Today, I was once again visiting the Børn site. They’ve just launched the new spring collection and are promising that soon readers will get a “look behind the curtain.” What they’ll see is an office park in Connecticut.
I am a bit naive.
I thought these shoes were made in Sweden. Or Norway. Or Denmark. Turns out they are made in China or Mexico. The “opanka” technique, the crown logo, the look, all completely fake and an ingenious brand for HH Brown, shoe conglomerate. Its most well-known brand: the dowdy Dexter.
Tomorrow, I am boxing up my Born shoes and sending them at my cost to Maryland. Though they are less than three months old, the soles on both shoes split apart while I was walking around in New York. Here’s a picture. Both my feet were soaked. The injected molded soles can’t be mended. Three months, and the shoes are useless.
I try to keep my blog generally positive and generous, so I will say that Born is at least sending me another pair, though not one I am particularly excited about. I had to pick from the limited selection in their lowest price range, basically light loafers and mandels, neither appropriate for Boston or the amount of walking I do.
Two things bug me in this episode of consumerism.
1. That customer service took almost three weeks to reply in any fashion to my emails. It was not until I attempted emailing HH Brown’s CEO Jim Issler directly, using a variety of standard email protocols, that the non-responsive customer service center replied.
2. I just hate being taken for a consumer naif. Nowhere on the box or the site does “Børn” make any claims to being Scandinavian. They just let the consumer makes their own assumptions and build corollary fantasies, and I fell for it. In reality, they sit in Connecticut and order shoes from unrelated factories that are likely in repressive tax exempt multi-national zones, far away from the icy winds of Scandinavia. They in turn are a wholly owned subsidiary of Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway, based out of Nebraska. Would he deign to wear Born? I doubt it.
I’m now wearing Blundstones, which as far as I can tell have some authenticity behind them and are holding up well.