- Danielle Wightman-Stone |
Durham-based entrepreneurial shoe-making company, Hand Dyed Shoe Company has been named as Klarna’s ‘Smooothest Store’ winning 10,000 pounds.
The Hand Dyed Shoe Company, founded by Simon Bourne in 2014, is an artisan shoemakers crafting unique shoes made from scrap leathers in the furniture industry, with every pair bespoke and hand dyed.
As winners of Klarna’s ‘Smooothest Store’ competition, Bourne wins not only a 10,000 pound cash prize but also mentoring from senior Klarna executives, and free use of Klarna’s Pay later service for 12 months.
Simon Bourne, founder of The Hand Dyed Shoe Company, said in a statement: “I come from quite humble beginnings, a council estate in Scunthorpe actually, and I never dreamed I’d be accepting such a generous award.
“This opportunity will really drive my business into the future – we’ll invest it wisely and I hope you’ll see much more from The Hand Dyed Shoe Company. in the future.”
The competition was launched to discover and develop top retail talent across the UK and received entries from all over the country, and the shortlist included Carloe London, a leather bag brand, Britannical a luxury children’s outerwear brand, ethical and sustainable jewellery label Mikaela Lyons, and Valle and Vik, which offers printed and plain silk dresses.
Other SME’s highlighted in the competition were interior brands Charlotte Jade, Dip and Doze, and Mustard Made.
Klarna crowns the UK’s ‘Smooothest Store’
Special commendations were also given to runners-up Britannical, the luxury children’s outerwear brand who came in second place, and Charlotte Jade in third place, who offers hand drawn plant, floral and animal themed designs for wallpaper, upholstery and tiles. Both brands were awarded a 5,000 pounds cash prize.
Luke Griffiths, general manager at Klarna UK, added: “We are delighted to announce that Simon has won our Smoooth Stores competition. The unique experience which The Hand Dyed Shoe Co. creates is above and beyond what many retailers offer, and yet, it’s an intrinsic part of what makes Simon’s business so great.
“Every business we’ve had the chance to work with in this project has shown us that the UK’s retail scene is thriving and evolving. The Hand Dyed Shoe Co. will only continue to succeed, and I hope our prize and ongoing support will help accelerate that success for them – I can’t wait to follow his brand’s journey.”
Klarna, founded in Stockholm, Sweden in 2005, is Europe’s leading payments provider and a newly-licensed bank, and offers online consumers the option to pay now, pay later or over time. It works with 100,000 merchants, including Asos, Topshop, H&M and JD Sports in the UK.
Images: courtesy of Klarna