For over two months, members of the footwear sector have voted in their hundreds for the highly-contested Footwear Industry Awards 2018. Competition has never been so tight, with retailers, brands and individuals jostling to be a foot ahead in their respective categories. The winners of the Awards will be announced on 18 February 2018 at the National Conference Centre in Birmingham, formerly known as the National Motorcycle Museum.
A level playing field
The finalists in the retailer categories were determined by industry votes. With a mix of large-scale multinational companies and smaller retailers and brands shortlisted, it is clear that size doesn’t matter in the Footwear Industry Awards! The industry has proven its support for companies that demonstrate passion and a commitment to creating and selling the finest footwear in the market by voting for them.
The brand categories underwent a two-tier process. The final five were narrowed down via the voting stage and the ultimate winners and highly commended were determined by a judging panel comprised of industry experts. The judges for the 2018 Awards were Laura West of SSF, John Saunders of BFA, David Lockyer of Footwear Friends, independent footwear retailers James North from North Shoes, Jenny Elt from Robin Elt Shoes and Bernard O’Brien from Luke O’Brien Shoes, a representative from Moda, Helen Povey of Schuh and Cheryl Taylor, Editor of Footwear Today Magazine.
Finalist Steve White, owner of White & Sons Shoes of Sidmouth, says: “It is a huge honour to be shortlisted in the Footwear Industry Awards and it reflects the hard work and commitment put in by myself and of course my staff.”
Event manager Sue Wiseman comments: “The level of involvement from the industry this year has been outstanding; it is always brilliant to see companies of all sizes taking part in the event. The Awards scheme is committed to representing anyone in the sector, from independent start-ups all the way to multinational businesses. Ultimately, we strive to reward hard work and success at any level.
“Combining the vote of the industry with the decision of the judging panel ensures that there is a level playing field for the brand categories. Smaller businesses that perhaps can’t compete with the large volume of votes submitted for bigger companies are judged equally alongside large companies on their relative merits.”
Put your best foot forward
Rewarding the hard work and success of industry members over the past 12 months, the Footwear Industry Awards is designed exclusively for the people at the heart of the sector. Attending the awards gala is not only an opportunity to see this year’s winners announced, but is also the ideal chance to network and form new contacts. Retailers and brands can make vital industry connections, which is especially important for smaller retailers looking to expand their business network.
Marcus Baker, UK South and Ireland sales manager for Legero highlights the benefits of networking at the Awards: “It is a great night out at the start of the new season and is held during MODA so it enables brands and retailers to combine business and networking over the weekend.” Legero and Superfit, a brand under the Legero Group, are sponsoring the after dinner entertainment at this year’s Awards.
Similarly, Pauly Tong, managing director of Kidsnewshoes.com (Froddo distributor in the UK and Ireland) reiterates the importance of the Awards for the industry, saying: “This is a hard working industry facing many challenges and it is important to recognise hard won success and achievement. Brands are striving to be the best they can and retailers have to innovate and adapt to constantly changing markets. Any event which serves to increase awareness of a product or retailer is a good thing. The awards dinner is an excellent place to socialise with both peers and customers and to catch up on the latest developments. It is also fun and a great way to relax after a long and busy day at Moda.” Froddo is sponsoring the after dinner favours at the Awards.
Chris Gorrod, managing director of Brevitt Rieker also comments on the value of the event: “Rieker is once again delighted to be involved as a sponsor of the Footwear Industry Awards. The event is a wonderful opportunity for the trade to get together and celebrate all that is good in the Footwear industry.
“It is one of the rare opportunities that retailers and suppliers can all get together at one event and so the networking opportunities are huge, but more importantly a great night can be had by all.” Rieker and Remonte are sponsoring Multiple Footwear Retailer of the Year.
- Drinks reception
- Three-course meal with wine
- Awards presentation
- Charity fundraiser in aid of The Bobby Moore Fund for Cancer Research UK
- Networking with peers, press, friends and colleagues
The Footwear Industry Awards 2018 is backed by headline sponsor Skechers, Cherry Blossom, Froddo, Hotter, Moda Footwear, Rieker and Remonte, Superfit and Legero and Vibram Furoshiki. The Awards is supported by BFA, Footwear Friends, IFRA, The Society of Shoefitters (SSF) and Footwear Today magazine.