Friday, 14 October 2011

A feat of English ingenuity… and Australian persistence

A couple of pots of tea, a bit of a think and some surprisingly good foot tracing has just made life a bit happier for me – and for a lovely customer in Australia.

In days gone by, you went to a shop in the high street, picked out a shoe or sandal that caught your eye, slipped it on, took a few paces… and if it felt good and was the right size, you bought it. Easy… but in today’s virtual world, you can browse but you can’t try things on. You can’t touch it, feel it or see it on the end of your leg – and that’s just how it is.

But that was not good enough for a lovely customer in Australia, who wanted a pair of Cholesburys Brigitte sandals in preparation for summer. Determined to ensure she bought the right size, she measured her foot and sent us the dimensions. Sounds simple, doesn’t it?

But as always with footwear, it’s all in the detail. Unbeknownst to her, if she used a large pencil to draw around her foot, the size comes up large. If she sat down or stood up to do it, she would get two different results.

So, I pointed out the pitfalls, and second time around she used a finer 2mm lead to get a closer result. She cared as much about getting the fitting as right as I do – and that just gave me the gnawing feeling that surely I can help to make the process of selecting Cholesburys shoe sizes online just that little bit easier.

A few pots of tea and bit of head scratching later, the ideas (as well as the tea) were starting to flow.

How about templates that you can print off and measure your feet on? And how about a short video showing useful tips and tricks for how to trace your feet so that the measurement is accurate. Of course, this isn’t going to be perfect, but it’s not an inconsiderable step towards to improving what we do. And it seems to have turned my gnawing feeling into a warm and happy one.

Right then: one set of templates and a short film coming up! (After I’ve put the kettle on, of course!)

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Beautiful ladies' sandals, handmade in England

At Cholesburys, our aim is not only to breathe a little bit of life back into the footwear industry here in England, but also to do so with shoes that look and feel better because they have been lovingly made by hand and have high ethical and environmental credentials.

Our handmade sandals are a great example.

At the heart of each pair is a discarded English floral print or vintage designer fabric that we've sought out and selected. We source all of these fabrics in person, and buy a lot in a brilliant local shop that's something of an antique department store.

As well as selecting prints for their look, our choices are shaped by the quality and feel of the fabric, and the story behind it. Sometimes these textiles are pre-loved furnishing fabrics, while others are ‘old-but-new’ designer prints – such as the vintage 1960s Liberty of London fabric we found unused on a roll.

The leather straps on our sandals are made from recycled boots and coats, and about a third of the rubber in the sole is recycled too.

If you've not cast your eyes over them yet, please take a look – and feel free to let us know what you think...

Saturday, 1 October 2011

News and views from Cholesburys

Welcome to Cholesburys brand new blog – somewhere that will soon become home to a host of news and views relating to everything we do and care about.