BRAND NAME: Bobux
HOW LONG HAS BOBUX BEEN IN BUSINESS: 26 years
DESCRIBE BOBUX IN 3 WORDS: Flexible, Durable, Inspiring.
WHAT WAS THE ORIGINAL INTENT BEHIND CREATING BOBUX? Bobux was originally created in the garage of the Bennett family, with the intent of creating some comfortable, high quality footwear that would stay on a baby. Very soon after their first creation (and rapid sell out at the local markets) Chris discovered the importance of foot health being considered in the design of footwear for children, and the Bobux philosophy was born.
BOBUX IS SYNONYMOUS WITH KIDS SHOES THAT ARE COOL BUT COMFY AND SUPPORTIVE? NOT AN EASY FEAT. HOW HAS THIS RECOGNITION BEEN ACHIEVED? The design team has a large research focus, which means that we use each design project as an opportunity to learn as much as we can. We are always talking with parents and children to make sure we are designing the right product, and then putting each shoe through a rigorous fitting and testing process so we know that it will meet the high standards we have for all new products.
BOBUX IS PODIATRIST ENDORSED. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN AND HOW DID THIS EVENTUATE? This really eventuated through developing relationships with podiatrists in New Zealand and around the world, and talking to them about what is really important to them when it comes to shoe design and construction. We have then kept them in the design loop so where possible they are helping us verify and validate our designs so we know we are doing the best thing for kids feet.
BOBUX IS A NEW ZEALAND BRAND WITH AN INTERNATIONAL PRESENCE. WE LOVE HOW NEW ZEALANDERS SUPPORT LOCAL, EMBRACE GOOD DESIGN AND INVEST IN GOOD PRODUCTS. (NOT BUYING LOTS BUT BUYING WELL) DESCRIBE THIS CULTURAL IDENTITY AND WHAT THIS MEANS TO YOU? There is a lot of stuff in the world, so we think that there needs to be a really good reason for new things to be created. For every new shoe we are making sure there is a problem that is being solved and we are executing the design solution in the best way possible. This means focusing on high quality materials, taking care with our construction and fostering good relationships with our factories. We have found if we focus on these things that we really care about, our customers will see that come through in our products.
KIDS FASHION HAS BECOME A BIG INDUSTRY. HOW HAVE YOU EMBRACED THIS WITH THE "LOOK" AND APPEAL OF THE DESIGN OF THE SHOES BECOMING AS IMPORTANT AS THE FUNCTION AND COMFORT? We have worked hard to develop the Bobux design language by simplifying and refining as much as possible. We have been working through a process of identifying what is really important in our shoes, keeping that stuff then getting rid of the rest. This ‘cleaning up’ process naturally modernises the range and starts to create an aesthetic that you would typically see in the kids fashion industry today. We have found that the standard of design in the kids fashion realm has lifted really high, and the great thing is that a lot of these brands have listened to parents and are solving real problems. A good example of this is the use of merino which is a great material that ticks so many boxes in kids fashion.
HOW MUCH SCIENCE GOES INTO EACH SHOE? FROM FABRICATIONS, FITS AND WEAR AND TEAR? The short answer is a lot. We are working closely with research podiatrists to deeply understand the movement of kids feet, so we can use that data to design better shoes. We also prototype lots of shoes and really put them through the ringer before they go into production. We then work really closely with our factories to ensure that everything is executed to the highest level. All of this is tracked and measured so we know with every new shoe, we are constantly improving on the last one.
HOW HAS BOBUX EMBRACED SOCIAL MEDIA, INFLUENCERS AND DIGITAL MARKETING? GIVE US SOME EXAMPLES? Bobux’s key marketing focus is on digital rather than more traditional mediums like print. These days it’s so important to be mobile optimised and be able to provide our customers with information whenever and wherever they may need it- which majority of the time is on-the-go on mobile. We utilise social media, our website and blog to help get information across to our customers- whether it be styling tips or information on children’s foot development. We are also lucky enough to have great relationships with bloggers, podiatrists, stylists and groups of mums who also contribute and share their thoughts which are useful to our end customers and retailers alike.
WHAT'S THE NUMBER 1 THING THAT PARENTS GET WRONG WITH TRYING TO FIT KIDS SHOES? The main thing would be the temptation to get as much wear, size-wise, out of a pair of shoes. This can cause problems with a kid’s gait, causing them to trip or fall when the shoes are too large, then bind up their feet and potentially cause more problems when they are too small. We know this isn’t easy so we are working on some cool solutions to help parents know when the shoes are fitting correctly… Watch this space!
NORMALLY WE TELL OUR KIDS OFF FOR SCRIBBLING ON THEIR SHOES.... BUT YOU EMBRACED THIS WITH YOUR LIMITED EDITION "CUSTOM" SHOES THAT KIDS COULD COLOUR IN.... WHAT INSPIRED THIS IDEA? This actually came from the whiteboard leather material itself. We had been developing the material with our leather tannery for a while and thought ‘what can we do with this?!’. At the same we had been working on these cool new characters for the 2018 play range. By combining these two developments together we were able to put together a limited edition shoe that was really fun.
WHAT'S NEXT IN TECHNOLOGY WITH KIDS SHOES? There are some really exciting things happening in the wearable technology space, and some great new materials that will allow us to do things we couldn’t dream of before. We can’t talk about much yet, but will have some exciting announcements in the coming months!