Footwear Buyer, Camille shares pictures from her travels
Footwear Buyer, Camille shares pictures from her travels

Behind the Shoe with our Footwear Buyer

Shop New Arrivals from our Shoe Collection

We’ve just welcomed back Camille Le Heron, our Footwear Buyer into the office as she’s been away on a buying trip!

We’re pretty sure everyone out there has a weakness for shoes and given every day Camille lives, breathes and works with shoes, she must too. But what has Camille been up to whilst she’s been away in China, India and Vietnam? Our footwear buyer has been searching the shoes that you’ll see for sale online, in our catalogues or in store within the year.

Read on to find out what Camille looks for, how the shoes are made, trends ahead for Spring/Summer and some advice for aspiring footwear buyers.

What are the top 3 things you look for when buying shoes?

Comfort, Quality and Fashionability

What do you see ahead for shoes in Spring/Summer?

Metallics, nudes and bright whites are a strong trend for Spring/Summer, perforated uppers and more casual sneakers. Flats and espadrilles dominate for Spring with strappy sandals, tassles and ghillie lace ups featuring for Summer.

Are you able to explain how a shoe is created?

A shoe is very technical and you would be surprised how many people actually work on just one shoe to get it finished. No matter if it is a boot, sneaker, sandal or thong. Once an idea for a shoe has been thought up it goes onto a specification sheet that details everything on the shoe from the sole to the trim, including the last (a last is the actual shape of a foot) which the shoe is moulded to in order to create the correct fit for the style of shoe the buyer is after. This is then sent to the factory and the work begins.

1. The cutting department is where the upper is made (top of shoe), factory employees cut out shapes that will make the uppers in either leather or synthetic materials.

2. Machinists then sew the component pieces together, later when the shoe is in a 3D stage a post machine is used where the sewing machine is on a post that allows the 3D upper to be sewn on by a machinist as it does not lie flat.

3. Uppers are then molded onto the shape of a foot – this is done with a last and is completed by hand. Insole and outsoles are put in and the upper is stretched over the top – all other components are also put onto the last such as the heel if it has one. Each person helping to make the shoe has a particular role before it gets passed down the line onto the next stage.

4. The shoes then go to be finished – this may be buffing the leather, trimming, staining, polishing. After this, the sock is put into the shoe then the shoes are cleaned, sprayed – if it has laces this is where they are attached, then they get packaged in boxes.

How long does it take to ‘create’ a shoe – start to finish?

From when we send orders off to when it arrives in our Distribution Centre it usually takes around 90 days including production. However there are weeks before that of researching trends, travelling to factories, working in showrooms and ranging before orders are sent.

What are you favourite shoes from our Spring New Arrivals?

It’s really hard to pick as basically I want them all! But I am loving the new Wide Fit Lace Up Sneakers in all 3 colours for casual, the Neve Sandal Heel for that more dressy fashion look, the Olivia Ankle Boot looks amazing on and is so trans-seasonal and I also love the rose gold colour way in the perforated skater.

What’s your favourite thing about being a footwear buyer? And your least favourite thing?

EziBuy is different in the sense we have our own brands, instead of just going to a brand and selecting and buying from their range. I create the range and develop the product from start to finish. I love the whole process of coming up with a range, working with my fabulous suppliers, going through the processes and then seeing them completed in the catalogue and online, knowing that I did that through a labour of love. My least favourite thing would be when you have a shoe in mind and no matter how many fit samples you go through to get it fitting right you have to cancel the style as it just won’t work.

How did you get to where you are in the fashion industry?

Looking back I have always been in the fashion industry in one way or another. During university I worked part time in a footwear store whilst studying which started off my obsession with shoes. After university I was a clothing agent for years travelling the whole of New Zealand with women’s clothing, shoes, accessories and swimwear. I was then offered a role starting out as a buying assistant in the head office of a large Australian department store so left NZ for Australia – here I was based in different footwear buyerships over the years I was there, ranging from exclusive brands they developed themselves, to designer, international and national brands so I really got a full overview of the whole world of shoes from comfort to high end fashion.

I have always loved shoes but that is where my obsession with shoes truly took hold after understanding the whole process and the effort that goes into making just one shoe and also buying a comprehensive range.

Do you have any advice for someone wanting to become a footwear buyer?

I have found that in order to develop you must be the master of your own development, no one is going to do it for you. If you want it you must be motivated to put in the time and hard yards to get there. Apply for buyer assistant roles and gain the experience in order to further your progress towards your goals, learn from the buyer, shadow and absorb everything. Take anything that is offered your way – as long as it will work for you. Footwear can be a hard industry to crack into so any opportunity – take it!

To become a footwear buyer you must have passion for the product as it takes a lot of love and effort to make a good shoe, so if you have that then that’s a great start!

That's Camille there checking out the Taj Mahal whilst in India. Lucky!
That’s Camille there checking out the Taj Mahal whilst in India. Lucky!
Picking shoes for AW17
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Part 2: Spring & Summer
Part 2: Spring & Summer