The Countess of Wessex has visited the UK's biggest shoe maker Hotter Comfort Concept to discover how the company makes 1.6 million pairs of stylish, comfortable shoes each year.
Her Royal Highness took part in a tour of the factory, met staff in the company's UK and USA customer service centres and was introduced to the team behind Hotter's current retail expansion programme, which has spearheaded the opening of over 35 stores in the past two years.
"We were delighted to welcome our Royal visitor and show her the passion and pride of our very British brand," said Stewart Houlgrave, Hotter Comfort Concept Founder and CEO. "The Countess was a wonderfully charming guest, who was genuinely interested in what we were doing and took time to speak with many of our staff, immediately putting them at their ease. Everyone was delighted to have the honour of such a distinguished visitor at our headquarters and the seven longest serving staff who were introduced to Her Royal Highness have already said that meeting her was the highlight of their combined 263 years service."
Hotter manufactures one third of all shoes currently made in the UK in its Lancashire factory which, when combined with its innovative multi-channel retailing, makes Hotter a very unique brand. Hotter's comfy women's shoes are sold via mail order, www.hotter.com and branded stores nationwide and the company employs nearly 800 people across the UK.
"We are fiercely proud of our British heritage and we invest and reinvest in development and new technology to continually improve our 'Comfort Concept' and wow our customers," added Stewart.
At the end of HRH's tour she was presented with a pair of Hotter shoes by Stuart Brooks, Assistant Manager of Hotter's Bournemouth store, and Yvonne Hamilton from the company’s warehouse.
About Hotter Shoes:
The Hotter Comfort Concept brand was founded in the early 1990s by Stewart Houlgrave whose parents set up Beaconsfield Footwear as a slipper manufacturer in 1959. With a mission to make shoes as comfortable as slippers Stewart created a collection of stylish shoes with hidden comfort features including lightweight shock absorbing soles, padded heels and luxurious leather uppers.
The company initially sold Hotter shoes direct to customers via its onsite customer service centre and www.hotter.com. Since 2009, its 50th year, the company has revamped its website, aired 6 TV campaigns and launched in the US. With its exceptional product quality and outstanding customer service, Hotter embarked on an ambitious store opening programme in 2010, with 47 due to be open across the UK by the end of 2012. Staying true to its British heritage, Hotter now manufactures 1.6 million pairs of shoes in its Lancashire factory, including women's wide fitting shoes, making it the UK's biggest shoe maker.
Further insights into the company can be found on Hotter's online Comfort Club.
Hotter Comfort Concept Shoes
2 Peel Road
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