One of our newest suppliers, Sharon from Freed of London has kindly taken some time to answer a few questions for us so that we can introduce their fantastic range of high quality, British made ladies ballet flat shoes. If you see something you like below then click on it to visit the shop.
Hi Sharon – please could you tell us a little about Freed of London’s history?
We were founded in London’s West End, by cobbler Frederick Freed in 1929. We are one of the world’s leading designers and manufacturers of professional dance shoes, which are hand crafted in the UK and today the Freed of London portfolio has expanded to include dance apparel, and bridal and fashion collections.
Two years ago we took what we thought was a natural progression for the business by entering the fashion industry, firstly launching our range of Ballet Flats and then last year our Wedding and Boutique Vintage collections.
We know your products are great, you know your products are great but how can they know?
All our shoes are hand crafted by some of the country’s most experienced cordwainers, and our Ballet Flats use some of the highest quality leather, which has helped create stylish, high quality shoes for the modern day woman, but at affordable prices.
Whereabouts does your manufacturing take place?
Freed of London has three factory’s in the UK, in Norwich, Leicester and our world renowned factory in Hackney London.
What is the toughest part of the product development process for you?
In the case of the Ballet Flats it was probably our desire to make a durable outdoor shoe, which had the same comfort level of our dance shoes.
It took a couple of attempts to achieve it but it has proved to be time and money well spent.
What is the most enjoyable part of the process of product development for you?
There are always three parts to product development which are always the most enjoyable for me.
The first is when you see the drawings or designs for the first time, the second when you can pick up and feel a prototype or sample, and of course possibly best of all, when you can see a shoe actually being manufactured.
Do you have any new products/ranges planned for the next year or so?
Next year we have some very exciting plans to launch an updated Wedding and an updated Boutique Vintage range.
What products or people have helped to inspire you to create the products that you do?
We have been making Ballet Flats for years, before they really even existed, at the request of customers in our Covent Garden store.
We saw requests increase over time as well as more and more high street retailers launching their own ranges, but knew that there was a niche for very comfortable Ballet Flats, which hadn’t been exploited by other manufacturers.
Tell us something about yourself that not many people know
In terms of Freed of London; we have a long history of making shoes for famous dancers the world over including Margot Fonteyn and we also made the red Pointe Shoes Moira Shearer wore in the 1948 film “”The Red Shoes””.
We’ve also made shoes for countless television programmes over the years but more recently our shoes have be seen on Strictly Come Dancing, The X Factor and Dancing on Ice, and in films such as the Harry Potter and Pirates of the Caribbean films and Snow White and the Huntsman.
Our celebrity clientele has also included Amy Winehouse, Natalie Portman, Sheridan Smith and Patrick Swayze to name but a few.
Which product in your range do you personally use the most and why?
My personal favourite shoe from the range which I wear is the Jennifer. It’s difficult to try and choose one having been so involved with each of the shoes, but for me it’s a timeless, classical design which is extremely beautiful.
Why did you name your shoes as you have?
Historically our ladies shoes, regardless of what range they fall under, are named using a female’s name, the product development team then suggest what each shoe should be called. Inspiration for these names come from a variety of sources from names which are currently en vogue, one which personally means something to them, and over the years lots of our shoes have been named after members of staff or their family members.
In the case of the Ballet Flat range, we saw the shoes as something very British, made by a British manufacturer, and wanted names which would reflect this, after all there are few more famous British names around the world than Diana and Victoria.
Sharon, thank you for taking the time to answer our questions. If you would like to find out more about Freed of London and purchase a pair of their delightful shoes then click here.