eagle2250

Connoisseur/Curmudgeon Emeritus - Moderator
^^Over the years, I've purchased a fair number of Bill's Twills, but not a single pair were purchased directly from Bill's. Although a couple years back I did purchase an OCBD Popover shirt from them. Don't recall receiving any type of confirmation from Bills regarding the order (that doesn't mean that one was not sent to me, I just don't remember it!),but the shirt was received in fairly short order! Not sure that would occur at this present juncture. But then, serious bargain hunting is not a sport for the faint of heart! LOL. ;)
 

toddorbertBU

Active Member with Corp. Privileges

hardline_42

Honors Member
I know it's a long shot but, has anyone been able to get in touch with customer service through any means? I'm cancelling all of my pending orders (and, honestly, I'd recommend everyone else do the same by the looks of things) but can't get through to them using any of the 800 numbers or the local 610 number and my emails have gone ignored since last month. At this point, I'm entertaining driving out to Reading, PA and banging on their door.
 

brantley11

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
I read the story above and my first thought was "Bills Khakis formerly made in USA, now coming to you from China." The group that bought them specializes in supply chain solutions!

Theres a change a comin.
 

FLMike

Connoisseur
I read the story above and my first thought was "Bills Khakis formerly made in USA, now coming to you from China." The group that bought them specializes in supply chain solutions!

Theres a change a comin.
Actually, the group that "bought" them is a private equity firm that first made a mezz debt investment in the company, which went bad and is now converting to equity ownership. The supply chain firm they are partnering with specializes in helping retailers and apparel companies sell off excess inventories. Whether or not they are just helping the new owner to liquidate excess inventories, or liquidate the entire company as has been suggested by those supposedly in the know, remains to be seen.
 

toddorbertBU

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
I wonder if there should be dedicated thread that just has updates on Bills orders/experiences with their customer support? I'm genuinely interested if anyone is getting shipment info since Thanksgiving.
 

Califax

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
Actually, the group that "bought" them is a private equity firm that first made a mezz debt investment in the company, which went bad and is now converting to equity ownership. The supply chain firm they are partnering with specializes in helping retailers and apparel companies sell off excess inventories. Whether or not they are just helping the new owner to liquidate excess inventories, or liquidate the entire company as has been suggested by those supposedly in the know, remains to be seen.
Given the customer service issues/lack of responsiveness, I'd now say the latter is increasingly likely, at least from what we know. In that situation, there's often a great deal of anger, mutual recrimination, and people leave in droves - and there's often just a skeleton staff, most of whom are trying the best they can to ride a greased pig, blindfolded.
 

FLMike

Connoisseur
Given the customer service issues/lack of responsiveness, I'd now say the latter is increasingly likely, at least from what we know. In that situation, there's often a great deal of anger, mutual recrimination, and people leave in droves - and there's often just a skeleton staff, most of whom are trying the best they can to ride a greased pig, blindfolded.
Wait, how do you know about my weekend?
 

hardline_42

Honors Member
Update on Bill's customer service:

I just got off the phone with Mary-Jo of the wholesale division. She was able to cancel my orders. She was audibly frazzled and I was more than happy to lend an ear while she vented to me regarding the recent events. There was a lot so I'll just try and list the major points (as much as I can remember)

- The company was sold about a month ago
- Their previous investor pushed growth aggressively, which led to the explosion of their product line and overall drop in quality
- Bill's had no capital in order to buy the goods and the bottom fell out
- Their previous investor refused to inject any capital into the brand and then the bottom REALLY fell out
- The recent liquidation is an attempt by the new owners to regain whatever capital they can
- The liquidation, coupled with the holidays, has their customer service department completely overloaded. They've just abandoned checking the email account because it's overflowing so don't bother sending a message.
- They have very little left on the shelves. They are completely out of anything in khaki. KHAKI, for God's sake.
- If you want to place an order and actually have it filled, don't place it on line. Call either of the two numbers and have the few CS people left check availability of the product for you. You can call either the 1-888 number or the 1-800 but you'll have better luck with the latter (the wholesale division), preferably in the middle of the week.
- Mary-Jo's honest opinion on when/if they get any new merchandise is no earlier than March of 2016

All in all, she seemed hopeful that some semblance of the brand's former glory will be reclaimed once they get over this "hump" and she believes the new owner understands the market for Bill's. Her tone implied otherwise but she's had a pretty bad month so I could be reading more into it.

With regard to placing any orders under the current circumstances, I think if you do so over the phone and confirm that the item is actually available, you'll be ok. Of course, that means you have to actually get a hold of someone first, and accept the possibility that you will get a lower quality item than what you'd receive during the golden age of Bill's with all sales being final.
 

CSG

Inactive user
Interesting summation and not far from what a few of us speculated. There is NO WAY IN HELL I'd place an order with them at this time. My own experience with them over the past month is what I base that on. This CS rep merely confirms my thinking.
 

gamma68

Honors Member
Hardline's summation above is evidence enough that Bills Khakis as we've known it is DONE.

Anyone who believes otherwise is kidding themselves.
 

meanoldmanning

Super Member
Update on Bill's customer service:

I just got off the phone with Mary-Jo of the wholesale division. She was able to cancel my orders...

Mary Jo is awesome. She is maintaining a cheerful demeanor despite, I am sure being hounded by frustrated customer. She told me the woolens are not coming in this year and is cancelling my orders for me.
 

FLMike

Connoisseur
Thanks for the recon, hardline. Good info. As I said in the other Bill's thread, it seems that a best case scenario at this point would be for the new owners to eliminate superfluous, non-core SKUs like shirts and sport coats from their product line, while re-focusing the company on the core items that made the brand what it is....i.e. quality, USA-made khaki pants. The question is whether they have access to enough of a capital lifeline to get them through the current cash crunch to reach a point where they can pursue the above strategy.

In the near-term, the focus has to be on clearing excess inventories and cutting overhead in order to raise cash. They are obviously in an overlevered situation with their working capital tied up in way too much inventory that wasn't moving prior to the drastic markdowns. The resulting cash crunch makes it difficult (or impossible) to buy/produce for the next season or to deliver replenishment basics stock to their retailer customers. Without new goods to deliver, it becomes a death spiral as you have no way to generate (profitable) sales and, thus, cash flow declines even further.

In a prior life, I was a retail stock analyst for a major investment bank, where I covered the specialty apparel space. Too much debt and poor inventory management can be a deadly combination for an apparel manufacturer/retailer. Not to mention fashion/style miscues. Not a pretty picture.
 
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stfu

Senior Member
And during this period of upheaval I still get emails from them advertising "70% off!" I would hate tobe someone ordering from them right now.
 

Orgetorix

Honors Member
Hardline's summation above is evidence enough that Bills Khakis as we've known it is DONE.

Anyone who believes otherwise is kidding themselves.
From the sound of it, it was done long before the company sale was accomplished.

And during this period of upheaval I still get emails from them advertising "70% off!" I would hate tobe someone ordering from them right now.
At some point, the discounts become attractive enough to make the risk worth it. One can always buy on a credit card and reverse the charges if they don't deliver.
 

sjk

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
- The company was sold about a month ago
- Their previous investor pushed growth aggressively, which led to the explosion of their product line and overall drop in quality
- Bill's had no capital in order to buy the goods and the bottom fell out
It seemed that a few years ago, Bills product line expanded massively- jackets, shoes, sweaters. The focus was really away from pants. I started getting mailers from Bills featuring that "ruggedly handsome middle-aged bearded guy" who also seems to be the only model BB uses. There was another company whose name I can't remember whose mailer came on the same day as Bills, as if they were packaged, that used the same guy as their male model. Were they part of the same conglomerate?

I also note that a company named Disruptor Capital, with a skull and crossbone as it's logo, was an investor in Bills in 2013. They apparently put more of Bills manufacturing into a Virginia-based factory. At one point, Bills were made in a factory outside of Reading.
 
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