About our company

  • We (Jessica Good and Toby Smith) are partners in our footwear design consultancy. Please email us if you'd like an up to date CV / resume from either of us or want to know more about our company. For confidentiality reasons we cannot disclose all clients for whom we work, nor can we disclose all of the work that we have done.
An overview by Jessica Good:
  • I founded our freelance shoe design consultancy in 2002 following two years as a design manager at Lambert Howarth, on their French Connection footwear license.
  • It had always been my ambition to become a freelance shoe designer and I felt that I was ready to go it alone rather than continue as an employee.
A short history of my career so far…
  • I graduated from De Montfort University with a BA (Hons) in Fashion, specialising in footwear design and was fortunate to find a job at Pentland Group as a Junior Designer.
  • I started out at Pony USA, working on team sports, such as soccer, cricket and baseball and also wrestling and boxing. The highlight of my time there was working with UK sporting household names (such as Graham Hick, Darren Gough and Lee Sharpe) and travelling to the USA to work with the New York Mets. We also developed an aerobic boxing training clothing and footwear line aimed at women and we designers took this pretty seriously, and trained at the Harrow Road boxing gym in London, testing the clothing and equipment for a whole summer. I still haven't forgotten being made to do 300 crunches with a medicine ball and not being able to even sit up in bed in the morning afterwards!
  • I then moved to Ellesse UK, as well as developing the first range of Ellesse cross trainers, I revamped the City Runner (now known as Latina), redesigning new outsoles. This style is still on sale today.
  • I was headhunted to Shellys shoes to try and add a bit of a sports fashion mix to their footwear ranges. In my two years at Shellys I developed many successful and innovate footwear lines, was featured in the Mail On Sunday as a shoe designer and worked with celebrity and TV fashion stylist Kenny Ho to product manage shoe development for the Spice girls movie and world tour.
  • I was then headhunted back to Pentland Group where I spent two years working as a footwear designer/rangebuilder on the Skechers license that Pentland once held. We grew sales so much in the UK that Skechers soon took the brand back in house (I guess you could say our work was done!).
  • From then I moved briefly to Red or Dead (a newly owned Pentland Company) and then spent two years at Pentland Shoe Company where I learned all the ins and outs of own-label sourcing, developing footwear for Marks and Spencer, George Asda, Woolworths, Doctor Martens and Littlewoods, also working on various character licensed projects and I helped manage and coach our junior shoe designers and accompany them on their first sourcing trips.
  • I left Pentland Group again, when a company-wide restructure made Pentland Shoe defunct, and it was then that I moved to Concept LH, the licensed and branded division of Lambert Howarth, first of all as a senior shoe designer and then within three months I became Design Manager of the French Connection footwear design team. It was during my time at Lambert Howarth that I met Toby Smith, who back then, was working as a TV and digital graphic designer at Teletext. After two years in my role it was clear to me that being an employee was not for me anymore and I left to pursue my dream of working for myself.
  • I started our footwear design consultancy from a spare room in my home in 2002. After six months in business, Toby resigned from his job at Teletext to become my business partner and his first task was to code the first version of this website which we launched in 2003. Since then we have rewritten the whole site several times, added our 'shoenista' shoe blog in 2008 (named after an internet meme of mine), then we became enthusiastic shoe news Twitterers as shoedesigner!
Tobys' skills lie in the technological aspects of shoe design. He has a thorough understanding of most graphics software and is able to interpret and adapt graphics from style guides, turn my hand renders into cad specs, develop tread designs for outsoles, work on logos for footwear and also holds the most important responsibility of all as our IT support!
Where we are now
  • It's eleven years now since we began and should you ask me what we are working on, my answer is, have you got a spare hour? Our skills lie in understanding what your target customer wants to buy, and I'm a keen trend spotter, footwear trend forecasting is one of my strong points. I'm an obsessive hunter and searcher, always looking for what is new, be it in real life or online. I'm fanatical about new media, technology and the internet. I love to network, I love to connect people, I love discovering new designers and connecting with shoe trade personalities for our blog and I am fortunate to have Toby to help organise me!
  • Although we now concentrate mostly on womens branded and luxury fashion, we can and do work on pretty much any kind of footwear. Any type, any price point any gender. You could say this is our USP. We are also good at connecting you to the right people to help you with your sourcing, marketing and promotions.
Too many shoes to mention on this page, it's easier to look at our portfolio, but to give you an idea, in 2014 we are currently working on the following:
  • Mentoring and coaching a British luxury womens formalwear brand, made in Italy and launched September 2013
  • Working with a new Anglo Indian footwear brand which focuses on Indian fabrics and hand embroidery and will launch at Micam next February
  • Mentoring, coaching and training a well known young luxury footwear designer.
  • Ongoing design and development for a womens high fashion rainboot brand, just about to begin our sixth season and expanding into shoes.
  • Designing ranges for a licensee of a British young womens well known fashion clothing brand.
  • Designing ranges for a licensee of a British young womens well known luxury eveningwear brand.
  • Design, development and assistance at shows for a luxury European womens Footwear chain. (Ongoing since 2009)
  • Developing ranges of mostly mens (but also some womens) slippers for UK mainstream market, incorporating logos, prints and technical features.
  • Several half and one day mentoring sessions with various entrepreneurs
  • For more information or if you have any questions (we do try to answer all emails, whether you are a student or in the trade already it doesn't matter), email us.
    Or to keep up with the latest news in the world of shoe design follow us on Twitter or bookmark our blog.

    (to top)