Name : Abdel Chouaib
Job Role : Store Manager
Retail Shop / Country : Knightsbridge, London
What did you do before you started with Crockett & Jones?
I started my career in the food industry while I was completing my degree in Hotel Management. From there I worked part-time for Bally shoes and when I finished my studies I joined Gordon Scott Ltd, where I learnt a great deal about English Hand crafted welted shoes.
Why did you decide that retail was a career you wanted to pursue, and what brought you to Crockett & Jones?
I have always been a fashion conscious person interested in high end retail. My passion in English made shoes started when I received my first Goodyear welted shoes as a gift from my elder brother in my teenage years and from here on in my fascination grew. Also, at Gordon Scott I was introduced to Crockett & Jones shoes and we were given the chance to visit a factory of our choice. I chose Crockett & Jones and was lucky enough to visit the factory in Northampton.
Can you remember the first pair of shoes you ever sold?
I do, and I sold two pairs! They were Cornhill, a hand stitched derby style in 330 last from the Handgrade collection. I even remember the customer being from the United States and when I put the shoes on the customer’s feet, he said they felt “like gloves” and he bought both colours, tan and black.
How long have you been working for Crockett & Jones? In that time, are there any standout / interesting moments?
I have been working for Crockett & Jones for almost 10 years and most days have been interesting and challenging. The most interesting moment for me was when I met Daniel Day-Lewis at our Jermyn Street store during my first week with the company. I didn’t recognise him at all, he had just finished filming - Gangs of New York - and I asked him for his name so I could pull out his record card!
From the current collection, what is your favourite Crockett & Jones style?
Winston Chestnut are the shoes that standout for me, elegant, comfortable fit and most of all the hand burnishing and polishing on the toe cap and heel is very stylish.
Working in London, you must know some hidden gems. Tell us something interesting about the City that you would happily recommend your customers do or see.
My personal hidden gem is Spitalfields Sunday Market and brick lanes Bangladeshi restaurants where you can enjoy authentic Balti meals for a reasonable price, especially nice in the summertime.
Who inspires you professionally and personally?
At a certain stage of our life we are inspired by someone or something. My main sources of inspiration are my parents. They went through many difficulties to raise me and my brothers and to offer me a better life and education, without them I wouldn't be where I am today. Also, I have been inspired by the humility shown by Nelson Mandela for uniting his country. After all the difficulties he faced, he never gave up.
In your opinion, what really makes a pair of Crockett & Jones shoes special? Is it the design, the construction, the heritage, the people?
In my opinion, I think it is the combination of all three, Design, Construction and Heritage. The Customers are the defining moments who add trust and value to Crockett & Jones with their continued loyalty to the brand.
There has been a wave of excitement towards English manufacturing and English brands over the past 5 years, where do you see the men’s footwear industry going over the next 5 years?
I believe English brands will continue to grow from strength to strength in the next few years. Quality and heritage plays a massive part in the consumer mind-set and with Crockett & Jones at the forefront of English men's shoes, "made in England” and still being a “family run business” sets us apart from the competition.
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