Luxury shoe range for bunion sufferers secures British Design Fund’s first wave of investment

An online retailer of fashion footwear designed to ease the pain of bunion sufferers has secured backing in the British Design Fund’s first ever wave of investments. 

Calla Shoes, designed for the 10 million women in the UK suffering from bunions, is one of just two UK brands to receive part of a £500k product-focused investment pot out of more than 100 companies that have applied for backing since the British Design Fund launched in 2017.

The British Design Fund is an early stage investment fund that specifically invests in, and provides support for, early stage UK product design and manufacturing companies. Founder of Calla, Jennifer Bailey, first approached the Fund for investment over 18 months ago, and recently secured funding following a unanimous decision from the organisation’s panel, which applauded Calla’s ability to mix fashion and design to solve a universal problem.

The funding will be used to continue sourcing innovative materials that complement the already highly-acclaimed Calla range, currently made from handpicked soft leather that lends itself to the flexibility required to suit feet with bunions. It will also support a largescale, online marketing campaign which will seek to triple revenue within 12 months, and hit the £1m mark within three years.

Calla, a manufacturer of beautiful and stylish shoes for women with bunions, is the first ‘fashion focused’ bunion shoe brand in the UK. The collection is designed in conjunction with professional fitters, podiatry experts and experienced shoe designers to equally balance aesthetic and comfort for the wearer. The shoe range supports and disguises the bunion by being wider than the average shoe with additional volume in the toe box, where bunions sit, while simultaneously complementing the wearer’s individual sense of style. Each shoe design is tested on a panel of bunion sufferers, including Jennifer herself, to ensure they offer the maximum level of comfort, before going into production.

Bailey said: “For so long, Calla’s marketing strategy has been executed on less than a shoe string. It’s contributed to steady but maintained growth that has seen us reach some impressive milestones; however, to achieve accelerated growth, I was acutely aware Calla needed third-party investment.

“This has been a long time coming, and I’m thrilled Calla has been recognised as the life-changing product it is. This investment means the business can grow exponentially quickly, adapting to and meeting the huge demand we have from customers in the UK and abroad, and adding to our range to ensure Calla Shoes remains at the forefront of footwear fashion.”

Damon Bonser, CEO of the British Design Fund, said: “The British Design Fund is tailored to support product-based businesses that fulfil a clear need. As soon as we met her, it was immediately clear that Jennifer understands her market and has applied her experience to come up with a solution to a global issue. Furthermore, the products she has created are beautiful, stylish and eye-catching – an anomaly in the current bunion footwear market.

“Jennifer’s expertise in marketing has seen Calla emerge as a direct-to-consumer sell brand, but it won’t be long before wholesale is calling, as demand for the products continues to rise. We anticipate that, combined with ongoing support from the BDF, Calla will become a multi-million pound turnover business within a few years, and it should be seen as an example of outstanding product design in the fashion market.“

Calla’s range of beautiful shoes can be found exclusively online at www.callashoes.co.uk