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taff training should be at the top of everyone's list 'to do' at the moment, so I urge you to consider enrolling your staff on the next Society of Shoe Fitters course, which starts on October 1st.

Not only is it tax-deductable (employers can look generous and forward thinking, but actually get their money back), with so much competition it is vital that small shops offer the X factor in service and the Society of Shoe Fitters can provide just the right training to help. They have an exciting year ahead, as the Student of the Year will

be awarded in February at the new Footwear Industry Awards dinner which is shaping up to be an amazing event, and they have two new 5 month courses starting March 2st and September 1st straight after MODA. On top of that the SSF are in the last stages of creating a course for

Podiatrists, giving them much more industry knowledge and students and members will be able to buy the new Infant fitting gauge. “Supporting our members and Associate members is the most important thing for our organisation. Members will shortly receive two showcards aimed at the public regarding their service and fitting as well as increased web support, so their small annual membership fee (less than £1 a week) is exceptional value,” says Laura West, SSF Secretary. “So, why don't more staff qualify as members?” I asked Laura. “Good question,” she replied. “There are some good shop staff providing a fitting service that do not bother to qualify - which is a bit like golfers or sailors - if they had taken lessons they would be great golfers and sailors. Those who really know their stuff can take our Entrance Exam to fast track into the SSF - so it has to be complacence for many. Now that the public are being given what they perceive to be 'lessons in fitting' from certain websites, they think they know how to fit and will argue with staff about the fit of their children's shoes, and this has encouraged far more not to bother to go into proper 'shoe shops' because they think they know it all, so buy self-service/online.” However, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, and without doubt

some children are suffering because of it, so it is good if staff have gained the qualification and will feel confident to do their job professionally and to have the SSF to back them up. In any other 'personal service' tattooist, chiropody, hairdressers etc., the government insists on a level of proven knowledge, but feet are completely ignored and they are the one part of our body that affects every other part. Bad shoe fitting affects your entire physiology and podiatrists and reflexologist agree. Laura is hoping that lots of shops will have taken the SSF Survey (on

the website) which is something they aim to repeat next Back to School: “We look forward to welcoming our new students in October and trust that our new course format in 2012 will be a big success,” she says. This non-commercial trade body has assisted both the public and

industry for 52 years, and in lots of ways, so it is commendable their help is never limited although their finances are. They say what goes round comes around - and it's true! By helping the SSF (booking courses or becoming an Associate member), not only helps you and your company personally, but also assists hundreds of others at the same time.

Best regards, Cheryl Cheryl Taylor,

Editor, Footwear Today Tel: 01622 862962

Email: 4

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FRONT COVER: PANAMA JACK Since 1989, under the slogan

"Natural Live and Style", Panama Jack

has positioned itself as a leading brand of casual shoes with an urban adventure.

A Family business whose aim is to walk

with their customers together step by step.

EDITOR Cheryl Taylor: CONTRIBUTING EDITOR Adam Bernstein FEATURE WRITERS: Henry Harington Dawn Smith Vicky Kember Joe Maggio

JOURNAL MANAGER John Andrews: 01622 699135 ADVERTISEMENT MANAGER Sue Wiseman: 01622 699185 DESIGNER Steve Parks ADMINISTRATION Ellie Inchmore PUBLISHING DIRECTOR Paul Ryder:

Inside this issue: GDS Fashion Trends, Safety Footwear, Wholesaler Profile – Laceys of London, Editor’s Choice – Sports Footwear OCTOBER 2011

Media Partner of the STAG Buying Group

Published by: Datateam Business Media Ltd, London Road, Maidstone, Kent ME16 8LY. Tel: 01622 687031 Fax: 01622 757646 email: website:

ISSN 1475 8601

The Publishers cannot accept responsibility for any discrepancies either in copy or between products and/or services listed. Nor can they be responsible for illustrations and/or copy for products which lead to infringement of copyright.

IFRA, BFA and Society of Shoe Fitters all support Footwear Today as a valuable forum for the footwear industry, helping to promote trade and keeping retailers informed about the latest products and developments.

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