Tradition, heritage, a skilled workforce and product excellence were all very evident to the Institute of Directors (IoD) during a visit to the award-winning Desborough, Northamptonshire factory of Joseph Cheaney and Sons.
Northamptonshire is the home of quality shoemaking and welted footwear. Sarah Canning, Chair of IoD Northamptonshire said: “ We should be incredibly proud of the footwear industry and Cheaney shoes. This industry is Northamptonshire’s USP.”
IoD Members and guests had a tour of the original factory, meeting many of the skilled staff engaged in the huge variety of processes involved in producing quality footwear.
Cousins and company joint owners Jonathan and William Church welcomed the business leaders. The company began in 1886 and in August, 2009 they conducted a management buy-out of Cheaney from Church & Co (by then a wholly owned subsidiary of Prada). They now own and operate the company.
The company’s success earned it a Queen’s Award for Enterprise for International Trade for 2016. Jonathan Church, joint Managing Director, said: “It was a great accolade to receive the award in recognition of our export market growth. For us the award also demonstrates how quality products ‘Made in England’ are recognised the world over.”
“What has remained fundamental to Joseph Cheaney throughout, is our rich manufacturing heritage; we have been handcrafting each and every pair of our shoes; from the cutting out of the leather, through to the stitching and final polishing in the same factory (in Desborough, Northamptonshire) since 1886.”
“Our vision for the future is to grow and develop the brand, by making the most of the huge, innate skill potential that lies within the business. Increasing our exports in new and existing markets and extending our retail portfolio will be our key strategies for the growth of Cheaney. Above all we will continue our commitment to producing the finest footwear, entirely made in England.”
“February saw the opening of our fifth store in London. Located on Henrietta Street in Covent Garden, this store is a contemporary interpretation of our craftsmanship and heritage, which champions our skills and values through innovative displays and beautiful detailing. It is a statement store, not only for Cheaney, but for footwear retailing.”