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The Rushden Echo 8th August, 1924 - copied by Jim and Gill Hollis
The Export Trade in Footwear

Picture of John Cave's Commonwealth Works Rushden
John Cave's Commonwealth Works Rushden

Markets Encouraged by Improvements in Style

Mr. W. E. Capon, managing director of Messrs. John Cave and Sons, Ltd., boot and shoe manufacturers, of Rushden, contributes the following timely and interesting article to the 'Footwear Organiser':

The last few years in the trade have been years of rapid change, but the industry has been prepared, and happily most manufacturers have been able to keep pace with the almost continual variation in the style and pattern of the goods demanded from them.

No one can question that the public generally are now more smartly shod than in pre-war days. This has largely been brought about by the cultivation and encouragement of new ideas in style, material, and colour. The broad square toe in Scotland and the smart pointed toe now in vogue in London and the South may be pointed to as examples of changes in public taste which have worked out to the benefit of the various sections of the boot and shoe industry.

Freshness in Design

Patent leather goods, and also suede goods, with their many combinations, are being called for in increasing quantities and give an opportunity to live firms for the exercise of considerable ingenuity in the creation of fresh and attractive models. Freshness in design is becoming more and more important even in the men’s trade, which has hitherto been regarded as a particularly conservative and unromantic branch.

These factors necessitate a greater attention to detail on the part of the designer and model-maker.  In the factory they have made essential considerable extensions to welted plants, for the production of light, smart lines, and culminate in a determination to produce a 'priced article' as against an article produced 'at a price'.  The process of building up before this desirable point is reached is a long and slow one, but there is plenty of evidence in the trade to-day that it is being done with success by a large number of firms in the country.

Outlook Hopeful

Picture showing samples of shoes made by Grensons
Samples of shoes by Grensons
Given a period during which we can enjoy fairly stable market conditions, I am convinced that the outlook is distinctly hopeful.  All the foreign markets, excepting the Continent of Europe, where special conditions unfortunately still obtain, are opening out to us as of yore, and we may begin to regard our foreign trade in footwear with something like our old feelings.

  Our own experience may be interesting.  Among the places to which we are now regularly sending goods are New Zealand , Australia , Mesopotamia , Kenya , Canada , South Africa , and India .  If we can maintain the progressive movement that has now decidedly begun, keeping also the freshness and variety that are being given to men’s footwear, we may, I am confident, look forward with great hopefulness to the future prosperity of the British export trade in boots and shoes, and to its further extension throughout all parts of the world.

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