Annual Awards 2014
Footwear Friends Annual Awards 2014 – Update
We are pleased to provide the following update on the progress made by the three businesses who won the awards in 2014.
Mentoring support for the winners from experienced industry professionals is a key feature of the awards and all three businesses have been assisted in their development.
Matt Horan – Rollasole – Cordwainers Award
It was our first recognition in the industry after many years so personally it was a fantastic recognition of all the hard work over the years and it put our brand on the map within the industry.
We were able to commit full time to a PR agency that has boosted our profile significantly over the last 12 months.
We have established ourselves with Debenhams and have recently secured a trial contract with Accessorize who we launch a range with next month. Our international growth has been fantastic with big inroads made into the US and Middle East.
Jonathan Matthew – Solillas – Micro-Pak Ltd. Award and FN PLATFORM Award
In 2014/15 Solillas continued to grow in the UK, the summer saw the brand carried in all Office stores UK wide, as well as Topshop, House of Fraser and Selfridges. We launched our premium Luxe collection in Selfridges and significantly grew our international retail network.
The BFA/FN Platform Award helped the brand show at the February FN Platform in Las Vegas. This show helped crystalise orders with several large US majors. Our US brand presence has increased over the last 12 months and we are now carried in numerous fashion forward high end boutiques including Fred Segal in Los Angeles.
The Micro-Pak Award helped provide mentoring guidance, which has helped the company shape it’s strategy for SS16 and beyond and plan for international growth.
In mid 2015 Solillas won the Drapers Award for Best New Business which was also an honour and a huge surprise up against some great competition.
Our SS16 range will be shown at Pure, Moda, MICAM, FN Platform and Sole Commerce. The company now has distributors in Korea, Hong Kong and Canada, as well as relationships with fashion forward majors in Japan, the US and Middle East.
Solillas would like to give a huge thanks to Footwear Friends and Micro-Pak, BFA and FN Platform for the awards, and a further thanks to the BFA for their ongoing support to Solillas.
Jane Cunneen/Scott O’Connor – Dear Frances – Joe Meltzer Travel Award
The Footwear Friends Award has assisted Dear Frances in the development of our brand throughout AW15 and helped us to realise our wholesale distribution goals for the season. For Winter 2015, we will add over 10 new stores to our list of retail partners, increasing our exposure both locally in the UK and internationally in the USA, Japan, France, Canada, Germany and Australia.
Through the award scheme, we were lucky enough to gain ongoing mentorship with Georgina Goodman, which has offered a wonderful opportunity for us to learn from her invaluable industry experience, in particular streamlining our business strategy and seasonal merchandising advice.
Dear Frances now presents four seasons per year and will unveil the new season SS16 this September in London and Paris and for the first time in New York.
The eighth Footwear Friends Annual Awards were held at St. Mary at Hill Church in Eastcheap, London on the 6th November. The Awards recognise the extraordinary entrepreneurial talent emerging in the footwear industry.
The winners in the various categories were:
The Worshipful Company of Cordwainers Award for Innovation
Rollasole Ltd. was awarded a £5,000 bursary aimed at developing a Young Designer’s business. The Award was generously sponsored by the livery company and includes a 12-month mentoring programme by industry experts. The Master of the Worshipful Company of Cordwainers, Lance Shaw, presented Managing Director of Rollasole Ltd., Matt Horan with the prize.
The Micro-Pak Ltd. Award
This Award of £2,500 plus 12-months mentoring programme was presented to Solillas by Steve Bracewell and sponsored by Micro-Pak Ltd. Jonathan Matthew, Managing Director of the business was present to receive his award.
The Meltzer Travel Award
This year’s award went to Dear Frances. The Award of £750 is primarily to assist candidates in attending key Trade Shows and researching materials and trends. Donated by Philip Meltzer in memory of Joe Meltzer. Again this Award includes a mentoring programme. The Award was presented to business partners Jane Cunneen and Scott O’Connor by Georgina Goodman.
The BFA/FN PLATFORM Award for Export Potential
The 2014 Award went to Solillas. The BFA/FN PLATFORM Award winner is given the opportunity to show their emerging brand on a sponsored stand at the USA’s premier footwear show – FN PLATFORM at Magic in Las Vegas. The Award was presented to Jonathan Matthew, Managing Director of the business by John Saunders of the British Footwear Association.
The judges this year combined those with many years in the industry. They were: Georgina Goodman, Caroline Groves, Steve Bracewell and Malcolm Collins.
Malcolm Collins of Footwear Friends commented: “Again this year we have seen an increase in applicants, and were impressed by the quality of the work that is being done. It is always difficult to choose between so much talent but we feel that the winners were those who not only had exciting product but business acumen as well, and as such will develop into major players in the footwear industry. I am also delighted that so many people attended the event and by doing so supported the trade’s unique charity.”
This year there was also a chance to win a year’s supply of shoes (One pair of shoes per month) generously sponsored by Schuh as well as “two tickets to the prestigious Pattenmakers Dinner on 16th April 2015” donated by past President of Footwear Friends, Richard Kottler. All proceeds go directly to the Society’s welfare programme, aiding current and past members of the Footwear Industry who have fallen on hard times.
Footwear Friends are grateful to the event sponsors without whom the evening would not be possible: Annette Cove Associates; Chatham Marine, Clarks, Dune, Pure London, Rainbow Club, Rocket Dog Brands International, Schuh and William Lamb Footwear Ltd.
For further information and a full slide show of the event photographs please visit our website www.annual-awards.org. Income from this sponsored event goes to the charitable works of Footwear friends, the only Footwear Industry Charity.