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Younger end of market ‘most likely to suffer’ By Lyndsey Smith

levels this year as last.”

THOSE catering for the younger end of the market are most likely to suffer from the credit crunch according to one independent retailer.

Graham does believe though that independents as a sector are in a stronger position than bigger chain retailers in some ways. “You look at what are classed as cheap retailers such as Mark One and Woolworths – one has just been saved from administration and the other is about to go under.

Graham Williamson, owner of the Shoe Tree shops in Stafford, Wolverhampton and Stone, says the current economic climate affects the younger generation most, and this is where specialist retailers will suffer. Involved in the industry for over 40 years, Graham – who has been an owner for five years following previous stints at the high end of companies such as Clarks and Lotus – believes it is tough at the moment, but is fortunate he is less affected than most. He said: “We work at the branded end of the market but we have a slightly more insulated customer base. “We cater for the older sector, the 55 plus, so we are quite lucky. We haven’t got the cash strapped youngsters, or those with young kids

Graham Williamson, owner of the Shoe Tree shops

and a mortgage coming to our outlets. “These are not going to be going out and buying the latest pair of shoes. “We are dealing in the most part with people with fixed incomes, who know exactly how much money they have to spend, and I believe that is why we are trading at the same

“The problem is they work on quantity not margins, they work on the volume of people coming through the door, and if that suddenly drops by 20 or 30 per cent they are going to experience major problems. “They rely entirely on getting millions of customers and at the moment the economy doesn’t give the consumer a lot of confidence – they are worried about what they are spending and where they saving, so obviously these bigger chains will be affected. It is different for us. We are in control of what we are doing and we have to make sure we react, change and do things to sit with the market.”

Kickers brings in new PR agency KICKERS have appointed a new PR agency to help drive the brand in 2009. Splendid Communications will help reinforce the brand’s connections with youth through music and digital media, as well as working towards their 40th anniversary in 2010.

Left: The SS09 range focuses on femininity, and right: Alex Samways

Zara Weller of Splendid Communications said: “Kickers are diversifying in terms of their shoe design and the women’s SS09 collection particularly is very feminine.

AS 2009 draws closer, it looks like the footwear industry will be facing a challenging and exciting year ahead. The chief executive of the British Footwear Association, Richard Kottler, has stepped up to warn businesses that they can expect to be under increasing pressure over the next 12 months and that they should start to address the more worrying trends now, while something can still be done. He has also claimed that now is the time for the partnership between supplier and customer to be closer than ever, and companies should work on increased communication and cooperation to help cut costs. New research has also revealed that over half of industry retailers are experiencing declining sales and that an increase in job losses is on its way. However, industry analysts Plimsoll have also claimed that, despite the problems, some unique opportunities will be presenting themselves in the year ahead for those companies who are forward thinking and flexible enough to take them on.

“The menswear are using different styles by experimenting with faux ostrich skin, as well as patents in all three range. They are going back to the original brand, but being more creative with the designs.” The PR company’s MD, Alex Samways, used to work with the brand seven years ago.

Mary Frances’ Arm Candy collection is available via the UK distributorship. The collection has wholesale prices ranging from £40 to £70 and will debut at Pure, Spring Fair and Moda.

Exciting and challenging times ahead

Cocoon partnership opens new showroom THE COCOON partnership has opened a new showroom in West London. The 800 sq ft London showroom opened in December featuring Spanish footwear brands Art, Neosens and Panama Jack. The location of the showroom

was chosen as a result of the huge interest and draw that Westfield shopping centre has had on the scene of west London. During the Kensington Shoe Fair the showroom will be open for appointments.

In this issue we meet Catherine Owens, a designer who is capitalising on a neglected gap in the market with her larger sized but stylish ladies’ shoes and emerging talent Romilly Jane, who has found that good quality, well priced styles are always in demand, whatever the financial climate. Finally, we are introducing 2009’s must-have guide – ‘The One’ – with all the information about the most in-demand brands, products, trends and tips for the independent retailers, along with a comprehensive show guide to help you start planning the year ahead.





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Issue 50 December 08/January 09 Danish beauty and innovation Old trainers help environment


4 6

Sales Tony Barry - Sales & Marketing Director Beverley Green - Sales Manager (

Karrie-Anne Nowell - Sales Executive (


Sporty and active storage


Advertising Contacts Tel: 01226 734333 | Fax: 01226 734477



Mum’s advice for Romilly Jane



Big can be beautiful



Brand comes to heel


Editorial Contacts Tel: 01226 734694 | Fax: 01226 734705 Email:


Wellies make a splash


Design & Production

Andrew Harrod - Group Editor Judith Halkerston - Group Deputy Editor Nicola Hyde - News Editor Louise Cordell - Editor Christina Eccles - Reporter Mary Ferguson - Reporter Lyndsey Smith - Reporter

Stewart Holt - Studio Manager (


Souraya’s UK sales push


Kyle Wilkinson - Design & Production (

Circulation 01226 734695 (24 hour hotline) Email:

BISGAARD is a beautiful and innovative shoe collection from Denmark. The guys that own this business have shoe shops themselves, so you can be sure they know what you need. The size range for the Bisgaard collection is 17 to 40 (European sizes.) The Bisgaard shoe manufacturing company was set up by children’s feet experts, Marianne Bisgaard and Henrik Thomsen. In fact, the brand pays great attention to a use of natural materials, flanked by the latest interesting technological innovations; the company, which currently distributes brand products in more than 15 countries (with Scandinavia, Germany, Holland, The UK, Belgium, Japan and Australia taking the lead) and in around 400 shops, is steadily expanding. The Bisgaard collection for Autumn/Winter 2008-09 is distinguished by excellent materials: supple leathers and virgin wool

Little big feet ... linings, rubber soles and some innovative products, including Sympatex® for guaranteed breathability. And undeniable product quality is matched by the equally elevated design of the original creations. The company proposes shoes, ankle and heavy duty boots and gym shoes, to suit all clothing styles, both casual and elegant. The colour palette ranges from deep purple to trendy petrol blue and silver, without forgetting the more traditional browns and reds. Bisgaard has been delighted by the support of Her Royal Crown Princess Mary who enjoys the brand together with two of her children of her (Prince Christian and Princess Isabella) wearing Bisgaard shoes.

Contact details: aarhus c - Denmark tel: +45 86 113 113 fax : +45 86 113 117

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Badly-fitting shoes cause frustration By Mary Ferguson

maybe even unwearable.”

WOMEN are becoming increasingly frustrated with spending money on badly-fitting footwear, according to the results of new research.

Nearly 58 per cent of respondents to the survey said they owned ten or more pairs of shoes – with ten per cent owning up to having 31 or more pairs in their cupboards.

A survey of 2000 Good Housekeeping readers commissioned by footwear manufacturer Gabor showed a quarter of respondents claimed they often find shoes too narrow, with the same number reporting they often struggle to close the zip on the legs of long boots. Louise Chunn, editor of Good Housekeeping said: “With so many readers saying that they suffer from cramped toes or rubbed heels and a similar number saying long boots are uncomfortably tight on their legs, it’s clear that while many footwear designers and manufacturers are still unable to satisfy our desire for both style and comfort, many women will continue to waste money on shoes that they find uncomfortable and

More than a quarter of women said they have more than five pairs of boots and a third said they spend more than £75 on each pair. 30.2 per cent said they spend £50 or more on each pair of shoes. The survey also revealed that comfort is the most important factor when buying new shoes, followed closely by style. Louise added: “Shoes and boots are also meant to be a hardworking wardrobe items, needed every day to get us where ever we’re going – and normally in a hurry. It’s this combination of factors which explains why we’re prepared to invest so heavily in our footwear.”

Old trainers can help the environment AN independent footwear retailer has installed recycling collection bins so that customers can use their old trainers to help the environment. The owners of running shoe specialists Advance Performance, with stores in Peterborough and Cambridge, have also instructed staff to only use paper bags where necessary. Managing director Samantha Hale said: “Before teaming up with the recycling company, we transported our old running shoes to recycling centres. Now we are encouraging customers to bring in all their old shoes, both running and every day shoes, which are then collected, sorted and distributed to developing countries. “There they are sold at affordable

prices to local traders and craftsmen. All refurbishment work is done by local people so creates much needed employment as well as providing shoes for people's feet.” For every tonne of shoes collected at the stores, European Recycling Company – the largest specialist shoe recycler in the UK – will donate money to charities including the Variety Club Children’s Charity and Schools-for-Girls-in-Afghanistan. In both stores, to increase awareness and minimise impact, all customers are now asked just take their new shoes in the existing packaging, rather than in the plastic bags previously provided. Where bags are actually needed to protect the product, Advance Performance staff issue recyclable paper bags instead.

Matt Parker and Samantha Hale with the shoe recycling collection bin

£24.5m government boost for footwear manufacturers


FOOTWEAR manufacturers are set to benefit from a £24.5m government deal with Skillfast-UK. The organisation has signed a deal to boost investment in skills for the fashion and textiles sector and over 1,500 business around the country are expected to benefit over the next three years. ISSUE 50 DECEMBER 2008/JANUARY 2009

The funding will be used to support training towards qualifications at entry, technical and management levels and will also fund 500 new apprenticeships. Skillfast-UK are now planning on meeting with government officials in order to work out the best ways of getting the money into the right

businesses. Peter Davis, production director of English footwear company, Loakes Brothers, said: “As a manufacturer of English traditional footwear, we compete with manufacturers from all over the world. We can't compete with companies in low-cost labour markets on the basis of price, so we

have to sell on quality – and that means training is essential. “We support any move to increase skills in the industry, so if this new agreement can widen the number of companies who train their staff, and the number of qualified employees, then it is great news for the sector."




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A footwear design student has designed and made a one-off pair of children’s shoes for charity. April Mead, who is studying at De Montfort University, came up with the idea for Children In Need and the design is centred around the charity's mascot Pudsey Bear. April, pictured above with her designs, was sponsored by friends and family to make the shoes and she then sold them on eBay, to

raise more money for the charity. She said: “I’ve wanted to do footwear design all my life, so it seemed like a good idea to use what I enjoy doing to help raise money. I can also use the designs in my portfolio. “I’ve really enjoyed making the shoes as I've never made children's shoes before and have been able to be really creative and use my imagination. I'm now considering it as a career.”

Half retailers could face job losses – report By Louise Cordell OVER 50 per cent of footwear retailers could be facing job losses and a fall in sales according to the latest research from Plimsoll Publishing. However, analysts have confirmed that businesses will be facing new opportunities as well as challenges as they prepared for the year ahead. Current predictions suggest that the overall market will see very little growth, if any, and that this could be bad news for the weaker companies. Despite this, those who are offering low cost alternatives to the high street could be given the chance to capitalise as both businesses and consumers try to reduce their costs. Senior analyst, David Pattison, said: “Historically profitability in the UK footwear market has been very uneven – we have seen a select band of super profitable players delivering margins of over 13 per cent, whilst most of the others are achieving 2.5 per cent at best, with loss making not uncommon. “Next year everyone will be under pressure from increased pricing competition, but if companies take action now to reduce their costs then they could have a profitable year.” The research has also suggested that over the next year businesses will be acting more responsibly when it

comes to money, especially as banks and institutions tighten their lending policies. In order to tackle this, company directors are being advised to think about what their finance needs will be for the coming months, and plan early to ensure they are able to access the funds they need. David added: “If this last year has taught us anything it is that using other people’s money to run your company is a risky business – and heavily indebted footwear companies are now paying the penalty. “Having invested heavily they are now desperate to keep busy and so will be a serious threat to pricing levels in 2009.” The figures also suggest that as companies struggle to remain competitive up to 5,000 jobs could be under threat. David added: “2009 is going to be a very exciting year for the industry – it will be a time to choose your enemy wisely. “Going on the offensive may well be the best defence. “Key to this is the successful targeting of your weakened, low margin and heavily indebted competitors – their failure will be vital to your own company’s success.”





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Company moves up casual market A NEW brand ranking has revealed that Geox has moved into second place in the casual footwear market. The company has now overtaken Ecco and sits behind Clarks in the top spot in the Shoe Intelligence top ten. The report offers a guide to the size and shape of the market at an international level, with the latest retail sales data, leading brands and new product developments. A Geox spokesperson said: “Geox is a fairly young company, but is now sold in 68 countries so it has always followed a trend for fast growth and has moved from third to second place in the ranking in just one year.

“I think the brand’s successful business formula is based on the technology used, which distinguishes us from others in the market place. “We have taken the current economic climate into consideration and prepared for a slowdown in sales, but our strategy to concentrate on innovation will remain the same.” The company has grown by around 30 per cent every year since 2000 and aims to keep this up in years to come. Future expansion plans are now focusing on areas where the brand is less well known including China, Japan and the Philippines.

Alicia makes Future 100 awards list THE founder of an online fashion boutique who launched her own footwear collection last year has been named as one of the 2008 Future 100 Young Entrepeneurs. Alicia Lai, of Bourgeois Boheme, was given the accolade during Global Entrepreneurship Week for her work in introducing ethical fashion to the mainstream. Alicia Lai of Bourgeois Boheme

The Future 100 Awards profiles young entrepreneurs aged 18-35 who are demonstrating flair and innovation in progressing a responsible business venture. Alicia said: “From its inception, Bourgeois Boheme has been run on an ethical business model and we are just honoured to be recognised for our hard work and we are thrilled to see other businesses stepping up to the mark.

organic and fair-trade cotton and microfibre, which is 80 per cent biodegradable. The company has been producing its own animal-friendly accessories since 2006 and launched it first footwear range in 2007.

“It’s just a fantastic bonus to run a business based on our ethics and beliefs.

It is the first and the only animal-friendly footwear and accessories store in London located at Hydrex House, in Richmond.

“We work very hard to prove that style can be entirely animal-friendly, without damaging the environment.”

All of the factories and producers used by the company have also been selected for their ethical work conditions and green credentials.

Bourgeois Boheme offer a range of ethical fashion accessories for both men and women, free from animal ingredients and also utilizing environmentally friendly fabrics, such as hemp,

Natalie Portman has recently been spotted wearing their Venus Brown boots, on the set of her latest picture, Love and Other Impossible Pursuits.

Street footwear brand the Art Company have appointed a new marketing manager. Judith Climent will work alongside commercial marketing director Jorge Hernández in order to develop new marketing strategies for both Art and Neosens. She intends to work on new angles and collaborations that will help promote Art and Neosens across the European market.

Crafty companies win ‘hidden hero’ accolade SIX footwear and leather companies have been named ‘hidden heroes’ at an awards ceremony to celebrate technical and craft skills. The Behind the Seams awards are part of a major campaign by Skillfast-UK, the Sector Skills Council for fashion and textiles, to honour the skills of those whose technical and craft skills help UK


businesses to compete against global competition. The six footwear and leather skills heroes included Scott McKee, hand-laster and bespoke shoemaker at Trickers, Mitch Allender, a cutter at luxury leather goods company Mulberry and Fiona Campbell, designer and pattern-cutter at James Taylor & Son.

Also celebrated were Stephanie Crutchley, a shoemaker from Green Shoes, David Niblock, technical and quality manager at Hunter Boot, and Patrick Stevens, commercial manager at speciality leather producers Joseph Clayton & Sons. Linda Florance of Skillfast-UK said: "The public perception of the fashion and textiles industry stops

with the famous designers, but those in the know understand that the sector couldn't function without the creative, technical and commercial teams who work out of the public eye. “We launched the Behind the Seams Awards to honour those whose skills normally go unrecognised.”




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News Edwards of Manchester is the second oldest shoe shop in the country, but new owner Steve Fitzsimmons is shaking things up for 2009. Mary Ferguson found out how.

‘We get everyone in here from judges to footballers – they still have money to spend’ “People tell me I’ve not bought a store, I’ve bought an institution. And people know that when they walk out of here they will be wearing properly fitting shoes, it’s what they come to us for. We don’t compete with other retailers because there is no-one good enough to compete with us.”

EDWARDS was bought by Steve, a former footwear agent, in May and he has since given the shop a total refit and boosted the women’s collection, taking it more upmarket. Steve – who has worked in fashion retail for 21 years – said: “The men’s range has always been very top end and the women's ranges will be going up there too, retailing from £80 upwards.

In November, designers Gaziano and Girling visited the shop to offer a fitting service and Steve organised a consumer sales night at The Living Room in Manchester, attended by 400 people including Premiership footballers.

“Business is going okay. We are still up on last year but it was stronger at the start of the year. Things are getting tougher but our clientele is wealthy so it hasn’t affected us too much. We get everyone in here from judges and Lords to footballers – and they still have money to spend.”

He said: “Gaziano and Girling are personal friends of mine and are probably the best shoemakers in the world, so it was great to have them in the store and they attracted a lot of interest.

The store recently started retailing online and Steve said although sales so far have been promising, the website will never replace the shop.

“The Living Room event was a fantastic success too – we also had bespoke dress and watch makers there – and I’d like to do

Boots decorated by music stars including singer Katie Melua have been auctioned on eBay in aid of charity. Performers and celebrities at this year’s Glastonbury festival decorated Hunter wellies, which were later sold to raise money for Water Aid. The celebrity designers include supermodel Kate Moss, rapper Jay-Z and Oasis star Noel Gallagher.

something similar again soon.” When Out On A Limb spoke to Steve, he had just taken delivery of Tricker’s and said one of his aims for 2009 is to carry more UK brands and promote British footwear.

He added: “There is also a possibility that we will look at expansion, probably in the north. It doesn’t matter that there is a credit crunch – if you are a good strong retailer then there is always an opportunity to expand, whatever the financial climate.”

Rockport thinks big with campaign ROCKPORT has launched its biggest ever print advertising campaign for its Spring Summer 2009 collection. The core advertising campaign reflects the biggest investment Rockport has made to date in print advertising, which includes substantial coverage in the Mail on Sunday’s supplements throughout February to April. The men’s footwear range offers over 40 items, including the Martone dress collection to appear in adverts. Throughout the men’s collections, there is an abundance of technology, including adidas Torsion technology which allows the shoe to move with the natural motion of the foot, and Dynamic Suspension, making the wearer feel like they are walking on a cushion of air. The women’s footwear range also offers an exciting selection of product, with around 25

items including smart sandals, on-trend wedges and sport-inspired trainers. Bella Beach, a wedged sandal containing the cushioning Dynamic Suspension, is the key product to be featured in the print campaign.

Chic rings the changes THE Chic International show will be kicking off the new year with a huge range of short order accessories and travel goods from worldwide brands. Many of the show’s exhibitors will be offering quick delivery, allowing buyers to purchase ‘in-season’ and get hold of what they want, when they need it, which can be especially useful in a difficult financial

climate. The show features handbags, umbrellas, jewellery, shoes, belts, scarves, gloves, wallets and purses, and also offers the widest range of luggage and travel goods at any UK trade show. Finally, the show has introduced live music and a new chef to create a lively atmosphere for buyers and exhibitors alike.





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Actress teams up to launch new line ACTRESS Mischa Barton and designer Stacey Lapidus have announced their partnership on a new line of hair accessories. The line will use a distinctive array of materials like China silk, feathers, beads, flowers, crystals and pearls and designs in the collection range from boho chic to classic feminine pieces Mischa said: “I have always believed that accessorizing is one of the most important components in emphasising your personal sense of style. “This accessory line is a natural transition from my existing handbag line and, like the bags, the headbands will combine high fashion with a vintage/bohemian twist. “I’m so thrilled to have the opportunity to collaborate with Stacey because I've always admired her unique vision. Together, I hope to create fun, unique pieces that will provide women with a distinct style all their own.” Stacey Lapidus’ accessories were featured in indie designer Charlotte Ronson’s Fall fashion show and have also appeared in magazines including Self, InStyle, US Weekly, Glamour and Teen Vogue.

Mischa Barton


She said: “My collections have always possessed an appeal for the woman who embraces fashion and dresses with a style that appears effortless. This partnership will offer women pieces that remain classic in design, yet resist tradition by infusing a fun, flirty feel.”

Bags of Wonder are creating a new range for SS09 which will be showcased at the Chic show in January. The company was formed in 2006 to bring hand crafted handbags from Indonesia and the Philippines to the rest of the world. The bags are made using natural products including rattan, raffia and pandan, which is also used to make mats and hats. Every product is hand dyed and air dried which give them a unique appearance as every one is different. They also feature a drawstring rather than a zip or clasp to close to help prevent any items being stolen or lost.

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Watcha is a brand new collection of fashion watches targeted at style conscious teens and young adults. The light and fully waterproof stretch silicone bracelets come with replaceable LCD watch units and come in a choice of ten colours to be mixed and matched. The signature collection is available in independent boutiques around the UK.

Jewellery company The Leakey Collection has been nominated as a finalist in the BBC World Challenge, which aims to find the globe’s most enterprising small business. The organisation, which provides work for 1,400 drought stricken Maasai women in Kenya, has been selected from over 700 applicants for its ethical and environmentally friendly products. The Zulugrass jewellery is made from a tough, hollow grass, which is harvested, dried and then dyed in a variety of colours. The beads are then strung onto elastic and interspersed with beads, porcelain and hardwood charms. The company started out as a small endeavour supporting 100 families and has evolved into an enterprise with over 1,400 dedicated workers, and products in 2,000 stores in the USA and 20 countries.

The new Capella Collection from Fatlip is set to launch at the spring buying shows. Available in eight colours and four styles, the necklaces feature resin pieces, aluminium and beads in a range of modern designs. The brand is also now looking to expand its offering and director Sarah Watmore said: “We are always looking to introduce new pieces that add to the overall variety of our catalogue. “We have a solid core of lines that are intrinsically Fatlip and which we are well known for, but we continually evolve and add to those with both new, timeless classics and more fashionable jewellery that may only last for a season or two.”

Collection offers sporty storage The latest collection of bags from Camel Active aim to make a sporty and active impression. They have been designed to include as much storage room as possible and come in a range of colours including beige with a metallic shine, dark chocolate brown, khaki and black. The new Dallas series uses washed, hi-tech materials to create an imitation leather look and is made up of various backpacks, and shoulder and belt bags as well as business folders in various sizes. The backpacks and messenger bags from Memphis and Minoura are equipped with specially padded laptop compartments and the Burma range is made up of a waxed canvas in black or khaki. Finally, the new wallet series, Denver, includes vertical and horizontal wallet designs and a key case in hand rubbed calf leather.





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Some of the haul

Officials seize £2m fake designer haul By Mary Ferguson FAKE designer shoes with a street value of more than £2m have been seized by officials in Suffolk. The cargo, which arrived at Felixstowe docks from China, contained 1200 boxes of children’s imitation Nike, Hello Kitty and Louis Vuitton footwear. Other boxes held unbranded children’s shoes, with separate Chanel and Gucci labels. Out On A Limb spoke to Maddy Ratnett, a spokesperson for HM Revenue and Customs, who said they were also ‘clearly intended’ to be put together and sold as designer. She said: “I looked in the boxes myself and the first thing that hit me was the smell of glue – it was overwhelming. As many of the shoes were for babies this is extremely worrying as they often put their feet in their mouths and unregulated glue is potentially a real danger. There were clear signs that these shoes were fake.

“Some of the sizes were also very odd, so if parents bought the wrong size it could do damage to a child’s feet. They were also very badly made and would probably last no longer than the Christmas decorations.” Maddy said that the interception of big shipments of imitation designer shoes are rare, but that if retailers sold them it would be a matter for Trading Standards. She added: “I think most shoe retailers would have spotted they were fake immediately, but the problem is their competition selling them as authentic. “People are duped into thinking they are getting a designer label at a cheap price, taking business away from honest retailers. “It’s very unfair, especially in the current economic climate.” Enquiries are ongoing and at the time of going to press, no arrests had been made.

A display showcasing 104 pairs of shoes – representing the number of women killed in the UK every year through domestic abuse – has been on show in Hertfordshire. The exhibition formed part of Domestic Violence Awareness Fortnight and featured the shoes of celebrities including JK Rowling and Annie Lennox, who donated their footwear for the cause. The exhibit was displayed at St. Albans Town Hall, after being loaned to Hertfordshire County Council.





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New Products

Boutique in collection launch EXCLUSIVE shoe boutique, Lollipop London has launched its own designer shoe collection – Laura J London. The range has been developed by Laura Allnatt, director of Lollipop London and Cordwainers trained shoe designer, Rachele Davies. The collection has been designed to be worn by fanatical shoe lovers and aims to combine style and femininity through the use of bold silhouettes and colours. The Spring/Summer 09 styles will be available at Lollipop London, the store’s online boutique and in selected stores across the UK from March.

Hand-painted Pumpz offer NEW brand Pumpz is offering retailers an unusual product where customers can order hand-painted footwear. The company, formed by two entreprenuers, offers personalised products with custom designs that reflect the trends.

Customers can also submit their own designs for painting onto Pumpz. The company plans to sell directly to retailers who can choose from existing designs, or even have some unique designs developed exclusively for them.

The feel good slipper experience ... WE thought you might like an exclusive sneak preview of some of Padders’ exciting new slipper styles from their AW09 ladies collection. Shown here are Cocoon, Hug and Grace. Seldom do slippers look this good on the outside and deliver to this exceptional level on the inside. Flaunting their stylishly With customers as far afield as Glasgow to Cork and Cardiff to Camden, Grinders continue to grow their coverage of the whole of the United Kingdom through through their loyal independent footwear retail accounts. With stock backed styles, fast delivery and no pre pack cartons they are rapidly gaining a name for quality, service and style. For dealer enquiries contact Grinders on 01245 465050 or e-mail:


designed, vibrantly coloured and sumptuous fabric exterior, the feelgoodslipper experience is truly enhanced with the luxurious opulence of the interior. Ingenious Memory Foam and Permalose ® PAM insoles provide exemplary comfort and hygiene, teamed with a sturdy sole and stiff heel counter for extra stability.

Oh, and with a retail price of around £17.95-£25.00 they are excellent value for money too. You can find out straight away why Padders slippers have the feelgoodfactor as there are still some stocks left of their best selling AW08 slipper range. Call Padders sales department on 01536 534999 for further details.

Funky wellies are Spring must-have Tayberry and Co are launching four new designs of their famous 'funky' wellington boots for Spring 09. With the emphasis very much on the design and for this season the added extra of an eye catching pattern on the spine of the boot. With the same high quality finish, wide calf fitting and soft cotton lining, these boots are a must have for Spring. Contact Tayberry and Co, 01507 524816,




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New Product Showcase

WedgeWelly makes a splash By Louise Cordell THE WedgeWelly is the latest product on the footwear market to cater for fashion-conscious festival goers. The wellington boots feature a chunky wedge for added style and comfort, and come in a range of the most fashionable colours and patters. WedgeWelly founder, Sarah Longthorne, said: “We came up with the idea while planning a trip to V Festival. “I have never been a fan of flat shoes, so the idea of spending three days in conventional wellies didn’t appeal to me at all.

Alternative footwear fashion brand New Rock have released a new ‘Xtreme’ range for spring/summer 2009. The 373 MPXtreme is produced using patented New Rock construction with natural rubber soles and heavy duty leather. Nicolas Ortuño Lorente, international sales director, said: “New Rock’s MPXtreme is for those who dare to walk on the wild side. “It is a wicked style and no one can resist touching it.” For those looking for a more conventional style, the collection also includes the original 373 design, which is lighter and more flexible, but still as hard wearing.

“I searched everywhere for a pair with a wedge, but couldn’t find any – they just didn’t seem to exist. “So I started asking everyone I knew if they would buy them, and there seemed to be a big demand.” After spending a year researching the market, developing the product and finding the right suppliers, the WedgeWelly designers are now selling the boots on the internet, through mail order and with high street retailers. The wellies are currently available in nine designs but the colours and

patterns available will be changing regularly in line with seasonal trends. Sarah added: “Staying on trend is very important for us. For example, the star design has been very successful over the summer because that pattern has been on all the catwalks. “We also plan to maintain a core offering of the most popular styles, on top of a twice yearly update of the newest fashions.” The brand is currently available in 15 retailers around the UK and has also recently secured a contract with Next, who will be selling a specially designed, exclusive pattern as well as the standard black style through its catalogue and selected stores. Sarah added: “We are very excited about growing the company over the next year. “We are looking to increase our number of independent retailer stockists as we want to develop more of a high street presence and at the end of next year we will be launching a children’s range. This is

something we have had a lot of requests for, from both kids and parents, so we are looking forward to coming up with some great new designs for the miniwedges.”





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Kool for kids

Online sales can beat credit crunch By Louise Cordell CHILDREN’S footwear retailers can beat the credit crunch by making sales online, according to founder Laurence Beauregard. Bibaloo is an online children’s fashion boutique and Laurence has found that the recent financial turmoil has had a visible impact on customer behaviour. She said: “Over the last two months we have seen an important traffic increase on the site, which was not converted into the same proportion of sales increase. “This means that UK consumers are increasingly turning to the internet to find the best deal, however they also seem to be taking more time before buying and return to the site several times before eventually making a purchase.” Despite the current climate, Laurence also does not recommend cutting back on spending for 2009. Instead, she suggests tailoring purchases towards the most popular styles, to ensure that you make the most profit possible from the stock you bring in.

She added: “Although it can be very tempting to be more prudent for next year we will be staying in line with our aggressive marketing and business plans. “We have also found that people are buying fewer items, but of the highest quality, so consequently we intend to by less accessories and lower end product and focus more on the items where customers are expecting real value for their money.” Laurence is also confident for the upcoming Christmas period, and suggests the addition of gift vouchers can lead to a welcome increase in sales. She added: “I don’t expect the high quality children's market to suffer too much. “Parents are very reluctant to compromise on quality for their children and friends and family will continue to shop for high quality gifts. “However we do anticipate that more people will buy gift vouchers instead of a present itself, which can then be spent during the sales to ensure they get more for their money.”

Boxing clever with gift sets DAISY Roots, based in Northamptonshire, have been designing and manufacturing shoes for young children since 1995 and now supply retailers worldwide. The company uses only chromefree leather exceeding British Standard requirements and aim to provide the best in quality, comfort and healthy development. The range of designs come in styles for children from newborns up to four years old.

The company has now introduced a collection of boxed gift sets with shoes and a matching short sleeved t-shirt made from 100 per cent organic cotton in ‘Fairy’, ‘Camper Van’ and ‘Star’ designs.

New VIP programme for show PREMIER Kids has launched a new VIP programme for its show at the NEC in February. The programme means that industry buyers that have been exclusively selected by show exhibitors will be invited to attend as a VIP member. Charlotte Bowskill, show director, said: “We are very excited about this new initiative. “The VIP programme brings together buying professionals with our

exhibitors and gives them an exciting new experience when attending Premier Kids. The exhibitors are offered the opportunity to nominate potential customers, enhancing their presence and making their customers feel special when they visit the exhibition.” The VIP programme offers a range of benefits to members including a VIP badge and fast track entry into the show.

New styles kick off START-RITE’S spring/summer 09 collection features new styles in the popular dual design canvas range as well as a host of new product developments. The football inspired sporty school shoes for boys, ‘Kick Off’ and ‘Off Side’ are made on the new Goal Winner unit, which features a hexagonal football design and the trademark Start-rite markings on the sole tred. Both are made from non marking rubber and have phylon mid-soles to ensure they are lightweight and fully flexible. The SS09 collection also sees the introduction of extended size runs on canvas styles including ‘Pop Art’ and ‘Space Cadet’, both featuring characters from the Start-rite ‘When I

Grow Up’ family. Also new to the girls’ activewear collection is Go Girl!, a classic white trainer with interchangeable riptape fastenings so that the shoe can be customised by the wearer.

Kids brand moves into more international markets By Nicola Hyde KIDS brand Start-rite has announced its expansion into more international markets. The company – which set up in 1921 – has set up a new retail network in India through new stockist Mahindra Retail Pvt Ltd, a recently established division of the multi-billion dollar Mahindra Corporation. Mahindra Retail has ambitious expansion plans including a large number of maternity/ childrenswear stores, which will be sole stockists of the brand in the Indian market. These outlets will target affluent Indian consumers and will offer a

wide range of Start-rite shoes including pre-walkers, first shoes and school shoes. A new relationship has also been negotiated in Hong Kong with local retailer Bumps-toBabes. They currently have two stores, which cater for both ex-pats and the local population. Start-rite is broadening its reach in the Mediterranean having signed an exclusive distribution agreement with David Steps Ltd for Cyprus. Via a chain of six stores, David Steps Ltd will stock a wide range of Start-rite styles in multi-width fittings.





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Designer Spotlight Romilly Jane is one of the UK’s most ambitious young designers. She has started out with the aim of creating luxurious leather footwear at an affordable price and is gaining popularity fast. Louise Cordell reports.

‘Always buy good shoes and a good bed because if you aren’t in one then you’re in the other!’ ROMILLY’s original plan was to set up her own online boutique, selling selected footwear brands and accessories. However, she had trouble finding exactly what she wanted – fashion items mixed with the quality and comfort of full leather construction at an affordable price. She said: “I really wanted to be providing shoes that I would choose to wear myself – shoes that are beautiful to look at but would not just be worn for one or two seasons then thrown away. “I was looking for something that would come out of the wardrobe year after year, what you would call modern classics. I couldn’t find them, so I decided to design my own.” Over the last two years she has created a collection with design features including bows, flowers, crystals and a caged heel cup, as well as classic colours. The shoes are sold wholesale as well as retailing through her website, although she aims never to stock them in boutiques that are too close together, to keep the designs more unique and exclusive. The stores are also supplied with free promotional and display material which is specially adapted to the particular range of shoes ordered. Her close relationship with retailers also led to another of the brand’s design features – the high quality, re-useable shoe boxes, decorated


with black satin ribbon. She added: “While speaking to independent boutiques I found that storage issues are often a real problem for them. “So I decided to re-design my shoe boxes to turn them into an attractive storage solution. “Now stores are able to use them as part of the sales point rather than hiding them away in the back, and once the shoes have been bought the boxes are ideal for long term storage.” Romilly has now received her first London order for Spring Summer 2009 and her ideas for the new range include introducing luxurious new materials including silks and cashmeres. She is also planning a collaboration with a handbag designer to add a new dimension to her next collection and hasn’t ruled out the possibility of men’s and children’s ranges in the future as well. She added: “I am constantly inspired by things I see every day, from a particular outfit to a new colour swatch, so I am looking forward to developing the brand over the next year. “The market is very trend driven, but while there are high end and low end brands, there is not much in the middle if you are looking for something fashionable yet long lasting, and I really believe a quality product will sell itself. As my mum says – ‘always buy good shoes and a good bed because if you aren’t in one then you’re in the other!’”

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Advertiser’s announcement

Bobux Babies are ‘I-Walk’-ing too! ‘It is clear that mothers are looking for a flexible shoe in a natural materials for their children, that also looks good’ WHEN New Zealand designers, Chris and Colleen Bennett created a unique new category of soft-soled, handmade, 100 per cent leather shoes for children in 1991, little did they realise that nearly 20 years on, they would be market leaders selling shoes worldwide in over 27 countries. Regularly spotted on the feet of children in the celebrity set – with Angelina Jolie’s daughter among their most recent following – mothers worldwide continue to appreciate Bobux’s original ethos, which aims to provide a fun, practical and safe shoe for little feet. Endorsed by podiatrists worldwide, including the American Podiatric Medical Association, Bobux continues to use its own eco-leather, which is tested to and exceeds the highest safety standards. With over 100 designs to choose from that are regularly refreshed to keep up with the latest trends, it is easy to understand why premium brand Bobux still remains the first choice for mothers looking for the best quality product. Following on from this great success, Bobux have now developed a stylish range of pre and first walkers, called I-Walk. Also made from Bobux eco-leather, this is a range of highly-flexible, classically designed shoes with a modern twist. UK distributors, Purple Crocodile, were appointed by Bobux last year to launch this new range and it has exceeded all sales expectations. Director Jackie Crocker said: “I Walk has been a phenomenal success with mums and retailers alike.

“It is clear that mothers are looking for a flexible shoe in a natural materials for their children, that also looks good. “Bobux, with its many years of design experience, have responded to these requests and our fantastic sales figures are a great indicator that they have another hit on their hands. “Keeping in mind the current credit crunch, the wholesale price is highly competitive, allowing retailers a good margin, while at the same time providing their customers with a super product at a sensible price.” I –Walk has both leather inners and uppers, a cushioned sole for extra comfort and comes in a range of designs from modern to classic. Jackie added: “I am receiving enquiries daily from our website, from mums looking to purchase Bobux products, so we are working flat out to appoint high end retailers around the UK and

worldwide. “We are also delighted to announce that I-Walk shoes will be stocked in Harrods in the new year too.” A premium range of clothing in natural materials completes the offering from this innovative brand from New Zealand. Items are available in a selection of pink, blue and on trend colours, allowing the retailer to cater for both the more traditional and trend-setting babies and toddlers. The great new ranges for Autumn/Winter 2009 will be available to view in January and February at Bubble, Premier Kids and Moda Footwear at the NEC, in addition to the various international shows. For more information contact Jackie Crocker at Purple Crocodile on 020 8543 1910 or visit

‘Keeping in mind the current credit crunch, the wholesale price is highly competitive, allowing retailers a good margin, while at the same time providing their customers with a super product at a sensible price.’





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Kool for kids

Ballerina shoe brings brand to heel ITALIAN kids brand Lelli Kelly has launched a new version of its ballerina shoe – with a heel. The shoe is set on a small natural rubber heel and is made from cotton. Also new for Spring Summer 2009 is a collection inspired by flowers and flora. Colour plays a big part at Lelli Kelly ranging from the brightest and most brilliant green, orange, yellow and red, metallic effect gold and silver and favourite classic tones of pink and fucshia. Inspired by the Tuscan sun, fruits and flowers this collection offers exciting patterns embellished with coloured sequins and rhinestone embroidery. Lelli Kelly is stocked by Jones Bootmaker, Russell and Bromley and independents nationwide.

A year after launching, footwear accessory company TagEm UK have big plans for 2009. Mary Ferguson caught up with founder Daniel Keating to find out more.

Charms with a modern twist ... ATTACHING charms to footwear isn’t a new idea, but Daniel and business partner Simon Sutton have developed products that appeal to youngsters with a modern twist. Daniel – who also teaches dance to children – said: “As collectors of trainers, Simon and I were at a trade show in Las Vegas and saw someone exhibiting tags retailing for hundreds of dollars, out of our price range. “We figured that if we wanted them other youngsters would too which is when the idea for TagEm was born.” After experimenting with metal tags and enamel plates, the pair were inspired by the Jibbitz used to decorate Crocs but felt they were missing something. “Jibbitz appeal to either young kids or mums and dads and we wanted to create a ‘pocket money product’ for children age six to 16. And if older people don’t ‘get it’ we don’t care – we want to become a brand for our target market.” There are currently 200 designs available to appeal to different age ranges, featuring graphics such as hearts, flowers, ghetto blasters and

modern words like ‘funky’, ‘crazy’ and ‘cool’. Daniel and Simon have also gained a licence with Marvel Entertainment, enabling them to use film characters like Spiderman and Iron Man in their designs. A similar agreement has been made with Manchester United and the pair are in talks with five other Premiership clubs. “In the past ten months TagEm has snowballed – although we are just launching into retailers now we have built a very strong platform to build our business.” The next step for the pair is to develop customised laces and insoles and eventually develop their own footwear range, using classic shapes that can easily be accessorised. Daniel added: “We are not reinventing the wheel but we are bringing it up to date. “And we really want to establish TagEm as a brand, not just a bit of plastic that you put on your shoe.” Contact: TagEm 0208 1237809 or email:

Busy days for Early Days EARLY Days the Leicester-based babies and young children's shoe manufacturers are enjoying their busiest year ever. Following the launch of their latest special occasion range in January the factory has been on continuous overtime to cope with demand. The company puts this down mainly to the success of the new collection but also to the move back to UK manufacturing by buyers who are finding the Far East less attractive than before.


For a brochure please call 01162 716944 or email sales@ earlydays.

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Brand spotlight After years of searching for fashionable shoes for her size ten feet, Catherine Owens gave up a career in microbiology to design her own. Louise Cordell finds out how.

Big can be beautiful ... CATHERINE Owens had never been able to find attractive and well made shoes that flattered her size ten feet, so a year ago she launched Amber and Jade.

make feet look larger are used minimally, toe shapes are made rounded instead of pointed and horizontal rather than vertical lines of stitching are used.

The range of specially designed shoes and boots have been created with the larger foot in mind and include a range of features to help them look great as well as feel comfortable.

The range also includes many flats or small heels as Catherine has found that women with larger feet are generally taller and tend to prefer lower heels. They are also slim, but not too spindly in order to give support, and all sizes also come in a B-slim fitting that is more suitable for narrow feet.

She said: “It is important to remember that most shoes that are available in sizes eight to ten are made by simply ‘sizing-up’ designs created for smaller feet. “This means that they tend to be disproportionately wide, deep and high heeled and do not have the features needed to properly support or flatter a larger foot. “So I wanted to start from scratch and set about designing shoes that fit and flatter feet properly.” The whole range has a selection of unique features including a deeper fit above the heel to stop feet stepping out, an extended front and longer straps to hide the toes. The designs have also been created specially to make the feet appear smaller. Catherine Owens


White and pale colours that tend to

She added: “Because I had experienced it myself I felt I knew what women wanted in a larger shoe. “I want people to know that just because you can’t find your size in the chain stores it doesn’t mean you aren’t normal – in fact ten per cent of women wear size eight or above. “My aim is to make shoe shopping fun for those people who have never been able to enjoy it and have always found it a challenge.” Although she has only been trading for a year, Catherine has seen a month on month increase in sales and is already supplying her range for ten independent boutiques in the UK and Ireland.

This success is now set to continue with another two stores due to take on the line during the next month and more signing up all the time. Catherine added: “I am very keen to get my shoes into more independents around the country because I want them to be as accessible as possible – I don’t believe women should have to struggle to find attractive, well fitting shoes, just because they have larger feet. I always aim to work closely with my stockists, showing them that there is a big market out there and they soon find out that many women are so relieved to have found some well fitting footwear that they will buy several pairs at once.” Catherine is now planning to expand the range offered by Amber and Jade, after receiving numerous requests for wedding shoes, as well as for designs in wider fits and much smaller sizes. She added: “Surprisingly, I have also had a lot of requests from men, not only looking for well made larger footwear, but also in smaller and narrower fits – I think sometimes men with small feet can face some of the same problems that women with large feet do – so it would be nice to cater for them as well.”




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Society marks 50 years

Souraya’s UK sales push By Mary Ferguson A LONDON-BASED shoe designer enjoying success in Europe and America is planning to push UK sales in 2009.

THE Society of Shoe Fitters has announced it will be holding a joint celebration award dinner with IFRA to mark its 50th birthday.

Souraya Karami launched Esska in 2006 after leaving her architecture career to study footwear design at Cordwainers and although her range is currently stocked in English boutiques, she is keen to expand.

The event will take place during the MODA Footwear Fair at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole, next to the NEC.

She told Out On A Limb: “My range is very popular in European countries because I work with agents out there and I’ve been lucky with America – I went over to New York and visited retailers personally with samples. But ultimately I’m a UK brand and I’d love to see more stockists over here.”

It has been organised by both organisations in an attempt to unite the industry by holding an event that will encompass both retailers and suppliers and their contribution to the trade.

Esska is currently stocked in London boutiques including Lollipop, Sniff and Bread and Honey as well as retailers in Kent, Devon, Brighton and Manchester.

The Society of Shoe Fitters will also be using the occasion to celebrate its anniversary and 50 years of assisting the footwear trade and the public.

She is exhibiting at Pure 2009 – her second season at the show – and is hoping this will help kick things off in the UK.

Seating for the event will be limited and can be booked as tables of ten. Tickets are available for £58 per head and can also be purchased separately from Laura West of the SSF or Arthur Spencer Bolland at IFRA.

“I’d really like the show to create more brand awareness for me – I know my styles are not very British but I am a British brand.” Souraya’s describes Esska as an ‘urban brand’, targeted at women who live Ugly duckling is building on last winter’s success by increasing its boot and ankle boot offer. The new AW 09 collection has a variety of boot styles ranging from a fashion forward hidden platform style with stretch fabric, through to casual leather mid heel boots in beautiful soft handling natural leather. The Sonia ankle boot pictured was a huge success. New versions of this product will be included in the new AW 09 collection. Wholesale prices start at £21 to £34 for shoes and £48 to £60 for boots. PURE: KFO 120 To view the collection please contact Rob Major Tel:07802 208229 e-mail:

AN ONLINE shoe shop has launched a new website and has ditched postal charges in a bid to attract new customers.

26 also offers 365 day returns if shoes are returned in an unworn condition and the site includes a 360degree product viewer and an online chat area to allow customers to speak directly to a customer service operator. ISSUE 50 DECEMBER 2008/JANUARY 2009

Founder Luke Barlow said: “We made a decision not to charge our customers an extra cost for delivery. “We want people to be able to use our website safe in the knowledge that they won’t be hit with extra costs and charges when they come to pay for their purchases.” Brands stocked include Emu, Birkenstock, Skechers, Merrell, DC, Quicksilver and Hunter Wellingtons.

and work in the city but want to feel comfortable in their shoes. Heels tend to be chunkier and lines are clean, but with an emphasis on femininity. “After two years I’m more established now which will encourage people to buy into the brand and I think my success in foreign markets will help.” She added: “Things in 2008 have been great and a real highlight has been getting my range into US store Anthropology, the sister store of Urban Outfitters. “I’ve had great press in America too but there is a huge market for me in the UK and I’m hoping to conquer that a bit more in 2009.”

Company aiming to cash in on its growing reputation J SHOES has stepped into its fifth year and is aiming to cash in on its growing reputation for style, experimentation and distinctiveness. The new Autumn Winter 2009 collection takes the unique

combination of big ideas and little details and adds a new refinement. The company will be previewing the collection at Bread and Butter, Barcelona; Futura, Dublin; Pure, London and Moda, Birmingham.

February show is all booked up THE sports fashion show Ispo is preparing for its next show in February – and is booked up. The Ispo Winter 09 event reports that the entire Neue Messe München exhibition space is booked up and organisers are expecting record attendances.

Online shop ditches postal charges ...

Souraya Karami

Tobias Gröber, head of Ispo, said: “We are really enthusiastic about

the current registration status. “We consider this development as trend-setting, and it shows a great amount of market acknowledgement and acceptance of our concept.” The event will fill 17 halls with over 2,000 exhibitors from 50 countries. The event runs from February 1 to 4.

Brands gear up for Pure London BRANDS are gearing up for the next showing of Pure London which will be held from February 8 to 10. Flamboyant shoe label Irregular Choice will return to the show after just opening their first UK store on London’s Carnaby Street, with a range of sky-high heels. Hard Hearted Harlot, Miss L Fire, Pepe Jeans Footwear plus Spanish designer Paco Gil, will all be bringing a range of footwear from stylish stilettos and wedges in bold and

bright colours. A new section of the show Ethical Pure will offer an overview of ecofriendly brands like El Naturalista, Terra Plana and The Leakey Collection. The Spirit Village will host 12 of the hottest new up and coming designers in the young fashion market and successful independent retailers will be giving seminars in the Elan Boutique section on how to operate in such a competitive market.




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Retail review Brighton-based footwear label Irregular Choice has finally opened its first UK retail outlet on London’s Carnaby Street. Brand founder and designer, Danny Sullivan, talks to Out On A Limb about why having his own store means he doesn’t have to play it safe.

Why Danny doesn’t play it safe THE Irregular Choice brand originally launched in 1999 and really started to take off in 2002 when it expanded into the US and Japan. Danny then started making plans to retail the designs through his own stores and decided that London, New York and Tokyo were the most promising areas to focus on. However, after spending months searching the capital for the right space, the ideal location came up in New York and the first store opened in December 2007. Danny said: “I think most brands end up moving into retail for themselves at some point and we were really keen to do it because it meant we could have things exactly as we wanted. “I originally really wanted to open up in London first – it seemed like the most natural thing to do, but we just couldn’t find what we wanted for the right price.

“I never want our shops to be like those designer places where people feel awkward walking in – I always want people to feel comfortable and have an enjoyable experience.” The brand are now developing new collections for 2009 and are working on ways of personalising and targeting different parts of the range for different audiences in order to help beat the credit crunch. They are also planning on releasing a number of specially designed, limited edition lines that will only be available through the stores and website. Danny added: “We will be offering the ‘safer’ end of the collection to the smaller independents, as many are stores that would rather not take a big risk with some of the more unusual styles.

“So when the New York opportunity came up we just went for it.”

“However, unique and eye-catching designs is what we are all about, so we will also be coming up with a new collection for our own shops and the website where we can really let ourselves go.

Now, under a year later, the team are celebrating the opening of the UK outlet, which has come just in time to showcase the entire AW08 collection.

“We also have relationships with some stores who are aiming at something in between so we will be looking to create individual packages to suit those.”

The design is out of the ordinary, in keeping with the eye catching brand style, and features clashing colours, 80s hi-tech robotic carpets, 70s discotheque mirrored walls, hand painted manga elephants and a rubik’s cube, yellow brick road.

The company is now in talks with Tokyo distributors and is aiming to open a store there early next year.

Danny added: “We definitely wanted to create something that was not your normal high street shop, but the main thing I wanted was for people to walk into the store and find it fun.

Also because the London store has been doing so well – more than doubling its targets – the brand are looking at possible sites in Manchester, Brighton and Dublin as well. Danny added: “I think having our own retail outlets is particularly important for a brand like ours that

has such a strong image and ethos.

to be.

“I spend a lot of money exhibiting at shows and we aim to set up a stand that really captures the ideas behind the brand.

“Retailers may not use the POS supplied, so what customers see in the shops is very different to the original visions the brand created for the collection.

“People love it, and then it is a shame when it goes out to distributors and gets mixed up with other brands in the showroom and is not displayed in the way you want it

“Having our own retail space gives us the chance to show that and I think it is the only way it can really be done.” ISSUE 50 DECEMBER 2008/JANUARY 2009


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Slipper show evolves into must-attend exhibition A BLACKPOOL footwear exhibition that began as a slipper show is getting increasingly popular in the footwear trade. From its roots as the Blackpool Slipper Show in the Winter Gardens, where manufacturers from the Rossendale Valley used to gather, it has evolved over 50 years in to a must attend event for independent retailers. David Buchanan, from the Sutton Group is showing with Jaybill, the wholesale arm of JBI Ltd said: “Blackpool is one of those quaint anomalies in the footwear trade that for Jaybill makes fantastic commercial sense, despite the fact that sometimes the wind on the sea

front in mid-January could very nearly cut you in half, it is a well attended, highly profitable show for both buyers and sellers.” Jaybill now exhibits at the Savoy Hotel one of the half a dozen hotel venues used by the show in the town. Conrad Dempsey, director of Jaybill, said “The show is a good early indicator of the trade for the year ahead. A good Blackpool show usually means our Spring Summer product offer is strong. It also allows us to give retailers the opportunity to buy some in season product to maintain their stocks for the last couple of months of the winter season.” Kenyons Footwear will be exhibiting at the Baron Hotel, Blackpool. New for 2009 are new ladies Helena comfort shoes and leather sandal ranges, along with new men’s Siterover, MH Collection, Dr Lightfoot brands, ladies fashion concept Chix and new exercise shoes, plus the girls Chix and Dandy Steps along with boys Bx Team and leather shoes, plus extensive in stock boots and slippers and clearance stocks lines.




Leather and Footwear Services • Routine testing • Slip testing • Whole shoe testing • Restricted substance testing (EN71) • Problem solving • Fit assessment • Leather training

To Advertise please call 01226 724288 SHOE FITTING

The Society of Shoefitters

Celebrating 50 Years 1959-2009

T: +44(0)1604 679999 F: +44(0)1604 679998 E:

BLC Leather Technology Centre Ltd Leather Trade House, Kings Park Road, Moulton Park, Northampton NN3 6JD, UK

A 'not-for-profit' organisation - raising standards of shoe fitting to a professional level and assisting the trade and public Next course starts: January 1st 2009 Tel:: 019533 8511711 E:: ISSUE 50 DECEMBER 2008/JANUARYY 2009





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Sponsored by BLC Leather Technology Centre Ltd -

Warning on trend worry THE British Footwear Association’s chief executive has warned business about a number of worrying trends which are set to put the industry under severe pressure. Richard Kottler has announced that, in addition to the current global downturn, UK footwear suppliers are fighting against other problems including the difficulty in getting insurance cover on goods supplied to an increasing number of retailers and the increasing drift towards 90 day terms or more. He also emphasised the difficulties faced with retention of title issues when faced with vulnerable customers and the inability of suppliers to pass on any cost increases to retailers. He said: “There has never been a time when the partnership between supplier and customer needed to be closer. To continue to survive in the UK the need for both sides to protect margin is crucial. Our members have become adept in squeezing costs out of the entire process from sourcing to delivery, but this cannot be the sole solution.” The BFA is now in discussions with its members about ways to raise the awareness of the current difficulties faced in trading. The main concern is that, to help meet retailers’ commitment to maintaining prices, they are having to re-engineer products, make savings on the supply chain and look for new supply sources. Richard added: “For example, the continuation, at least for the next eight to 15 months, of anti-dumping duty is not helping the volume supplier and a number of companies, faced with this and with increased factory costs in China, are moving production to other countries – India and other parts of the Far East. “The fear is that when the recession is over that there will be fewer or smaller British companies left in this business.”

What are the safety implications of stilettos? IS your business aware of the potential risk and cost associated with the current fashion for high heeled shoes? A recent item in the press proved costly for one retailer when a heel snapped causing injury to the customer, who went on to win a significant compensation claim. Stiletto design specifications vary. The heel needs to be high, tapered and thin with a tension pin running through it and it usually also has a top-piece which is 10mm or less across. This all contributes to the aesthetics for the wearer, but what about the safety implications involved with this design? The majority of tests carried out on high heels are deemed to be safety

New addition to range

AGGRESSIVE moves to reduce plastic bags in stores would be supported by shoppers according to new Ipsos Mori Research. A study undertaken as part of an examination of shopper behaviour found that 60 per cent of shoppers support a charge for plastic bags despite the current economic climate. The research also found that consumers were evenly balanced on who they thought should be responsible for ensuring products are ethically sourced. Around one in three shoppers said that it is their own personal responsibility to choose products that are more or less ethically sourced, but almost equal responsibility was attributed to retailers.

A NEW addition has been made to the ShearStep range of retail products. The products are made using the highest quality mineral gels which are divided into three areas which include gel bunion shields, gel toe separators and gel toe tubes all of which not only protect but also improve the quality of dry and damaged skin and reduce pressure on the foot. A company spokesman said: “We feel the products will enhance the comfort and protection of users and in turn increase your turnover. “We are delighted with this new range of products which offer the

NEW web service packages from Cybertill are aiming to help retailers get online and improve their internet sales. The company has introduced a new specialist web services team to help its clients get the most out of their website and use it to improve their marketing and sales.

“Many of them also operate stores and benefit from using our Cybertill software to manage multiple channels as one, as a single business.


“Web shopping is at an all time high and shows no sign of reducing. ISSUE 50 DECEMBER 2008/JANUARY 2009

Contact BLC on 01604 679956, email: or visit

Bag charge

New packages aim to boost internet sales

Ian Tomlinson, Cybertill MD, said: “We already drive more than 500 ecommerce businesses for our clients.

critical due to the chance of personal injury that can result from faulty items. The stiletto design leads to extreme repeated stresses being imposed on the heel and backpart during walking. During a normal walking cycle the

heel will initially be pushed under the shoe as the tip of the heel comes into contact with the ground. The heel is then forced in the opposite direction as the forepart comes into contact with the ground and the weight is shifted forwards; and the higher the heel, the higher the stress. A heel fatigue test simulates walking by subjecting the heel to repeated impacts. High heels can be fragile in wear, particularly if the basic safety critical tests have been ignored, however, testing can help to ensure that all of these aspects are covered.

“Our clients are very internet-savvy and are keen to extend and improve their online offering. “They’ve asked us to be a one-stop shop for all their software needs and we’ve responded by making specialist web skills available.”

highest quality to our customers and are sure that they will provide comfort and protection to all users. “You can be assured of displaying and selling quality merchandise with the full support of Shear Step.”

New terminal launched TOSHIBA TEC Europe has announced the TOSHIBA WILLPOS A20 POS terminal. The new terminal has been designed with a range of new and improved features that address key issues, such as versatility, robustness, high volume processing, environmental responsibility and elegance. The proven Intel® Celeron® M processor, alongside the latest chipset architecture, sets a class leading benchmark for processor performance with extremely low power consumption, significantly increasing return on investment. With performance comparable to far higher GHz processors, the WILLPOS A20 delivers all the power expected of a high performance POS terminal, whilst consuming up to 49 per cent less power than legacy models. With built-in stereo speakers and an optional 12 or 15 inch customer facing touch-screen the WILLPOS A20 enables businesses to deliver interactive multimedia presentations/promotions at the

point of sale. The WILLPOS A20 boasts a total of nine USB ports (three of which are powered), and interfaces for mouse, keyboard and cash drawers (two) as well as external monitor (VGA) and10/100-Base T Ethernet. There is also a RAID hard disk option, utilising a twin hard disk drive configuration. The WILLPOS A20 can be set up to replicate business critical data and afford industry leading levels of protection from data loss. Contact: 0870 8907200 Information on

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Out on a limb  

The trade magazine for the UK's footwear and accessories market