How's it going? Hope you're all well and good...if a little full from all the chocolate eggs!
Tonight we have the pleasure of having, one of our recent additions to the shop, Trickers in the 10@10 hot-seat. If you're a fan of shoes/boots OR a fan of heritage OR a fan of UK-made OR a fan of all those combined.., well, you get where I'm going with this!
Martin Mason (MD) has kindly given us some of his precious time to talk all things Trickers and it's unapologetic shoe porn at it's finest! These guys have been going since 1829 making shoes/boots that still hold up today so they pretty much wrote the book on "shoe porn". AND we get to stock them in the CCSC ✌️
MEET THE BRAND BEHIND THE MENSWEAR
NAME: Martin Mason
BRAND NAME: Trickers AKA @trickers_shoes
POSITION: Managing Director
LOCATION: Northampton, UK
SIZE OF TEAM: 96
SPECIALITY/COMPANY FOCUS: Boots and Shoes
1. Straight forward, please tell us, how did your company Trickers start out? (For people that don’t already know)
Northampton, situated in the heart of England, is a town renowned for its shoe industry – the history of which goes back hundreds of years.
Cordwainers (a medieval term for shoemakers) were first attracted to the county of Northamptonshire because of the area’s thriving tanning industry. Every village and town within the county had its own cordwainers, the number of whom would continue to grow throughout the middle ages.
By 1642, the reputation of Northampton town had grown so much that 13 shoemakers were commissioned to produce 600 pairs of boots and 4000 pairs of shoes for England’s army. The order was fulfilled and it was now known that the town possessed the ability to produce footwear on a large scale.
The industry continued to flourish, propelled by previous successes, arguably in line with necessities of war. The town was called upon to produce army boots for multiple wars from the English Civil War to the Boer War centuries later. Demand for Northampton shoes became so strong that by the year 1841 there were 1,821 shoe makers in the town.
The year was 1829 when Joseph Tricker founded the company. To set the scene from an historical perspective, that same year saw Robert Peel establish London's first uniformed police force, whilst in America, Abraham Lincoln gave his first political speech. Louis Braille invented his system of finger-reading for the blind and Queen Victoria's ascent to the throne was still eight years away. Tricker saw the birth of the modern world, a time for great enlightenment, learning and social reforms. This was the world in which the first retail orders for Tricker's shoes were secured.
2. Tell us. What does a day in the life of yourself look like? What’s your daily work routine?
We proudly manufacture 100% of our products at our own factory. Tricker’s country shoes and boots are today built to the same exacting standards that first established its reputation. Joseph Tricker’s son-in-law, Walter James Barltrop, designed and created the world’s first country boot in 1840 which heralded a brand new age for country footwear. Today there are still 260 individual processes in the making of a pair of Tricker’s country boots and they take eight weeks to manufacture.
3. What are your top 3 bestselling items? And why do you think this is?
The Bourton brogue and Stow boot remain the cornerstone of the Tricker’s business and the brands uncompromising standards of craftsmanship and use of honest materials, are values that have been preserved and developed through five generations and are observed as resolutely today as they were in 1829.
4. What’s your personal favourite garment when it comes to the items you manufacture?
The brand is available in 43 countries and I particularly enjoy working with Rei Kawakubu and Junya Watanabe at Comme des Garcons. They often push us beyond our comfort zone and we have collaborated with them every year for nearly 30 years.
For myself it’s the timeless Stow Boot in Marron calf, the last used today was created in 1937 and is recognised globally as the archetypal design classic.
5. What are your thoughts on the rise of Instagram fashion and the chaps that post their clothing on there to help spread the word of their fave brands?
We were rather late to the party engaging on social media, our relationship with Instagram only started late in 2015, but today we have 61,000 followers.
6. Has it made an impact on your business at all, do you think?
Absolutely, Last year we posted 870 images and received 6,000 comments and 716,000 likes. Through regular engagement new markets are now finding our company and products.
Of course, some people who find us look at £400 or so and say that's an incredible price to pay for a pair of shoes. But they need to understand the value in a pair of Trickers brogues is much more than that, because of Goodyear welting – a process by which the sole is stitched into the upper to make it watertight and replaceable. Some people have heard of this and know it suggests a well-made shoe, but don't understand specifically why it's better. And changing that is not easy, even though the concept of Goodyear welting is hardly new. Instagram is a method of communicating our core values and strengths.
7. Is there any feeds on IG that you particularly like to check-in on regular. What brands are you fond of on there? What menswear feeds to you like to peruse?
We regularly check in on brands both established and new. In Japan we have an avid following and all the new specialty stores are particularly interesting.
8. A quick one about you. Other than the business, what passions do you have in life? What flicks your switch and helps you relax?
Shoe making is a passion and absorbs so much energy and time, so outside of work it is time to relax, at home walking in the countryside with my wife and the dog or maybe sleeping by a pool in Marrakech.
9. What do you consider to be the best thing about your business and why?
One of the longest established shoemakers in England, five generations later, Tricker’s is still a family owned business. All our footwear is made entirely from start to finish at our factory and His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales, awarded Tricker’s a Royal Warrant in 1989.
10. And Lucky Last, You’re going to be stranded on a desert island and you can take 1 outfit (4 items) only with you. And 1 choice of drink.
John Smedley Polo shirt in 30g Sea Island cotton another long established British manufacturer established in 1784
A Norton & Sons suit a simple, classically cut garment, with a great shaped waist and neat structured shoulder, free from unnecessary detail for when I get rescued
Dawson Denim Selvedge jeans, Kelly and Scott provide us with aprons for our shoemakers here at the factory
Underwear from Sunspel who have been manufacturing luxury underwear since 1860. They always use the finest long staple cotton fabrics for unparalleled softness, lightness and comfort
Gin and tonic all day long
Thank you very much for your time Martin, buddy. So great having you guys in store, repping that UK-made symbol of quality! Also, looking forward to having you in store, literally, this Friday for the Trickers ticket-only event. If any of you readers are in or around Sheffield this Friday, then message email@example.com to enquire about tickets. The event will be in the evening and will include demos from master shoe makers, aftercare specialists etc, free booze, tunes so drop Ben a line if that sounds like your bag?
Also, if you want to shop our shoes/boots offerings inc. Trickers then click the link HERE.
Have a cracking week people and speak again real soon! Peace.