogged before about being a fan of Tecovas Boots. This company stormed on the boot retail market in 2015 by contracting production of cowboy boots in Leon, Mexico, using slack bootmaking capacity abundant in the Bootmaking Capital of North America. Instead of operating…

…brick-and-mortar stores, or contracting with other boot retailers who would apply a significant mark-up in pricing, Tecovas sells directly to the consumer via a very well-designed website and back-end retail operation.

You can find high-quality commercially-made boots using five skins: calfskin leather, suede (roughout side of leather), teju lizard, ostrich, and caiman. Their consumer pricing ranges from 25% to 40% less than boots made by equivalent processes and production standards.

All well and good, and I was a fan of Tecovas’ business model, UNTIL they promoted non-boot products whose pricing is high and in one case, absolutely ridiculous.

Jeans: at $125/pair for denim jeans, the pricing is high. The pricing is high because while the denim is imported from Italy, the jeans are cut and sewn in the USA, and the company is paying a fair wage. Okay, I can live with that — and understand the price point decision.

Bags: Tecovas began offering leather duffle (carry-on) bags a couple years ago. With pricing from US$300 to $400, the bags are outside my willingness to pay. I really don’t need a leather duffle bag. A similarly-styled heavy-weight canvas bag with lots of pockets and storage from LA Police Gear at 1/3 the cost is actually better.

As a seasoned travel warrior, I never check luggage when I fly; it’s carry-on or don’t bring it. Fortunately as a guy who does not need to wear suits or dress clothes when he travels, a canvas carry-on is perfect to store wrinkle-free pants, shirts, underwear, socks, toiletries, and a pair or two of boots. Pockets galore keep me organized.

“What are they smoking?” category (i.e., “ridiculous department”): in late February 2019, Tecovas began selling a simple boot jack. You know, the thing you have on the floor to use to pull off your boots at the end of the day, or when changing clothes. I use a boot jack every day, often several times a day.

I probably own a half-dozen boot jacks, collected over time, such as the one pictured here (nabbed from Shepler’s website on March 5, 2019 — current pricing). I can’t remember paying more than $10 for a boot jack. Sturdy, well-built of wood, these things last a long time. And since you only use a boot jack in the bedroom (or in my case, my boot closet), a designer fancy-shmancy boot jack is, well, unnecessary to say the least.

So when Tecovas sent me a marketing email promoting their brand of boot jack, I “bit.” I opened the email and followed the link to their website. Then, my jaw dropped:I actually wrote to Tecovas and said, “You work so hard to make well-constructed boots affordable, yet the price point of $95 for a boot jack is ridiculous. This pricing is inconsistent with your company’s affordable-pricing marketing.”

No comment (yet) from the company. They’re probably sobering up (giggle.)

Life is short: know and appreciate value when you see it, and also know non-sensical pricing when there is no value at all.

4 thoughts on “Nonsensical Pricing of a Boot Jack

  1. I hope they don’t expect to sell a large number of their over priced boot jacks.
    I’ll continue to use the one my father bought back in the 30’s or 40’s. Made by a manufacturer in New York. Well made, and I guess it could have been considered expensive back then. $1.50.

  2. Comment from Tecovas received by WC via email:

    We certainly understand that there are cheaper options out there for boot jacks! We created and priced ours with our same Tecovas product philosophy; highest quality products, at the lowest possible price, similar to our boots and belts. When hand-crafting this product, our goal was not only from an aesthetic standpoint, (although we did want this to be an item that was proudly displayed and passed on through generations) but also from a quality standpoint. We wanted high-end materials at about half the price of comparable boot jacks.

    Our boot jacks are made from beautiful Beechwood from Germany and cut, sanded and stained by hand. They are also lined with the same soft, supple calfskin that we use to make our boots!

    Note: this pricing is still ridiculous. Beechwood costs $6.20 per board foot. Imported from Germany? Really? Good old American hardwood is abundant. Sheesh, Tecovas, I’ll ask again, just what are you smoking?

  3. The second response by Tecovas Customer Service to WC:

    Hey (WC), thanks for getting back to me.

    I’m honestly not sure exactly what goes into pricing our boots and accessories, all I know is that we take the highest quality materials and work with the best factories and vendors all over the world to produce our product at a fair, transparent, and honest price. Our whole business model is based on that very idea – go to the top of the market quality-wise and skip the retail markup.

    We completely understand that you can find functional boot jacks that work perfectly well and cost much less, but our goal here was not only the functional aspect but also to create a beautiful object that could be on display in any room of the house!

    I do know that the boot jack we were inspired by costs over $200 and we knew that we could make a better quality boot jack for half the price. I completely understand that all of our products won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but I really do appreciate all of the honest and open feedback here! Believe me when I say that we do actually discuss customer feedback on a very frequent basis.

    BHD add: yes, this is true. See the Tecovas Boots Company Owner’s response, here.

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