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Retailer Spotlight: Maddie and Mark's

We take great pride in maintaining long-standing relationships with excellent independent shoe shops across the entirety of the UK. As we do not have shops of our own, these independent retailers are who we trust to do the groundwork salesmanship. Maddie and Mark’s is a long-standing partner to us and we are thrilled to add to our latest series of ‘Retailer Spotlights’ by focusing on them. We spoke with the business’s owner, Jen Wilson, who took over five years ago after several years of being the manager of the Bruntsfield branch.

Maddie and Marks shop window

About Maddie and Mark’s

Maddie and Mark’s have been trading since 2007 in Edinburgh and have been operating their main store on Bruntsfield Place for over 10 years. Prior to being the home of Maddie and Mark’s, the shop was a cheesemonger – though “thankfully, the cheesy smell didn’t linger”! The Bruntsfield shop now thrives in the heart of a bustling high street near the centre of Edinburgh alongside many other independent businesses.

Our partnership experience with Start-Rite

Back when Maddie and Mark’s began trading in the mid-2000’s, Start-Rite was one of the first brands to be stocked, and Jen says that due to the brand’s popularity and trust with customers, this was a no-brainer. Like many other retailers, Jen recognises the connection between Start-Rite and the older generation, citing that many parents and grandparents comment on how their childhood shoes were Start-Rite. Consequently, by stocking Start-Rite, a lovely tradition is upheld in which one generation comes in with their children/grandchildren and gets fitted for a pair of shoes, just as they did in the past.

Quality in children’s shoes

Maddie and Mark’s stock several styles from the Start-Rite first shoes and pre-walker collections, many of which are favourites amongst customers and staff alike. Namely, the team particularly loves the cruisers or ‘pre-walkers’ such as ‘yellow Tumble’ and ‘classic navy Baby Jack’, and customers have been loving the ‘Bear Hug’, new to the cheery spring collection this year.

In particular, fittings for first shoes are very special in-store, and the half sizes and width fittings offered by Start-Rite ensure that the Bruntsfield branch has youngsters leaving with the best possible fit achieved. Furthermore, Jen noted that every one of her staff members has a different favourite from the range, which gives a real credit to the Start-Rite design team to be able to appeal to so many different tastes.

Maddie and Mark’s today

Much like other retailers that Start-Rite works with, Maddie and Mark’s have an incredibly close-knit team rich with experience, with an outfit that ranges from 7-12 people depending on the time of year. The business prides itself on creating and maintaining a comfortable environment for staff to flourish as they build on their knowledge base, and this is clear when looking at the current team. For example, Manager Kristin has come up from sales advisor to manager in the past six years, and Assistant Manager Michelle has been with Maddie and Mark’s for over 10 years.

Having familiar faces made up of senior and returning staff (many teens work at the shop in between terms at university) helps to greatly enhance the shopping experience for Maddie and Mark’s customers, and the belief that purchasing shoes (especially your children’s first pairs of shoes) should be an experience rather than just the click of a button is one which is shared with Start-Rite.

Whilst the main aim as a shoe shop is always to fit and sell shoes that best fit the customer, there can always be a great window display found when visiting the shop, making it feel all the more special. The Christmas windows are famous in the local community for going that extra mile, and it’s that drive to do the most that strikes a chord with Start-Rite’s ambition to deliver exactly what the customer deserves.