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Annual Awards 2015

Progress Report on Annual Awards Winners 2015

The Worshipful Company of Cordwainers Award for Innovation/Entrepreneurship

Richard Swift

The award did help a lot for us actually, not just the monetary side but from a marketing perspective in that we were thought of so highly in our start-up year.

It has been a really tough year to be honest all round to get sales moving. It’s not easy driving a brand forward in a very competitive climate. As a result I have had to re structure and new extra special people have come in to drive everything forward.

That process is almost complete now and we are much strengthened with renewed vigour and with the wind in our sales I am certain we will succeed.

Richard Swift
Winner of the Worshipful Company of Cordwainers Award for Innovation/Entrepreneurship

The Micro-Pak Ltd. Award

Jane Rafter

It was truly wonderful to be awarded the prize from Footwear Friends, not only was the financial input a huge boost to the business but also having the backing, support and belief in your product from so many distinguished people in the footwear industry is a boost that took Slinks to the next level.

With the extra finance awarded to Slinks we were able to improve our website where we do the majority of out national and international sales. We were able to engage professional photography services to take product shots and have a detailed analysis of our website.

Having the finance to improve our business, we have grown, sales have increased which is ultimately at the end of the day what a business wants. Having been able to improve the website has given us a truly user friendly website and ease of purchase for the customer. We have a clear plan of where we are going, where we want to be and something to aim for to keep on improving. Our business is growing and we are smiling!

Jane Rafter
Winner of the Micro-Pak Ltd. Award

The Joe Meltzer Travel Award

Jalil Rahman

Winning the Metzler Award was the single most important milestone up until that point as it provided a strong endorsement for the business. We are a British brand that thrives on the very image of English heritage with a modern twist – the award propelled us to an advanced position where we can now take advantage and endeavour to boost the global perception of UK craftsmanship.

The prize money was spent on developing the first women’s shoe which launched last month. It is a special edition model of our best-selling, signature shoe. Our partner on this important journey is Breast Cancer Haven, a leading national breast cancer charity. The fuchsia-and aubergine-coloured suede shoe comes in a special pink box and 100% of net proceeds will go to Breast Cancer Haven’s good work. Without the prize money I would not have been able to explore this avenue.

Shortly after receiving the award last year I received another award – this time from Microsoft – as a Digital Champion in the UK. Microsoft were searching for British businesses that are leveraging digital techniques to expand offerings and compete with bigger players in an awe-inspiring way. Thanks to the credibility gained from the Footwear Friends Awards, Microsoft were made aware of the Augustus Pili brand and after several interviews also ran quite substantial press coverage including magazine write-ups and video content.

Jalil Rahman
Winner of the Joe Meltzer Travel Award

Ninth Annual Awards Evening

The ninth Footwear Friends Annual Awards were held at St. Mary at Hill Church in Eastcheap on October 22nd. 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

Swift & Co was awarded the first prize of £5,000 for developing a new footwear construction that is less labour intensive, more eco-friendly, lightweight and combines tradition with technology whilst keeping the designs appropriate for today’s market. The Award includes a 12-months mentoring programme by industry experts and the Master of the Worshipful Company of Cordwainers, John Rubinstein M.A. presented the prize to Managing Director, Richard Swift.

The Micro-Pak Ltd. Award

This award of £2,500 plus 12-months mentoring programme was presented to Slinks by Global Sales and Marketing Manager, Sal Cesario of Micro-Pak Ltd. Slinks are luxury sandals with interchangeable uppers. The idea is simple but offers a luxurious leather base sandal with changeable uppers that are comfortable, beautiful and unique.

The Joe Meltzer Travel Award

This year’s Award went to Augustus Pili. Reinventing men’s shoes handmade in England. The collection applies colour, contemporary design and contrasting fabrics to traditional handmade shoes demonstrating British shoe making is the best in the world. Managing Director of Augustus Pili, Jalil Rahman was presented with his prize of £750 including a 12-months mentoring programme by Richard Paice, founder of the Footwear Friends Annual Awards.

The BFA/FN PLATFORM Award 2015

The 2015 Award went to Swift & Co. This award recognises the company’s commitment to developing a product with manufacturing, comfort innovation, a commitment to UK making and the production of a product with international potential and relevance. The winner is given the opportunity to show their emerging brand on a sponsored stand at the USA’s premier footwear show – FN PLATFORM in Las Vegas. The prize was presented by John Saunders of the British Footwear Association.

Again the judges for this year’s Awards, who were Georgina Goodman, Caroline Groves, Rachel King and Malcolm Collins had a difficult task to pick the winners between so much talent emerging in the industry. Malcolm Collins of Footwear Friends commented ” The judges were extremely impressed with the standard of this year’s entries and well thought out presentations. What was especially impressive this time was the high level of creativity and innovation, even if some of the brands needed help to turn the proposition into a commercial opportunity. I am also delighted that so many people attended the event and by doing so supported the trade’s unique charity.”

During the night speeches were made by the Charity’s chairman and president David Lockyer, keynote speaker Eric Musgrave of Drapers and Harvey Jacobson, Managing Director of The Jacobson Group and Trustee of Footwear Friends.

Footwear Friends are grateful to the event sponsors without whom the evening would not be possible: Annette Cove Associates, Chatham Marine, Clarks, Dune, Pavers, Rainbow Club, SATRA, Schuh, T&A Footwear Ltd. and William Lamb Footwear Ltd.

For further information and a full slide-show of the event photographs please visit our website Income from this sponsored event goes to the charitable works of Footwear Friends, the only Footwear Industry Charity.

Awards Evening Sponsors

Footwear Friends, the industry charity, has a proud record of helping those most in need in the Trade. These Awards also enable Footwear Friends to support the young entrepreneurs who will be the future lifeblood of the industry.

The Awards Evening Event was generously sponsored by organisations closely linked with the footwear industry. They are:

  • Annette Cove Associates, the leading specialist recruitment agency for the footwear industry
  • Chatham Marine, for the past 25 years, Chatham has traded on the weekend sailor and has grown into one of Britain’s key footwear brands. All of our footwear combines very British styling and traditional craftsmanship with innovative design, made in high quality and durable materials
  • Clarks – In 1825, Cyrus and James Clark made a slipper that led to a shoe that ignited a passion that endures to this day. Designs take their inspiration from far and wide yet remain quintessentially British, while a unique combination of art and artisanship, innovation and imagination guides us as we create stylish shoes that are a pleasure to wear
  • Dune is a fashion footwear and accessories retailer.
  • Pavers – Pavers have established a reputation for providing high quality, comfortable, stylish footwear at great prices, and over 150 years of collective footwear passion goes into selecting shoes at Pavers.
  • Rainbow Club – Rainbow Club has been designing, making and colouring handmade satin wedding shoes since the mid-1980’s and we are now firmly established as the UK’s leading and most inspirational producers
  • SATRA – Our life is in footwear. To help footwear brands, suppliers and retailers we have made it our business to know all there is about footwear research and testing.
  • Schuh has been running the fashion footwear game since 1981. The show stopping shoes, the unparalleled service, and the exciting stores are what make Schuh: not another shoe shop.
  • T&A Footwear Ltd. – UK-based T&A is a leading designer and supplier of footwear for women and children, creating unique, on-trend styles for a wide range of UK retailers and providing a seamless service running from initial design through sourcing and quality assurance to delivery.
  • William Lamb Footwear Ltd – Shoemakers since 1887.