Winter is approaching. There are Fair Isle mules; lambswool cuffed clogs, footmuffs, scuffs, cocoons, Yeti slides, Baabushka, and ballerina pom-poms, Yoscana cobis, and luxurious, super-soft Cornish sheepskin slippers and bootees everywhere.
Cornish slippers have earned royal approval for the second time. Nick and Kath Whitworth’s award-winning UK-based “Celtic & Co,” which has been creating sustainable style and crafting contemporary pieces using the finest natural fibers and 100% British wool since 1900, has received the prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the International Trade. This is an awards program for British businesses and other organizations who excel at international trade, innovation, or sustainable development. Two years ago, Celtic & Co was recognized by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth 11 for Enterprise in the International Trade category, the highest official UK award for British business.
“It all started to see in a newspaper that a small boot-making business called Hide & Feet was for sale,” says Nick, a former RAF engineer. Kath used to be an estate agent.
“We bought it with just seven pairs in stock and taught ourselves to sew! It was a converted garage with “floppy doors,” one telephone, and a couple of sewing machines. The business manufactured and sold uggs – the generic Australian word for sheepskin boots. We renamed it the “Original Ugg Company,” making and selling shoes directly to locals and wholesale through a couple of surf shops in the area.”
The Whitworths sold its UK trademark of “ugg” to Deckers, which owned the American Original Ugg Company, for an undisclosed amount in 1997. “The Celtic Sheepskin Company” evolved into Celtic & Co, making the iconic, best-selling luxury sheepskin bootee slipper (£74/$95).
Says Kath: “ We work with British designers and manufacturers who share our passion and expertise for sourcing the best natural materials that not only feel luxurious but are chosen for their special qualities to enhance the design and fit of the pieces. Our core collection has grown to include sheepskin outerwear and knitwear, But our signature products are our boots and slippers, which are still handcrafted in Newquay on the north coast of Cornwall in the far south-west of England.”
Like many modern companies, “Celtic & Co”- recent winner of the Drapers International Footwear Brand Of The Year award, works hard to minimize its impact on the environment by choosing natural, sustainable and organic fibers over toxic, synthetic, and non-biodegradable materials. Continues Nick and Kath’s daughter Clare who is the company’s head of production and wholesale: “ In doing this, we are not only creating less demand for synthetic fibers but also not allowing our products to release harmful microplastics back into our oceans.”
Five catalog editions are published every year, and three million are sent out annually. They also drive online sales, which now make up around 80% of the total revenue.
Slippers are the ultimate in slow fashion. The best slippers and loungewear are investment clothing. Your beloved and faithful pair of slippers can be mended through Celtic & Co’s re-sole and repair service.
Nothing is wasted, Sheepskin offcuts can be used for a wide range of crafts. Says Clare: “Some of our customers love to line pet bedding with sheepskin as it is warm, breathable, natural, and so soft and comforting. You can also make adorable pet toys as well as fluffy draft excluders, trimmings on cushions and soft furnishings to sheepskin costumes, ideal for school plays or fancy dress parties!”
The beauty of sheepskin is that it helps to regulate body temperature. It will keep you cool during the summer, and in winter, sheepskin helps keep your body warm and comfortable.
Upgrade your downtime and slop, slob, and in style. The Queen wouldn’t be caught scuffing around Buckingham Palace without her favorite Cornish slippers.