News Archive: Archive for September 2013
30 Sep 2013
Please visit site to see the pictures and read Kat's other blogs: http://doesmybumlook40.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/cinderella-shall-go-to-ball.html
Cinderella shall go to the Ball
In a brand new pair of ballet flats! At last I have managed to replace my poor, lost in a drunken stupor, pair of faithful old ballet flats from Banana Republic, which, to be fair, owed me nothing. They were truly on their last legs and had served me well for the last 4 years before deciding, on a night out with other bloggers, to free themselves from the burden of being worn by me (and unceremoniously dragged around in the my handbag whilst pride of place was always given to the heels)
I hadn't realised though how much of a staple part of my wardrobe they were - that old chestnut, absence makes the heart grow fonder. I've charted my pursuit of a replacement here (ie moaned like shit about not being able to find any)
Actually I was less Cinderella and more Goldilocks, one pair was too plastic, one pair was too expensive, one pair was too pointy, one pair was too pointy, plastic and painful (ok so Goldilocks with a harem of bears)
But thanks to Charlotte Henderson at The British Flat Shoe Company, I now have a pair which I am absolutely over the moon with. I was really torn between getting a navy and black pair and the ones that Charlotte sent me are the perfect combination.
The British Flat "Wild Cat" in Black Foil. £99 These are essentially black but because of the foil effect on the leopard print, they pick up the colour of navy when worn with it - the perfect holograph effect shoe! (ok so that probably isn't top of your list when looking for a shoe - but trust me, it randomly works)
Charlotte started the company only this year after she couldn't find the shoe that she was looking for (familiar story there) and decided she could do better herself (have no fear - I have no plans to start manufacturing or designing shoes!)
Thus The British Flat Shoe Company was born and now produce leather shoes that are from local materials, hand machined and hand finished right here in the UK.
And, to top it all, they are comfy. They're not as flimsy as some ballerinas can be but certainly not too chunky - just a classic ballerina flat. They have added cushioned inner soles and built in padded soft heel inserts - I've had mine on for two days and am off to London on Thursday - shall definitely be wearing these.
They do come in a range of colours - I know that Charlotte is looking to expand the range (please can we also have a leopard print pair?) but for the moment, the classic every day essentials are there.
Definitely next on my list is a pair of the two tone - probably in the classic navy and bone combo.
One of the best things about writing this blog and becoming better known is finding out about small British Companies and being able to support them and therefore, British Manufacturing, our heritage and our traditions. Don't get me wrong, I am a guilty lover of fast fashion and am not foolish enough to think that it doesn't have a place on our High Street but I do think that it needs to co-exist alongside British Companies and not at the expense of them.
I feel very privileged to be asked to support young developing companies who are bringing us products of excellent value and quality and at the same time, supporting the traditions of British Industry.
As a thank you, Charlotte from The British Flat Shoe Company is offering a 10% off discount code:- KAT40/10% from orders placed on the website. Any problems at all using it, please do shout.
o hope you think they're as fab as I do. I'm also sure that Charlotte would appreciate any feedback on ideas for new shoes that she could make in the future. I've got my thinking cap on.
Tomorrow I shall be back with another of my Must Have items for the A/W. (have we worked out yet that when I say "must have" it's code for "I need new ones and need to justify a purchase.....")
09 Sep 2013
A full week and 4 days have gone by since we went ‘live.’ There have been many highlights, notably the sales but a few good things have happened some of which will be a ‘watch this space…’
I have had some truly wonderful comments from people who have taken the ‘leap of faith’ and ordered a pair of British Flat Shoe’s.
‘I have a dream of a cupboard full of your shoes in every colour!’
‘ I am so happy with them. I am very rarely happy with new shoes, they usually hurt for at least 2 wks, giving me blisters!’
‘Perfect - A pair for every outfit!’
‘My shoes arrived today thank you, really good quality and very comfortable!’
Thank you for ALL the wonderful comments, it is very pleasing that you have all taken the time to write to me.
One of the points I mentioned in my previous blog was the need to provide both size 3 and 9 as quite a few people have asked me if I will be producing these sizes. Following both the show and some subsequent email requests I am pleased to announce that I will have both of these sizes in the full (current) colour range by the 11th October. If anybody would like to reserve a pair in either of these sizes please email me firstname.lastname@example.org and I will gladly put a pair aside for you.
Onto another popular subject – half sizes; Due to popular demand for A British Flat Shoe in half sizes, I have again looked at the manufacturing costs. The breakdown of parts means I will have to purchase several lasts (foot forms) in each half size, so 3.5, 4.5, 5.5, 6.5, 7.5 and 8.5, and various sets of knives, (patterns cutters - I call them the cookie cutters.) for each component of the shoe; i.e. inner sock, sole, uppers, inners etcetera. I am now in possession of the cost breakdowns and working out what I can afford to invest in this as a project. I will keep you informed of the progress as things develop…no promises yet!
The British Flat Union Jack Shoe; If any of you have seen my Facebook page I mentioned last week that I was in the preliminary stages of looking at various patterns and designs. I want The British Flat version to look a little different than what is currently on offer in the market. I do not want to make a wholly ‘material’ shoe. Having looked and ordered samples of Union Jacks from fabric companies I was still not sure that this was the look I was trying to achieve. The criteria is to continue to make, and not compromise on, the same great British workmanship involved, provide the same levels of comfort, support and product of a British Flat Shoe. I am fairly sure that the shoe itself will be produced in a soft nappa leather in a cobalt blue. The flat itself will be either be built into the leather in strips of leather or by using binding and building the flag on top of the shoe. Samples are being made up at the moment. I will bring you progress on this as I develop the shoe and importantly a release date.
Publicity: The British Family Fayre held at Squerryes Court on the 31st August. The BBC Breakfast Crew filmed some of the workshops of the day, one of which was King of Shaves http://www.shave.com/ and Farrington Oil http://www.farrington-oils.co.uk/ Both products I can proudly say I have purchased. I have been using Farringtons Mellow Yellow oil for a little while now and find it far superior to any other cooking (rapeseed) oil on the market. There is a very short clip on me at the beginning shaking out our Union Jack…not quite infamy yet but going in the right direction. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-24012862
Thank you again for all your wonderful support this past week, please keep the comments, and suggestions, coming in.
02 Sep 2013
How does it feel so far? Absolutely fantastic is the answer!
The website went live on Friday and much to our delight we woke up to some fabulous orders of our flat shoes which was very encouraging. Throughout the day more orders continued to come in which added to the general feeling of excitement after all the hard and preparations in bringing this to life. All in all a really 'TOP' day.
I approached a couple of companies with regard to some free listings one group in particular Buy From GB http://www.buyfromgb.com/ a fantastic group set up to help small business like me, give support and generally work very hard on our behalf. Buy from GB will be doing a feature on The British Flat Shoe company in the coming weeks.
For the past few weeks I have been 'gearing' up to launch at the British Family Fayre which was being organised by none other than the British Family. http://britishfamily.co.uk/ The British Family Fayre was going to be a collaboration and showcase of some of the companies and business who are manufacturing their products here in the UK.
Very early doors on Saturday morning we drove down to Squerryes Court in Westerham and set up our little stand.
The sun shone and it promised to be a fantastic day. Around 11am the doors opened and visitors started to come in, other than the British Flat Shoe Co. Some 4000 visitors were treated to interactive workshops by a number of other British manufactured products and other stands and stalls making and selling their goods in the UK. The British Family have done a tremendous job in pulling the fayre together - hats off to them.
The event was very well received and a great success, I made many new friends and got to see some other fabulous British made products as well. One of my favourites was Simply Ice Cream http://www.simplyicecream.co.uk/ who make, and I'm not kidding the most amazing ice cream and sorbets - check them out.
I had a fantastic response to my shoes and made some sales (good news and thank you to all who purchased, you made my day)...this event was important to us on so many levels; the show was not just about visibility and gaining feedback on my product but also to demonstrate and support the buy British campaign which is having a renaissance in this country.
Some of the feedback received was that I needed to manufacture in a size 3 and size 9. I have taken this onboard and today commisioned the factory to make the knives (pattern cutters) for these sizes. All feedback is important, it is only thorugh your feedback as the customer and ultimate consumer can I grow my company. The half sizes however may have to wait a little longer, this is currently on the list called 'financially challening currently.'
Rolling onto this morning I had the absolute delight and pleasure of seeing http://www.theimageguru.com/ post a blog about a pair of shoes she bought on Friday. She was actually my very first web customers so the fact that she took the time to make a blog about the shoes was amazing - thank you!
So, to sum up the support has been beyond what i could have imagined, I have made some sales and experiencing the best 'career' days of my life.