By Pedro Gaspar Pereira
(GMBA - Luxury Brand Management)

On the 5th of December, the ESSEC GMBA Luxury Brand Management cohort ventured into Paris’ 9th district, to visit the Atelier of a legendary boot maker, John Lobb.

John Lobb is a brand born in England, with over 150 years of history, as the boot maker of Royalty and of men and women with the appreciation for finely, durable, and exquisite hand crafted shoes. Since 1982, following the integration of the Brand within the Hermès family in 1976, the brand offers a ready to wear collection. Its revolving assortment of ready to wear shoes, boots and small leather goods is made in Northampton, England – so what were we doing in Paris?

It just so happens that John Lobb is a brand with one foot in England and one foot in France, and the “French foot” only wears Made-to-Measure.
Our visit started with a meeting with Philippe Gonzalez, the Brand’s CEO and with Patrick Verdillon, Director of Made-to-Measure where we were guided through the history of John Lobb, of what is happening in the Brand at the moment and where the Brand wants to go in the future. Afterwards, we were given a tour of the workshop where artisans still rely on decades old tools to create the pairs of shoes of their client’s dreams - why? As we were told: “no one has come up with anything better yet”.

During the tour we were able to see all the stages of the creation of a made to measure John Lobb pair of shoes, from the construction of the unique moulds based on the client’s specific measures, to the dedicated finishing process that ensures a unique patina in years to come.

After this immersion into the world of pure craftsmanship, we had the pleasure of meeting with Pierre-Alexis Corson, Director of Communication and with Sylvain Joubert, International Commercial Director, with whom we had an insightful conversation about what it has been like to expand the Brand, the pleasures of working for what it still is very much a family business, and what should we keep in mind as we seek to make our way into the luxury next year.

This was undoubtably a fascinating and intimate visit, and one that left us craving more! Join us on the next one, will you?

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