In Conversation with Start-rite’s Eve Davies

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As those with children will know only too well, new school shoes are currently the topic du jour for parents across the country. With this in mind, we caught up with Start-rite’s brand director, Eve Davies, to discuss Victoria Beckham, new styles and why it’s best to go shopping in the morning.

This autumn sees Start-rite being stocked at TOWER London for the first time, what is it about TOWER London that made you want to work with us?
It is both TOWER London’s success to date and their exciting future development plans that made them an attractive partner for Start-rite shoes. TOWER is an ambitious company and over the last few years we have been impressed with their investment to enhance the success of some of their key branches, as well as their forthcoming new store openings and new ventures.

What are your favourite picks from the collection?
We are really proud and hugely excited about our back to school range this year. We have been working hard on our products to ensure that they appeal to both parents and children, providing the style and comfort that will keep children happy as well as guaranteeing the quality, durability and value for money that will keep parents confident in their purchase. Our key designs this year integrate product benefits such as scuff-resistant toe protection, flexible soles and removable gel pod footbeds, with fantastic design features including glow in the dark detailing, charm embellishments and gift with purchase. Look out for our key styles Princess Serena for girls and Arachnid for boys.

Start-rite’s history dates back to 1792, what is it about the brand that has helped it to remain so successful?
Quite simply, our dedication to making shoes specifically designed for children’s feet. Over the past 222 years our focus has been on producing quality footwear, and over the past 60 years we have continued this ethos with concentration on ensuring we support the healthy development of children’s feet with quality fitted footwear. Our shoes are manufactured using lasts that represent the shape of a child’s foot (quite different to that of an adult) and produced in a variety of sizes and width fittings to provide maximum comfort and support to children with different needs. We pride ourselves on retaining high quality standards, creating durable shoes made from premium materials. However, we move with the times and ensure that our designs reflect what the market wants so we provide well fitting, quality, stylish footwear for all children.

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Celebrities including Victoria Beckham and Lily Allen have chosen Start-rite for their children, why is Start-rite so popular with both parents and their little ones?
Like all parents, celebrities just want the best for their children. Our current celebrity advocates are no different to any other parent who understand the importance of looking after your feet from an early age. But it also shows we are getting the styling right too! We try to ensure all our products bridge the gap between what children and parents want out of their shoes, offering child appeal so children want to wear them, and the quality, durability and fit that make parents happy to buy them.

Buying shoes for children can be notoriously stressful, do you have any top shopping survival tips?
We know that shoe shopping with your children can often not be an easy task. There are a few things you could consider to try to elevate the stress a little:

• If you are going to hit the shops go first thing in the morning. It will be quieter and that’s when your child is likely to be feeling freshest.
• Allow enough time – it takes around half an hour for a child to be professionally measured and fitted for shoes.
• If you are shopping during a busy period like back to school try not to leave it until the last minute. Shops will be busier at the end of the school holidays and they may have sold out of your chosen style or size.
• For the best fit, take socks with you for your child to wear when being fitted for shoes.

What will Start-rite be doing next to keep pushing themselves forward?
We have a lot of exciting things in the pipeline! Clearly product development and making sure we are providing our customers with want they want is key. But we also place emphasis on developing our marketing to ensure we are able to communicate our key messages to our target audiences in a relevant and meaningful way. With that in mind this year, and continuing into 2015, we have harnessed the power of mobile technology to develop some exciting branded Augmented Reality games. This technology will enable customers, with use of the Start-rite App, to turn our boxes (currently on the Princess Serena and Hat-trick shoes) into fun, interactive and highly addictive games.

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