With a history dating back to 1929, Freed of London is one of the most recognised ballet shoe manufacturers in the UK. We dropped in on the dance-shoe makers for our new TV ad and found a warehouse combining its traditional business model with new media.
Two things are obvious when you step inside Freed of London – the piercing bangs of heavy machinery at work and the number of men.
The warehouse seems a world away from dance: there’s pop music on the radio, banter between burly cobblers, this is a traditional British manufacturer.
Yet, with Royal Ballet, New York City Ballet and English National Ballet among its regular clients, Freed is one of the main go-to warehouses for pointe shoes. Following the founder Frederick Freed, its cobblers take great pride in their work and the business learnt a long time ago that the classic methods can still be the best.
Stacey Kelly, brand development manager at Freed, said: “People are often surprised to learn that our pointe shoes are still handmade by a team of over 30 different makers, all of whom make their pointe shoes slightly differently. “Once a dancer has found a pointe shoe they are particularly comfortable with, they will often stay with the same maker for the duration of their dancing career.”
But even a business that proves the old ways can be the best understands what’s needed to go global.
Stacey continues: “A website is often the first port of call for our customers, many of whom have specific needs. This information is often difficult to provide in an interesting manner but with
our new [Moonfruit] website we will be able to raise our customers’ awareness of what we can do to help them.”
You can see Quang, a shoemaker from Freed, at work in our TV ad here.
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