We sometimes get asked on social media if we offer discounts on Alvies boots, or if we’ll ever run sales. We usually just politely say no because it’s a little much to get into via Instagram comments. So I thought I’d explain the reasoning behind that decision here on the blog, where I have some room to get a bit long-winded.
The short answer is that we put a lot of time into choosing the price points for each of our boots, and discounting wasn’t factored into it. A lot of direct-to-consumer companies do build discounts into their pricing. Many of them even offer a hefty discount at least once a month. But of course that’s baked into their price — if they’re regularly offering 30% off, you can be sure their normal price is 30% higher than it needs to be.
I’m sure that business model works great for them, but it’s just not our bag. While Alvies the brand officially launched in summer of 2020, we actually started selling boots and flops out of an Airstream in downtown Austin (and a podunk website) in 2014. That made us the first direct-to-consumer cowboy boot company ever, and all that experience has shown us exactly what we wanted the company to be — and what we didn’t want it to be. The prices we set allow us to make the kind of boots we want to make (and wear), offer the kind of value that we want to offer, and run the kind of business we want to run.
Here are just a few reasons you won’t find discounts on Alvies boots.
The idea for Alvies really started with me inheriting a collection of classic cowboy boots from my Grandpa Alvie. So one thing I knew right off the bat is that I wanted to make boots that would last — something that could be passed down to the next generation.
We build boots that are designed to be incredibly comfortable and hold up over the years, and that costs a little more. We include many handcrafted features you may never notice that make Alvies boots more comfortable and durable. That includes things like full leather toes and heel counters, lemonwood pegs to secure our steel shank and hold the insole and outsole together, a Goodyear welt so you can have your boots resoled, a stacked leather heel, and a special last made with our Fast Break-In Fit, which helps your boots feel fully broken-in within just a few days. These are all areas where boot companies can cut corners to reduce price, but we choose not to.
Materials are another place you can cut corners to make a cheaper boot. You can see some pretty bad leather on lower-end boots. But we source only premium cowhide, python and Teju lizard leathers so that they look great, feel great and last. We use other high-end materials in our boots, too, like a bovine lining so the interior of your boot is extra soft, and a cork footbed that cushions and forms to your foot.
Alvies boots are handmade in Léon, Mexico, which has been a bootmaking and leatherworking center for going on a few centuries now. Some of our artisans have been making boots by hand for decades, and come from families who have been in bootmaking for generations. We pay the artisans in our ethical factory a fair wage for their skills and experience, and that’s factored into the price you see on our site.
Selling directly to consumers means we can keep our production runs smaller and ensure that we’re meeting our quality standards. We’ve priced our boots so we can continue to sell directly and not rely on third-party websites or crowded retail shelves, which would require us to majorly increase the number of boots we make — past the point where I’d feel comfortable guaranteeing the quality. We’re so serious about quality that our co-founder Clay recently moved to Mexico so he can be more involved in our day-to-day boot manufacturing. At least that’s what he told me last time I saw him on Zoom, drinking tequila on a patio.
Another reason we don’t sell on third-party sites is that we lose control of the customer experience. How people buy Alvies boots has always been important to me, from when we only sold in the original Airstream shop to now that we mostly sell on our website. When we sold in the Airstream, we could be really picky about how everything looked, and about giving the kind of one-on-one service people need to help find the right boot and make sure it fits.
We continue to invest in our shopping and buying experiences so we can bring the same experience we offered in the Airstream to our online store, like with our Fancy Sizing Robot and our Fit Sherpa program. Anyone who buys a pair of Alvies boots is eligible for a free fit consultation with our expert Fit Sherpa. A real person will actually get on the horn and walk you through trying on your boots, make sure they fit perfectly, and answer any questions you might have. That’s the kind of thing we can’t offer when selling through someone else’s site or on another company’s shelves.
I hope this helps give a little background on why we don’t discount Alvies boots, and what went into determining our prices. We understand people have gotten used to being able to find discounts on just about everything online, but we stand by the quality and value we offer. If you have any questions about our quality or products, please hit us up at firstname.lastname@example.org.