Tags: george zimmer, men's wearhouse, you're gonna like the way you look
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George started that business from nothing. Used an old cigar box as a register. Made it big and went public, and like Caesar, was stabbed by his council. Never give up dominant share in a business you plan on keeping.
They don’t like the way you look. I guarantee it.
This pretty much kills the comments. There’s not much else to say.
I was never a Men’s Wearhouse fan from the start. So for me, Zimmer’s business and [pushy] sales model didn’t work for me at all.
Sure, he was successful in the beginning, but that doesn’t translate into prolonged success as the marketplace changes.
You can’t feel bad for Zimmer. Everyone who takes their company public takes the cash upfront and hopes for the best afterward. He received everything he could reasonably expect from the deal. Hopefully, he didn’t sign any non-compete agreement and can start a rival brand of slightly less overpriced suits.
It’s not necessarily like that. Taking a company public isn’t the same as cashing out. Yes, it generates funds, but those funds belong to the company. As a major shareholder, your equity will grow. However, it’s not “taking the cash” unless you’re actually cashing out your equity. IPO’s are not an exit strategy, though. They’re a growth strategy.
HE’S NOT GONNA LIKE THE WA-
I hate Men’s Wearhouse with such a passion that I really couldn’t care less what they do. Spoiler alert: Their “new direction” will result in more crappy suits and the same pushy, moronic salespeople.
Yeah. Just look at what happened to John McAfee. (NSFW) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bKgf5PaBzyg
Completely agree. He owned what, 3.5% of the stock? If you want to stay in control (especially if you’re such a visual for the brand) then don’t sell off all of your power.
Totally his right to sell and cash in. Applause for bootstrapping it from the start. Looked like they were trying to head in a more young, better fitting direction (had some tips about how they were now carrying Tallia, but never got in myself thanks to a few outrageously poor interactions with salespeople in the past)… but he handed the keys to others.
Men’s Wearhouse is what Jos. A Bank would be if they didn’t have their own product line. The clothes are overpriced, the salespeople don’t know what they are doing, and the quality of the clothing is (generally) sub-par across the board.
That said, as others have noted, Zimmerman built that business from the ground up, and was the face of the company for decades. The business filled a niche in the market – that is to say, there are a number of people out there with no interest in “fashion forward” suits. I don’t agree with it, but there has been – and will continue to be – plenty of customers who “like the way they look.”
I agree with most of what you said Alan, but to me, going public is overdone. Once a company makes itself beholden to stockholders, something changes. Going public is a little like going to college. Everyone thinks its for everyone, but it’s really not.
I have to agree with most of the comments about the salespeople…The last time I went into a Men’s Wearhouse was 8 years ago to buy some socks. Rather than acknowledging that they had a somewhat sophisticated customer (I had come straight from work and was still in a suit and tie) and just letting me pick out the socks I was looking for, the salesperson was up my a$$ trying to sell me a suit I neither wanted nor needed and a set of shirts that, again, I neither wanted nor needed.
I walked out of there and told my wife that I’d never go back. The best description I could come up with was that the store was a snake pit…
I’d be surprised if he didn’t open a rival chain. MW has no particular attraction other than its cheap and they have locations everywhere. That’s nothing that a butt load of capital can’t replicate. If the face of their brand is suddenly telling people to go elsewhere, I don’t see what would keep them going to MW.
I don’t mean to suggest that it’s the only way to get over the hump. It’s just one of several options. I’m just saying its not the end of the road for the original owner.
I hear ya. It just gets more complicated.
“Although ZImmer has been the company’s spokesperson for decades, Stifel analysts said “the company has the legal right to his image as well as 500 hours of footage of Zimmer.”
—By Reuters, with CNBC.com.
You’re kinda saying two different things. Are people really going to MW because George Zimmer is telling them to? Or because it’s cheap and they have locations everywhere. It’s the latter.
What niche?? You can buy a basic looking conservative suit at any department store for the last 50 years.
It’s easy to hate on Men’s Wearhouse just as it’s easy to hate on Starbucks but really, they serve a purpose. They brought an awareness and a market for higher end men’s clothing and coffee, respectively. It serves as a gateway to better things. When I first got interested in dressing better, I looked at Men’s Wearhouse because it’s ubiquitous and easy. I learned more and more and now I’m the well dressed, handome man I am today (also modest).
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not defending the place in the least. I do know people who swear by it, though. I imagine there are men who feel more comfortable going into a store like that than to a department store. Like I said, I don’t get it, but it hasn’t survived this long without those customers.
if starbucks is a gateway drug then i’m fucked
true, plus there is no way the board is going to let him go without signing a non-compete for X number of years. it’ll be tied to some massive severance package.
I read yesterday that they have 40% of the rental tux market, so that’s what some people would call a ‘niche’. As for the suit market, I wouldn’t say they have a niche market, but they do have a consistent product (albeit low quality for the most part) and a recognizable brand, with a large/vast store presence. It’s like being the McDonalds of suits.
I can’t say I have a strong opinion on this.
My only experience with Men’s Wearhouse is when I was standing outside the entrance to one, making a phone call. The salesmen (and they were all men) must have just gone on lunch break because I saw a big pack of them all leave at once. They looked like they were all ready for prom – baggy trousers, colored shirts, ties, suspenders, and square-toed shoes. It gave me the lolz.
I wouldn’t buy a suit from one of those guys if you paid me.
ok, that’s a game changer.
Reminds me of when Colonel Sanders sold Kentucky Fried Chicken, then later opened a new set of chicken restaurants with his likeness in the advertising. He was successfully sued and had to stop using his own image to sell chicken.
Starbucks brings awareness? Perhaps, but the person must make the step to the next level on their own, which can be difficult when those places pretend they are the summit. People who need their whipped caramel/mocha/strawberry skim half-caf frappaccino through the drivethru don’t care to step through the gateway (or don’t realize there is one) so that they can understand what a proper cappuccino is supposed to taste like. Therefore Starbucks has the power & convenience to squash the competition, even when the competition offers a superior product/experience. There are plenty of home grown coffee shops who offered quality roasted/prepared drinks, were atmospheric & community centric had to close up shop because people (whom Starbucks had brought “awareness” to) were unable to recognize the smell of a properly roasted coffee bean for the overpowering stench/overly sweetened flavor of Starbucks (have you ever had their Chai Latte??). Starbucks is the McDonald’s of coffee, except that McDonald’s makes no pretense of their hamburgers.
Yes, it is easy to hate them as they are fully deserving of scorn.
Their salesman are the worst. Last time I was there it was the straw that broke the camels back. A guy that was at best, 2 or 3 years older than I am, referred to me as “young man” and insisted I size up instead of sizing down. I know what I like and how I want it to fit. Either let me browse and leave me the F alone, or I’m shopping somewhere else.
Sorry, but I got lazy when I wrote my initial post. I understand what it means to go public, and I didn’t mean to imply that he cashed out. Given the fact that the stock he was designated from the deal had monetary value, Its 99% certain, Zimmer’s personal wealth grew. I also agree with Joe, that change is inevitable once a company goes public. I’ve owned several small businesses, some successful, some not, but I’ve always seen the upside of selling a business, but never really saw the personal benefits of going public. Maybe it there was something particular about my type of retail.
I understand the disdain for Mens Wearhouse stores, but to be fair, their old fashion suits are of no worse build quality than many fused, Chinese made suits purchased from JCP, Macy’s, Express, etc. Heck, I made the mistake of buying a black suit while out of town for a funeral (Yep, Laugh at the big dope. I deserve it) I pulled it out from the back of my closet recently and realized that it is of no worse quality than most of the suits I sell at Banana Republic. (No I did not contemplate wearing it)
What I dislike about MW Is their JCPenny hook of sales and coupons over normal pricing. The Average MW suit is $250-$350 when you account for the sale/coupon (BOGO). Sadly consumers prefer fooling themselves into thinking they are getting a deal, than just shopping wisely. And, yes, their sales staff are clingy to say the least.
Wow, slow your roll.
It’s easy to forget, but almost no one had an idea what a barista or a latte really was before Starbucks hit the market.
Do you know why those small shops had to close up? It’s because there wasn’t enough demand. I know it’s tough for you to believe, but more people enjoy Starbucks and, most importantly, their convenience and consistency, more than anything else.
So, no, they are not “deserving of scorn” because they could hack it and your beloved artisinal fair-trade dark slow roasted coffee collective couldn’t.
Too many people in the comments are focusing on the quality of their clothes and salespeople and not enough on the fact that Men’s Wearhouse remains successful for doing what it does well — it’s the go-to for men’s fashion and suits for many. It helped bring suiting back into the American mainstream, especially during the overwhelmingly casual nineties.
So maybe it’s not for us here… but the existence of Men’s Wearhouse isn’t a bad thing. At the very least, they don’t have the predatory practices of a Jos. A Bank
I think the key difference here is that JAB is deliberately misleading with their pricing and prey on naive consumers. Honestly.
Zimmer may have pushed crappy suits on people but the board is just going to make it worse. The real shame here is that Mr. Zimmerman believed in 2nd chances and consistently have opportunities to former convicts, which changed things for a lot of people and families. I sadly don’t see this practice continuing after his ouster.
There’s one huge benefit that you can get from going public: investors. If you’re a private company, you have investors but you’re limited. Once you go public you’re opening yourself up to the open market, where anyone can pick up a few shares of your company and be an investor. Then you can grow your business exponentially if all works out with the money from investors rolling into your company, but then you have to answer to them, and your company is no longer your own. A double edged sword for sure.
I suppose Starbucks is the sole reason why there is a large coffee market today? They played their part, no doubt & certainly accelerated it.
It *is* hard for me to believe people like Starbucks more given they charge the same for a cappuccino as a shop who crafts their drinks with care. Can’t wrap my head around Soccer Moms & others liking to own mugs with an image of a mermaid lewdly luring sailors to their death either. At least in other markets the megacorps. charge less for their lower quality product. Again, without the pretense.
By your definition, “hacking it” is merely providing the cheapest product with the most convenience. Unfortunately that is the antithesis of quality. So no, a coffee shop that cares about their product offering will not “hack it” in that way. All hail the company who provides a ubiquitous & inferior product/service, the bane of the American market.
Apologies for the off-topic rant.
“At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you
even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. “
Joe, I don’t have an opinion about Men’s Wearhouse, but I do appreciate these industry related posts. Gives depth to the site.
That’s a shame about the health issues. Didn’t know that. I wondered if it was because of his marijuana advocacy efforts.
Dude is like the biggest pothead in the USA.
Stockholders probably don’t want that kind of image
I shopped at the Men’s Warehouse because they were one of the few places that carried my size (54R) that I was aware of at the time that wasn’t complete trash. I never had the sales staff issue people speak of, and became good friends with the store director. I have found other places that carry my size since, but I still enjoy my local Men’s Warehouse.
I used to share some of these opinions on Starbucks and I’m still not a fan of their predatory business practices targeted at smaller, local shops. I never drink Starbucks outside of the airport, BUT, their CEO seems like a class act. He believes health care is a basic human right and offers it to low-wage, part time employees. Starbucks employees make above minimum wage (which they wouldn’t have to do), and he is staunchly pro gay marriage. The small local coffee shops certainly provide a better product, but they aren’t paying their employees much (admittedly not their fault) and they don’t offer health care. Pros and cons.
Is he one of the original founders? I remember doing a case study on Starbucks’ origins in college which detailed the different visions the 2 original founders had for the siren. It originated as only selling bulk coffee & tea (I think), not preparing drinks. In a (hazel?) nutshell One of the founders envisaged taking it on the run & growing it, the other wanted to keep it small. We know who won & turned it into the swill slinging behemoth it is today (would love to here an interview w/the other founder). Thus began my distaste of Starbucks, even before I realized the treasure Ethiopians &/or Arabians had shared with the world & how Star$ mars it.
I have never been to the original Seattle location but I imagine they have real baristas who can pour a good shot; they also recently opened an upscale concept shop in Amsterdam & I can’t imagine they’re brewing assembly line drinks there either. If not, why are they doing it at all their other locations? Because they can, therefore they obviously are not interested in quality.
Eh this has gone from a comparison of MW to Starbucks to a silly conversation. You’re arguing X to prove Y. It doesn’t work that way. I think, in reality, we probably share the same opinion, but the way it’s expressed is somewhat poor. I mean no offense, simply that I think we are on common ground, but I don’t think you’re presenting your points coherently and didn’t address mine. I have no idea who the founders are. All I know is the guy at the helm provides his employees with health care, pays them well, has gotten the company ranked as one of the top 100 companies to work for, and is socially aware. Starbucks also employs (this number could be off as I’m using 2 separate sources) in the ballpark of 245,000 people worldwide. Any employee working over 20 hours per week gets health care. 64% of employees that are eligible opt in. That’s a sh*t load of people (to use the technical term). As much as I love my local barista from time to time, her coffee shop is not doing that for her.
Wasn’t there just a post complimenting the commenters here about not being hyper-critical?
MW doesn’t carry high quality clothes, but most of their stuff is no worse than the Express and BR suits that I’ve seen people touting on the message boards here.
I share Joe’s opinion about why I wouldn’t go back, which is a shame because they are known as a go-to place for someone who needs to get a suit.
I’m truly surprised by the firing, because I think it will kill them. There aren’t too many other comparisons. George Zimmer is the brand as opposed to founders like Steve Jobs and Larry Ellison, who are the visionaries. The Colonel Sanders comparison is pretty close, but he just cashed out of his own will. Just imagine if McDonalds kicked Ronald to the curb.
You think he smokes?
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