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SHOESTRING FAMILY FOOTWEAR


Caroline Collins of Shoestring (www.shoestringuk.co.uk) explains the history of shoe care and accessory manufacturer Woly. I


t’s well known that people rarely look above eye level when they are out and about, which is why we spend a lot of our time looking


down at our feet. This means that our footwear - the style, colour, material and maintenance - are all significant factors in making a great first impression.


This is something that occurred to Swiss


businessman Adolf Sutter back in 1861 as he walked between various appointments and business meetings. Mr. Sutter was concerned that his leather shoes were letting down his professional appearance: not only were they becoming increasingly dirty, but they were suffering wear and tear from regular use.


Protecting an investment For many people at this time, footwear was not


only an important symbol of status, but it was also a significant investment. Ever the entrepreneur, Mr. Sutter was able to turn this everyday problem into an exciting opportunity for a new business, developing a product that not only kept shoes looking clean, but that would protect and nurture the leather to make the shoe last longer.


He developed the formulae for a quality shoe


care product, setting up shop in the Swiss town of Oberhofen. From here, he manufactured jars of shoe polish to satisfy a growing demand. The product was said to “impress customers with its efficiency and effectiveness”, whilst his range of shoe care products also received several awards for their quality.


Rooted in retail Despite the fact that Mr. Sutter was a


manufacturer, the product had its roots in retail. He started out as a retailer and the range of products have always been created with the retailer in mind.


In 1931 the brand name Woly first appeared.


This was a refined and improved version of Mr. Sutter’s original shoe care product – but now expanded to work with different types of shoe and different colours. The flagship product in the range was the Woly emulsion cream.


22 • FOOTWEAR TODAY • APRIL 2014


Caroline Collins


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