A Newcastle business which has grown from its 70s London celebrity fashion roots to supply shoes for today’s stars including Cher for Mamma Mia 2, is about to start a substantial global export drive.
Terry de Havilland shoes is run by MD Darren Spurling from its head office in Hoults Yard although it still has a London base. He bought the company from its founder two years ago after being a part-owner for a number of years and has ambitious plans for expansion.
Darren’s background includes being a main board director of Black Leisure Group and also a director of sports brand O Neill, an opportunity came to locate their business in a former Nike warehouse in Washington. The move resulted in him setting up home in region as well, living here ever since.
He said: “I have always seen the huge potential of Terry’s iconic, signature style shoes and the opportunity to sell them to the rest of the world. We are now focussing much more on our on-line sales. As part of this marketing strategy we will have a Christmas pop up shoe shop in London’s Selfridges and a presence at London, Milan, New York and Paris fashion weeks.
“Today, it is very easy to start a brand and there are thousands of them. We have the unique advantage as we have a tremendous back catalogue and so much heritage as part of our company profile. We like to stretch our original designs to update them but keep the original spirit.”
The on-line marketing has already paid dividends with turnover doubling in the last 12 months. Future trends being developed include the winter trend of 1970’s brown and metallic, emerald green, black and reds.
Among the brand’s claim to fame are supplying Kate Moss’s honeymoon shoes, Angelia Jolie’s footwear for tomb raider, Kylie Minogue’s shoes for Madame Tussauds, Rita Ora, Paloma Faith and Chery Cole. Their shoes were also part of a new world record when they provided high heel roller skates for the fastest 100 metre run in heels.
Terry de Havilland shoes are manufactured in Spain but Darren Spurling is ambivalent about Brexit. He said: “Like a lot of people I didn’t expect the leave vote and overnight our prices for imports went up by 25%, however the up side is that as a result of our shoes being less expensive, we now have a much stronger Italian customer base.
“Our customers are not worried about Brexit but our supplier is concerned that they will lose business from us and other UK firms, after leaving the EU.
“With regard to the future it is important we keep supply under demand. The high end fashion industry does not work well if there are too many of its products out there being sold for reduced rates.
“I can’t make cheap shoes. We need to have the right leathers and skins to produce the colours and styles our clients want. The most expensive shoes we make at present are £800 python skin five tier wedges, which will last for years.”
The Terry de Havilland company joined the Chamber to get support for international sales and Darren Spurling is a keen support of its campaigns to improve rail links to London. “We don’t need faster trains necessarily but we do need them to be more efficient and cheaper.”