Do you wonder how some footwear companies seem to gain in popularity even after being in business a couple of centuries? Not every company finds the right recipe for success, while others seem to adapt and even stay in the forefront of the industry. That’s the case with Clarks Shoes. If you’ve ever wondered how they become popular and continue to gain new fans as the decades pass, here are some things you should know about the business and the footwear they offer.
How It All Began
Prior to 1825, there were no Clarks shoes for sale. That’s because two brothers – James and Cyrus – decided to form what is today known as C. & J. Clark International Ltd. The company was established in Street, Sommerset, England and continues to be headquartered there today.
The beginnings of the company actually date back four years from the founding. Cyrus was already in business with a cousin. Their enterprise focused primarily on tanning, wool-stapling, and fellmongering rather than the creation of footwear. By early 1825, Cyrus and his cousin had de-cided to pursue different business industries and their partnership came to an end. This led to Cyrus securing new facilities in Street with the intent to manufacture and sell rugs made from tanned sheepskins.
The business performed well and Cyrus began to consider expanding the scope of the operation. This is where the expertise of his brother James came into play. Trained in the profession of a chemist, James is the one who came up with the idea of utilizing the remnants from the rug manufacturing to fashion slippers. The process involved contracting with laborers who would col-lect the remnants, create the slippers using a series of guidelines, and then return them to the factory. Once presented and approved, the laborers were paid for their efforts.
Expanding the Footwear Line
Slippers proved to be the beginning for a fuller line of Clarks shoewear. As the 19th century progressed, shoes became a greater share of the company’s activities. The brothers studied ways to make use of emerging mass production methods, including the idea of an assembly line. This allowed the company to exper-iment with other types of shoes for men and gradually build a wider clientele.
While the quality of their products played a major role in the company’s success, the family’s dedication to social action also motivated consumers to purchase their shoes. The family allocated a portion of the profits to establishing local schools that allowed employees to continue their educations even as they worked in the factory. A library and a theatre were built with funds supplied by the business. A town hall was also completed courtesy of the brothers. There was even a public swimming pool established that was for the use of everyone living in the area. Over time, affordable housing and fields for playing sports were also established.
Making a Name With Boots
Slippers continued to be important to Clarks, but the company found an enduring niche with the manufacture of boots. Clarks boots became synonymous with quality as well as style. Some of the boots were geared toward the working man while others were intended for wear in settings that required more formal attire. It wasn’t long until the boots became favourites among multiple economic classes. Owning to the wide range of boot designs, they continue to be popular among consumers who need something attractive for the office as well as those who enjoy out-door activities or require durable footwear for outside work.
Footwear for Women
As the company began to reach out to consumers around the world, it was only natural that they would seek to create designs suitable for a wider range of people. That’s where the idea of Clarks women’s shoes came into being. By the first decades of the 20th century, the first designs were in both the stores owned directly by the company and many franchises in England, Canada, and other areas of the world. The designs included boots that were suitable for wear during the day as well as elegant footwear that was perfect for the evening. Today, the compa-ny continues to expand it’s line of shoes for women, perfect for the office, for working out, and for just about every season.
As the company grew, the decision was made to change the business structure from that of a partnership to a private limited company. Remaining in the forefront of using modern methods to manufacture greater numbers of shoes and keep up with demand required expanding operations outside the original location. That meant continually evaluating what was working and what needed to change.
The popularity of Clarks has led to the establishment of over a thousand retail locations and franchises around the world. Many of them are still based in the United Kingdom and Canada. Others are found in the United States and a number of other countries. There are also a number of third-party retailers who carry all or part of the Clarks line in their stores.
Since those early days, the company has continually sought new ways to streamline the manufacturing process and keep costs lower. This has allowed the business to produce footwear that’s durable, attractive, and affordable. Many Clarks shoes, including their growing line of Clarks sandals, are manufactured in factories that are leased in different countries. This outsourcing of the manufacturing process does not mean the company does not retain quality control of all their branded footwear. It’s still necessary for every pair released for sale to meet the stringent requirements set by the business.
Clarks continues to remain one of the most popular brands on the market today along with Pikolinos and their Pikolinos Baqueira. Thanks to the Internet and the ability of consumers to shop online, it’s now possible to purchase Clark’s products even if they are not found in local shops. Fans of any Clarks designs need not worry about having to do without their favorites any time soon. The company continues to enter new markets and seeks to anticipate the needs of new and current customers alike.