How long have you worked at Tricker’s?
Tell us about yourself?
Shoe making is in my blood. My father was the third generation shoe factory owner in Earls Barton, Northampton. Unfortunately, it closed in 1986. A lot of the smaller shoe makers were hit by the emergence of cheap imported footwear.
I was therefore unable to work for the family business and had to make my own way in the industry.
I began at White & Company, who made for Dr Martens under licence. I started out in the warehouse and was fast tracked into their management scheme.
They sent me to shoemaking college in Wellingborough which I attended one day and two evenings a week. You will find that a lot of people working in the Northampton shoe industry gained their working knowledge of shoemaking at this college.
I worked in every department at Whites but I really enjoyed the sales and marketing side of the business. I was very lucky to be shadow the Sales and Marketing Director for a while and attended the important trade shows in the late 1980s.
At that time, we were aware of changes. Dr Marten decided to take their licensing back in-house and then they took that overseas. I chose to leave and further my career.
In 1987, my brother Mark set up Jeffery West shoes with his friend Guy. I approached them with a business plan to make a diffusion line within their business. They agreed and I took this on and started as Sales Manager.
After three years, I left to seek a new adventure.
I was approached by Paul Smith to launch Paul Smith shoes. The remit was to create a collection from conception and take them to launch. I did this and became their Southern sales manager and went onto become the UK Sales Manager. I stayed at Paul Smith for seven years.
My next role was working for a footwear licensing business in London who approached clothing brands who were not offering footwear within their collection. One of the brands launched was G-Star footwear and the company to it to one million pairs a year. After eight years, I took on the GH Bass Shoes UK distribution.
Four years ago, one of my all-time favourite Northampton brands approached me. I have always had a huge admiration for Tricker’s and worn their footwear for decades.
Do you have any hobbies?
I am incredibly sporty and compete in triathlons and ironman events. I also like cooking with Italian being my favourite cuisine.
Which is your favourite Tricker’s shoe or boot and why?
The Bourton brogue is without a doubt Tricker’s most iconic style. The country brogue shoe and boot is our speciality and will last you a lifetime.
For casual, I like the classic Robert Derby shoe.
What has been your biggest highlight working at Tricker’s?
2019 has been an incredible year for Tricker’s. Celebrating our 190th anniversary as England’s oldest shoemaker began with the visit to our Northampton shoe factory of HRH The Prince of Wales. It is a great honour for us to have the royal warrant and this year marked our thirtieth year with Prince Charles.
We also opened our first ever shop outside the UK. We only have one shop which is based in the heart of London’s St James’ based on Jermyn Street. In April we opened in Aoyama, Tokyo. The design is a complete replica of our London retail store, down to the wooden cabinetry, door handle, parquet floor and more. As Head of Global Sales, I am extremely proud to be part of this great achievement.
What’s the plan for the future of Tricker’s?
We need to grow Tricker’s into a true global brand. Tricker’s is globally recognised with Japan equating to thirty per cent of our export business. In fact, you can now buy Tricker’s in over 43 countries around the world. Key areas where I am excited about growing the business is in North America and China.