Bringing a breath of fresh air into Britain’s long-established Men’s footwear Industry, young entrepreneur and Footwear graduate, Danielle Wathes has taken her brand Percy Stride to the luxury market after only 2 short years.
With a footwear design degree from De Montfort University Danielle is able to apply design flare and construction knowledge to her range of classic Goodyear Welted footwear; enabling her shoes to be both comfortable, functional and contemporary. When asked why Danielle decided to design for men rather than the more obvious women’s shoes she responded “There is far more to be discovered and explored within Menswear. Men’s footwear can be seen as massively undeveloped in places, without any true variety. There is no longer a connection to the product and rather shoes are being brought for convenience rather than style and quality. This isn’t the case in fashion so why should it be the case with footwear?”
Danielle wanted to create a brand which would connect the wearer to the designs, promote British construction as well as help encourage and educate those on the design industry, in doing so she created her first range “Timeless” using roman numerals and clock details throughout to clearly link in with the theme. With a range of coloured leathers to choose from Danielle has made the collection to “suit every need or occasion”. Simplifying the shopping experience even further all shoes within the collection are the same shape, meaning if you like them in one colour you know the fit will be consistent throughout the range.
Percy Stride shoes are handmade by skilled craftsmen and women in a small Northampton spanning a history of 138 years in the industry, with Danielle designing each shoe and overlooking all technical specifications. Danielle states “Without the support I receive from my friends at the factory Percy Stride wouldn’t have been able to achieve the success it has done in such a short time. Their professionalism and incredible skill has provided the quality I was adamant to achieve within the range.”
Working from home and promoting her brand Danielle Wathes is thrilled that the last 5 years of developing and building Percy Stride Footwear is reaching new heights.
Since the company launched in Winter 2017 Danielle and her brand Percy Stride have gone on to win the society of shoefitters award and Danielle herself was nominated as Entrepreneur of the year for 2019’s South West Business awards.
The South West business awards elect their nominees by stating they are “Entrepreneurs who had innovated unique solutions to the problems they faced, put their heart and soul into making their industry better, overcome personal and professional hardship to triumph in business, and more.”
The initial struggle has paid off. In the first 2 years of business Danielle has been a member of the British Footwear Association headed by Robert Perkins the Chief Operations Manager at Hotter Shoes and of the Worshipful Young Pattenmakers Society.
The road has not been smooth Danielle stated “It’s extremely challenging to enter the industry as a new brand. Brands already established in this field have hundreds of years of heritage behind them, and a strong base of loyal customers.”
Percy Strides first range of Goodyear Welted Northampton made footwear will been seen at other prestigious events this year such as Goodwood Revival and Fairfords Air Tattoo.