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by Alison Martin
However simple and obvious it seems to add a wedge heel to welly boots, sculpt the leg, and most importantly make them comfortable and easy to walk in, for two or three days on the trot, this new breed of welly boot was nowhere to be found two years ago.
Laura Booth and Sarah Longhorn wanted wedge-heeled wellies to wear to the V Festival but couldn't find any, so they decided to make their own. Whilst traipsing through the festival mud, they asked 100 other girls what they wanted in a welly, and quickly confirmed their idea.
Laura has no formal art or design background, but is highly creative with a strong sense of style: she could visualise the product in her head. Mastering the necessary software to create the merchandise, she worked out the shape and surface designs.
Sarah is clearly, in Sir Alan Sugar's parlance, 'downright shrewd' and her experience in operations, logistics and sourcing products overseas made Laura's design a reality. Add to the mix, Mike Longhorn, an experienced salesman, and the three felt ready to meet the challenge proffered by a former boss: 'What would you dare to do if you knew you couldn't fail?'
The first container of 1000 pairs of wellies arrived from the Far East for sale online. Would they sell? They quickly entered the retail market with a leg up from Katie Price, who owns several different designs and appeared in them on TV in Katie and Peter and at the Badmiton Horse Trials. Katie also has her own range of equestrian clothing, which is sold through the on-line store Derby House. On her recommendation they contracted Wedge Welly for sale alongside Katie's line.
They ordered another batch of wellies within just two months, and after the first year 25,000 pairs pf Wedge Wellies had sold. Although their focus is still on the festival market where fashion combined with comfort rule, Wedge Welly has found its way into a broad range of markets; from mums doing the school run or watching kids playing sport to shooting, motorbike racing and gardening.
Soon, an additional line with a wider fit around the calf will be available.
Despite their instant success, the folks at Wedge Welly have their feet firmly on the ground and there is a most pleasant egalitarian and family feel in their way of doing business. They offer free shipping to Scotland and the islands from their website. Nobody gets penalized on price for living where they want, Wedge Welly foots the bill.