Early Days is very pleased to have linked up with a number of top retailers to ensure all customers have optimum accessibility to its product ranges and the best possible shopping experience.
The company is now working with leading specialist retailers, both online and with a high-street presence, who share Early Days’ integral standards and values. These are independent childrenswear stockists with an emphasis on quality, style and service, in which customers can have complete trust – the perfect fit for the skilled British manufacturing, contemporary design and craftsmanship inherent in every pair of Early Days shoes.
As part of this development, Early Days has recently stopped making direct online sales through its own website to focus on its core strengths in design and manufacture. However the team continues to support its retail partners with the production of attractive, informative promotional materials such as seasonal catalogues, and the inclusion of listings on the Early Days website – all intended to make the research and purchase process smooth and efficient for customers old and new.
With its expansive range now encompassing something for everyone, from the beautiful Christening items and classic Leather Collection to Baypods, made to deliver fantastic quality at competitive prices, Early Days is proud to be collaborating with retail firms that can offer the same experience, passion and industry insight that its team brings to the creation of each product.
The choice of Early Days’ classic style for Prince George’s tiny feet has had far-reaching consequences. The decision to buy Early Days British designed and manufactured shoes for the young Prince has resulted in a surge of demand from as far away as Australia and the Far East.
After the young Prince was photographed in beautiful Alex pram shoes from the Early Days Leather Collection earlier this year, parents couldn’t get enough of the range for their own little ones. All Early Days shoes combine traditional craftsmanship and quality with a clean, contemporary look, making them the perfect choice for both style and practicality. Given the brand’s British heritage too, it’s little wonder that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have opted for Early Days for their son – or that so many others have followed suit.
The sudden increase in orders from both the UK and abroad following such endorsement led Early Days to fast-track expansion plans and dramatically boost production capacity with the employment of additional skilled staff and the decision to subcontract some operations to another local company that shares the same values and emphasis on quality.
It has been a whirlwind year in which Early Days has not only gone from strength to strength in the UK but seen a phenomenal 50% increase in export sales, with the brand gaining important new customer bases in several areas of the world.
A fascination with the British monarchy and tradition, along with a cultural focus on fashion, has made this growth particularly impressive in the Middle East and Far East, while Prince George’s much-publicised inclusion on his parents’ tour Down Under may have contributed in large part to the upsurge of interest in Australasia. There has also been a significant rise in orders from the US.
Early Days is thriving in these overseas markets, generating and delivering exactly the kind of success story that the UK economy needs for sustainable growth. The team is committed to developing the brand around the globe while continuing to nurture both loyal and new customers at home.
It remains to be seen what impact next year’s addition to the Royal family might have on Early Days’ international presence!
A certain little Prince has caused production to go into overdrive at Early Days!
Children’s clothes rarely steal headlines and create shopping frenzies in the way red-carpet dresses and accessories can – but one baby boy’s outfits were always going to be the exception. Every time Prince George is filmed or photographed, whether it’s held in his parents’ arms, enjoying himself on tour Down Under or celebrating his first birthday last month, the race is on to identify the brands the future King is wearing.
When he was seen wearing Early Days Alex shoes in April this year, demand for these lovely T-bar pram shoes from the Leather Collection, along with others in the catalogue, went through the roof. The Alex design certainly reflects the classic but contemporary style that has always been chosen for Prince George. And, of course, Early Days shoes have been proudly made in Britain since 1952 – the year the Queen came to the throne. Surely the perfect fit for young Royalty!
With the huge media coverage that accompanied Prince George turning one in July, orders for Early Days styles soared again, quickly exceeding the maximum capacity of the company’s production line in Leicester.
The Early Days management acted immediately, launching an ongoing recruitment campaign to bring additional skilled staff on board, and looking at other options for increasing production without compromising on the craftsmanship or exacting standards that the brand has been built on.
Early Days is delighted to have added some talented new employees to the team but, with very specific skills required at a high level, has not been able or willing to rush the process. Fortunately, the good relationship forged recently with another Leicester company has also allowed some operations to be subcontracted, a move that has already helped to boost output. The result will be seen more clearly over the coming weeks as, with everybody’s determined efforts, capacity is significantly higher and bottlenecks are cleared.
Early Days regrets the extended delivery dates that were necessary to meet the surge in demand and thanks all its customers, old and new, for their understanding. Any additional wait will have helped to ensure that every single pair of Alex shoes has been shown the same care and attention as those on Prince George’s feet.
The team at Early Days have just returned from the famous Kind + Jugend show in Germany.
Early Days is a regular exhibitor at the Cologne event, which always offers a fantastic opportunity to showcase its latest ranges, as well as classic favourites, and identify emerging trends from all around the globe.
Running from Thursday 11th to Sunday 14th September 2014, Kind + Jugend is the leading international trade fair for the baby and toddler outfitting sector, known as an important industry meeting point, and with a reputation for promoting top quality brands and innovation. Last year, the event saw 21,200 visitors come through the doors over the four days, including buyers from all over the world. Early Days has forged some hugely valued working relationships at and through the show in the past, opening one of its largest ever accounts with a major overseas customer in 2012.
For 2014, Early Days is looking to build on the runaway success of the new Leather Collection, which incorporates the Alex shoe that has received such extensive media coverage since baby Prince George was seen wearing it in both navy and ecru.
At this years event, Early Days had the full Leather Collection and Christening range on show, together with a good selection of Baypods designs. The Baypods range continues to go from strength to strength, offering customers top quality shoes at very competitive prices, all made in the UK.
“We always look forward to this trade show, and the 2014 event didn’t disappoint, and although numbers were a little down the quality of the contacts we made were excellent. The show gives us a real opportunity to keep in touch with contacts from across the globe” explained Paul Boulton, MD at Early Days “During the event, we took some very strong orders from both new and existing customers, including substantial orders from existing customers for delivery Spring 2015”
When royal tot Prince George takes his first steps, the chances are he will be shoes made by Early Days.
The future king appeared sporting a pair of soft leather navy shoes designed and produced by the company at their Leicester based factory.
“We couldn’t have chosen a better baby to model our shoes!” said Paul Bolton, managing director of Early Days.
“I looked at the photo of Prince George and his parents on tour in New Zealand and recognised the shoes he was wearing. I still cannot believe it – we’ve been making shoes since 1952 and now they’re being worn by a future king.”
Early Days have seen interest in their products and sales explode since the prince was seen wearing not one but two pairs of their shoes in both Ecru Navy (Style Alex from their new leather range).
“There were so many e-mails and phone calls from all over the world – America and Japan.” Continued Paul.
“We were inundated with requests for the shoe leading to it selling out in UK shops in a matter of Days.”
The Alex shoe chosen for the eight-month-old is also available in ivory.
“Presumably, because these shoes were made in England and we predominately use the Union flag, it might have helped make the sale,” said Paul.
“They are a super pair of shoes, leather, with an F-width fitting. They are classed as ‘pre-walkers’ for children who want to toddle around.”
Early Days will be exhibiting at Bubble 2014, showcasing their new leather range.
Now in its 7th year, the UK’s leading kid’s trade event, Bubble runs for two days every January and July.
Bringing together top exhibitors from across the childrenswear industry to showcase the very latest in children’s fashion, accessories, gifts and homeware.
For retailers, it’s a fantastic opportunity to discover new design talent, catch-up with established labels, see the best international brands, and benefit from some expert business advice.
For Early Days, it gives an opportunity to meet with their existing retail partners and to make contact with potential new partners, whilst at the same time, showcasing new designs & ranges.
Bubble 2014 is expected to be a busy two days for the staff manning the Early Days stand, with the interest in their new leather range having exploded after Prince George was spotted wearing a pair of their shoes when on tour with his parents earlier this year.
Bubble is on from 13th -14th July at the Business design Centre In London.
Having first launched a web presence over 10 years ago, Early Days are delighted to announce the launch of a completely revamped website.
With a fresh new look, and a focus on supporting retail partners, the site aims to showcase the Early Days brand as a top quality product, made in the UK using manufacturing techniques that combine modern facilities and a highly skilled workforce to deliver a top quality product.
The new site will be continually updated with news and information on new styles & stockists.
“Although we have taken the decision to make our products available exclusively through retail channels, we are keen to maintain a close relationship with our end customers” Explains Paul Bolton, Managing director of Early Days “With this in mind, although the new site no longer allows direct purchase, customers will still be able to find full information on our products, and be able to contact us with any queries they may have. We will also be delighted to help them locate local stockists should they need it.”
The new site launched this week is also optimised for viewing on a wide range of devices including, desktops, mobiles and tablets.
With the launch of their new website this week, Early Days are heralding a new direction in terms of their relationship with the market. Having always had a strong partnership with the high street and online retail trade, Early Days have now taken the decision to stop offering sales direct to end users.
“Our primary route to market has always been via top quality retailers in the UK and overseas, and the main reason we started selling direct was to assist end users who did not have our products available in their local markets.” Explains Paul Bolton of Early Days “However now with a rapidly expanding network of retail partners, the need for direct sales is significantly reduced”.
Children’s shoes are a very tactile purchase that need to be fitted carefully. The best way to ensure the perfect fit is to purchase shoes from a reputable retail outlet either on-line or on the high street, who take care to ensure that the shoes you buy are right for your child. We are therefore committed to ensuring that we devote our time to supporting these retail partners, who offer excellent customer service, and ensure that our products are widely available.
Early Days shoes are available through a wide range of stockists who supply across the globe. If you want help finding the one nearest to you, get in touch, we would be delighted to help. Full details of our range are also available on our newly revamped website here (link to catalogue pages)
Over the last 10 years there has been much talk of the demise of British manufacturing, and the trend to moving production to cheaper locations overseas. However this trend is now reversing with many companies now moving their production back to the UK.
Cheap overseas production may be OK for highly standardised mass production of commodity items, but when it comes to production process where quality control and consistency are key, having the production based locally to the market is a much better option. In fact, Michael Bolton & Sons (Manufacturers of Early Days shoes) have always bucked this trend, having manufactured their products in the UK continually since Tony & Michael Bolton started making shoes in Leicester in 1952.
With the UK now having a great reputation for the manufacture of high quality products, especially (and ironically) in rapidly growing markets like the Far East. The commitment to manufacture in the UK is now seen by the company as a key marketing message, and hence the display of the union Flag on every pair of shoes made by the company in the UK.