I have really wide feet, and you know what they say about guys with wide feet - it's hard for them to find cycling shoes that fit. Northwave had been my go-to brand for a long time, as they had really wide lasts. Then they changed, which resulted in a year of foot misery for me. Last summer, I went into a shop I like and asked "what's the widest thing you've got in my size?" Ten minutes later, I walked out with a pair of Sidi Mega in size 43.5. Sidi's Megas have actually gotten wider - they used to not be wide enough for me. My feet have been happy since, even if my wallet stung for a bit after.
I paid full retail, which I didn't mind, and here's why: the shop was uniquely positioned to solve my problem, had invested in their ability to do so (both in knowledge and inventory), and bore a cost structure as a result of that investment and ability. People can argue it until the sun goes down, but after having had my problem comprehensively solved, I'd have felt like an ass if I hadn't bought the shoes right there. Some may see tremendous irony in the guy who runs an online wheel builder having such an attitude about it, but I don't.
We've invested really an inappropriate (relative to our size, for sure) amount of resources into learning about wheels - everything from aerodynamics and stiffness, to what cx tubeless setups are 100% reliable, to carbon supply chain and manufacturing, to everything about how components fit together, to what is going to work best for what rider in what circumstances. For most people, opinions form more quickly than knowledge accumulates, but we maintain that in our case it's precisely the opposite - informed opinions are the only opinions we want to have.
We have the product scope and assembly ability to cover a tremendous range of use cases, needs and parameters. It's not a question of "pick whatever OEM wheel set is burning a hole in our inventory and floor space" like it is with so many wheel choices. We really do recommend without regard for margin - we steer A LOT of people to a lower cost solution than what they might have had in mind. And there are times when we simply say "we can't meet your needs" simply because someone either has a budget that's below our strike zone, or wants something for which we don't feel we're the best solution. We don't do disc wheels (though we kind of rul at disc brake wheels) and we're not up to speed on downhll/enduro/fatbike type stuff, so you're better off finding the November of those products - because we simply aren't the November of those products. But of what we do, we are the November.
We also share what we've learned quite freely. Aggressively, even. Sharing what we've learned with the market both advances the general conversation about wheels, and (hopefully) convinces people that we do in fact know what the hell it is we are talking about. Sometimes we get shouted down, and it's not at all unusual for us to learn something new through discourse since things are evolving and we can only focus on so many things at any point, but what happens most often is that people approach us for input. Sometimes people ask for a 1000 word discourse on something, which is when the blog archives help, so we do what we can in those situations.
We're empathetic to an absolute fault, by which I mean that we want to steer you only to what is going to work best for you, generally at the lowest cost, over your given time frame. We're happy to help you arrive at your decision, happier when we can provide that solution, and happiest when you choose us to provide it.
The more you guys write, the more I want to buy your products. The bike industry needs players like you. Re buying shoes from the shop, spot on. In my mind, the worst thing a shop can say is 'we can order that for you'. I can order it too, and get it faster and cheaper. But if you have what I need, in stock, when I need it, you've solved my (usually urgent) problem and I'll pay what you ask.