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News Q&A: Eve Davies, brand director, Start-rite

Eve Davies joined kid’s footwear brand Start-rite in the newly created position of brand director last month. She talks to Drapers about her plans for the business.

What does the position of brand director involve?

It covers marketing product design, technical and sourcing so basically all of the front end aspects of the business.

Why has the position been created?

To propel the brand forward. It is a brand with a long history which has done very well for 100 years but it is not so well known with younger mothers. Also we really want to raise the profile both here and internationally.

What is the brand doing internationally?

We opened in Hong Kong earlier this year under a franchising agreement and we are about to open in Beijing. The Hong Kong store has been doing very well for us so far. It is in a very good position and there are lots of ex-pats that know the brand that are really glad we opened up there. I think it will continue to do well for us as the Chinese don’t really know anything about fitted footwear and so there is a lot of potential for a brand like ours there.

What steps will you take to raise the brand profile here in the UK?

We will be doing lots of different things around marketing which we are yet to finalise but we will also look at things like taking a new approach to some of our ranges. We will also be talking to our customers a lot to find out what they would like to see from the brand. Fundamentally the two core facets of our brand, which are fit and quality, won’t change but we should take some of the things we do well and that have come on trend and we should do more of that.

Will you look to acquire more wholesale stockists or work to grow your business with existing stockists?

We are in over 550 stockists in the UK so I think it is going to be more about growing with the existing stockist base. Unfortunately footwear independents have diminished over the last few years, but most of the stockists we are in have stayed open so we want to continue to work with those people and find the best ways to strengthen our brand in those stores.

You were at Joules before you joined Start-rite how do they differ?

When I joined Joules there were only three retail stores and by the time I left there were 68. I love the challenge of starting small, like I did at Joules, and really growing a brand. I am definitely a brand person rather than a retailer so Start-rite feels like a really good fit for me and I am very excited to be here.

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