Premium comfort shoe brand Air & Grace has reported a 100% increase in revenue and an 800% rise in net profits for the 12 months to 31 December 2018.
It had a strong last quarter, in which revenue was up 300% year on year. Total revenue, excluding VAT, for calendar year 2018 was in excess of £1m.
The brand said the rise in profits was driven by its trans-seasonal approach that offers customers high-quality investment pieces that are designed to be worn from season to season. It says it is proud to be a “slow fashion” retailer bucking the trend and reporting strong growth.
Founder Claire Burrows, who has been in the footwear industry for more than two decades, is convinced the growth is a result of a comfort-focused shift in the footwear market.
Kurt Geiger and FitFlop veteran Burrows told Drapers: “In all my 25 years in the industry I have never seen such a change in fashion retail as we are experiencing now. I believe the traditional seasonal retail model is outdated. As a result, the Air & Grace range is built around a trans-seasonal ‘permanent collection’ that is never discounted. These bestselling styles form the heart of our range. They are complemented by our seasonal collections, which inject newness and exciting limited edition collaborations.
“The USP of our patented ‘Tender Loving Air’ comfort footbed combined with our styling and commitment to high quality resonates with our customers in stark contrast to disposable fast fashion brands. Our customer believes in pounds per wear and is willing to pay more for products that look good and feel good for more than just one season. Our customer also values knowing where her shoes are made. We design all our shoes in London and partner closely with high-grade, family-run factories in Portugal and Spain to manufacture our shoes.
“The trainer trend continues to be strong for us and a trial of our new ankle boot category in the fourth quarter proved to be incredibly successful. For 2019, I’m really excited about continuing to build on the success achieved so far and looking forward to the full launch of our new boots category.”
Founded in 2014, Air & Grace is a premium brand offering offering stylish, yet comfortable footwear. It is stocked in 30 UK independent boutiques including Black White Denim, Anna, The Dressing Room, and Iris as well as online.
It has won several retail awards, including Best Independent Business of the Year at Stylist Live 2018, the top prize in Metro’s search for the brands of the future, in which it secured £150K investment plus additional investment from judge Michael Acton Smith. It has also received The Footwear Friends award for innovation, Smarta’s “One to Watch” and won the UK Fashion and Textile Association’s “Buyers’ Den” competition, securing distribution in John Lewis & Partners.