Luxury Made in England – an exclusive interview with founder of Gaziano & Girling

As part of our series dedicated to Luxury Made in England, CPP-LUXURY.COM has been interviewing exclusively CEOs, Founders and Owners of luxury British brands - shoemakers, fashion, eyewear jewellery.

Dean Girling is the co-founder of Gaziano & Girling, the youngest British luxury shoemaker established in 2006 in Northampton, England. Gaziano & Girling manufactures bespoke luxury shoes.

You are a young luxury shoemaker brand. What were the challenges of setting up a company heavily relying on craftsmen?

Yes we are relativity a new brand G&G has been around since 2006, but I have been a shoemaker for 24 years, and my father was before me,  my business partner has also been in the trade for a similar amount of time.  For our ready to wear, (bench made shoes ),  it was difficult setting up the factory, A, to find the machines and B  craftsmen, as there are not anywhere near the factories around now, all surplus machines had been sent abroad, and factories that had spare machinery, were not willing to sell them.   The Northampton boot & shoe industry started to declined back in the late 60’s 70’s & 80’s, and there is no shoe college to feed from, for apprentices, craftsmen were thin on the ground, but we started with a small team, and have trained and built it from there.

Do you consider expanding abroad? What would be the type of operations? Wholesale/franchise/directly operated.

We produce everything under our own roof in Kettering Northamptonshire, and don’t plan any production outside the UK, at the moment, as far as retail outlets, yes we will eventually open retail stores in other counties.

To what extent is Gaziano & Girling related to lifestyle?

I would like to think G&G relates to lifestyle, in the way that any man who has any interest in sartorial, would like to have a pair of G&G shoes in his wardrobe

Which are your key differentiator factors in regards to your competitors?

First and foremost, we were Bespoke shoemakers, and a lot of bespoke features go into our bench made shoes,  we wanted to bring a shoe to the market place, on a ready to wear level, that had a very bespoke aesthetic, which you could only buy if you went to one of the London bespoke houses, this is what appealed to our clients.

What is your view of online sales?

My view of online sales, is it’s a shop window the world, and allows customers to buy our shoes where ever they are in the world,  but it amazes me people will buy this price point of shoe, from a web shop.

Have you considered or already been approached by a luxury group to sell your company?

We would consider selling to a Luxury group if we were approached, pending what the figure offered was.

In your view, which other brands would make up the total look of your most loyal consumer profile?

Apart from your shoes, what (if) a suite (from what brand and what cut), shirt, tie, handbag etc, most of our clients, have there suits made by one of the tailors in Savile Row, same for their shirts, one fine tailor is Chittleborough & Morgan, at # 12, we have a few clients who buy Kiton suits & ties.

Which has been your highest growth foreign nationality as buyers of your products in the past 5 years?

We have seen growth in the USA & Japan.

How different is a British made shoe from a Italian made one?

British shoes tend to be much more constructed, and made for the rougher weather conditions, as the Italian shoes, tend to be light construction for the warmer climate.