For those who are obsessed with shoes, we truly empathize. It’s truly a hard task in life to find enough shoe racks to accommodate all the pairs that you’re never going to wear because you don’t want them to get dirty!
Nevertheless, if you are a shoe person, you might be wondering – what is the exact reason why Cathy Jean Shoes closed?
Of course, there are tons of other retailers who might be selling just as good, if not better, pairs of shoes, sandals, and slippers for discounted prices.
But there’s something about Cathy Jean that attracted millions of customers every year.
Was it the price point, or the rustic charm of antique designs? Or perhaps it was simply the nostalgic factor that compelled shoe lovers to flock into the stores of Cathy Jean and browse for hours.
The shoe community is not forgetful at all. After all, who else would remember the exact type of print, pattern, and design of a shoe they wanted for years until they finally get their hands on one?
Just like people don’t forget about their dream shoes, people cannot seem to get over the fact that the Cathy Jean Shoes website closed off prematurely.
Sure, the company might not be as magnificent as some of the other competitors in the market, but they had its fair share of fans.
But a steep fall followed their glamorous success, and it all came to an abrupt halt. Fortunately, you can still get the highly popular Cathy Jean platform shoes on websites like Poshmark, Walmart, and even eBay.
But the company is officially non-existent, which absent customer service, no guarantee, and no nothing.
So what compelled the shoe brand to close its outlets to millions of hungry customers? Or were they even any customers left down the end of the road?
If you’re here to find out about your once-favorite shoe retail franchise, you’re in the right place. Sit back, grab a glass of juice, stop browsing for your favorite sneakers, and enjoy the ride with us!
Cathy Jean Shoes – In The Beginning…
Let’s get one thing right – Cathy Jean Shoes survived the market for a long, long time. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why their shoe collection is so diverse.
You do not serve the United States as the foremost national shoe retailer for years without having pizazz.
Cathy Jean Shoes became a national shoe retailer in the United States of America, owing to their heavily discounted prices, a good collection of old and new shoe designs, and easily accessible outlets.
The company launched impressively, having humble roots and serving as a retail store for shoe freaks. The customers were particularly impressed with how cheap their products were, especially with such good designs.
The bestsellers, including their platform shoes, pump heels, and other retro-modern designs gathered national acclaim.
At one point, customers from all over the country flocked to the 50 Cathy Jean Shoes outlets spread across the States.
Primarily a retailer, Cathy Jean Shoes soon rebranded itself into a fashion statement. Their competitors, like Steve Madden, had to lower their prices to direct customers their way as well.
It was in 2014 that Cathy Jean made the online breakthrough. With the help of Warp 9, the company launched its own e-commerce platform. They made this move to target the vast market of online shoppers.
With the advent of technology in the early 2010s, more and more people moved towards e-commerce and online shopping. Cathy Jean Shoes recognized the shift and made necessary arrangements at the perfect time.
As a result of their good planning, the company recorded great success. After only a week of starting their online website, the company’s mobile revenue skyrocketed, hiking up by an unfathomable 60%.
Moreover, the company also enhanced its mobile conversion rates by 72%.
With so much good happening for them, why did the business close, and will they ever be back? All of these questions resonate with what were the original shoppers of this nostalgic brand.
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Why Did They Shut Down?
Just as quickly as Cathy Jean Shoes appeared on everyone’s wish list, the company disappeared. Imagine adding your favorite shoe to your cart and when you finally have the money to afford the pair, the website closes down. Tough luck.
That’s what happened to Cathy Jean’s official website. After a bad patch of business and highly negative reviews, things happened and the company decided it was best for them to shut down completely.
Fortunately, all hope is not lost. Do you want to try out some of their products? They might still be in circulation in online stores like Walmart.
You might even find some retailers carrying a couple of popular Cathy Jean designs. However, the company, for what it’s worth, is no more.
The worst thing? There was no funeral with bagpipes or planned decline of the shoe retailer. They just started underperforming and eventually, almost abruptly, bid farewell to their zealous customers.
But what happened that led to the gradual decline? What kind of company was Cathy Jean Shoes that experienced so much success and yet failed in the end?
The answer is mostly simple – they conducted some bad business and were careless in their approach.
The price was the ultimate.
1. Negative Customer Relations:
It’s no secret that Cathy Jean Shoes was a popular option in its heyday. But if you want to remain on top, you have to make the effort to cling to the highest point. Cathy Jean Shoes, unfortunately, didn’t believe in the mantra.
Over time, the company started having some issues with its customers. Despite their good products and cheap prices, customers started avoiding the stores and outlets. Why? Bad customer service was the primary reason.
For a company incorporated over five decades ago, Cathy Jean Shoes did not have a lot of expertise on how to deal with their customers pleasantly.
There were several reports and reviews online claiming harassment, rudeness, or inappropriate behavior by the company’s staff.
The reviews are especially bad when it comes to refunds or exchanges of sold products. Customers reported that the staff tried to work their way out of refunding or exchanging damaged or unfit products even upon reasonable requests that complied with their policies.
One Yelp customer was indignant about the lack of quality service from the store, claiming that the company lost her shoe that they were supposed to replace.
After that, the manager of the outlet refused to help her out and kept repeating that there was nothing she could do.
Another reviewer commented on the staff’s abysmal behavior, alleging that they work as if they don’t want to be there.
Many other reviewers have concurred with this opinion after having their own unpleasant exchanges with the Cathy Jean Shoes staff.
Recording an abysmal 2/5 stars on Yelp Reviews, Cathy Jean Shoes dug a store for themselves. The customers were shocked to find out how rude and incompetent the company’s service was.
Ultimately, the customer wants to be the king. And if you treat them with disrespect, they will mass-boycott your brand.
That is what happened to Cathy Jean Shoes. They didn’t respect their customers. By the time they realized their mistake, there wasn’t any left, to begin with.
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2. Bad Employee Relations:
Remember when a Yelp Reviewer claimed that the employees at Cathy Jean Shoes act as if they don’t want to be there? That’s probably true.
Just like with their customers, the company couldn’t build a solid rapport with their staff as well. There were multiple bad reviews about the company’s work environment, long hours, and managerial policies.
So what did the employees say about the workplace? Fortunately, we don’t have to interview anyone to find out about this, thanks to platforms like Glassdoor.
One of the company’s former employees wrote to Glassdoor, saying that they weren’t surprised the company was closed as working there didn’t have a single pro and that the management was a disaster.
Another ex-employee reported that while his coworkers and work environment were nice enough, the management (again) was a disaster to work with, especially as they constantly put down their employees for no reason.
In some cases, employees ranted about the lack of decent pay at the company. However, some employees claimed that pay was the least of their concerns and that the commissions were actually good. It was the management that always got the bad label.
With so much friction between the employees and the executives, the company was bound to fail. Employees found themselves resigning as soon as possible to get out of the toxic work culture.
The company, on the other hand, had to constantly rehire people to plug the holes and keep the ship afloat. But eventually, the bad reviews caught up to them and Cathy Jean Shoes couldn’t cope.
Better to close the company than face an employee mutiny, don’t you think?
Cathy Jean Shoes – A Lesson Learned
Now that you’re familiar with the Cathy Jean Company overview, you know that there was nothing wrong with their products. It was all down to bad business and management.
Cathy Jean’s owner decided that there were too many leaks to fix, and closed down the stores and the company’s official website after multiple backlashes.
Despite a reported Cathy Jean net worth or revenue of around $30 million, the brand couldn’t survive millions of angry customers and employees.
The company, with its final move, taught a lesson to all the businesses in the world. The success starts internally, with the employees, and ends outside, with the customers. You have to treat them both right to have a good ending.
Alternatives to Cathy Jean Shoes – The Unproblematic Ones
We agree it’s a tragic loss that such an old, reputed, and cheap nationwide shoe retailer had to close its door. But we promise it’s not the end of the world.
There are some other alternatives that you might want to consider.
1. Steve Madden:
When Cathy Jean Shoes’ downfall started, Steve Madden grew in popularity. People still preferred the former because of their cheaper prices, but the latter was immaculate in terms of servicing, design, and quality.
Ultimately, as Cathy Jean Shoes fell apart, Steve Madden took on the mantle and established its dominance in the shoe retail industry.
2. Kenneth Kole:
Another old-school, fashion wizard business, Kenneth Kole is more or less an industry giant. Like Steve Madden, it established itself in the late 1900s and is still dominating the market with a wide flurry of exciting products.
It didn’t pose any serious threat to Cathy Jean Shoes as the segments didn’t match entirely, but it would be a strict competitor today.
3. Nine West:
The Nine West is an American retailer that makes stylish shoes and other accessories for women. In terms of design and pricing, it could give any popular nationwide retailer a run for their money.
Cathy Jean Shoes serves as a reminder for any brand that thinks nobody can topple its throne of dominance. If the customers feel like it, they can destroy a business within months.
It is up to the business, therefore, to treat them right.