A ROSSENDALE shoe company has transformed itself into a successful online business selling directly to customers all over the world.

With a history dating back 500 years, Redfoot Shoes in Waterfoot has a taking inspiration from John Redfoot, who became famous for fixing the shoes of travellers passing through the Rossendale Valley.

Speaking exclusively to the Lancashire Telegraph, Tim Smith, 32, whose father bought The Bacup Shoe Company Ltd 27 years ago, explains how he helped take the company online with the launch of Redfoot Shoes in 2008.

“My father bought the Bacup Shoe Company 27 years ago, when it was a made-to-order business which supplied high street stores. I joined in 2010 after studying business management at Loughborough University. My father had just created Redfoot Shoes as a brand for us to sell directly to customers so it was a great time to be involved in the business.”

With the new brand producing footwear for men and women, Tim’s focus was generating interest in their products and spreading the name of Redfoot Shoes far and wide.

“That was probably one of the biggest challenges at the start. For years we had been an established business supplying big name retailers and manufacturing shoes in the UK, but in 1999 we switched to selling directly to customers and importing products from China and India. We knew we had a great product, we just needed to tell people about it. To help get the name out there, I went on Dragon’s Den and asked for the largest amount of money they had ever been asked for. I got an offer from Peter Jones but decided not to take it. It was a great experience though and I think it really helped us develop as a business.”

Since 2016, Redfoot Shoes, and sister brand Goodwin Smith, have been selling shoes to customers on Amazon Marketplace, showcasing their products to millions of potential customers around the world. Amazon Marketplace allows businesses and entrepreneurs sell their products directly to customers through the Amazon website. Redfoot Shoes is one of thousands of small businesses in the North West which sell millions of pounds worth of goods on Amazon Marketplace.

“When Redfoot started in 2008 we sold directly through our own website. Selling on Amazon Marketplace in the last year has been really successful for us and those early results shows us just how much potential there is there for us to grow. Since March we have sold £40,000 worth of products and expect that to rise significantly in the last quarter of the year.”

One of the ways Tim is engaging a new generation of customers is through the brands’ social media platforms, driving followers to their products.

“Our brands are really active on social media. Unlike many footwear manufacturers we’re pretty risqué and edgy. We don’t always toe the line and that voice really resonates with our customers. We also look to celebrities and influencers to help spread the word. Our shoes have been worn by Manchester City and Manchester United players and people like Conor McGregor and Lennox Lewis. As social media develops we’re going with it and we’re increasingly looking towards YouTube and Instagram for the next big star we might be able to work with.”

With a team of 35 people and more customers every month, Tim is looking towards a bright future with Redfoot Shoes, which will be kick started by a busy festive period this year.