This year saw the release of our brand new catalogue, which has been a great success with many customers old and new.
The success of the catalogue is due to our four amazing models Arlo, Amber, Louie and Luna.
A great day was had by all on our photoshoot at our Leicester printers, the children were extremely good and the photographer took some wonderful shots.
Please contact us to receive your copy
Tele: 0116 2716944
In the early hours of June 26th 2017 came that phone call that anyone responsible for property dreads. “Could you come down please, there has been an incident at your building!”
The incident was a fire, started by faulty electrical equipment (A kettle to be precise). A blaze that ripped through Early Days production facility in Oadby, Leicester. Fortunately, being out of hours, the building was empty and no one was hurt. And whilst the fire services efficiently dealt the blaze, They did not manage to do this before it had destroyed, much of the factory.
But as the saying goes, every cloud has a silver lining and this was definitely true in the case here.
After a number of intense months for the Management at Early Days, and almost £300k investment. In November 2017, production started in the newly renovated facility that rose phoenix like from the ashes.
New Facility – New Opportunities
“When the fire struck we were actively developing new accounts across the globe” Explained Paul Bolton, MD at Early Days. “Looking back, whilst the fire gave us significant challenges in terms of maintaining relationships with our customers, the newly refurbished factory has delivered new opportunities & extra capacity to grow into the future.”
Before June 2017, expanding sales were starting to put pressure on the space available. But the fire gave the incentive to totally reconfigure the space. The layout is now more efficient with plenty of room for expansion when, as orders continue to grow on the back of further development of new markets in places like China and the Middle East.
“Its not just about space” continues Paul. “We have also now had the opportunity to invest in new machinery, giving us additional capabilities and allowing us to expand our product range.”
An example of this is the five figure investment in new embroidery machinery. Equipment that as well as expanding capacity, will also also the development of new products and services.
“Whilst I would not wish to relive the last 12 months” concludes Paul ” Early Days are definitely stronger for the experience, and well placed to meet the challenges ahead.
Recent additions to the Early Days first walker range have proved an instant success, flying off the shelves to a hugely positive response from customers old and new.
The Alice style, along with the updated walker version of the classic Alex pre walker shoe, are hand-crafted in beautiful soft leather in colours for every occasion.
Support and style for little explorers
They retain all the comfort and finishing touches for which Early Days pre walker shoes are known, but with additional features designed to give optimum support and functionality as little ones find their feet and become more adventurous.
Available in sizes 19-23, bringing Early Days quality and classic but contemporary style to active toddlers as well as babies – a development has been very well received by our customers. The shoes use practical and attractive buckle fastenings or laces and are made with integrated arch support in the leather insoles and a lightweight flexible rubber sole, important for allowing new walkers the freedom to find their natural balance and action.
Something for everyone
The Alice classic bar shoe comes in red and black patent, perfect for party season, as well as white, navy and pink, with punch and gimping details and decorative stitching to ensure it is not just good for your little girl’s feet but feminine too.
The larger version of the Alex pre walker shoe retains the simplicity of its predecessor – in demand around the world after the young Prince George was pictured wearing them – but offers a spectrum of colours for boys and girls from grown-up navy to glamorous black patent and pretty pale pink.
The new range is manufactured to the same levels of quality that you expect from Earlydays with no compromise on the materials or expertise that goes into each and every pair, so all our Early Days shoes carry the hallmark of our care, attention to detail and performance.
Members of the Early Days team will again be attending the Kind + Jugend exhibition in Germany, taking place this year on 10th-13th September, showcasing the full range of pre-walkers as well as the brand-new first walker designs. 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. The events sees in excess of 21,000 visitors come through the doors over the four days, including buyers from all over the world. Early Days would be delighted to welcome anyone to its stand at B020, Hall 11.3.
The classic Alex T-bar pre-walker which proved to be a huge success over the last 18 months prompted the company to extend the range into the brand new First Walker collection with the launch of Alex II.
Alex II has all the attributes of its pre-walker counterpart with the addition of buckle fastening, a sturdy but flexible sole and features soft full leather linings complete with arch support.
Immediately a huge hit, the Alex first walker is now available in two new colours – Black Patent for that special-occasion feel and beautiful Sky Blue.
The first walker range has also been expanded to take in two new styles. Alice and Edward, in keeping with their timeless British names, offer Early Days’ traditional craftsmanship and quality with up-to-date additions to ensure optimum comfort and support while little ones are still wobbly on their feet.
The Alice classic bar shoe features full soft leather linings, a leather insole with arch support and a lightweight flexible rubber walking sole to give little feet the freedom they need for natural balance. This is finished with a buckle fastening, punch and gimping details and decorative stitching for a classic, pretty appearance.
The shoe is available in sizes 19-23 in white, navy, pink, red and black patent to appeal to every taste.
For boys, the Edward Oxford lace-up provides the same high-performance materials and handiwork with practical touches, completed by decorative punching and stitching matched with a more contemporary lacing style. The Edward shoe is also being made in sizes 19-23 in black, brown, navy and ecru.
Early Days is pleased to report a significant increase in capacity and productivity at its long-term Leicester base, cutting the time between ordering and delivery without compromising on the hours of skilled work that go into every pair of shoes.
The rise of more than 25% is down to the expansion of the workforce, with the addition of new experienced, skilled and dedicated staff members to the team. Following a huge surge in demand for Early Days shoes from customers at home and around the world, inspired in no small part by images of the young Prince George wearing the brand, the company moved very quickly to bring forward expansion plans and dramatically build capacity.
The quality of traditional craftsmanship required to create Early Days shoes means that recruitment at the essential high level is a challenging and inevitably time-consuming process. Early Days has experienced an incredible doubling of exports over the past 12 months, spearheaded by orders from the Middle East and Asia, plus a jump in interest from both Australasia and the US, as well as within the UK, and some lengthening of lead times was unfortunately inevitable in the short term.
The company was able to ease production-line congestion by subcontracting some operations to another local firm that shares its ethos and values, but it is now delighted to have the right new staff in place and is immediately seeing the results.
We are also pleased to announce that we are now taking orders for the New Navy Baypod model B625. This material is now in full production and initial orders have been fulfilled. Customer reaction to the timeless shade has been overwhelmingly positive, with repeat requests already coming in.
Early Days is proud to be a British company.
For many years now, news headlines, and business and consumer reports have regularly highlighted the trend towards low-cost automated production, and the move to take advantage of cheap labour and costs abroad. More recently, the focus has been on exploitation and the potentially negative consequences of this approach – for customers, workers and society. Amidst these ever-changing currents, Early Days has firmly maintained its production in the heart of England.
The Early Days ethos is based on quality. Every pair of shoes is crafted by highly skilled and experienced members of the team, using traditional techniques that cannot be replicated by fast-moving factory machinery.
Each skin of top-grade Italian leather is carefully examined for weight, softness and any faults that could affect the finished product, before being sent through to the cutting department where the individual components are cut and split down to the optimum thickness using a cutting press and strip knife.
Expert machinists then sew around the prepared uppers, ensuring stitching is tight to the edge and absolutely consistent. Once the uppers have been closed the soles are meticulously stitched on to the same exacting standards required at every stage in the creation of Early Days shoes, critical to perfect fitting.
Every shoe in the leading Leather Collection is hand lasted, using selected tools to skillfully strain the leather in one direction after another until the final, completely uniform shape is achieved, featuring the crisp rounded toes and heels that Early Days prides itself on.
Designing and manufacturing children’s shoes comes with its own responsibilities. Growing feet need special care and children learning to walk, run, jump and climb should have shoes that both allow their feet to flex and find their natural balance, but also protect and support. From the start, more than 60 years ago, Early Days has set out to deliver and develop that delicate combination within a beautiful, stylish package and at a cost affordable to families.
The decision by Early Days to stay true to its roots when many rival companies were shipping their production out to the Far East – and cutting prices as a result – has been proved right. Aided by Royal patronage after Prince George was spotted out and about in Alex pram shoes from the Leather Collection, orders for Early Days shoes have soared and the company is going from strength to strength. With a growing export market right around the globe, Early Days’ traditional values are proving a true success story for British business.
Early Days are pleased to report that Bubble was extremely successful with record orders taken at the show.
The star of the show was of course the Leather Collection which continues to go from strength to strength including a new addition featuring a gold printed floral leather which was an absolute winner!
This new metallic printed design will be available in a selection of colours including gold and silver in both Mary Jane and Emma designs. Deliveries for this exciting new range will start in March.
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!