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Helen Hook

Helen Hook owner of footwear indie Geoffrey Bailey Shoes in Wantage, Oxfordshire.

How is trade at the moment?

Business has been pretty good. We’ve been getting good responses to the new Autumn 10 stock so far. Patent shoes, bright colours and interesting designs that cheer people up are doing the best.

Which brands are selling the best?

Brands that seem to be selling the best are the small ones that offer something quirky and different to mainstream brands. This is what customers really seem to be seeking at the moment.

How does your product range differ from your rivals?

We always seek to find individual designs. We go to shows with the purpose of hunting down small, lesser known brands that have unique and quirky products to offer. This way we provide something that’s not found in our rivals’ stores. I think too many stores stick with the tried and trusted names, which is not necessarily what customers want at the moment.

How confident do you feel about business this year?

I’m feeling fairly confident because we seem to be on the right track in terms of product. Business is better than this time last year and consumer confidence seems to be picking up now too.

Will you be visiting any trade shows?

Yes, we’re planning to attend the Kensington Shoe Event at the end of this month. We also went to Pure and Moda this year. I’ve been disappointed with trade shows in recent seasons though. I felt the brands that showed at Moda this season were mainly playing it safe, which I can understand in a recession but it is not ideal when we are seeking unusual designs for our customer base.

  • Brands include HB, Gabrielle, Cefalu and Högl

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