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Firms told: Concentrate on acquisitions By Louise Cordell FOOTWEAR companies with capital to spare should be concentrating on acquisitions according to a new industry study. Research from analysts, Plimsoll Publishing, has suggested that a record number of companies are losing money and overall business values are now worth less than half what they were 12 months ago. However, the research shows that this may also give some stores the chance to cash in on the opportunity of a generation. David Pattison, senior analyst, said: “What we have identified is a group of ‘wounded animals’. “Many of these businesses have a long and distinguished history, but their recent performance has deteriorated. “By definition these are classic acquisitions and anyone looking to grow their own company should be looking for businesses

that are currently undervalued yet, with help, can be turned around.” The study rated each of the UK’s leading 1,000 footwear companies on their ‘acquisition attractiveness’. It found that 189 companies are ‘ripe for the picking’ based on a combined scoring system, incorporating overall financial strength, ownership, valuation and future potential. These 189 companies are all privately owned, but show a serious deterioration in their financial performance. David added: “The current market conditions have presented an unprecedented set of opportunities to buy into a business that even a year ago would have been unaffordable. “We know of at least 431 companies within the industry who have the cash to spend, and could aid these 189 ailing business and ensure their survival.”

Crocs has launched a new footwear collection which has been designed to improve recovery after exercise. The three styles in the Prepair range have been created to increase blood flow to the foot and leg muscles to help relieve pain and tiredness following a workout. The footbed has been designed to spread pressure evenly to prevent pressure points forming and have been treated with silver particles to make the shoe anti-bacterial and anti-fungal. Crocs carried out testing of the range with over 350 athletes and over 58 per cent believed that the footwear gave them more relief after activity than their current shoes.

Beatrix Ong has created a shoe exclusively for English National Ballet. Glare for English National Ballet is a signature Beatrix Ong design in champagne metallic leather based on the colour of a pointe shoe. The Ballet’s dancers were recently part of Beatrix Ong’s Autumn/Winter campaign with four of the performers modelling her latest collection. During the shoot, the dancers were also filmed dancing in her summer collection shoes. Sally Muckely, English National Ballet director of development, said: “A dancer’s feet are a truly amazing thing; they are such an important part of what makes a ballerina beautiful. “Beatrix’s shoes are perfect for hard working dancers’ feet as they are both comfortable and very stylish.”

Jobs saved in sell-off OVER 50 jobs have been saved with the announcement that Mr Shoes Limited has been sold. The company was placed into administration in June with David Whitehead and Bob Rose from Larking Gowen being appointed joint administrators. However, it has now been bought by Glayone Limited which was formed by the previous directors of Mr Shoes Limited. David Whitehead said: “We are delighted with the completion of this sale which will preserve 53 jobs at its head office and warehouse function in Dereham and in the nine stores that will continue trading.

A new collection of cross trainers has been launched by performance brand Scarpa. The company already produces a selection of walking mountaineering and climbing boots and has now released the Alpine X range. The design has been created to allow the wearer to move quickly and comfortably in a variety of different environments and on a range of terrains. Trail Plate technology has been used to make the shoes light yet supportive and all designs feature breathable uppers and low profile, abrasion resistant toes.

“It is of course unfortunate that some of the stores have had to close with job losses but the company was a victim of the recession that is affecting many UK retailers.” Mr Shoes’ stores will continue to trade in: Norwich, Red Lion Street and St Stephens, Kingston, Wimbledon, Oxford, Bristol, Leamington Spa, Bury St Edmunds and Peterborough.

Retailers are still managing to expand OVER the last few months many independent retailers have started to feel more optimistic about the financial climate. However, a recent warning from credit ratings agency Fitch has claimed that any improvements are actually unsustainable and that store owners should not expect a lasting recovery until at least 2011. The firm attributes the temporary boost to a combination of Easter shopping, good weather and many shops’ early sales. It also pointed out that stores may find it even harder to cut back on promotions like this in the future, because shoppers will come to expect price cuts, and will be unwilling to spend if they are not provided. Despite this, many retailers are still managing to expand and improve their sales. One of these is London’s Black Truffle boutique, which sells quirky and unique footwear and accessories and was named Best New Store at this year’s Drapers Footwear Awards. In this issue, Out On A Limb speaks to the shop’s founder Melissa Needham to find out how she has used her expertise to expand into training, her thoughts on design and manufacture in the UK and all of her latest plans aimed at continuing the brand’s success.



Issue 54 August/September 09 Originality, passion and excitement Designers toe the line


Foot in the door for Emily

4 7 8

Sales Tony Barry - Sales & Marketing Director Beverley Green - Sales Manager ( Advertising Contacts Tel: 01226 734333 | Fax: 01226 734477



New collection at Moda



Moda goes bridal



Looking to trainers


Andrew Harrod - Group Editor Judith Halkerston - Group Deputy Editor Louise Cordell - Editor Christina Eccles - Reporter Mary Ferguson - Reporter Editorial Contacts Tel: 01226 734694 | Fax: 01226 734705 Email:

Design & Production



Pretty in pink

Stewart Holt - Studio Manager (

Kyle Wilkinson - Design & Production (


What’s going on and when


Circulation 01226 734695 (24 hour hotline) Email:

Unique collection delivers originality, artistic passion and excitement ... RADICAL Boot Co. is proud to introduce their unique collection of stylish, comfortable, handmade boots, shoes and accessories. All Radical Boot Co. products are hand crafted to unrivalled levels of quality and come with 90-day or 12month warranties. We bring originality, artistic passion and excitement to the usually uninspired world of biker, western, dress and exotic skin boots and shoes. We are here to go beyond the expectations of the fashion industry and consumers across the globe. The product range includes dress boots, exotic skin boots, biker boots, western boots, exotic sports and leisure shoes, women’s boots, shoes and belts and accessories. Radical Boot Co. is an American brand, but all products are handmade the old fashioned way, in Mexico, where Western boots were originally invented. With our unique image application and embossing processes, we have already revolutionised the western, biker and dress boot industry in America and we are now responding to the numerous enquiries we have

received from all over the globe by announcing the arrival of Radical Boot Co. in the UK and EU. Our unique image application process allows us to permanently apply images and artwork into the leather which will never scratch peel or rub off. They are there for the life of the leather. Our process of printing art work onto genuine leather allows us to use only the highest grade fine leather available due to the required smooth surface. Similarly, for additional comfort, the inside of our boot-uppers are lined with only the finest calf leather. The arch of the soles of our boots is reinforced with a special steel plate to avoid side-to-side flexing whilst walking. They are also made using Goodyear Welt construction.

This construction allows multiple sole replacements, extending the life of the footwear.

This is a currently used method where the upper is drawn over the last and held temporarily whilst a strip of leather (the welt) is stitched to the upper and inner sole.

Radical Boot Co. will be exhibiting at GDS Dusseldorf, Urban Authentic Hall at stand number 3A25.

The sole is hand-stitched through the Welt to complete the process.

For more information on call: 01423 504444, fax: 01423 504494 or e-mail:


Recession leads to show scale back THIS year’s GDS and Global Shoes show has been scaled back in response to the changing demands of exhibitors. The show will take place from 11 to 13 September with around 1,100 brands from 40 countries presenting their latest designs for spring/summer 2010. Kirstin Deutelmoser, GDS director, said: “Our main aim this year is to continue as before and not to bring in too many new factors unnecessarily, because we didn’t think that this would be the best way forward during the current financial difficulties. “We noticed a lot of exhibitors wanted to be present, but were concerned about spending too much money, especially when they were not sure of future profits. “So we felt that the answer to this was to provide slightly smaller exhibition spaces in order to keep costs down, but still giving everyone who wants to exhibit a chance to do so. “This means that the show will be slightly smaller this year - we have dropped one hall to make up for this difference in space sizes and instead will be concentrating on making the main halls as good as possible.” Many aspects of the show will remain the same however, including the ‘concept sections’ which have been particularly successful for previous events. This clear segmentation was originally introduced to ensure that the exhibitors were in the right surroundings alongside similar brands, and so visitors were able to find what they were looking for quickly and easily. For September, the layout has also been organised to leave

Lily Cole at GDS March 2009

Public vote to help decide design finalists THE 20 semifinalists for Hush Puppies’ Shoe Design Competition have been chosen and a public vote will now decide who makes the final.

commercially viable for Hush Puppies.

The competition was launched in April and over 700 entries were received from aspiring designers hoping for the chance to see their creations for sale on shop shelves.

Five finalists will now go through to the last stage of the competition.

Julie Bradley, Hush Puppies marketing manager, said: “We have had a massive response to the competition – much bigger than we were anticipating and the entries were all of a much higher standard than we expected.

open the possibility of a separate fashion show hall for brands in the future, when they are feeling more confident financially. Kirstin added: “We are expecting to lose some exhibitors, but we will gain some new ones too and this is the case for every show. “We will not be expecting a big increase for the next two or three shows, but we are expecting numbers to stay fairly static. “We have also found that in the current difficult financial climate it is important to have extras like trade seminars and information workshops – so this element is going to be stronger than ever so that we can try to provide retailers with everything they might need. “Many retailers may feel that they can’t leave their shops when they are in crisis, but we believe that attending trade shows is very important and we will try to provide everything we can to make the journey worthwhile.”

“The competition attracted a wide range of people from students to housewives who were clearly all very serious about getting their design into production.” The contest attracted entries from as far afield as Belgium, America, Australia, Korea and India but the judges were forced to choose just 20 to put through to the public vote stage. Julie added: “It was very difficult to narrow down our choices – we looked for a combination of stylish presentation and great underlying ideas. “We were also looking for those entrants who had really researched the brand and had come up with a design that would be

“We would be happy to put our name to any one of the finalists’ designs.”

Four will be chosen by the Shoeperstar judging panel and one will make it through on a public vote online at The finalists will be taken through an exclusive mentoring process with Hush Puppies’ designers to refine their shoe creations, before presenting their final designs to the judging panel in October. The overall winner will then have their shoe made and sold exclusively in top high street retailer Schuh. Julie added: “The aim of the competition was to get out there and bring the brand to a younger audience and we have definitely succeeded in this.” “On top of all the competition entries we had at least another 2000 people get in contact just for more information about the brand and the current collections. “We are very pleased with how successful it has been so far, and are now looking forward to seeing the final five and the winning shoe.”

Students shortlisted in contest A FINALIST shortlist has been released for the Cordwainers’ Student Design Competition. For the past six months the London College of Fashion has been collaborating with footwear website, in a search for the best emerging talent. The aim was to invest in future talent by turning the winning designs into brand new styles suitable to sell on the site, alongside established brands. Now, due to the high standard of the designs, it has been decided to shortlist ten students and enlist the help of VivaLaDiva shoppers to select the wining

design. A section of the site’s homepage will be dedicated to showcasing the finalists of the Cordwainers’ project, allowing customers to view videos showing each finalist’s inspiration, read their personal profiles and comment on the shoe designs. Using this feedback, a final decision will then be made on whose collection will be put into production. The winner will be announced in September and the collection of spring/summer 2010 styles will be available to buy from January.

Training opportunities for women in footwear industry


WOMEN workers in England's footwear and leather industry could be climbing the career ladder over the next nine months, thanks to a new training initiative called Women and Work.

Skillfast-UK, the Sector Skills Council for fashion and textiles, aims to help women to develop their technical and management skills, so they can develop within their company and progress to higher-level jobs.

The programme, which is run by

Through Women and Work,


footwear and leather employers based in England can access training grants of up to £600 per female employee. Church's English Shoes is among the 200 companies that have already benefited from previous phases of the Women and Work

programme, which has so far seen 1,600 women improve their skills. Skillfast-UK is currently accepting expression of iºßnterest forms and trainees must be able to complete all the training by March 2010.


Damion le Cappelain’s all terrain boots

Recognition for pair of shoe designers TWO up and coming footwear designers have been recognised at this year’s Royal College of Art fashion competition. The contest had challenged graduate fashion students to interpret the concept of ‘free movement’ and results were announced at the annual RCA Fashion Gala, attended by top designers including Giles Deacon. Footwear design student Damion le Cappelain was named as one of two runners up after creating a pair of all weather, all terrain boots, inspired by 4th century armour, in a contemporary sportswear style. Millinery student Zara Gorman designed a collection of conceptual headwear all in brown leather, inspired by aviation turbines and propellers, which can all be easily flat-packed for trouble-free transportation. Also shortlisted was Kathleen Connors, who designed a striking female shoe inspired by the scientific theory of Brownian Motion. Robert Huth and Simone Sommer, who are studying menswear and womenswear respectively were named winners of the competition Robert and Simone produced a large collection of versatile unisex outfits designed to meet the needs of the urban traveller. The multi-purpose garments feature a blend of zips and adjustable buckles which combine to create an array of practical sets suitable for both men and women. For example, a single move could

Kathleen Connors’ design

transform a man’s knee length coat into a skirt and ladies cropped leather jacket. The winners and the runners up, will receive a cash prize from UPS. Their designs will also be exhibited alongside a catwalk show of final collections from second year RCA postgraduate students. Professor Wendy Dagworthy, head of fashion at the RCA, said: “We are very proud of the creativity demonstrated by the winning students. Their designs were not only original and artistic, but also comprehensively responded to the brief, a skill that will be very important throughout their careers.” The RCA design competition follows successful fashion partnerships with UPS in Belgium, China, France, Germany, Italy, Poland and the US, with the company aiming to support young designers and reflect its commitment to the fashion, textile and luxury industry.

Big names challenge ‘fake’ websites WEBSITES offering fake Christian Louboutin, Jimmy Choo and Manolo Blahnik shoes are being challenged by the big name designers. The sites are flooding the internet with copies of the designer heels, some offering discounts of up to 70 per cent off the genuine article. The demand for the cheaper shoes has become so high that factories have been set up in China to manufacture the fake shoes, before

using images of the designer styles on the websites to sell them. The situation has now become so bad that the boss of Paris based company Louboutin has issued a warning to customers on the official website home page. The site also provides a list of the only official stockists where the styles can be bought as well as asking the public to report any sellers they come across that are providing fake merchandise.


Brand spotlight Creating shoes that can hold their own against ‘the dress’ has been a lifelong passion for Emily Scarterfield. The designer’s bespoke wedding footwear is now in demand even among Royal brides and appointments at her Islington ‘Emmy Boutique’ are constantly in demand. Out On A Limb found out more.

How bridal shoes gave Emily a foot in the door EMMY Scarterfield studied footwear design at Cordwainers before going on to work for many of the most influential fashion houses in Italy, including Giorgio Armani, Bottege Veneta, Pringle and Mulberry. She returned to the UK to start freelancing for several fashion companies, creating new footwear and accessory lines, before deciding to launch her own collection. She said: “I was very keen to focus on my own designs – however, I had seen several of my peers bring out fashion lines that had been well received, but weren’t viable in the long run. “I wanted to focus on something more niche to make sure that I had an audience and that I would be able to create a long term business. “I looked into various options including children’s footwear, but at that time a lot of my friends were getting married and they kept asking me to help them find the right shoes.

Emily Scarterfield

“This also means a lot of them will choose designs in metallic leathers or subtle suedes that will match and complement the dress, but that can also be worn again.”

“I found that most of them were having to compromise as they couldn’t find what they wanted and was shocked by the lack of choice and variety available.

The chance to design a personalised pair of shoes has proved very popular and last year Emmy even created a pair for Autumn Kelly for her wedding to Peter Phillips, the Queen’s eldest grandchild.

“So by the time the third friend was disappointed in her search I offered to make them myself.” The company started out small with just five shapes in the range and Emmy came up with the concept of getting the brides to choose the different elements to make the shoe unique.

She has also been involved in several collaborations with wedding dress designer Jenny Packham and the pair are currently working on a new ready to wear shoe collection.

The boutique works on an appointment system and brides come along, usually once they have chosen their dress, to talk about the style they want. They can then try on different designs and heel heights and choose from the range of colours and detailing, and the final shoe takes 14 to 15 weeks to make. Emmy added: “Brides love this system because it is so open to interpretation – we can merge or tweak any of the designs, so they get the opportunity to create something really original.


“I think that bridal wear has evolved ISSUE 54 AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2009

Emmy added: “I now think that the brand is ready to move on to the next level.

dramatically over the last few years and the designs have become much more fashion led, however up until now I think that the footwear had been left behind, and that is what I want to change. “I think more and more brides these days know exactly what look they are trying to create and it really helps to have specially designed footwear and accessories.” Emmy’s design service is also very

popular with mothers of the bride and bridesmaids who are also looking for comfortable footwear. She also makes made to order clutch bags, which can be altered to match the shoes. She added: “Lots of our brides say that the experience of thinking up and designing the shoes is a big part of the whole wedding experience – it is a one off for most people and they like to have that indulgence.

“It has built up a following and has a strong, unique style, so I think the time has come to move more into the mainstream – we are established now, so we have the opportunity to take more risks. “I am hoping to introduce some of our signature styles, in a range of different colours, into ready to wear retail. “The project is still at a very early stage, but it is definitely the direction that I want to develop in for the future.”


Nike to stop buying leather from region after Greenpeace call By Louise Cordell

the Amazon biome’.

NIKE is to stop buying leather from the Amazon region of Brazil, following calls from Greenpeace claiming that the brand’s actions are contributing to the destruction of the world’s largest rainforest.

This policy will be in place until Nike feels that a reliable system of governance – with full traceability of cattle products which includes the guarantee that those products are not causing deforestation – is in place in the Amazon.

A three-year undercover investigation by the charity into the area’s cattle industry has exposed links between some of Britain’s biggest brands and ongoing deforestation. The recently released report exposed how cattle hides from deforested areas were contaminating the supply chains of a number of global companies including Nike, Clarks, Adidas and Reebok. Sarah Shoraka, a Greenpeace forest campaigner, said: “Nike has recognised that trampling over the Amazon rainforest to produce leather for its trainers is an unacceptable way of doing business. “Preparing land for cattle ranching is now the single biggest cause of deforestation in the world and a major driver of climate change.

These suppliers now have until July 2010 to create a fully traceable supply system, which will provide reliable proof that any leather used for Nike shoes has not been sourced from recently deforested areas. The Greenpeace report has also caused significant movement within the Brazilian cattle industry, and it is hoped that Nike’s decision will help pave the way for an industry wide moratorium on the destruction of forests for cattle ranching. The issue of deforestation is now seen as an international priority in negotiations for a new climate change agreement which is likely to be confirmed at Copenhagen in December.

The policy document that has now been signed by Nike requires all of its suppliers ‘to certify that they are supplying leather for Nike Inc. products from cattle raised outside

Greenpeace is calling on President Lula to introduce an immediate suspension on further deforestation for ranching, and to commit to zero deforestation in the Amazon by 2015. The charity is also urging the UK companies mentioned in the report to stop purchasing from Brazilian suppliers who refuse to commit to cleaning up their supply chains.

The UK’s first ever High Heel-a-thon has been launched in aid of of charity Breast Cancer Haven. The event will take place in September when women and even men can put on their highest heels to raise money for charity. The High Heel-a-thon is a fun run with a twist, as all participants must at least begin and finish the race in their heels – but those who can’t make it all the way around can

take them off for the majority of the course. The 1.24 mile route circles the Clarence Dock area of Leeds and a range of celebrity guests will be joining the charity fundraisers to take part. John Korff, the organiser of the original High Heel-a-thon in New York, said: “This event will show the International Olympic Committee that stiletto running should be part of the London 2012 programme.”

“Nike has taken a bold step and now we need to see other companies follow their lead.”



‘Over a third are unaffected by slowdown’

Date set for Boutique by Chic THIS year’s Boutique by Chic accessories show is set to take place from 25 to 27 October at the Ricoh Arena.

products available include handbags, shoes, jewellery, scarves, wallets, purses, travel goods, umbrellas and jewellery cases.

For the event, organisers have arranged for visitors arriving by air or rail and Birmingham International to be met by a shuttle service, which will run directly to the show.

Brands will be visiting the event from all over Europe, including many from Italy, France, Spain and Germany that are using Boutique as their only UK show.

Exhibiting fashion accessory labels cover every price point and the

Pictured: Chic organisers Mark Greenhalgh and Michell Chappell with event models

OVER a third of UK footwear companies remain largely unaffected by the economic slowdown according to new research from industry analysts. A report from Plimsoll Publishing has revealed that these businesses have been able to maintain their financial strength, margins and some have even managed to increase sales. However, the research also shows that an equal number are facing the brunt of the credit crunch with plummeting sales and profits. The findings suggest that the market is showing no overall growth, compared to an increase of almost five per cent this time last year. Despite this there is a lot of competition within the sector, highlighted by huge gaps in performance, with different firms seeing sales decline by up to 18 per cent or increase by up to 15 per cent. David Pattison, senior analyst, said: “The recessions seems to have accelerated a shift in the market. “Some companies have clearly been affected by those that have swapped

to low cost alternatives or by the loss of a key client, but others are clearly benefitting from this move.” The report reveals that overall profitability is slim, with most companies reporting profits of less than zero per cent – which is largely in line with last year’s figures as the early signs of recession were already taking an effect. However, the gap between the very profitable and those missing out is widening, with one in three currently losing money but over a third reporting margins of over 5 per cent. David added: “The recession has been a good thing for a number of companies, it has sharpened their management and improved the accountability of the directors, so much so that these reorganisations are already leading to an increase in profitability. However, for those that have yet to come to terms with this changing market, times are tough and they risk falling further behind the successful competition unless they respond to this changing market.”

Relaxshoe has been in the comfort shoe market for more than 30 years, producing over four million pairs a year. The brand produces lightweight, durable shoes in soft leather with cushioned footbeds. Previously only sold through the brand’s Italian network, Amika by Relaxshoe is now being offered to UK retailers.





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Crocs’ boss hits back at reports By Louise Cordell CROCS Europe’s managing director has hit back at media reports claiming that the company is on the brink of financial crisis. From 2007 to 2008 the brand swung from a profit of $168m to a loss of $185m and a recent series of job cuts led to stories appearing in the press suggesting that the brand was on its last legs. The Washington Post recently quoted a fund manager as saying “the company’s zombie-ish. They’re dead and they don’t know it.” Robin Akeroyd, Crocs Europe MD, has now issued a response refuting the claims. He said: “Crocs is a global brand which has constant worldwide media attention. “These articles paint a picture of Crocs as a product of the economic boom – a one-shoe company – but now a dead brand. “The Washington Post suggest in the article that Crocs is going down, but this is only an assumption and not based on any new facts.” He claims that the brand has taken action to address the challenges it is facing, completing restructuring activities and paying down debt. However, he points out that similar

action is being taken by many companies in the current economic climate and Crocs is by no means in a unique position. He added: “Per end of quarter one in 2009, Crocs has decreased its borrowing by 12 per cent to $19.8 million. “Crocs also successfully reduced the inventory position by over 50% over the last year looking at quarter one 2009 results. “I am confident that through focused internal efforts as well as deeper working relations with our vast retail base, Crocs will continue to prove that it represents a sustainable proposition within the footwear market.” Robin also confirmed that the brand is continuing to invest in product development in order to add to the 120 styles already available under the Crocs name. He added: “Crocs will continue to innovate and continue to produce durable and affordable shoes. “This is a good business to be in at a time when families are watching their budgets. I am confident in the future of our company and appreciate the support of our many loyal customers, retailers, investors and employees around the world.”

A page three model delivered Emu gifts to the England Cricket Team on the first day of the Ashes at Lords. As part of a summer long gifting initiative, Emu Australia presented the entire England cricket team with a pair of the brand’s latest leather flip flops.

Sales hot up due to weather FOOTWEAR sales have benefited from a spell of warmer weather according to the latest figures from the British Retail Consortium. Footfall increased as the sunshine brought shoppers onto the high street meaning that numbers and sales were up on a year ago throughout the UK as a whole. Results also showed that retail sales in central London in April

were 5.4 per cent higher than a year ago, on a like for like basis. However, the fact that Easter fell later this year combined with weather differences means it is difficult to predict whether the trend will continue. Finally, the favourable exchange rate has continued to attract overseas visitors, especially those from Western Europe, but the effect of sterling’s weakness on US visitors has been less marked.

Moda Preview

Brands gather for Moda THIS season’s Moda will be showcasing the largest gathering of footwear brands seen anywhere in the UK. Many new names, including contemporary lifestyle and kids’ footwear brands will be appearing at the show, as well as established companies. The latest brands to join up include British women’s brand Strutt Couture, presenting its main range of cutting edge footwear as well as a new collection designed by Zandra Rhodes and London-

inspired label Feud. The show has been divided into five sections – Essential, which brings together mainstream and comfort brands; Life, which includes all unisex and lifestyle brands; Boutique, for women’s fashion lines; Express, showcasing in-season collection and finally the CWB Kids’ Zone, a specialist area dedicated to children’s footwear. The event will also be providing a host of networking events, catwalk shows and a free seminar programme.

Strutt Couture is set to exhibit its new collection designed by Zandra Rhodes at this season’s Moda. The world renowned designer has teamed up with the British footwear brand to create a collection of shoes for spring/summer 2010 and is now set to work with the brand for the next five years. Ian O’Connor, Strutt co-founder, said: “Moda is a growing show which is encouraging more premium-placed brands. “I’m sure there will be a lot of interest in these collections, and showing Strutt Couture gives buyers who wish to up their offering the opportunity to discover what the brand is all about.”

Lollipop re-brand LONDON’s Lollipop boutique is undergoing a re-brand following the successful launch of its own footwear label. The London business opened its footwear store in Islington in 2006 and sells brands including Chie Mihara, The Jackson Twins and Miss L Fire. The specially designed shoe range Laura J London was released in September and has been selling so well in store that the decision has been made to rename the company after the new line. All parts of the Lollipop London brand, from the store to the online boutique, will now operate under the Laura J name.

Seminars to offer recession advice MODA’S seminar programme is set to offer retailers advice on how to beat the economic downturn. As part of the two day free seminar programme at the show, Dennis Reid, chairman of Retail Performance Specialists, will be providing guidance on how the independent retailer can ‘beat the downturn in trading’. He will be offering advice on maintaining a competitive advantage, and exploring how sharpening up on

key issues such as sales and service can help you win in an increasingly tough climate. Also appearing this season is visual merchandising expert and managing director of Shopworks, Craig Phillipson, whose seminar ‘The Customer Journey Through the Store’ will illustrate how a clear understanding of customer needs should be the driving force behind effective instore design and can lead to increased sales.


Moda Preview

New bridal footwear collections from Benjamin Adams, Belle and Pink are to be launched at Modatex, Harrogate and the Designer Wedding show. The Benjamin Adams line of luxury footwear has been created by Alessandro Pavan and incorporates catwalk trends to create stylish but practical designs. Belle provides contemporary silk bridal shoes as well as designs for bridesmaids and the mother of the bride. Pink is the fastest growing bridal footwear brand in the UK with styling influenced by high street trends and shoes that can be hand dyed to match any colour scheme.


Retail Review

After being named Best New Store at this year’s Drapers Footwear Awards, independent boutique Black Truffle has been going from strength to strength. Founder Melissa Needham is now focussing on her commitment to nurturing the best new design talent by introducing a footwear training course. Out On A Limb Found Out more.

Why boutique founder Melissa is looking to trainers THE first Black Truffle store opened in Broadway Market in 2003 featuring design-led shoes, bags and jewellery – focussing on quirky styles and rare finds. Melissa Needham went on to launch its sister store on Warren Street in the West End in 2006 which, as well as footwear and accessories, houses the Prescott & Mackay School of Fashion and Accessory Design. This design school offers short courses in everything from shoe and bag making to millinery and corsetry. A new two-day course has now been launched to teach practical shoemaking as well as commercial skills – taking a footwear design from the concept to saleable product. Melissa will be teaching the course alongside footwear designers Aki Choklat and Chau Har Lee. She said: “We have been running courses with a wide brief for many years. These have been open to anyone with an interest in the industry and they have been very popular – especially with those at entry level, like people wanting to move into a new career. “However, over the years we have had more people who are already working within the industry getting interested, for example designers and buyers, but not necessarily footwear specialists – I think the current financial climate is encouraging people to try and acquire wider areas of expertise.” She has also been running a series of classes that are more theory based than practical, covering the different interpretations of design and production. The new course is an extension of that, catering for people who are experienced in the areas of business, buying and communication, but who need more technical and specific footwear information – a clear understanding of how shoes are made. Melissa added: “I always try to keep the courses tailored to whatever demand is at that moment. “This knowledge helps with customer and manufacturer relationships because it gives an overview of the whole process, tracing the finished product through the chain of design and construction. “Demand for things like this has definitely risen sharply recently, I


think many people are looking for a career change into something more creative. I also think that training might be being looked at more favourably in the industry because of the current financial climate. “I think training is so important because there are lots of very interesting designers around at the moment and it would be nice if there were more people with skills available here for them to work with to achieve their designs. “Fewer skills in the UK will impact on the whole industry which can only be a bad thing.” Melissa also has plans to make a series of changes to the Black Truffle stores in order to provide better customer service and increase sales. These include introducing an EPOS system to computerise all stock, sales and purchases. She said: “I want to be able to analyse all the transactions accurately to help us react quickly to demand - I think it will be very useful as a business strategy tool. “I have also become interested in emarketing and have started getting involved in regular newsletters, blogging and social networking. “This will allow us to profile customers and provide a better, more tailored service for them.”

Moda Preview

New Sunsteps collection Five by Rio Ferdinand, the new footwear collection being launched by Strutt Men is set to make a first-time appearance at this season’s Moda. The range is made up of men’s fashion footwear and accessories including classic and casual styled shoes and boots, all with signature detailing. Other offerings will include man-bags and other accessories such as wash bags and wallets. Other names showing for the first time at Moda Footwear include Firetrap’s fashion led footwear range, Fly London’s collection and sportswear brand K-Swiss.

Gola teams with eBoy BRITISH sports brand Gola has joined forces with German pixel art collective eBoy for a second collection. The autumn/winter 2009 range has been influenced by sources including pop culture, Lego and computer games and the designs’ 3D isometric illustrations feature robots, cars guns and girls. Kai Vermehr from eBoy said: “After working on the Gola by eBoy SS09 collection, we are honoured to have

TAKE best-selling, wide-fitting lasts, add super soft burnished leathers and a large pinch of fresh design. Then stir in sensual new textures and an infusion of vibrant summer colours and you have the new Equity ‘Sunsteps’ spring/summer 2010 collection. Equity designers have created an exciting fusion of the best of the Equity brands with creative, innovative design, which both delivers on comfort and fit while

providing a more fashionably stylish range with wide appeal. Competitive price points ranging from £45 to £56 RRP provide excellent margins and the fine quality, guarantees customer satisfaction. Join us at Moda on the Padders stand (FK2) this August to view the new SS10 Equity ‘Sunsteps’ range. For more details contact Mike Rowe on 01536 534976 or e-mail:

the opportunity to produce a second collection with Gola. We took Neal Stephenson’s title ‘Snowcrash’ as an inspirational starting point, resulting in a range of designs that focus on digital noise patterns.” The new range features two men’s and two women’s high and low top footwear styles as well as a unisex, vulcanised option in a mix of leather and canvas, along with a selection of t-shirts and bags for men and women.


Moda Preview Caprice have launched a new ‘Fashion on air’ collection, which will sell alongside the ‘Walking on Air’ classic range. Both have the brands patented ‘walking on air’ insole and ‘superflexible’ and ‘anti-shokk’ technologies. All designs also feature leather uppers and insock as well as leather lining.

New for everyday ... LOTUS is to launch a new everyday footwear collection at Moda. Building on its well established ladies’ portfolio of formal styles and occasion footwear, a new range of everyday shoes that draws on the brand’s key capabilities will be launched to the trade at the forthcoming Moda Footwear exhibition. This new collection of contemporary, everyday, easy to wear footwear styles will appeal to style minded women. Low and mid-heel shoe designs are set off by a plethora of colours ranging from summer shades through to staple tones that will work effortlessly with a transitional wardrobe. Styles aren’t over embellished, but neither are they simple in their design; woven uppers, patent and leather combinations, embossed designs, pepper pot punching, stud

detailing and buckle features are all creatively applied. Each design will also be available with a high quality leather or suede upper. To preview the new collection, please visit the Lotus stand, FL39, at Moda Footwear.


Outrageous. Evolve. Imaginer. THE new J Shoes spring/summer 2010 collection draws inspiration from three major themes – 'Outrageous' 'Evolve' and 'Imaginer' whilst building on its core strengths and encompassing exciting new product lines, colours and material mixes. The men’s collection emphasizes the extremes of summer with key autumn/winter style with ‘Estate’ a welted ankle boot continuing through and updated in distressed canvas and leather combinations complimented by a sandal package ‘Oasis’ offering the same distinctive mixture. Relaxed and perfect for summer, exciting new boating lines set sail this season in plain and combination leathers on lace up and slip on upper patterns, colours are cool and breezy and subtle details add an understated point of difference. Moreover the refined finish of the ‘Regent’ range is updated and extended with new style ‘Caine’ a penny loafer and ‘Preston’ a saddle slip on complimenting the already popular ‘Charlie’ brogue. Colours provide a natural palette of grey, dusty blue and rich golden tan whilst special interest is given to the welted leather out sole that features a tinted colourwash reminiscent of sun bleached driftwood.

For women a succession of styles reappear this season, updated accordingly to sit snugly inside the new mood. Within the ‘Riser’ range new colour ways are introduced on the already successful ‘Spring’ and ‘Flourish’ styles highlighted by feature linings of seaside stripes. But watch out for newcomers ‘Fable’, ‘Higher’ and ‘Soar’ as they blast forward in rich vintage colours and offer alternatives such as a sling back court shoe and an open sculpted strap shoe. The ‘Province’ range of clog-inspired sandals blossom with three new upper patterns ‘Bloom’, ‘Daisy’ and ‘Fern’. New styles ‘Whim’, ‘Moxie’ and ‘Zest’ from the alluring ‘Verve’ range brings refinement to new heights with elegant open toed platform-inspired sandals on natural and colour washed rich glazed wood - a key point of interest to this range. Finally for women there is a capsule collection in sparkling grey and white exotic print leather drawing attention to the seasonal trends and is offered across three key product lines.

For enquiries please contact: 01858 468123, e-mail: or visit: J SHOES will be previewing their international S/S 2010 collection at the following shows: Pure, London: Stand No: KFO117, Futura, Dublin; stand D9 and Moda, Birmingham: Stand No: FF20.



‘Independents must raise their standards’ By Louise Cordell INDEPENDENT retailers in the UK need to raise their service standards or risk failure according to a new report. A study has found that over the last 18 months consumers’ shopping habits have changed significantly and three quarters of people would leave a store if they experienced bad service. The research from business advisers BDO Stoy Hayward has identified a new’ hypersensitive consumer’ who is time and money poor, feels guilty about spending, is less loyal and believes that retailers are privileged to have them in their stores. Findings showed that this new type of customer refuses to tolerate bad

service, with 71 per cent happy to move on to a competitor if they feel their shopping experience is not up to standard. Don Williams, retail partner at BDO Stoy Hayward, said: “The new hypersensitive consumer is more switched on, better informed and surrounded by choice. “Retailers should be frightened by the fact that 74 per cent of their customers would leave the store if they encountered bad service. “In the current environment, this is something that they just cannot afford to ignore.” The report concluded that retailers are also under additional pressure because consumers want their

less to spend. However, it was not all bad news, as 71 per cent confirmed that they would be happy to pay full price rather than a discounted amount to treat themselves.

shopping experience to continue improving. Nearly half said that they have increased their expectations in the past two years and are less likely to buy if any part of the experience is substandard. Don added: “Having to queue and poor product availability all ranked highly on the customers’ list of objections. Consumers are saying ‘constantly delight me with what you’ve got on offer’ – highlighting the need for retailers to provide a shopping experience as opposed to a shopping trip.” The study also found that the hypersensitive consumer is looking for better value from retailers with 49 per cent agreeing that they had

Don added: “Our research identified that perceptions of value don’t just influence where these consumers make a purchase, but whether the purchase happens at all. “Customers are more reluctant to buy and need a strong reason to do so. To win business, retailers can’t afford weakness in any part of their strategy. Brands, channels and formats may all need to be reviewed and aligned – the key to success is a holistic approach that removes any hurdles to purchase and provides a rich and engaging shopping experience.”

Championship winner Jeremy Palser and Geoffrey Mawer, President

Boost for charities THE International Golf Championship of the Shoe, Leather and Allied Trades has taken place at Slaley Hall in Northumberland. At the event banquet the chairman of the LHTBI, William Tusting, and Robert Hollidge from Footwear Friends, were presented with cheques for their respective charities and it is hoped that this year, despite the economic downturn, the total for the year will reach £15,000. The Championship and the ‘News Bowl’ was won by Jeremy Palser of Hot Brands for the second time in three years, with 68 points and Jeremy also won the Lotus Trophy for the West Midlands. The 65th Championship in 2010 is set to take place on 16 to 18 June at the Killarney Golf and Fishing Club on the Killeen Course and Mahoney’s Point.


Kool for kids New brand Noel is set to launch in the UK at this season’s Moda. The French shoe manufacturer produces two collections a year from first steps through children’s, junior and sport ranges. Noel shoes are 40 per cent lighter than an identical rubber soled shoes, aiming to offer children comfort and mobility while still being durable. These soles are are 100 per cent recycled and contain anti-bacterial properties.

Distribution changes Net limited edition collection from Nike for Superfit shoes

NIKE has unveiled a new limited edition Transformers basketball shoe collection. The set of three designs, inspired by the fictional robot characters, have been released to commemorate the recent film sequel. The range includes the Nike Zoom Flight Club, Nike Zoom FP and Nike Sharkalaid, complete with special packaging and retro graphics. The shoe boxes mimic nostalgic toy packaging complete with original Hasbro graphics, J-hooks for hanging display and decoder profiles on the back of the boxes that highlight each robot’s powers. Each of the three designs can be purchased individually and include special colorways

THE distribution of Superfit children’s shoes in the UK and Ireland by Bramwell International has been handed over to the manufacturer Superfit/Legero who will now employ the existing sales team in the UK and Ireland and co-ordinate both logistic and financial support from their head office in Graz, Austria. Since 1992 when BI started distributing the brand, Superfit has grown into a respected brand offering style, durability and value for money. A key part of its UK offer is the year round ‘Back to School’ range for both boys and girls with some styles having Gore-tex membrane for complete climate control. The SS10 range will offer a combination of sporty trainers, shoes and sandals from sizes 18 to 43. coordinating with the Transformers characters Megatron (Nike Zoom Flight Club), Soundwave (Nike Sharkalaid) and Bumblebee (Nike Zoom FP).

In addition to the children’s range for SS10, Legero will launch its adults collection for the first time in the UK. The collections can be seen at MODA on stand FJ51

Police have introduced a brand new range of sunglasses aimed at children between six and 12. The brand has launched an extension to its ‘Be Unique’ advertising campaign to promote the collection which recreates three of of most popular concepts from the adult range. These include vintage styles, recreations of 80s bestsellers and designs based on the latest fashion trends. The collection has been adapted to feature brightly coloured plastic frames and a combination of square masculine shapes and feminine styles.

Over 40 styles available BABYSHOES carries one of the largest in stock continental babyshoes in the UK.

In association with Sarah Jane, Daisy Roots are proud to announce the new arrival of their chrome free leather bib gift sets. All handmade in Northamptonshire.

It has over 40 styles and 12 colours. It has next day delivery service (free on orders over £250) but does not has a minimum order. Babyshoes have won numerous awards including winner of the Industry Design Awards 2008 and the accolade of inclusion in the Who's Who of Britain's Business Elite. The company has showrooms in Manchester, Birmingham and

Handmade for little lovelies

Glasgow. For more information contact Trevor on 0151 2803049, e-mail: or visit their website:

Call on: 01604 880066 Email:

Visit our stand G67 Grand Hall - Top Drawer London


Accessories Menbur are extremely pleased with the sales they have achieved this winter season. Moda will be the last chance to view the autumn/winter 09 collections and previews of spring/summer 2010 will also be available. Menbur’s new on line ordering system for customers has led to an increase in re-orders for spring/summer 09 styles and the brand now aims to help more retailers take advantage of this service to allows them to top up products in season.

Promotional bag supplier Crazy Bags has launched a new take on the reusable bag – a cotton canvas drawstring duffle bag. The lightweight canvas design can be used as a backpack or over the shoulder bag and is 100 per cent reuseable. Andy Steavenson, director of Crazy Bags, said: “We’re delighted to introduce something new to our range that’s perfect for summer. “Durable and reusable, the drawstring duffle offers clients the ultimate in flexibility, extending the choice of what’s available and how they can use promotional bags.”


Crazy Bags has also become one of the first promotional bag suppliers to achieve Fair Trade accreditation.


Carrier bag law ‘will not bring lasting changes’ By Louise Cordell INTRODUCING compulsory charges for plastic carrier bags will not produce lasting changes in consumer behaviour according to the British Retail Consortium. At the Welsh Assembly Government’s recent bag charging consultation, the BRC confirmed that although it shares the aim of reducing bag use throughout the UK it has ongoing concerns. The Assembly is proposing to use the law to force retailers to charge for ‘single-use' carrier bags. It has suggested the money raised would be distributed to environmental initiatives in Wales, perhaps by a new body set up for that purpose. However, the BRC pointed out that the proposed regulation could cost consumers up to £26m each year in Wales alone and suggested that voluntary action is the right approach. The organisation confirmed that retailers had already exceeded a voluntary target to cut bag use by 25 per cent last year and have reduced that to 49 per cent in the last five months. Instead it suggested that, as retailers

know their customers best, they should be allowed to continue their various targeted schemes – using initiatives that best suit their own customers. Jane Milne, British Retail Consortium environment director, said: “Retailers believe in reducing bag use too but the voluntary approach has proved itself the way to do it. “Carrier bags have a trivial environmental impact but they've been seized on as a symbol of our use of resources. “The key to achieving lasting change in behaviour is retailers taking customers with them in ways they find acceptable, by encouraging and rewarding – not clobbering customers with new ‘taxes' and businesses with new costs, particularly during these tough times. “In itself charging isn't wrong but retailers must be left free to judge what's right for their customers. Loyalty points, free bags for life, taking bags off display are all initiatives making a huge contribution. “This £30million ‘tax’ risks alienating customers and turning them off the wider environmental agenda.”


New guide to display ... THE Shop and Display Equipment Association has published a new guide to the UK retail display industry – the sdea Directory of Shopfittings and Display 2009/2010. Inside there are innovative retail display ideas to help you create a really enticing instore environment, that doesn’t cost the earth. Focusing on an individual element that has big impact, such as lighting, graphics or display, can help to keep costs down and sales up. In fact, there has never been a better time to revamp your stores to ensure that you come out on top of the current downturn.

This handbook is a great place to source retail display props, shopfittings and accessories, as well as companies that offer a complete turnkey fitout. You can search for suppliers alphabetically, or by trade name, location, or retail trade and by the particular product or service you are seeking. The Directory also provides company profiles and contact details, plus a showcase gallery featuring a visual interpretation of many of the retail display products on offer. Normally priced at £10, the new sdea Directory is available free of charge to the first 50 readers of this article to call 01883 348911 or e-mail:

diarydates Moda Footwear

NEC Birmingham, 9-11 August ( Moda will include a seminar programme which will be free of charge to all visitors and exhibitors. The Moda catwalk show will present an overview of the seasons trends, providing an insight into key looks.

London Edge London Olympia, 6-8 September ( The trade show for alternative street and club fashion, footwear, accessories and giftwear with over 300 collections available to view.

GDS Messe Dusseldorf, Germany, 11-13 September ( Highlights will include high fashion labels from international brands and the children’s footwear marketplace. Other events will include fashion shows, trend presentations and trend vision.

ISPO Winter Neue Messe München, 7-10 Feb 10 The international trade fair for sports equipment and fashion celebrates its 69th show and, with the full exhibition space booked up, are expecting record attendances.






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Out On A Limb (Issue 54)  

The trade magazine for the UK's footwear and accesories market.