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Calla Shoes wins funding from the British Design Fund

Fashion footwear brand Calla Shoes has become one of the first recipients of funding from the British Design Fund, an early stage investment fund for UK start-ups in the product design and manufacturing space.


Calla Shoes wins funding from the British Design Fund

The fund, which raised more than £500,000 from around 140 investors in its first wave of funding, received applications from more than 100 companies looking for cash as well as mentoring and support to accelerate the growth of their businesses.

Other recipients include Kokoon Technology, the creator of an intelligent headphone and app, and K Tech Manufacturing, the electrical wiring innovator.

Founded by Jennifer Bailey, Calla Shoes offers stylish footwear for women who suffer from bunions. The company will use the funding for strategic marketing with the aim of tripling revenue within a year and hitting the £1 million mark within three years. The funds will also be used to build global sourcing partnerships.

Bailey said: ‘I was acutely aware that Calla needed third party investment to accelerate growth. This has been a long time coming and means the business can grow exponentially quickly, adapting to and meeting the huge demand we have from customers in the UK and abroad, and adding to our range to ensure Calla Shoes remains at the forefront of footwear fashion.”

The British Design Fund, which was set up by the ex-CEO of the Design Council John Mathers, and design entrepreneur Damon Bonser, launched in late 2017 and will see five companies receive investment, with plans for a second, larger fund, to launch in 2018.

Bonser said: “Innovative small businesses like Calla Shoes, Kokoon and KTech represent the best of British business, creating exceptional new design-led products that deliver genuine value to their users. We’re delighted to be supporting their development and growth.”

Mathers added: “Across the UK there are fantastic product start-ups looking to improve people’s lives, but so many of them are left without the necessary support or funding. With almost £72bn generated in 2015 alone from the design sector, it makes no sense why early stage funding is so low for this market. That’s what inspired me to help address this problem and join Damon in launching The Fund.”

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