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Start-Rite reveals new brand ID - Shoes that give children the freedom to go their own way

Start-Rite Shoes has helped children explore in comfort and confidence for 226 years. We’re proud of our specialism and proud of our heritage. And we have spent the past year challenging ourselves to go even deeper - in our understanding of children’s growing feet, in our insight into how they live and move today.

The result is a new brand and product strategy anchored in the belief that the best children’s shoes should help them move freely. We’re here to remove worry for parents and remove barriers for children. With shoes designed around the latest thinking in children’s foot health. With shoes designed around specific needs rather than one-size-fits-all. With shoes that will endure whatever children put them through.

Research has reinforced with us how vital freedom and discovery are for children’s learning and development. It has also shown how this freedom can be compromised by today’s non-stop, hyper-organised lifestyles – and by parents’ constant juggling act as they manage time, resource and the needs of multiple children.

The new positioning is designed to place the child centre stage – driving new areas of product development based on how children move today. And underpinning a warmer, more dynamic personality for the brand.

Start-Rite Shoes CEO, Ian Watson, said: “While our heritage will always be vital to who we are, it’s my job to focus the business around the needs of families today and where we can help them go tomorrow. To do this we need to be in constant dialogue with parents, children and our retail partners. And to be constantly challenging, refining and innovating at a product level.”

We worked with one of the country’s top design consultants to bring the positioning to life in a way that drives reappraisal while remaining sensitive to the power of our specialism and heritage. Central to this were the iconic Start-Rite twins – part of our brand for over 80 years. By re-drawing them to look like children rather than dolls, and freeing them from their constraints within the logo, we have created a sense of adventure and discovery that returns to the spirit of the original 1930s illustrations.

Ian said: “We have radically modernised the brand while in fact returning it much closer to its original pioneering routes. Start-Rite today is known as a relatively conservative brand – the reality is that in the 1940s we were the brand that challenged perceived wisdom about children’s footwear. We carried out the country’s first nationwide survey of children’s feet. And we fundamentally changed the way children’s shoes are made. Our new identity returns this sense of pioneering spirit to the brand and hints at the pioneering spirit we aim to support in the children who wear our shoes.”

From a product perspective, the new positioning has embedded a deeper focus on the diverse ways children move. Our product design has always been driven by the changing needs of growing feet. Now our designs are also responsive to the varied personalities and activities of different children. So not only do we work with a team of experts in biomechanics, physiology and podiatry, we spend a lot of our time observing the ways children move.

Start-Rite Shoes, Head of Design, Claire Russell, said: “We’re here to create shoes that don’t just fit the foot but fit the child. Giving parents total confidence. Giving children footwear that meets their specific needs – be it the go-everywhere chameleon shoe, the survive-anything active shoe, or the feel-special smart shoe. It’s our years of experience and depth of specialism that help us to identify and address these needs.”

Start-rite CEO Ian Watson joins Norfolk business leaders in SYNC the CITY 2017

We’re delighted to announce our CEO Ian Watson will join the SYNC the CITY 2017 initiative in conjunction with the University of East Anglia (UEA) and SyncNorwich as panel chair of the judges.

Now in its third year, the SYNC the CITY programme is designed to showcase the best in technological talent and entrepreneurship with entrants pitching their start-up business ideas, during what is anticipated to be an electric 54-hour event. Ian will sit alongside local commercial experts with backgrounds in start-up business, technology and investment in judging the competition.

Speaking on his role, Ian said: “I am really proud to be asked to be a part of such a worthwhile scheme. SYNC the CITY supports local talent, bringing together all sorts of experienced leaders that can draw upon both career highs and lows, in helping mentor and steer those starting out in business. I’m looking forward to meeting the contestants and hearing their business ideas. Recognising talent and encouraging that to thrive is of ultimate importance for future industry competitiveness.”

Start-rite appoints new Finance Director following Women’s Leadership programme

Formally Head of People and Financial Controller here at Start-Rite, Jo recently completed the East of England Women’s Leadership Programme, run by Pure Resourcing and People & Performance Ltd, which is designed to enhance confidence, develop leadership skills, and support organisations through the role of a sponsor in parallel with developing women in senior leadership roles in business.

Jo, who is a CIMA qualified accountant, said: “After 19 years with Start-Rite I have a solid understanding of the business, but more importantly of the plans afoot to successfully develop our strategic business aims for the future. I am delighted to have been appointed as Finance Director and Company Secretary and very much look forward to working with the executive and senior management teams and the exciting journey we have ahead of us.”

CEO Ian Watson, who also acted as Jo’s sponsor on the programme, said: “We are thrilled to appoint Jo as our new Finance Director and Company Secretary. Over the last 18 months, she has shown great potential and has developed through a number of courses including the Women’s Leadership Programme, which will prove invaluable to the business as we move forward.”

Jo will work with the Finance, ICT and HR functions as well as with the wider business to further strengthen the management team at Start-Rite.

Celebrate your #SpecialMoments with Start-rite to WIN

To celebrate our new advert, we’re asking you to share your ‪#‎SpecialMoments‬ with us on social media and tell us about your most cherish memories with your children. Perhaps it was the first time they crawled or walked? Or maybe it was when you bought their first pair of shoes or started school? Let us know and share a picture or video if you have one. We’d love to hear your stories…we’ll pick a winner at random on Friday 18th March to WIN a voucher for a pair of Start-rite Shoes.

TO ENTER: Simply comment on our Facebook post, tweet us using the hashtag #SpecialMoments so we can see your post or email us. We look forward to seeing your #SpecialMoments.


Deadline for entries is midnight 25th August 2016 / One entry per person / A winner will be drawn at random / The winner will be notified within 14 days of the closing date / The decision of the Promoter is final and no correspondence will be entered into.