Big ideas behind Bobux baby shoes

  • News
  • July 14, 2016
  • Jessica-Belle Greer
Big ideas behind Bobux baby shoes

Did you know that when your children learn to walk, they have not yet developed bones in their feet, and their feet will continue to develop until their late-teens? Although it’s not the first thing you expect to hear from a little one’s shoe brand, Bobux thinks our young children should not be laced into shoes. It’s this scientific and niche design approach that has given the company a leg up on international competition.

“We see ourselves as a global brand and we happen to be based in New Zealand,” says Bobux CEO Andrew Sharp. The children’s footwear brand has a solid footing in its niche market, exporting 90 percent of its products to 34 countries with elite stockists, including Nordstormand Harrods.

Since moving into footwear from soft soles, Bobux has grown at 10-15 percent per year. Greg Parmenter, marketing manager of Bobux says: "With new CEO Andrew Sharp, we are forecasting 20-25 percent growth over the next eight years. We are currently selling half a million pairs worldwide with an initial target of one million pairs by 2020 and two million by 2024." 

Bobux has just released a limited edition range of childrens’ shoes, Aktiv & Xplorer, with French designer Solène Roure. One of two smaller injections in Bobux’s seasonal calendar, the collection focuses on internationally recognised fashion concepts. And Roure, having worked with Nike, Louis Vuitton, North Face and Levi’s was well placed to create eight unique designs.

“I think New Zealand has a strong market for quality and as niche exporters we need to be that and take it to the world,” says Sharp. “You’ve got to be realistic. You’re competing with Nike, you’re competing with Adidas.” Citing kiwi companies such as Icebreaker, he says New Zealanders have an amazing ability to build intuitive brands and, in fitting with the late Paul Callaghan’s vision, he says we should focus on clever design and quality as a country as we export.

Collaboration is key at Bobux. Since its inception in 1991, it has called on foot experts, partnered with podiatrists and studied the mechanics of ‘jumping little maniacs’. In 2015 Bobux created the X range with Prada and Adidas designer Sean Maisano, which won a Red Dot award for product design in Germany and a bronze award at the Best Awards in 2014 – The company has since won silver for its Bobux Blaze at the Best Awards in 2015.

The shoes, which range from $45-$100, focus on three very different stages of little people’s lives; as newborns and pre-walkers, first walkers and toddlers and pre-schoolers – to ensure shoes are fit for each specific stage. “We’ve always had a major focus on foot health,” says Sharp. “We want our parents to have piece of mind … they trust us.” Bobux’s design thinking is close to the supply chain – regular testings with the end consumer ensure it achieves “the quality deserving of our customers”, he says.

Bobux was first manufactured in the founders Chris and Colleen Bennett’s basement. They kept manufacturing for 17 years but now Bobux’s East Tamaki factory services only a small market, keeping on sewers that have worked with the company for 20 years. Their latest collaboration was manufactured in Indonesia, a decision Sharp says was down to the high quality of leather and good treatment of animals there.

Footwear manufacturing in New Zealand has been on the decline for several years, however some manufacturers, such as McKinlays Footwear, which was established in Dunedin in 1879, are still going strong. And although designer footwear designer Minnie Cooper reluctantly closed her brick-and-mortar stores mid 2015 she has since opened a shop at her Auckland factory in Avondale.

Allbirds is another unique footwear company driven by New Zealanders, with the help of American investors. Co-founder and co-CEO Tim Brown of the woolen sneaker brand toldIdealog earlier this year that quality is key to Allbirds' point of difference. “If we were selling through Footlocker, we’d be like all the other guys and we'd have to make the shoes for $9. So we have an opportunity from our margins to make it out of 16 micron New Zealand wool,” he said.

A number of designer childrenswear and footwear brands have bounced on to the New Zealand market.Pretty Brave is a children’s footwear company tapping into the quality kidswear market, with hand-made soft leather shoes in a range of designer styles, including high-tops, espadrilles and moccasins that retail from $40-$70.

When Trelise Cooper closed her flagship childrenswear store in Newmarket in 2011 she told Stuff:  ''It is our intention is to revive the Trelise Cooper Kids label in the future once global economic conditions improve.'' And it seems the time has come, with Little Trelise opening this year.

With parents wanting the best for their young children quality products need to be more than just good looking, and Bobux's unique mindset has walked the talk.

This story originally appeared on Idealog.

​ ​

This is a community discussion forum. Comment is free but please respect our rules:

  1. Don’t be abusive or use sweary type words
  2. Don’t break the law: libel, slander and defamatory comments are forbidden
  3. Don’t resort to name-calling, mean-spiritedness, or slagging off
  4. Don’t pretend to be someone else.

If we find you doing these things, your comments will be edited without recourse and you may be asked to go away and reconsider your actions.
We respect the right to free speech and anonymous comments. Don’t abuse the privilege.


Restaurant Brands turns 22

  • News
  • March 26, 2019
  • Sarah Dunn
Restaurant Brands turns 22

As it prepares to celebrate its 22nd birthday, the listed corporate franchisor foresees a sunny future for the three – soon to be four - multi-site branded food retail chains it manages in New Zealand.

Read more

Linwood businesses struggle in mosque attack aftermath

  • News
  • March 26, 2019
  • Radio New Zealand
Linwood businesses struggle in mosque attack aftermath

A group of Christchurch businesses are struggling to get back on their feet after the attack on their neighbouring Linwood Mosque. Photo: RNZ / Katie Todd

Read more

Farmers account awarded to Clemenger Group

  • News
  • March 26, 2019
  • StopPress Team
Farmers account awarded to Clemenger Group

99 and Colenso BBDO have won the creative and customer experience business for Farmers. The win, after a competitive pitch, sees the advertising account return to 99 after a six-year hiatus.

Read more

Social scoreboard

Zavy and The Register have worked together to create a scoreboard that compares how the top 25 traditional media advertising spenders in New Zealand have performed on social media over the past 30 days, updated in real time.

Concept to closet
Business coverage of New Zealand Fashion Week.
Town centres
A positive retail environment over the past 12 ...
Amazon Arrival
Keeping up with all things Amazon as it ...
The Retail Yearbook 2017
As we battle our way through the busiest ...
Hospitality enhancing retail
Some think food and integrated hospitality offerings will ...
The future is bright
We spoke with four retailers in their twenties ...
Spotlight on signage
At first glance, the humble in-store sign might ...
Red Awards 2016
The Red Awards for retail interior design celebrate ...
Auckland Unitary Plan
Auckland is changing. The Unitary Plan will decide ...
How to open a store
Sarah Dunn considers what it would take to ...
All things to all people
Kiwi retailers share their omnichannel strategies.
Rising stars
Retail's top young achievers.
Delivering on your promises
The sale isn't over until your item is ...
Retail in heartland New Zealand
Retailers keep the regions pumping, but how strong ...
Women in retail help one another. We spoke ...
The changing face of retail
Shifting demographics are creating big changes in New ...
The retail yearbook
With the help of experts in the retail ...
Retail rogues
We put the spotlight on staff training. Jai ...
Here come the giants
Topshop has arrived in Auckland’s CBD, David Jones ...
Window shopping: A spotlight on social media
Sarah Dunn and Elly Strang look at how ...
From retail to e-tail
Ecommerce has become part of the way mainstream ...
Loyalty in the digital age
How are retailers maintaining loyalty? Sarah Dunn, Elly ...
The Innovators | In partnership with Spark Business
Technology is rapidly changing the retail industry as ...

Hemp products go beyond the specialty shelves

  • News
  • March 25, 2019
  • Sarah Dunn
Hemp products go beyond the specialty shelves

Since hemp seeds’ legalisation for growing, manufacture and sale in November 2018, supermarkets have quickly pivoted to include hemp products such as protein powder in their health food and specialty sections, but the trendy ingredient has already found its way into mainstream product categories.

Read more

No longer just for hippies: Is hemp the next coconut oil?

  • News
  • March 25, 2019
  • Sarah Dunn
No longer just for hippies: Is hemp the next coconut oil?

The Naturally Good Expo, held over June 2 – 3 in Sydney, will bring retailers, brands and practitioners together to learn about all things healthy, organic and natural. Among the topics discussed by industry leaders at the expo is the recent legalisation of hemp – it’s popping up everywhere. We asked John Leith of supplier Hemp Oz and speaker Susan Tapper of Holistic Marketing Healthy Sales for more information about this exciting new product category.

Read more

Military-style semi-automatics ban announced

  • News
  • March 21, 2019
  • The Register team
Military-style semi-automatics ban announced

As of 3pm on March 21, a wide range of semi-automatic weapons have been reclassified under section 74A(c) of the Arms Act as requiring an E endorsement on a firearms license. This means they can no longer be sold to those with A-category gun licenses, and their purchase now requires police approval.

Read more
Next page
Results for
About us.

The Register provides essential industry news and intelligence, updated daily. And the digital newsletter delivers the latest news to your inbox twice a week — for free!

©2009–2015 Tangible Media. All rights reserved.
Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Privacy policy.

The Register

Content marketing/advertising? Email or call 022 639 3004

View Media Kit