Bespoke shoemaker since 1840 Foster & Son is opening one of the first Northampton footwear factories in decades, next week.
The 6,500 sq ft space in Northampton’s Enterprise Zone will facilitate expansion of the ready-to-wear division and provide jobs for up to 20 people. Eight roles are already filled.
The company previously worked with several of Northampton’s key manufacturers to produce its ready-to-wear range, which retails at around £750. The new factory will mean styles can be turned around in six weeks.
Richard Edgecliffe-Johnson, chairman of Foster & Son, told Drapers: “We have had a small ready-to-wear range for a few years now, but we struggled to get the quality required to live up to our bespoke range.
“The only way to have our own line is to have the best machines and the best people to make the best shoes.”
The factory will focus on production of Foster & Son shoes and there no plans to take on manufacturing for other brands at this stage, although Edgecliffe-Johnson said he “wouldn’t rule out the possibility” of producing a small number of third-party products further down the line.
Foster & Son’s single store, on Jermyn Street in London, sells its bespoke and ready-to-wear line, and also houses a workshop. The ready-to-wear line has six wholesale accounts, mostly in Asia.
The company has annual turnover of £2m. It declined to disclose the amount invested in the new factory.
“The Jermyn Street workshop will remain there for bespoke services,” added Edgecliffe-Johnson. “We want to expand and be successful globally. We have a very strong, heritage brand and we want to leverage on this and fly the flag for Britain.”