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Earth shoes are tipped to be THE fashion accessory this summer, nudging Birkenstock from its current celebrity perch. But how does, managing director of Glenys Berd know these are the next big thing?

If you are interested in speaking to someone who can spot the next big fashion craze, you might be interested in talking to female entrepreneur and founder of, who has just signed a deal, worth £30million, with US shoe manufacturer Earth Inc to distribute their yoga shoes* exclusively to retailers across the UK and Europe, proving she knows 'what to watch' in the fashion stakes.

*Earth shoes feature patented Negative Heel Technology, which sits the wearer's heel below the toe helping to strengthen and tone core stability muscles. signs £30million Distribution Contract
In early 2003, Glenys Berd set up an online company dedicated to selling shoes that are good for your health, and has never looked back...

Glen, managing director and founder of knew she was on the cusp of something big. Having initially set up her business in 2003, to sell the then hard-to-find Masai Barefoot Trainers, Glen decided in 2004 to go in search of the 'next big thing', at least 'big' in the shoe world. Logging onto chat rooms and forums, she discovered people talking about a revival in US cult shoe brand, Earth, which were famous in the 70's. This sparked her interest and she tracked down the Massachusetts based company and in April 2004 began selling the shoes in the UK.

The Earth shoes, which feature Negative Heel Technology, were originally created more than 60 years ago by a Danish Yoga expert Anne Kalso, who tested the prototypes to destruction by walking thousands of miles in them. The technology seats the sole of the foot higher than the heel forcing the wearer to walk with a better posture, using more leg and core stability muscles. Last summer, sold thousands of pairs of Earth's Moonmist sandal, ruffling the feathers of the popular German sandal brand Birkenstock.

Glen's success, with the Earth shoes, has also attracted a celebrity following, Gwyneth Paltrow and Pierce Brosnan both wear the brand. Last year the firm turned over £2.5million, but the story doesn't end there. In 2005, Glen is hoping for greater challenges and has signed an exclusive contract with Earth Inc in the US to become sole distributor of the brand in the UK and Europe, almost a reverse of what Margot Fraser, CEO of Birkenstock Footprint Inc did nearly 40 years ago. The contract, which is worth £30million in revenue over the next 5 years, should provide Berd with the scope to push Earth into the mainstream global shoe market.


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