British shoemaker Barker is looking to attract younger men with its more fashion-focused designs and recently launched etail website.
UK sales and marketing manager Adrian Gell told Drapers: “Our current customer is aged 30 and over, but there is definitely an interest in some styles from younger, or at least younger-minded consumers, which is the market we are trying to tap into.
“We are trying to target the typical Barker wearer’s son, for example, who doesn’t realise we offer styles like contemporary brogues and Oxfords with a very heavy sole, which are made in England.”
Gell said Barker’s Creative Collection, which was launched four years ago and includes styles with contrasting leathers and different tanning treatments, is now the fastest-growing area of the business.
Barker launched a new website in September, designed to operate as a brand showcase as well as a transactional site, and is ramping up its social media presence on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest to interact with younger customers.
The company, which was founded in 1880 and still produces some of its premium shoes at its factory in Earls Barton, Northamptonshire, also plans to work with new independent stockists that appeal to a younger, more fashionable customer.
Barker has 600 UK stockists, in addition to four standalone stores in London and two in Moscow, as well as franchise stores in Prague, South Korea and Azerbaijan. It will open a new London store by Christmas, details of which will be released soon.
Barker also has a small women’s range of 12 styles, also designed to appeal to a younger, fashionable consumer.