gamma68

Honors Member
It seemed that a few years ago, Bills product line expanded massively- jackets, shoes, sweaters. The focus was really away from pants.
This comment reminds me of Martin Guitars, the Pennsylvania-based manufacturer of exemplary acoustic guitars. In the 1970s, the company started branching out into other instruments (electric guitars, drum kits, etc.) and the quality of the core product suffered. Martin recognized this, dumped the other product lines, and stuck with what it does best: making the highest-quality acoustic guitars.

It sounds like problems began for Bills Khakis began when they expanded beyond khakis.
 

FLMike

Connoisseur
Alden is a great example of a company that has proven you don't have to be all things to all people, constantly expanding your product line, to enjoy long-term success. Some of the "lifestyle brands", like Vineyard Vines for example, have successfully added new product categories (from ties initially, in the case of VV) to drive growth. However, it can also create problems, particilularly when your brand was built on a very specific niche category, like well-constructed USA-made khakis.
 

mhj

Senior Member
I tried ordering a pair of khakis today and the site that weren't going to be available until January and they disappeared from my cart. I don't know if I would have actually placed the order, maybe I would if I could use PayPal.

At least this looks they may have a future.
 

Califax

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
Alden is a great example of a company that has proven you don't have to be all things to all people, constantly expanding your product line, to enjoy long-term success. Some of the "lifestyle brands", like Vineyard Vines for example, have successfully added new product categories (from ties initially, in the case of VV) to drive growth. However, it can also create problems, particilularly when your brand was built on a very specific niche category, like well-constructed USA-made khakis.
I agree; it's unfortunate that the "we-need-to-keep-expanding" mantra takes hold of these companies. What is wrong with dominating a niche market, building a solid and loyal market base, and thereby creating a steady cash flow?

Your "how did u know about my weekend comment" was hilarious, lol :D
 

egerland

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
Keep an eye out for Bill's stuff to start showing up at Marshalls and the like. I picked up a great summer sports coat in a Madras-like pattern for cheap a couple weeks ago.
 

Himself

Super Member
A bunch of Bills stuff was being sold by Sierra Trading Post in the last few weeks, at lower prices than I've ever seen ($30-ish w/ the usual coupons). Most of it is gone, but more may appear. And if it's on their site, it's in stock.
 

gsgolf54

New Member
I had an even weirder experience with Bill's. I ordered a pair of Original Twills (cement) late last Sunday, the 29th of November. The site said that they were 50% off, which totaled $72.50. I realized that it was a great deal so I added a size 34 M3 to the shopping bag. I looked around the site at other items, found nothing else I wanted or found nothing else in my size so I went to check out. Much to my amazement, the price read $29.00 with free shipping! Needless to say, I clicked all the necessary information and ordered them. I checked each day and it kept saying that the order was " processing". I began to have my doubts after seeing the "processing" status each day until last Friday, I received an email stating that they had been shipped. I followed the UPS link over the weekend and they arrived yesterday. I have no idea what went on or how this super discount occurred but I surely wasn't going to complain. After reading the last four pages of posts here, I can only assume that the whole website was so messed up that this error was able to occur.
 

vpkozel

Super Member
For those in the doom and gloom camp, check out the fairly recent history of Harley Davidson.

I think it seems clear to me that the previous investor was there to strip whatever short term value that they could out of the company. Here's hoping the new investor has a longer term approach.
 

toddorbertBU

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
Thought I would give everyone an update. Just talked to Mary Jo. She was great in helping me out. Was told they are up to processing the orders for 11/30 and before. So if you ordered before that date and haven't received anything, whatever you ordered is either out of stock or never in stock.
She was able to tell me exactly which of my order was in stock and I think she even bumped my order up. So I am hopeful.
 

Cuttington III

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
I also just got off the phone with Bills Khakis (didn't speak with Mary Jo but a man...Joe, maybe?).

He said that the company would be closing and that is why they are liquidating. He also said that they were about a week behind in processing orders but was able to tell me that both the items were in stock and they should be headed out in about a week or so.

Very nice folks at Bills...I hope everyone lands on their feet!
 

Charles Dana

Honors Member
I also just got off the phone with Bills Khakis (didn't speak with Mary Jo but a man...Joe, maybe?).

He said that the company would be closing and that is why they are liquidating. He also said that they were about a week behind in processing orders but was able to tell me that both the items were in stock and they should be headed out in about a week or so.

Very nice folks at Bills...I hope everyone lands on their feet!
If the company really does shut down altogether--rather than reorganize, regroup, and come back in a somewhat trimmed-down incarnation--then the saga of Bills Khakis will be a case study in business schools from coast to coast for years to come. Maybe it will--or should be--a case study no matter what.

It's been apparent to me and to some others on this forum that in recent years Bills Khakis was growing way too fast--like a speeding train that you knew would fly off the rails sooner rather than later. But I'd love to read the inside skinny--all the details of precisely how and why things went so sour. I hope a business magazine publishes a lengthy article analyzing the Bills crash-and-burn soon.

I wonder if Bill Thomas, for all the wealth he has accrued, wishes he were once again just selling khakis out of the back of his station wagon.
 

JLibourel

Honors Member and King Fop
This is very interesting. A month or so back, I ordered a pair of the Bullard twills at a knockoff price and never got them. My credit card was not charged, fortunately. I called up and got a very pleasant, helpful lady (very probably Mary Jo), and she told me that they were now out of stock. In their stead, I ordered a pair of Original Twills in Mushroom at a nice markdown, which I received in a timely fashion. I did note that they were shipped in a plastic bag instead of the usual box.

If indeed the Bill's we knew and loved is no more, I am glad I am stocked with a dozen pairs. I got on the Bill's bandwagon only recently, so they are all fairly new, and I probably won't be able to wear all of them out in however few years are remaining to me.
 

efdll

Senior Member
I've been following this business saga from the sidelines. Well, not quite, for I did order a pair of original twills when they were at the 60% off mark, and I did get a confirmation that they'd be shipped December 18. I've liked them from the start. Khakis as they were meant to be. Comfortable and hard wearing. Trad houses like J Press sell dressier khakis (I have a pair) but dressy khakis are somehow wrong, like dressy jeans. However, as Bills become an extinct species, I realize I've been too cavalier, putting them on the Exchange for vain reasons, like the cloth marked from alterations. Wish I hadn't done that. Yes, some of the inventory may start showing up cheap at the discount stores, but eventually they'll be gone, and like US made 501 Levis they'll be rare vintage icons. Even more if, like Levis, they are outsourced abroad and/or, like Brooks Brothers, they get the "contemporary" treatment. I'm hanging on to what I have.
I have no idea about their other goods, other than I receive seasonal catalologs indistinguishable from countless others of which LL Bean is the template. If I want fantasy country gentleman porn I'll watch Downton Abbey.
 

Slim Jim

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
Curious on some opinions here. How does a company in business for 25 years die like this? What went wrong? Should they have just stuck to pants. Just do one thing and do it well.
This sucks! They're the only pants I wear.
 

linklaw

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
I got an email this morning that an order I placed on November 29 has shipped. An order I placed a few days earlier, for Bullard twills, has not shipped yet.
 

mfs

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
I was just notified this evening an order I placed on November 30 has shipped.

I have not received notification orders I placed on November 29 and December 4 have shipped.
 
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