SOSF NEWS Changes afoot at the Children’s Foot Health Register!

The C.F.H.R (Children’s Foot Health Register) has been heavily financed by Clarks over many years, but the company has recently decided to change their promotional strategy. This leaves a smaller number of independent children’s retailers promoting themselves on the Register and a 90% deficit in income for the administration. Rather than take the decision to close the Register because of the many thousands of ‘hits’ to the website, the committee looked into who would be best suited to grow the registration and benefit existing advertisers. They decided to invite The Society of Shoe Fitters to take over, as the Society is known for working with quality brands, quality retailers and quality people, as well as running high-profile campaigns aimed at educating the public, lobbying the government and assisting retailers. Consumers, despite many buying online, still want to know who is prepared to offer a fitting service, therefore any shop selling Start- rite, Clarks or Hush Puppies should have a listing to promote themselves and their entry will include social media links too. It was felt that the C.F.H.R site should not just be a list of shops informing the public of their existence, but also part of a wider group association giving features and benefits for their advertising spend.

There is also a large number of shops selling a

variety of continental brands (using the country of origin and varying Last shapes to give them a choice of fittings) which also provide an excellent fitting service, but up until now did not qualify to be added. One or two already feature on the site as they had S.S.F. qualified shoe fitters instore, so it is hoped that the shops who employ qualified fitters, or using fitting gauges and providing a personal service will also apply to promote themselves on this Register. Society of Shoe Fitters members specialising in children’s shoes

will all receive a discount for adding an entry to the site and those selling a fitting brand, or 4 or more continental brands and offering a measuring/fitting service, will all qualify to be a part of this fantastic promotional vehicle.

There are many other ideas in the pipeline for

quality children’s brands to get involved, for example sock brands, school uniform suppliers etc. so it is hoped the site will expand and will no longer be predominantly a Clarks domain.

Start-rite, Hush Puppies and Clarks will all be

invited to help sponsor the site, as well as many overseas quality brands. Everyone who contributes will become a Children’s Shoe Shop Champion, increasing their brand presence and their commitment to children’s foot health.

Although the aim is to maintain the site

independently, the change in administration has numerous benefits.

• Advertisers will no longer have to pay VAT and can offset their subscription against tax because they are working with a not-for-profit organisation (which is also aiming to become a charity later in the year).

• Everyone will be eligible to receive free posters for National Shoe Fitting Week, as well as an annual Certificate and door sticker – plus…they can purchase packs of educational show cards aimed at educating the public and promoting their services, and will receive a discount on professional training from the S.S.F and online assistance with any queries.

• There will now be a presence at some trade fairs/stockrooms, to allow retailers to ask questions and meet one another, as well as Workshops, Conferences etc. they can attend.

If you supply or retail children’s footwear and would like more information, please contact: The Secretary: secretary@cfhr Obituary - Richard Ford F.S.S.F. Richard F ord F .S.S.F .

We are sad to inform the industry that Richard Ford F.S.S.F. – Fellow of the Society of Shoe Fitters, long term Tutor and Past President passed away prior to Christmas and his

funeral is being held in Ipswich today (6.1.17). Richard was one in a million. He nursed his

wife Yvonne for most of their married life as she was diagnosed with MS on the birth of their second child. Yvonne passed away in March 2013


and Richard was diagnosed with cancer. Richard leaves a son – Simon, daughter Rebecca and granddaughter. Richard started in the trade in 1959 (the same

year the S.S.F was set up). He began as a trainee sales assistant in Footmans of Ipswich and in 1962 became Assistant Manager of Bowhill Elliot of Ipswich. After 8 years, he became the manager of K Shoes in Ipswich and after 10 years was headhunted back to Bowhill Elliot as Manager. Three years later he became a Director. He loved shoes and the S.S.F. Richard qualified to be an S.S.F member in

1985 (he passed the exam of the day with Distinction) and some years later became a much

loved and respected Tutor. Richard remained a Tutor/Examiner ever since. All this time Richard served voluntarily on our Council (latterly as an Advisor) and became Vice President in 1989-1990. Richard together with the President of the day Alan Hemsley were responsible for recruiting the current Secretary (1989). Richard stepped up to become President between 1990-1991. Richard was a dear friend to many and will be a

great loss to our organisation. Any messages/cards etc. you wish to send to our office will be passed on to his family. RIP Richard, you will be welcomed above by

many good shoe men and women, as well as your lovely Yvonne. The current secretary said ‘Our industry has

suffered greatly over the past five years and the S.S.F. Council has done an amazing job of highlighting the problems to government figures and inviting health professionals into the industry. There is no doubt about it, use it or lose it and to compete against the cheaply made chain imports has become harder. There is a cost implication to our country in both health and economic terms as well as the damage we cause our planet in landfill. This is not a time to worry alone, it is a time to get involved and take action. No-one cares about your business more than you do, but help is available. Be proactive, talk to one another, seek advice. Your staff are key to sales, not your fixtures and fittings, so invest in them with training and advertise where people are looking – online and through social media….the S.S.F and the C.F.H.R can help and there is strength in numbers, so do give us a call and join this fantastic group of trade professionals.

Can you afford to be overlooked? Get involved, what’s not to like?

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