Our First Year of British Manufacturing

Dear followers of Cody&Co,

 

We would like to thank you for subscribing to our newsletter and supporting Cody&Co during our first year of manufacturing in the UK.

Designing, developing and manufacturing premium quality shoes in the UK is a complicated, costly, time-consuming, but above all joyful process.

After years in its conception Cody&Co was born when we launched online in October 2019.

The journey from concept to physical product is not for the faint hearted, but if you have loved shoes for as long as I have, from my first pair of Freeman Hardy Willis two-tone triple monks purchased in Oxford Street in 1989 to complement my fifth year school uniform, to a more recent investment in YSL’s crepe soled chukka boot in pebbled black leather, then the journey is simply a long held dream, slowly emerging into a reality.

It started with an idea, a feeling for what Cody&Co should stand for, all of my thoughts and ideas from twenty eight years in the shoe industry manifested into a first product line. 

I have long admired British made shoes, the sheer engineering of the product through the goodyear welted construction is a thing to admire in itself, and from selling brands including Barker, Loake and Grenson out of The Clarks Shop in Guildford back in 1993, I had the privilege of developing an intimate understanding of these British Marque brands. But if I had a frustration it was why this highly evolved UK manufacturing machine did not choose to keep pace with their Italian contemporaries when it came to embracing emerging trends. I wanted Cody&Co to embody British handmade qualities whilst looking and feeling more like a continental brand, with a sleeker line and deconstructed, softer look and feel, and for our shapes to be fluid and subject to constant evolution in line not with fickle trends, but with the rapid social and cultural changes of our twenty first century society.

We developed our last shapes with Springline of Northampton and took our inspiration from Italian made brands, with a less conservative shape that we could develop into later generations of product. Where possible we sourced our materials from UK manufacturers (…to run your hand over the Steads&Co. Janus calf suede is to truly understand what luxury feels like) Many hours walking the halls of the Lineapelle material show in Milan opened our eyes to the possibilities for future evolutions of Cody&Co and some of the treatments we might to bring to our product line. We were making shoes in the UK for many reasons, but environmental impact was a major motivation and this informed our development of FSC certified packaging in our British made box, developed and manufactured in the UK. We opted to drop the traditional premium shoe dust bag and opt instead for a reusable organic cotton bag for life, which we felt would have a longer practical usage.

In the background we designed and developed our logo and branding. After many attempts at creating a logo, a seemingly straight forward task, inspiration struck whilst sitting in a bar on holiday in Tenby in Pembrokeshire. Someone wearing a branded jacket caught my eye and the iconic English wreath literally burst into flames. A few rounds later with our excellent print designer and we had the Cody&Co chain wreath logo, embodying the fire and steel heritage of Sheffield, where our product would be produced. The brand name had been reached earlier after a circuitous route back to my surname. The &Co element referencing that wherever the Cody&Co journey took us, it would be a collaboration between myself and many other contributors. Trademark registration followed and took its long, slow path to International registration this year at an eye watering final cost. With these key assets in place we designed and built the website and moved closer to launch.

Our prototypes slowly began to come to life and after many hours up and down the M1 the first range emerged into a coherent form. The factory responded with an equal open mindedness to try new things in terms of construction and lasting, during which process we both developed a fresh appreciation for what it takes to create the simple Italian aesthetic. Shoe boxes, printed tissue paper, jute bags, materials, lasts, outsoles, laces, aluminium branding moulds and factory space and time finally aligned and we produced our first range, followed shortly by taking the website live in October 2019.

Sixteen months, two black Fridays, one global pandemic, two US presidents, one Boris Johnson and fifty years-worth of cultural and social change later we can report that Cody&Co has enjoyed a colourful start. We now look forward to the coming years with a great sense of optimism and an even greater sense of curiosity.

We hope you will join us on the next leg of our journey.

 

Yours faithfully,

 

Phil

Phil Cody

Creator

Cody&Co

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