Letter from Stetson

Discussion in 'Hats' started by Lorne, Jun 19, 2006.

  1. Lorne

    Lorne One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    239
    Location:
    Boston
    Here is the letter I got from Stetson after I wrote them about the quality of their hats:

    Dear Mr. Gilsig (my last name),

    Thank you for your letter, and I am very concerned as to how you feel about the quality of out Stetson Hats.

    We have spent the last 2 years retooling our fur processing plant and upgrading out manufacturing facility in order to assure the hightest quality of our hats.

    Unfortunately, we are not able to control which hats a retailer carries in their store. It is possible that the Stetson hat you looked at was a wool and not a geninue fur felt. There are Stetsons that range in price from $59 to $750.

    Mr. Gilsig, I can assure you that quality is our number one objective, and I really hope you will reconsider buying a Stetson.

    Your Very Truly,

    Paul E. LaVoie
    Preseident and CEO
    Arena Brands, Inc.
     
  2. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,713
    Location:
    Fort Collins, CO
    Well, it's certainly a nice polite letter. Perhaps it would help if he became aware of how folks in this group define quality, which I believe would start with some percentage of beaver fur.
     
  3. besdor

    besdor Vendor/Sponsor

    Messages:
    1,726
    Location:
    up north
    Stetson Hats

    Mr Lavoie was in our store two weeks ago . I was suprised as the president of the company that he actually understood something about quality and production of hats . The sad truth is that there is a big problem with the quality of the hats being made right now by Stetson . Its the quality of the bodies being used . We just received a big delivery from them that is all going back . How hats like this made it through quality control is amazing . I think that the big problem is that the factory that is making all oft he hats onlt made westerns for years . Now the workers have to make dress hats which are lighter in weight and softer . We never have had this many problems as we are having now with Stetson.


    Steven
     
  4. RedPop4

    RedPop4 One Too Many

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    Location:
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    Perhaps this is a good start. <fingers-crossed>
     
  5. mysterygal

    mysterygal Call Me a Cab

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    it is a good start if he is truly concerened...but as with any business, if the customers are not satisfied with the product, they will go somewhere else. Hopefully he'll take the initiative to correct this.
     
  6. Joel Tunnah

    Joel Tunnah Practically Family

    Messages:
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    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    Sorta like Gibson in the 80's...

    I own several electric guitars, and used to keep up with the industry much more so than I do now - but Stetson strikes me as analogous to Gibson guitars, another great old american company that slid into disrepair.
    In the 80's, and into the early 90's, their quality control was in the toilet. Offerings were limited, and the materials used were inferior in every way to a vintage Gibson.
    However, a small, but vocal group of gear-heads began pushing the company to "make 'em like they used to". Long story short, now less than 10 years later it's possible to buy a brand new Les Paul that is identical in every way to the one you would've got in 1958. And the whole company has a good rep again.
    So, do letters and online forums make a difference? Yup.

    Joel
     
  7. tonyb

    tonyb Vendor

    Messages:
    7,487
    Location:
    My mother's basement
    Rule o' Thumb: For every person who goes to the trouble of writing a letter, figure there's a hundred others, if not a thousand others, who feel much the same way.
    Even my non-hat-wearing friends and associates can spot the difference between a quality lid and a lesser one. They may not have the vocabulary to clearly express that difference, but they can sense it nonetheless. I doubt any of them would say "nice hat" on spotting a new Stetson. That's why I wouldn't waste my money on one.
    It's not just the shoddy quality of their offerings that keeps me away, but the styles. C'mon, Mr. LaVoie, give me a hat with a tallish vertical crown and a 2 5/8s-inch bound-edge brim, made at least in part from a critter that once saw water, and maybe I'll buy it.
     
  8. Lorne

    Lorne One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    239
    Location:
    Boston
    TonyB

    Dear Tony,

    Someone once researched what you were talking about. A satisfied customer will tell 5 people, a dissatisfied customer will tell 22...


    Lorne
     
  9. tonyb

    tonyb Vendor

    Messages:
    7,487
    Location:
    My mother's basement
    Sounds about right, Lorne. I don't take that research as a sign that people are likelier to find fault than the good in something, but rather that they have a reasonable expectation that they'll get good value for their money, and when they don't it's more worthy of mention than when they do.
    I've said it before and I'll say it again (mostly cuz I like the sound of my own voice): Free enterprise can be a lovely thing. It fosters innovation and efficiency and the general progress of the human species. Thanks in large part to it, even the less-well-to-do among us enjoy a lifestyle our ancestors of three or four generations back couldn't have imagined. But it, like any system, can be corrupted. So I figure it's my duty to let people know when they're selling crummy goods at inflated prices or otherwise failing to deliver on their end, for whatever sleazy reason. It keeps 'em honest, you know, or at least a bit less dishonest.
     
  10. fedoralover

    fedoralover Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
    2,006
    Location:
    Great Northwest
    Even if

    Well even IF Stetson finally made a quality hat, what do you think they would charge for it? They already charge $125 or so for a crappy one. If they actually made a decent one, the price would probably be more than what it would cost to buy a custom one from Art.

    fedoralover
     
  11. besdor

    besdor Vendor/Sponsor

    Messages:
    1,726
    Location:
    up north
    Has anyone bought the new Stetson Beaver hat . I'd like to hear some feedback on the hat .



    Steven
    www.bencrafthats.com
     
  12. DanielJones

    DanielJones I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    4,042
    Location:
    On the move again...
    Too bad the quality is down. I guess it just makes more room for the custom hatters to do business with people who wish to have a quality hat instead of the same old thing that everyone else whould be wearing on the street.
    I have a Stetson Sutley that I bought a couple of years ago in Virginia City. Now that little hat shop had quite a few hats, and some of them had been around a spell. The one I have has a very nice velvety texture to the felt and presents itself as a nice looking lid, but, it not something I'd want to wear in the rain like my Adam fedora or my Camptown lid. The vintage & custom stuff just holds up better.
    But like I said before, this leave a lot more room for the custom hat makers, and their quality we will always go back for. Even if Stetson brought their quality back to a respectable level, why would you want a production hat that thousands around the world would be wearing when you could have a custom made & fit lid that belongs to you and your style. Even if someone gets the same lid as you from the same maker they're going to request their own individual style be made a part of it, so each one is unique and not production cookie cutter.
    The next time you go to your local State Fair, take a good look over the sea of cowboy hats that all look all alike, there will maybe be one or two that were custom made and they will stand out like a spot light. Same goes with fedoras in the city. The good quality ones (be they vintage or new custom) will stand out against the rest. Even if Stetson does raise the quality they will then charge higher prices for their hats and they still won't be even as good as something that Art Fawsett, Steve Delk or Tom Hirt can put together for the price.
    Now I understand that some folks pocketbooks can't afford the customs, & I'm one of those on occassion, but when I do have enough scratch built up I'm going to support our custom hat makers and not the big conglomerate. You may pay a little more for one of tom Hirt's 50X beaver lids than you will for a Stetson 1000X, but you get a superior product that will last several generations.
    There will always be those that don't know any different or just want their first hat, and they're on a budget, so the get what is available. But once they discover higher quality with a good maker, they don't go back to the same old thing. Anyway, that's just my two cents on that subject. Some may not agree and that's all well & fine. Happy hat wearing to you and yours!

    Cheers!

    Dan
     
  13. Aaron Hats

    Aaron Hats Vendor

    Messages:
    539
    Location:
    Does it matter?
  14. besdor

    besdor Vendor/Sponsor

    Messages:
    1,726
    Location:
    up north
  15. tonyb

    tonyb Vendor

    Messages:
    7,487
    Location:
    My mother's basement
    Yes, but Art's prices represent a better value than ANYTHING I've seen at any regular retail shop. He could charge significantly more and I'd still send some business his way.
    Still, Stetson and its affiliated brands aren't likely to give us what we want anytime soon (I'd like to be wrong about that). Could it be that they figure there's a fairly low ceiling to what most customers will pay for a "dress" hat? And that if they can sell junk at that price, why would they offer anything better?
    And if that is indeed the case, are they wrong? Could they sell enough higher-end hats to make it worth their while? Beats me.
     
  16. Joel Tunnah

    Joel Tunnah Practically Family

    Messages:
    524
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    Shut up, shut up, shut up!

    ;)
     
  17. Invitation

    Lorne,

    Did you offer an invitation to Mr. LaVoie to drop by the Lounge and peruse the threads pertaining to his company?

    Aaron,

    I wonder how much of the cost of the Diamante is the diamond-encrusted hatband and leather case?

    As I mentioned in one of the other threads, Stetson is doing a big marketing push into western wear. Boots, jeans and other apparel. They're even offering a sterling silver logo buckle with real rubies - $500. I've got, at home, the company that is behind the clothing line that, I think, is retagged Stetson.

    Cowboys (and other western aficianados) will pay top dollar for a quality hat. I wonder what they would say if they could see (and feel) a good vintage Stetson and compare it with their present model. Of course they do prefer them "stiffer". I wouln't want a 4" brim to start a flappin' in the breeze horseback. Damn thing might fly right off your head! That's why I like my OR. It stays put.
     
  18. thefedorastore

    thefedorastore A-List Customer

    Messages:
    421
    Location:
    Prosser, WA til fall
    Hmmm.... I have a brand new Stetson Downs and I am quite satisfied with the soft, thin felt, considering what is available today and the quality of other FACTORY hats. I wouldn't write off the whole brand. Oh, Aaron, I hope you sell that Diamante too! I am waiting to see how well Stetson and Dobbs dress do before jumping into Western, as I don't market to those folks much. Good luck!
     
  19. DanielJones

    DanielJones I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    4,042
    Location:
    On the move again...
    Not discounting Stetson just yet. I have a Stetson cowboy hat that I'm going to have converted into a fedora that holds a lot of memories for me (over 16 years worth). It is a good solid work & dress hat being the silverbelly color. Yes it is a tad stiff but it has held up to some punishment and has bounced back, and my Stetson Sutley is a nice dress hat that gets many compliments but isn't something that I would wear in warmer weather because the sweat pours right through the felt in a rapid manner. Both have and will serve me well, but in this day & age the brand isn't my first choice in hats unless it is a good vintage lid.

    Cheers!

    Dan
     
  20. Lorne

    Lorne One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    239
    Location:
    Boston
    Dear Gentleman Farmer

    Yes, I did tell him about thefedoralounge.com. I suggested he come here to see how many hats we buy, and what we are looking for.


    Lorne
     

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