I just recently had the time and the pleasure of getting myself up to the infamous town of Kettering to finally see the new Gaziano & Girling factory. I have been meaning to do this for awhile now, but with the little man to take care of on weekends, I don’t often find the time to get away. But I managed to knock out a few birds with one stone and blame the business for my trip up North! I have been to a lot of factories by now and to be honest, as a whole, there is not too much that separates them all. It’s the small things that you have to look at but they can be easily missed in between all of the machinery and inventory.
Being a new factory, it was very clean and tidy. The flow of its structure seemed quite natural in the way that the walls separate and lead into the subsequent rooms of the shoemaking process. In shoemaking, efficiency is key so 20 steps saved each time you need to move something amounts to a lot more time of shoemaking and lot less diddle-daddling. One might not ever think of this but it is key to running a smooth and efficient factory, especially when one has grown as quick as Gaziano & Girling have. I also liked the fact that on each docket that explained what the shoes in the bays were, there was a picture of the shoe, as not to be mistaken. This may seem trivial but you would not believe the gravity of issues that can arise from a simple organizational mistake. Many shoes can be made that are wrong, and then time and money is wasted. So it’s nice to see the insurances that they take to provide careful planning.
While I can show you a million machines and talk about things that you might not ever understand until you are involved in the industry, as the title of the blog suggests and what you come here for is simply to see and know about the shoes. And beautiful shoes there were, like candy at Willy Wonka’s. As one can imagine, I always enjoy going to the G&G factory to see what concoctions they are brewing up, especially for the Asian and French markets which if I am going to be honest, always have things that are far more interesting than that going to the US, UK and the rest of the EU markets.
One thing that thoroughly impressed me (and made me pat my own back) was the amount of blue shoes that I saw being prepared. All of you know how much I have been pioneering the idea of seeing more blue shoes in the industry and on the feet of people. Therefore seeing all of the blue shoes at the factory just made me think that while I know they read the blog every now and then, that even better is the fact that they actually just might be listening to it too! Either way, even if The Shoe Snob blog had nothing to do with it, it was just nice to see a good amount of blue and green shoes being made up to be shipped out. Maybe they were just going to Japan?? But my heart hopes that they were going to countries that are not particularly known for being overly bold….
We all know how much I love G&G shoes and I am sure that many of these pictures can explain why. But even better is the fact that it is great to see such a great brand with great people behind it grow from a small and emerging company in 2006 to one of the most respected brands in the industry today, fiercely competing with other brands that have had +100 years experience in shoemaking. And if I am going to be dead honest (many of you can probably guess this upcoming truth), that while our shoes and concepts are quite different, they are the company that I try to model my own off of. But allow me to reiterate that as not to confuse. I don’t try to model my shoes after theirs, but my company, as I find that for an 8 year old company they have done a tremendous job at getting to where they are today and I would be so blessed to do something similar within my own sector of the industry.
I can only hope that their impending shop will bring them much success and I look forward to seeing where G&G are in 10 years time. Hopefully they will have upgraded again and found themselves selling in many new markets, all of which I am sure will happen. I hope that you all enjoyed the pictures and if you are coming to London sometime past April, make sure you check out their new store that will be on Savile Row.