Just for info and for those that missed Tim Littles email to me some time ago here it is.
I suppose it explains Grensons plans although im still waiting avidly agog for the
"Thanks for getting in touch Kevin, its good to know that someone wants to
know the real story rather than just making making it up as many do.
Here is the story:
I was asked to help the fortunes of Grenson back in 2005 when the brand was
sinking fast and I found they were making a few nice shoes (masterpiece and
Footmaster) but the majority were moccasins, made in India retailing at
I wasn't allowed to discontinue the moccs as they were holding up the
company, but I parked them in "feathermaster".
I then set about creating a factory that could make shoes as well as the
best in Northampton. I ditched the cheap welted shoes that they were making
for other people and concentrated on the Rose Collection. We continued to
make Masterpeice for Paul Stuart and Japan, and we still do on a made to
To make a proper welted shoe in England that is truly made in England (ie
not half made overseas) the retail price is £250 minimum. Almost nobody
under the age 40 spends £250+ on shoes so you automatically have an older
and much smaller following and one that isnt sustainable long term. Hence
there are 10 factories left most of which don't make money or they get their
shoes half made overseas and put "made in england" on them.
We decided that we wanted a company that followed in the grenson of old, ie
led by design and attracted young customers as well as old, not the Grenson
of recent years, just rehashing the same old shoes year in year out to a
dying customer base. English shoe companies only became boring about twenty
years ago remember, before that they were a very dynamic industry. People
generally only remember recent history which is why they get upset when you
change something even though it might have only been part of the history for
a tiny fraction of the companies history.
We now have a factory that makes only the highest grade shoes in the highest
grade materials. We are one of the few factories whose shoes are 100% made
in the factory the old way, we don't make anything that is part made in
India. These shoes are called G1 now, I changed it from The Rose Collection
for clarity. I will also be introducing a super high end range (or making
G1 all super high end) like masterpiece only nicer in due course, but you
rest assured that if you buy a G1 shoe, it is made 100% in our factory the
old way - ask other factories if they can guarantee this!
To keep the brand fresh we then make G2 in a partner factory in India,
(remember that we have been making shoes in the same beautiful factory there
for over 40 years). We design the shoes, buy the leather and materials in
Europe, (almost all of the materials are the top grade shoe making materials
such as Steads suede), make prototypes in our factory and then fly
technicians to India to show them exactly how we want them made. These
shoes are superb quality, made the same way, from the same materials and
allow us to keep the brand fresh and relevant and moving forward so that we
don't die like so many have done in the last 50 years.
By the way, we are the only brand that I can think of that makes 100%
goodyear welted shoes. This is our heritage and we are proud of it.
So that's it, two lines G1 and G2, both beautifully made from the finest
materials, one more accesible than the other. I have spent most of my time
since buying Grenson in April, improving the quality in the factory and you
will see our shoes climb to the very top over the next few months. We will
introduce closed channel shoes very soon as I love them but they may be G1
or they might be a new collection. They arent on the website yet as they
Another point is that we want to open up our factory and will be offerning
one day shoe making courses in the new year, so that we can explode the
myths that grow on the internet. Basically if all you want is a handmade
English pair of shoes made to finest quality, then Grenson G1 is one of a
tiny number who you can be sure are "old school" in our production methods.
By the way, the company is the most successful it has been for many years
and is going from strength to strength. Remember I love English shoe making
so much, I bet my house on it, so you cant get more commitment than that,
but we do need a second leg to balance what we do and to fresh and relevant
to the next generation.
Hope all that helps..............