ANNUAL FOOTWEAR INDUSTRY AWARDS
Published: 26 February, 2012
The Footwear Industry Awards, held on Sunday 19th February 2012 to coincide with the Moda Show, at the Forest of Arden Hotel, 4 miles from Birmingham NEC, has been hailed as one of the best attended and most enjoyable awards events in the industry’s recent history. With over 220 guests it was a full house on the night! Tickets for event sold out a week before, with a waiting list for ‘no shows’.
A hugely successful and widely publicised event, it was the first which saw all the trade associations, including the British Footwear Association, the Independent Footwear Retailers Association and the Society of Shoe Fitters, working together as one to reward their peers. The event awarded high achieving brands and retailers, whilst also offering the industry a valuable networking opportunity.
Commenting on the Footwear Awards, an annual event for the industry, run by the industry, Richard Kottler, CEO of the British Footwear Association, said: “The event was a great success and will develop into a really important part of the footwear calendar. BFA members enjoyed the evening and were pleased to receive several awards and the word will undoubtedly spread for the coming years that any event covering such a wide cross section of the footwear sector deserves their support and encouragement. We are looking forward to next year already!
As President of Footwear Friends, Richard was also delighted that the evening raised a great deal of money for the charity and will really make a difference to our ability to help those in the industry who need help. The generosity of the trade and the Footwear Organisers is much appreciated and welcomed.
Speaking on behalf of his members, Arthur Spencer-Bolland, Secretary of the International Footwear Retailers Association, said "The first Footwear Awards were a great success and we at IFRA were pleased and proud to have been involved. We look forward to improving even more on this excellent event next year."
Laura West, Secretary of The Society of Shoe Fitters told Footwear Today “The Society of Shoefitters would like to thank Datateam for putting together a fantastic event for the footwear industry, which without doubt will be another sell-out next year. The best thing about it was the equal mix of suppliers and retailers" said Laura.
“'It really united the industry. Awards dinners are normally prohibitively expensive and rather starchy and as Independent retailers are not having an easy time it would be impossible for most to attend. However with this in mind Datateam managed to host an affordable, glitzy, relaxed and really fun event.”
“The predictable raffle was replaced with a Heads & Tails game and the wine flowed generously all evening. It reminded me of shoe fair events twenty to thirty years ago. The trade was very supportive of one another and there was great camaraderie between companies which of latter years had sadly dwindled, but this event certainly rekindled the 'feel good factor' and made the Moda Shoe Fair an even more enjoyable occasion”.
Many positive comments were received from footwear retailers who attended the Awards Event, including the following from Ellie Dickins of Ellie Dickins Shoes, Hungerford, who told Footwear Today “I had an incredible evening. The atmosphere was so friendly and the whole room was having fun all evening. To be Highly Commended in the Best Ladies Footwear Retailer Award was an incredible achievement for me in the first year of these awards. It was also the perfect opportunity to network across the whole of the industry from retailers, suppliers, the press and the footwear organisations. Well done to all who organised a truly memorable night and I am definitely booking a place at next year’s dinner.”
Commenting on the Footwear Awards, Nina Townsend, UK Business Manager of JJ Footwear, said: “Whilst JJFW has an established presence in the international Footwear Industry, both the Company and I am new to the UK Footwear Industry. After years of being a disconsolate footwear shopper, I joined the industry thinking that the industry simply did not care about my or anyone else's feet. However, the Inaugural Footwear Industry Awards provided a perfect platform for myself and Company CEO to network with some great industry professionals and certainly altered my opinion of the industry. It was a delightful evening, in which we saw a number of our clients nominated for awards and met some super characters. Having worked for many years in the Awards and events industry I know how difficult it is to pull these evening off so many congratulations should be extended to the team at Footwear Today!
All voting was conducted online (one vote per IP address), with readers from Footwear Today Magazine placing their own, unbiased opinion on who should win the various categories. By removing the traditional ‘judging panel’ format, the organisers believe that the event offers a true reflection of the winners of each of the awards: with no corporate or sponsor intervention.
THE WINNERS – FOOTWEAR INDUSTRY AWARDS 3012
Best Men’s Footwear Brand – Sponsored by Cherry Blossom
Winner - Loake Shoemakers
Highly Commended - Padders
Best Ladies Footwear Brand
Winner - Paul Green
Highly Commended - Fit Flop
Best Children’s Footwear Brand
Winner - Garvalin
Highly Commended - Start-Rite Shoes
Best Wellness/Sports Footwear Brand
Winner - Skechers
Highly Commended - Clarks
Best Footwear Representative
Winner - Nick West (Compass Footwear)
Highly Commended - Jeremy Hewitt (Merrel/Hush Puppies)
Best Comfort Brand
Winner - Padders
Highly Commended - DB Shoes
Best Fashion Footwear Brand
Winner - Hunters
Highly Commended - Irregular Choice
Best Independent Men’s Retailer – Sponsored by Padders
Winner - Bishops
Highly Commended - Friary Shoes
Best Independent Ladies Retailer – Sponsored by Rieker
Winner - Friary Shoes
Highly Commended - Ellie Dickins
Best Independent Children’s Retailer – Sponsored by Garvalin
Winner - Pares Footwear
JOINT Highly Commended - Apples and Pairs Children's Shoes AND Igloo
Best Independent Sports/Outdoor Footwear Retailer
Winner - Whalley Warm & Dry
Highly Commended - Lockwoods Ski and Outdoor
Best Multiple Retailer – Sponsored by Ascot International
Winner - Charles Clinkard
Highly Commended - Strolling for Shoes
Best E-tailer/Use of Technology - Sponsored by RTL
Winner - Edward Meeks
Highly Commended - All Sole.com
Best Customer Service – Sponsored by Out on a Limb
Winner - Rieker
JOINT Highly Commended - Padders and UKD
Best Below the Ankle Product Award
Winner - Cherry Blossom
Highly Commended - Dasco
Student Shoe Fitter of the Year – Sponsored by Society of Shoe Fitters
Winner - Mr. David O'Dwyer, Cushyfeet of Limerick.
Best New Retailer – Sponsored by Moda Footwear
Winner - Angels and Urchins
Highly Commended - Doris and Daisy
Footwear Personality of the Year - Sponsored by Footwear Today
Winner - Laura West, Society of Shoe Fitters
Highly Commended -Charles Clinkard
Footwear Brand of the Year - Sponsored by GDS
Winner - Rieker
Highly Commended - Kindred Sole
Highly commended certificates are currently being produced by the organiser, Datateam, publisher of Footwear Today Magazine. These will be delivered to all the finalists concerned very shortly.