Feature: Stallard Drivers

I have always been fascinated by independent brands.
Smaller brands generally have a more distinct identity compared to their corporate counterparts. I was lucky enough to interview Nick from Stallard Drivers to find out what the company is all about and what they want to accomplish in the future.

How did Stallard Drivers’ get started?

I started this venture because I found it quite hard to find middle-­market driving shoes that appealed to me. It's easy to find drivers ­ The Italians, Zara, Russell & Bromley etc. etc. all sell driving shoes but I find a lot of them too expensive or unattractive. So I thought I'd try and make a shoe myself, that I'd want to buy.

Most people I talked to said, “I'm mad/crazy/an a***hole”, but I thought it was inevitable I'd get this response. So I decided to ignore my friends and family, saved as much as I could/borrowed a little and resolved to start my own shoe company.

What are your goals for the brand?

More driving shoes, more colours and more styles.

What makes Stallard Drivers’ different from other brands?

I think driving shoes are marketed towards an older demographic, so I'd like to brand them as something more accessible and appealing for all ages.

Why did you pick drivers?

I picked drivers because I wear them all the time. Whether I'm seeing a movie, eating at a fancy restaurant or trying to dance in some stank warehouse rave, I prefer to wear driving shoes. I think, if you want to create your own product you need to love the product, and I do love loafers!

Take us through the design to manufacturing process:

The whole process of getting the shoes created was rather painful. I wanted a driving shoe with some kind of decal on the front and I thought it would be interesting to have some kind of key design over the front of the shoe as in 'Design 1'. I had a designer illustrate what I wanted and managed to find a factory who said they could create this shoe. However, this factory was agonisingly slow in creating a prototype – I suspect because my order would be relatively small compared to their more established clients who order thousands upon thousands of shoes. 

Design 1
After many months of false promises and various problems with this factory I looked elsewhere and had a different design drawn up for a second factory – 'Design 2'. A design I thought would be a lot easier to complete. However these prototypes were not at all flattering.

After many many months and feeling close to giving up, I thought I'd just stick a snaffle on the shoe. I realise this design is not particularly imaginative, but I thought I could mix it up a little with different coloured soles and leathers. Once established I hoped I would get the opportunity to create some more interesting designs.

Design 2
I picked the leather swatches, I was sent the third prototypes and looked at the possibility of different coloured soles. Once I picked these, I had a shoe I was finally happy with.

Leather swatches

Coloured soles

What are Stallard Drivers’ plans for the next 1-­2 years?

I'd like to interact with my customers, I want them to post their driving shoe outfits on our social media giving ideas to other customers. Hopefully I'll get the chance to create new styles, and with this I want my customers to tell me what colours they want, and what styles they want next. I don't really see a lot of this from other companies.

For more information on Stallard Drivers or to purchase their products online, you can check their official website at http://www.stallarddrivers.com/ Make sure to also check them out on their facebook page https://facebook.com/stallarddrivers and Instagram account https://instagram.com/stallarddrivers


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