Adrian Herring – Herring Shoes, Kingsbridge
Adrian Herring, designer and purveyor of fine leather footwear, was so attracted to the Devon lifestyle that he relocated his business from the Cotswolds to Kingsbridge in 2007. Herring Shoes now has its headquarters and distribution centre in Station Yard, Kingsbridge. The main bulk of its business is carried out online but Adrian decided to invest in a retail presence on Kingsbridge High Street, both to showcase his products and to evidence his commitment to the local community.
Herring Shoes are sold all over the world and have attracted a range of high profile customers from Michelin-starred Devon chef, Michael Caines, to TV adventurer Charlie Boorman and football legend, Ian Wright. Wherever the order is placed and whoever the customer, no matter how famous, their order is fulfilled from the company’s Kingsbridge warehouse. Since the business is largely web-based it relies on a fast broadband connection. The local Kingsbridge exchange has recently been upgraded and on some days the connection can be as fast as 6Mb per second. However, 1.5Mb per second is more usual and the service can be unreliable.
“We’re running a global brand. We sell hundreds of pairs of shoes every day through the web,” says Adrian, “and if it goes down, it really costs us. We’ve completely lost connectivity three or four times in the past 18 months. For my business that’s unacceptable. We’ve now invested in a few wireless dongles, so that we can keep running if our Broadband drops out.”
Running a 21st Century global business on wireless dongles isn’t really sustainable and that’s the point of the Connecting Devon and Somerset Broadband project: providing an infrastructure that enables our businesses to thrive.