PRODUCTION, PEOPLE & PRODUCT, A CHANGE IN THE TIMES

Posted by Crown Northampton on

It’s safe to say 2023 has been a funny old year for most and Crown Northampton’s factory is no exception. The promise of a fresh start for the New Year often puts things in perspective, which is why it’s a great time to reflect on the past and make resolutions for the future. You won’t find us starting the new year with a set of un-achievable promises and a ‘new year, new Crown’ attitude though. Here in our little corner of Northampton, we’re spending this year’s festive season looking back at where we’ve come from and carefully considering what we’re setting our sights on next.

Factory Knives

Made-to-order versus mass production.

We’ve had a bit of a full-circle journey here at Crown Northampton, or at least the Woodford family that own the business have. Back in the days of yesteryear, Ernest Woodford, our current owner’s great-grandfather, would actually make individual pairs of shoes for his local customers. 

After a couple of generations and with demand growing, the family upscaled the business and started producing high volume orders for department stores looking to stock British made footwear. This led to a more typical shoe factory set up, larger quantity orders of styles made in bigger batches, with the factory floor staff working on a repetitive production line to cut and assemble the product in time to be shipped out as a wholesale order.

Fast forward a few years to the present day and the business has changed, with a direct to customer approach, made possible by selling online - we’re proud to be a made-to-order business. There’s several reasons this is a benefit in the modern era, both for customers and our people making the shoes.

Made to order sneakers.

These days, individual pairs can be seen making their way around the factory, racks filled with varieties of colours and styles. Each one purchased by a customer eagerly awaiting their arrival, anticipating that first wear and the journey to making them truly their own.

For our team, it’s an opportunity to change things up a bit, by having batches containing different styles, they never know what might be next and this allows working with some really unique leathers, as well as using the many skills in their repertoire rather than doing the same thing over and over.

 

Quality product, made for you.

If we needed another motivation for making our products made-to-order, we have it; this model gives us complete control over the quality of the product we put out. While all of the processes that go into a pair of made-to-order shoes do take time, it does mean that the skill and experience of our people goes into each and every pair. We work with machines, not robots here at Crown.

Before our people even receive your order, the work has already begun, sourcing materials and testing different shoe constructions is often an exciting but demanding task. We source the best materials from across the globe in order to offer them to our customers. Our approach to shoe design isn’t simple either, our product direction is generally based around heritage construction methods with a minimal aesthetic being the desired outcome. We also don’t shy away when a material is difficult to use, in fact, it’s the exact opposite; using leathers that are typically tricky is an engaging challenge. It makes us want to do it more, and we do. It’s hard to convey just how special some of the leathers we use are, but if you’ve ever broken-in some of our shell cordovan sneakers and made them your go-to daily shoes, you’ll know what we mean.

 

2023, what a year.
We could go on all day about the business and the product, but what makes doing all of this special, is you, our customers. By joining us on our journey as a company you become a part of what we’re doing here, we’re working to preserve skill sets that are otherwise fading out, our main motivation for being in business in the first place is to create jobs that people enjoy and love. In 2023, we’ve had an eventful year, from launching new styles like the Everdon, offering limited edition leathers like the Naked Kudu, to our first major trade event at Stitchdown in NYC back in October. The team has grown again this year and we’re all excited to see what the next 12 months bring.

For now though, and to avoid this blog being a long old ramble, all that is left to say is a big thank you.

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