'FITTING' NEWS' - Summer 2012 - Another Warm Welcome from the President – Jan Parry
Published: 17 May, 2012
In my last column I was hoping for a hot – or even warm summer – not much luck so far I am sad to say, and as the last edition was just prior to MODA, I was also hoping to meet more of our members – fortunately I had better luck on that score! Thank you so much for coming up to say ‘hello’ to my husband Francis and I, it was lovely to meet you and chat about trade. We have since had our AGM and I embark on my second year in office – where does the time go? The Minutes of the meeting are available from our Secretary, so if you want to know how the SSF has performed over the past year, do request a copy. My address at the meeting was as follows:
Good afternoon and welcome to the 52nd AGM of the Society of Shoe Fitters. The Society’s reputation continues to grow. We are recognised more and more as an important nucleus of information and expertise on the fitting of shoes. The huge number of calls, emails and hits on the Society’s website shows what a great demand there is. I must thank our Secretary Laura for holding it alltogether.
The Awards Dinner in February at the Forest of Arden Hotel really got 2012 started with a brilliant feel good factor. A very worthy young man won our Student of the Year 2011 trophy – David O’Dwyer of Cushy Feet, Limerick. He was an exceptional student amongst very strong competition. Of course another highlight of the evening for me was Laura winning the ‘Personality of the Year’ award. In my opinion there really was no competition. Laura continues to do an amazing job for the Society which is obviously recognised throughout the shoe trade. It was encouraging to see so many members of the shoe trade at the dinner and hopefully when news gets around of what a pleasant and entertaining evening it was, more independent retailers will attend next year.
In these trying times we have been dealt another blow by the news that Clarks will not only intend to sell directly to the public but will be allowing the public to fit children’s shoes with the aid of gauges produced by Clarks. It is very difficult to understand why the premier children’s brand after so many years of promoting the importance of correctly fitted children’s shoes instore, has changed its policy. Clarks are in the enviable position of being a highly profitable company and it upsets me that they put extra profit before principles. Their seeming contempt for longstanding and loyal retailers beggars belief. I only wish that we could reverse this decision by holding firm to the Society’s principles. There is no substitute for properlyfitted footwear.
I come now to thanking all the people who make this Society a success. The excellent and dedicated tutors who educate our students to a high level and have contributed along with Laura, to writing our newly updated course. Thanks to Charles Denton of DB shoes for his generosity printing the new coursework and hosting workshops. Thanks to dependable John Allan for continuing to oversee our finances, not forgetting everyone else on Council that volunteer their services. Lastly, but very importantly I on behalf of the Council thank Peter Lamble for the continuing use of Start-rite London Showroom for our meetings.
I can only add how proud I am to be your President of this very worthy Society. THANK YOU to CLARKS for part-sponsorship of this Newsletter. Clark’s have part-sponsored a newsletter for several years and it is greatly appreciated. 25 years ago they had approx 30 qualified Society members, mostly shop managers who qualified through the course, eighteen of whom are still working for the company and remain loyal to the Society. This proves how investing in staff pays dividends and retains company loyalty – thank you all!
Naturally Clarks are quite concerned about retailer reaction to the proposal to follow Start-rite down the online route. Bearing in mind this is a multi-national company it was only a matter of time before the company went this route as other countries do not have the benefit of the number of shops as we have in the UK. As an organisation we cannot possibly approve of selling kids shoes online and we are naturally concerned knowing the problems that have arisen for shops ‘fitting without selling’ and the increase in children’s foot health issues. Clarks are happy and open to discuss their plans,
which they assure us will at every opportunity encourage parents to shop instore. Clarks Training Manager and member Bob Hardy and his colleagues did suggest attending our AGM to answer any queries, but as we use the Start-rite showroom this was not deemed appropriate, however the invitation remains open. If you would like to discuss this faceto-face with Clarks they are happy to meet us at their Solihull office. Please contact the Secretary via email by May28th (latest), if you would like to attend a meeting and let us know which day of the week is best for you.
Our member Nikki Jones from Liquorice Laces has informed us of an Independents Day organised by Skillsmart Retail and its supporters are teaming up with local retailers across the country to celebrate
Independents’ Day JULY 4TH
Skillsmart says - Independents’ Day flies the flag for local retailers: the ones who help make our villages, towns and cities so special. It’s about championing diversity on the high street and recognising the skills behind the shop front. Buy at least one item from an independent retailer on the day and celebrate your independents. Your high street needs you! If you’re a retailer, you can download the posters, put them in your shop window and start getting your local community
excited about the campaign today. We’ve put together some materials to help you decorate your windows and contact your local media. If you want to make sure your store and staff are ready for Independents’ Day, there’s a wealth of information available on our get ready page. Feeling inspired? If you want to find out what’s possible or just have a nosey at what happened last year, look at ideas or our Facebook page. And don’t forget to let us know what you’re up to!
Editor: The SSF are aiming to produce some posters which will be sent to you nearer the time – we hope you’ll use them. We have also passed on this information to IFRA so their members may benefit too.
IN DEEPEST SYMPATHY The trade has recently lost two more well known personalities and our thoughts and sympathies go to Chris Marrum and family (Agent for Petasil, Bo-bell, Art for kids etc.) for the sudden death of his father Hasse Reinhard Marrum. Hasse continued to be involved in the shoe industry but also part- owned ‘The Four Pears Pub’ (no spelling mistake) with conference facilities - .the Conference Pear. What a character.
We are also sad to learn from our member Marcus Baker that Jackie Crocker the Bobux Distributor has lost her fight against stomach cancer and passed away Sunday May 6th surrounded by her loving family. Our thoughts are with both families.
WHAT GREAT SERVICE!
We all know that the public have become more discerning (and some might add extremely difficult), but as Mary Portas quickly pointed out, the fault is often on both sides as many retail outlets are badly managed and staff unmotivated and ill-educated, not offering customers a conducive atmosphere in which to shop. It was therefore wonderful to receive a phone call and follow up email from a member of the public Caroline Wharrum, in praise of the service she has received.
Caroline had been to so many shops without any real help or encouragement. She couldn’t find any boots to zip up and found the whole experience humiliating and upsetting. So who gave Caroline the best possible shopping experience? Our long-term member BRIAN ROBERTS OF HEFFORDS, ST. HELLIER, JERSEY (owned by Tutte & Thomas). Brian apparently tried so many pairs of boots and shoes on her and offered to adapt those that were an acceptable fit, but after some considerable time suggested that she really needed specialist footwear and to contact the SSF. Brian’s endeavours have not gone unappreciated as Caroline tells us….
Thank you Laura for your help, Cosyfeet are going to send a brochure and the other one from Anthony Richards from pied d'amour I have sent outline of my feet template to see what they can come up with. So Many thanks, and hopefully I can get something soon as I am really fed up with wearing trainers all the time. I have been in a couple of other shoe shops in Jersey, but n-one has been as helpful as your society member Brian Roberts. They broke the mould when they made him, so Many Thanks
And one for the Society with important and helpful support from our Associates….
Hi Laura - Thank you very, very, much for your reply, I am going to look at the company’s you have supplied, to see if they have any suitable. I am 55 years old, but like shoes that look smart if possible, but at the moment I have so many problems with my feet, I would just love to find a pair that did not hurt, and were comfortable, (pride is painful is it not! ) I have recently hade surgery for a hammer toe, unfortunately it has not worked, so am still in pain & living in trainers. Going to see the surgeon for a review tomorrow so hoping he can also help me in finding some shoes and some comfort. If I need anymore help from yourself I will certainly get back in touch with you, and once again thanks fro your help it is much appreciated.
WE SAY A SAD FAREWELL –TO A WONDERFUL MAN AND GREAT SHOE FITTER –
MR. JOE PRESHA of BISHOPS, COLERAINE, Northern Ireland.
by Tom Hamilton father of Nigel Hamilton ex IFRA President.
Mr. Joe Presha began his footwear career with a position in Bruce’s Footwear shop in Lisburn, Co. Antrim. Quick to learn the essential skills, and eager to forge ahead, he progressed to the well-known Tylers footwear chain where his attention to detail impressed the directors and area managers who appreciated the improvements he envisaged and developed within the Carrickfergus store.
One winter evening in the 1970’s, Joe was invited to a N.I. region meeting of IFRA in Belfast, where he met Tom Hamilton who was impacted by the demeanour and outlook of this deeply shoe-orientated man. After discussion and deliberation on both sides, a new chapter in his career began when Joe, with his wife Olive and their three daughters, came to live in Coleraine and Joe joined the staff of Bishops as manager.
Mr. Presha’s special interest was in fitting children’s footwear and his enthusiasm for this particular sector saw him building a staff team of specialist shoe fitters who all attained their MSSF, giving Bishops one of the most progressive and professional Children’s shoe departments in the UK. Foot health was paramount and parents were assured that their children’s feet were cared for in great detail. A full register was kept of children with foot issues, monitoring their progress and providing corrective strategies where necessary to help with minor developmental or anatomical concerns. In all this, Joe was fully involved, checking fittings and advising and reassuring parents. His data bank of firsthand experience helped him make informed buying decisions so that his department wasalways wisely stocked.
Beyond the Children’s department, Joe’s personable and calm nature served him well as he managed Bishops store with a standard of commitment, forward thinking and competence second to none. In recognition of this he was appointed as a director of the company, a post he executed with professionalism, diligence and dignity. He took a genuine interest in all staff, taking care to help and
encourage even the most nervous trainees to learn and develop their skills. Over the years many customers became friends as ‘JP’, as he became known on staff, helped them find the perfect shoe product for their needs. He dealt with the changes that came in both business and family life with the calmness and faith that characterised his personality. Olive died in 1988, a huge blow for Joe and his
daughters for whom she had been a pivotal influence. Sometime later, he re-married and is survived by his wife Kathleen and the girls, Jolene, Dianne and Alison.
In December 2009 Joe retired from Bishops. At a dinner in his honour he spoke fondly of the fulfilment he had always found in his work and how much he had enjoyed every day. Sadly, shortly into his retirement, Joe was diagnosed with serious illness. Again, his calmness and faith came to the fore and his strength of character and trust in the Lord was evident to all during the months of
treatment and endurance that followed. His death on 21st December 2011 came as a great sorrow not only to his family but also to colleagues who had cared deeply for this gentle giant who had touched their lives as both co-worker and friend. The large congregation at his funeral was evidence of the esteem in which he was held by so many in the local community and beyond, and was a fitting tribute to this most honourable gentleman.
Editor: Thank you to Tom Hamilton. Joe was a staunch SSF supporter and good friend. Sadly our organisation has lost a very special man. Our love and best wishes have been sent to Kathleen and his daughters Jolene, Dianne and Alison for their loss.
OUT ON A LIMB ROLLS OUT THE RED CARPET!
OUT on a Limb had its first Royal visitor a few months ago when H.R.H. Prince Charles visited to meet the team. His Royal Highness met Managing Director
Michael Hewitt, Group Editor Judith Halkerston and Sales Director Tony Barry who showed him their portfolio of magazines as well as new technology associated with Script Media’s corporate video division (formerly Wharncliff Publishing Ltd.). Digital
media producer Simon Rodman demonstrated some of the techniques used, including green screen, to produce broadcast quality videos. Judith said: It was
a real honour for us to welcome the Prince to the Out On A Limb offices and we were all thrilled to meethim. He seemed genuinely interested in the work that we do and was very friendly and put everyone at ease.
Prince Charles also visited other divisions of the Acredula Group, Scripts parent company, including the Barnsley Chronicle, Pen and Sword Books and Yorkshire Web. And where was our Society friend and Advertising Executive extraordinaire Bev Green? we asked. Bev played weathergirl regally holding Prince Charles’ ‘brollie’ (best job!, ensuring he stayed as handsome and dry as his wonderful humour – well done Bev.
These boots ‘aint’ made for walking,
but that’s just what they’ll do!
MODA is a great place to spot new trends and fashions and every now and again something
classic or classy (or in this case both), catches a girls eye and she just has to keep looking. Brands do not have to be inclusive; it occasionally pays to be exclusive. Martin Ward Footwear has launched a selection of Italian fully leather lined boots/shoes (35-42 continental medium fit) branded Vitti Love, aimed at high end stores. Martin is no stranger to the industry, but has diversified in recent years, soit’s nice to welcome him back to the trade and wish him every success with Vitti Love!
WELCOME NEW MEMBER – NEVILLE ROWLANDS of REED MEDICAL
Neville encouraged company REED MEDICAL to become Associate Members for this year and at the time expressed an interest in personal membership. as he has been involved with feet and footwear for 40 years. No sooner said than done Neville took our Entrance Examination and you will see (right) is proudly showing
his membership certificate. Neville says:
Life- long learning …………………..2012 is proving to be a good year. My daughter is getting married, my son has just got engaged, I am celebrating 40 years as a practicing Orthotist, and to cap it all, I have now been accepted as a full member of the Society of Shoe Fitters via success in the entrance examination. A far cry from some of my school reports which suggested that I only worked well under close supervision. Over the years we have seen major advances in medicine and surgery and yet there are still demands on the Orthotic Industry to provide mechanical solutions to problems caused by disease, trauma or wear and tear. This is well illustrated in the provision of therapeutic footwear. To meet the challenges of the present day foot problems, Podiatrists and Orthotist’s need the backing of well motivated and highly skilled technicians and shoemakers. Therefore, on-going training and education is vital.
Reed Medical Ltd was established some 50 years ago and has become a leading manufacturer of modular and bespoke orthopaedic footwear in the UK. I have spent most of my working life in its employ and am proud to be part of an organisation that values improvement through training.
Orthopaedic footwear is patient specific and requires foot measures from the clinician, along with prescription details. Links with Salford University have given me the opportunity to deliver training on measuring and fitting techniques to the Podiatrists and Orthotists of the future. Investment in CAD-CAM has enabled us to develop new skills in design technology, whilst gait analysis equipment has opened up exciting projects for the future, including some revolutionary last and sole unit adaption’s which we have shown to dramatically reduce pressures over the plantar surface of the foot. Being mindful of the need to preserve the traditional shoemaking skills, we have embarked on a programme of multi-skilling backed up with nationally recognised technical qualification. In association with Blackburn College we have introduced an apprenticeship programme, with two of our young colleagues, Christopher Bleasdale and Richard Turner being rewarded for their competence in pattern cutting, last making, finishing and sole building earlier this year. With more apprentices in training, the
future of shoemaking in this small corner of the UK is beginning to look a little brighter. I look forward to working with the SSF to promote awareness of the need for well fitting footwear to a wider audience and the future of manufacturing within the UK.
Neville Rowlands MBAPO.SROrth.MSSF.
General Manager/Snr Orthotist. Reed Medical Ltd.
WELCOME TO CAPRICE – A NEW ASSOCIATE MEMBER!
The shoe industry is far from foreign to Mr. Stephen Joseph having been in the industry many years - he
certainly knows a good thing when he sees it, which is why he is proud to represent German brand –
Caprice. Primarily a comfort brand that uses the strap-line ‘walking on air’ due to the numerous patents
for the materials and construction used, this brand will certainly compliment our other comfort brands.
Visit the Caprice stand at MODA, go online www.caprice.de or give Joseph Agencies a call: 0207-1128469
CONGRATULATIONS – to Rosi and Peter Greenall on their new shop in Kettering, Northants.
We are proud to say that Rosi has been a member of the Society for many years and owner of a very successful shop in Rushden, Northants. Seeing the recession as a good opportunity to speculate, Rosi and husband Peter opened a super new light, bright, ‘child friendly’ shop a few miles away in Kettering.
Rosi says “We are very happy with the effect and hope that you will agree that the children's corner looks great. The children make a bee-line for it when they come in! You cannot believe how many customers (and just passers-by) say how delighted they are that Start-rite has returned to Kettering. We have the same brands as in our Rushden shop (except for Clarks who are in our shopping centre), a large selection of continental brands like Garvlin, Ricosta, Geox etc. and have added Lelli Kelly at both addresses”.
Editor: Keep up the good work Rosi – good to see your phone number on the fascia and having an area where children can be entertained away from the shoes, both a major plus…brilliant!
WELL DONE NEW MEMBER - BEVERLEY CLOUGH of GROOVY 2 SHOES
This just goes to prove that if you are pro-active
and get out and about in the local area spreading
the word; it will pay off and save you a fortune in
publicity. Beverley says:
I spoke with you at Moda regarding sending some info on my opening to go in the
newsletter. As I said to you, I feel like a lady of the night selling myself to anyone who will
listen but it seems to have paid off with publicity. I managed to get myself in the local
newspaper the Cotswold Journal and a free local families magazine that is aimed at the 0-
10 year age group have also done an article on me. There is also interest from another
families magazine covering Gloucestershire on a press release, but they are also interested
in me writing a little article periodically on children’s foot health and guidance on
footwear. The CWB are focusing on new businesses and they are running an article on me
in the next edition. I have the local nursery coming for a visit and a little talk and thought
we could do some simple foot exercises for fun (the ones suggested in the Society
pamphlets). I also have the Brownies coming for a visit. Hope the marketing pays off but
have not spent a penny, managed to get it all for free!!!
I have had a quiet week which is always nerve racking but as a lot of suppliers and yourself
have said it is a quiet time of year to open, fingers crossed for busier times. On another
note I am always happy to support the Society and would be more than happy for you to
pass my details on to anyone who is thinking of opening a children’s shoe shop. I will help in any way I can, whether it be a chat or to
come and spend a day with me. I know I found getting work experience so useful. Thanks Bev – well done! – Ed.
We would like to welcome new member - LISA BELLAMY who also took our Entrance Examination recently. Lisa has been working in SINGAPORE but has now moved to the Dubai in the United Arab Emirates! At this rate the SSF will be going global!!!! Lisa has promised to be a pro-active member despite her location, so we look forward to hearing from Lisa in the future.
I Love You Round The World And Back Again!
Our members certainly have some fabulous shops. Member Annette Greening qualified as a member this year and as you will see her shop called Globetrotters of Prestwick is amazing. I would think every Geography Teacher for miles will be promoting the shop as the national flags, costumes; maps on the rugs etc. combine to create an educational, multicultural and stimulating environment. With global brands like Legero, Petasil, Garvalin, Sketchers, Pediped, Biomecanics, Bisgaard, Lealelo etc. give a great choice and fitting option. Annette says: I would like to thank you all
for your help, support and much appreciated advice. The weather could not have been better for opening week, (before the official drought warning), and this has made my first weekend a bit of a success (modest – Ed.). I hope we can all continue to do business over the coming years.
Many, many thanks and...Viva La Globetrotters! ….Annette
ANOTHER POSITIVE ….. NEW FOR THE SSF – THE ENTRANCE APPLICATION!
We all know that membership of the SSF is purely by qualification and despite the occasional begging and offer of brown envelopes (joking of course) we have to decline requests to join us unless the person is prepared to complete our course successfully over 5 or 10 months, or indeed take our Entrance Examination (for experienced shoe fitters only). Even Associate Membership is by invitation, so if a company approaches our Council asking to sponsor the SSF, the invitation does not necessarily follow. Needless to say this limits our numbers and resources. Despite the temptation to lower standards and accept anyone who wishes to join us, our Council decided we should remain a ‘purely by personal qualification organisation’.
So how do we encourage already highly experienced shoe fitters to join? There are lots of people working in shops who are not purely Retail Assistants, they are capable of measuring and fitting properly and adding straightforward orthotics where necessary. They do not need our course and have simply been daunted by our examination, or perhaps the cost - £150, especially if a shop would like several of their staff to qualify (although the fee is not all for SSF coffers,
we do pay for our Examiners, promotional items etc.).
At the last meeting the secretary put forward some ideas and after much discussion our Council decided to offer an alternative to the exam which will now be known as The Entrance Application. Anyone with 5 years or more can complete the application and unlike the exam which remains anonymous from the Board of Examiners (the candidate is only revealed upon successful conclusion); this Application will be part C.V./career history and part questions. The questions will be based on practical shoe fitting and how tasks are performed by the candidate, as opposed to questions
that may need to be researched. ‘Personal experience’ is key to this paper and questions will not be given set marks, they will be assessed as a whole.
When will the Application be available? … NOW. If you go to our website: www.shoefitters-uk.org it can be downloaded without obligation. How much will it cost? As a SPECIAL 2012 OFFER – ONLY £50! There has never been a better time to encourage your staff or your colleagues to become an M.S.S.F. Our members stand out from the crowd and the public will travel miles to find you as a qualified shoe fitter, so don’t delay, get their C.V. and questions answered today!
A NEGATIVE….. LATE PAYMENT OF SUBSCRIPTIONS
Trading Standards are becoming far more stringent and every year we receive several calls checking out whether people are still members. Our subscriptions are less than £1 a week and have been for over 10 years, so those who have not paid have received a Late Reminder letter. We have given more time this year as a gesture of goodwill, but if not paid by JUNE 15TH members will be removed from the website/promotional material and they must remove all SSF material from their premises/website etc. We know times are tough but membership is very reasonable to retain a
qualification and for the support and information received – plus it is not fair on members who pay promptly! .
MODA needs a new strapline – it should read MODA WHERE FASHION & FUN COMES TOGETHER! Date for the diary
12 -14TH August 2012. A BIG THANK YOU to SEAN O’CONNOR and the Directors of Moda for finding us a super stand in February opposite Hush Puppies (which is a great place to be as our member Jeremy Hewitt from H.P. is a kind and well loved host and kept our Secretary well topped up with coffee and cakes – yum!). It was a super show with lots of our members in attendance and plenty of new faces too! This show gets better and better and the Society is pleased and proud to have been a part of it for over 20 years.
The new FOOTWEAR AWARDS run by Datateam Publishing (with support from the SSF, IFRA, BFA, Out On a Limb and FE magazines) was a tremendous success so well done to Paul Ryder and his wife Stella (Organiser), Cheryl Taylor (Editor), John Andrews (Mag. Manager) and Sue Wiseman (Advtg. Manager). They have certainly created a ‘not to miss’ new landmark in the industry calendar.
The function took place on the Sunday night of the show at the famous Forest of Arden Hotel and Golf Club but please note, in FEBRUARY 2013 there will be a change of venue to the Motorcycle Exhibition Centre, as they can cater more successfully for larger numbers.
We were delighted to Award DAVID O’DWYER of Cushyfeet, Limerick (winner) and KIM JACKSON of Klodhoppers, Hove, (runner-up), prizes for our STUDENT OF THE YEAR. Both presented with their gifts by our President Mrs. Jan Parry,David received a personal trophy to keep and our Fisher
George Memorial ‘Wall of Winners Trophy’ for the year, as well as a personalised valet box, champagne etc., and for the first time we also presented a valet box and prizes to our runner-up
- Kim Jackson.
May we once again thank Dasco Dunkelman for the beautiful valet boxes which they tailored to recipients. Secretary Laura West was awarded Footwear Personality of the Year. Laura said ‘It was so nice to receive recognition after 23 years running the SSF and 33 in the industry – a truly memorable evening and a big thank you to everyone who voted for me’.
Congratulations to our Associate Member Nick West (pictured with Richard Kottler - BFA) of Compass Footwear for winning Footwear Representative of the Year (and his brand Garvalin – Best Children’s Shoes). Quite a coo for the West household so we won’t need to dress up next year! Having the shoe trade together at an affordable but fun and glitzy event certainly united the industry, so let’s hope more attend next year and make MODA Footwear the most talked about, best attended sections of the show! There were other categories/winners, but congratulations to the following Society
Best Men’s Footwear Brand – Sponsored by Cherry Blossom - Winner - Loake Shoemakers, Highly Commended – Padders
Best Children’s Footwear Brand - Winner – Garvalin, Highly Commended - Start-Rite Shoes
Best Wellness/Sports Footwear Brand - Highly Commended – Clarks
Best Footwear Representative - Winner - Nick West (Compass Footwear) - Highly Commended - Jeremy Hewitt (Hush Puppies)
Best Comfort Brand - Winner – Padders, Highly Commended - DB Shoes
Best Independent Men’s Retailer – Sponsored by Padders - Winner – Bishops,
Best Independent Ladies Retailer – Sponsored by Rieker - Highly Commended - Ellie Dickins
Best Independent Children’s Retailer – Sponsored by Garvalin - Winner - Pares Footwear, JOINT HC. Igloo
Best Multiple Retailer – Sponsored by Ascot International - Highly Commended - Strolling for Shoes
Best Customer Service – Sponsored by Out on a Limb - Winner – Rieker, JOINT Highly Commended - Padders and UKD
Best New Retailer – Sponsored by Moda Footwear - Winner - Angels and Urchins,
Footwear Brand of the Year - Sponsored by GDS - Winner – Rieker,
GOOD NEWS AND CONGRATULATIONS… to Audrey and Ivan Cooper on the birth of their daughter on the 15th March. Ivan says that Audrey would love to hear from other members to be kept in the loop whilst on maternity leave, so if you have time to drop Audrey a line, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
GREETINGS FROM THE SECRETARY:
Well it has certainly been a busy year and we are not half way through it yet! Some trees still await their leaves,
whilst the May blossom was over in 48 hours due to rain and wind… How is it affecting trade? Well for once
the overall opinion is in agreement - could be better.
The SSF office has decided on a cup half full approach and looking for the positives. How many of you are thinking ‘outside the box’ (pardon the pun). We have some great stories from shops in this edition and hopefully they will inspire more of you to take a proactive approach. No-one can afford to sit around moaning, you have to be prepared to go the extra mile. Saying that – and I mean literally, when I took on the SSF some 23 years ago many SSF members had got family businesses over 3-4 generations and as I collated the Register of Members the majority would think nothing about offering a mobile service to go out and visit homes and
work with local charities to make sure the community were well shod. Every year this went into decline with fewer shops saying they would do ‘home visits’. This always puzzled me. Obviously going out to sell the odd pair is not really worth it with high fuel prices, but taking a car/trailer load of slippers/house shoes to an old people’s home, or pre-school playgroup, or school uniform evening, doesn’t really take too much cost or effort. Nowadays we all have the benefit of computers and printers that can churn out fliers cheaply – and there are businesses doing this at very little cost, but in those days any form of advertising – particularly printed material, cost a fortune. Shops are happy to have websites and make numerous trips to the Post Office to get shoes
backward and forward, so why not think how many more pairs you could sell in one go, with a bit of cheap advertising/promotion?
There are more shops selling shoes than ever before – admittedly not dedicated shoe shops but fashion stores, so maybe it is time to diversify a little – even if it is only to add a few accessories. Perhaps a local boutique not selling shoes could feature some of yours in their window and you could create a display using one or two of their outfits to accessorise your shoes? Just a thought…
News that Wolverine (Hush Puppies) has bought the U.S. Company – STRIDE-RITE and associate brands recently did not come as a surprise, as it is a brand that has been looking to broaden their horizons for many years. Hush Puppies have been restructuring their team and the brand managers will no doubt have their work cut out with the variety and changes. H.P. are also looking to create a single fitting European brand, so interesting times ahead – watch this space! As for Clarks selling children’s shoes online – well words fail! They won’t have Mary Portas banging on the door on behalf of Indies though, as Clarks have a Mary Portas collection!
As unfair as it is to our prompt payers, we gave members longer to pay their subscriptions this year. Bearing in mind how low they are we are disappointed that at this point in the calendar to have to draw the line. Subs are the cost of 2 pairs of shoes or less than £1 a week to retain a worthwhile membership and compared to other membership’s it is very little. We give so much back to our members, the industry and the public, so if you are in receipt of our reminder and in two minds to pay, please remember it should be tax deductable and great value as we are here if you need us. We continually promote you, so get your cheque books out quick!
Let’s hope we all have a HAPPY, SUNNY, SUMMER – so do PLEASE KEEP IN TOUCH….
Secretary - Laura West
The 52nd AGM took place on 28th March - a big thank you for everyone who sent their APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE which is noted on the Minutes for the archives. It would be nice to see more members attending but understand staffing levels/cost. We have a full compliment on Council – fantastic! THANK YOU to (alphabetically): John Allan (Hon. Treasurer), Gwenda Carter (Tutor), Charles Denton, Ellie Dickins (Vice President), Rosemary Gray (Tutor), Bernard O’Brien (Imm. Past President), Jan Parry (President), Francis Parry, Lisa Jane Preston, Maureen Unsworth (Snr.Tutor/P.Pres.), Lesley Waddy (P.Pres.) and Prof. Wesley Vernon OBE. Also a big thank you to our Advisors and Tutors who also include Richard Ford FSSF, Richard French FSSF, Mathew McKillen and workshop Lecturers Karen Little, Charles/David Denton. Next Council Meeting iJuly 11th in London, so if you wish to raise a matter email or come along.
THANK YOU TO PETER LAMBLE AT START-RITE SHOES FOR THE USE OF THE LONDON SHOWROOM FOR MEETINGS.
THANK YOU TO ALL OUR ASSOCIATE MEMBERS FOR THEIR SUPPORT
FOR SALE ON BEHALF OF A MEMBER
2 X START-RITE SLED-STYLE STOOLS
2 X JUNIOR START-RITE GAUGES
£100 the lot – or offers….excellent condition
Contact: Laura West: email@example.com
2 Start-rite Fitting Stools
Small & Large Children's Gauges
200 + Acrylic Shelves for Slat Wall
Queue Counter with Tickets
Acrylic Display Steps
2 x Shoe Mirrors
Contact: Tracey Manton