Nice guys do finish last.
I had the pleasure of dropping by Michael Toschi‘s worldwide HQ a couple times of this week. On Monday, while talking to the West Coast sales rep, I noticed his shoes: the Caan. The shoe has been around for a year now, but I had never seen one in person. He mentioned that, despite some smart currency hedging, Toschi shoes would see a price increase effective July 1. The Caan’s would be selling for a staggering $725.
On a second trip down there, another employee asked to do a little barter. A Mulholland duffel bag in exchange for a pair of sample shoes since I happen to be the sample size: size 9. Amongst the 40 or so sample shoes to choose from, there was a pair of black Caan’s with orange contrast-stitching. In need of a pair of sleek black dress shoes (I have every shade of brown ever made at this point), I slipped them on.
While I own dozens of Toschi shoes, never before had one gripped my foot the way the Caan did. I learned that is because it is one of the few unlined shoes they make. The leather felt extremely supple, and more importantly, form-fitting to my foot. At that point, MTI’s President started telling me about the shoes. They use a very special Italian leather. They are double-dyed, meaning that the underlying leather is dyed completely orange, and then coated again in black so that the lining of the shoe exposes just a little hint of orange. It is not often that I am blown away by a Toschi shoe only because I take them for granted at this point, but I was genuinely thrilled to have found the Caan’s.
Later that day, the phone rang. One of our best customers was having a birthday, and his family wanted to get him a gift. Knowing how much he loves Toschi shoes, and that he is also a size 9, I mentioned the sample selection and offered to pick him up a pair later in the week. But they needed it that night. I offered the Caan, knowing that I could tell him about the other shoes, and convince him to pick out another pair that would suit his needs — maybe something in burgundy or brown, maybe a new style not even out yet like the Berta Monk or Luciano, maybe something casual; anything but the Caan.
Later that night, the phone rang. "Never in a million years should you have assumed you would get those shoes back," he said after opening the gift. It is probably the last time I will ever talk to him, and will surely be the last pair of Toschi’s he ever gets from On The Fly. That is the wrath of Caan.