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Noël, The story of a family of shoemakers From the finest clogs to Children's shoes

Noël, The story of a family of shoemakers From the finest clogs to Children's shoes
The story begins in 1885 in Vitré, near Brittany. After taking an apprenticeship on the insistence of his father, Augustin Noël became the local shoemaker in the town of Brielles.
So begins the story of a pioneering family of shoemakers; a story with many important turns and with innovation at its core. Augustin's eldest son Henri was taught the shoemaker's craft in Angers, before becoming a partner and finishing his training alongside a master bootmaker in Paris. In 1924 he was joined by his son Edouard and in 1928 the Noël Frères company became a factory.
A business was born; one that would ride out the 1929 crash thanks to a clear vision which would provide the foundations of constant development:
" To innovate is to build, structure and live. "
• A first innovation involved tight-knit sewn welt that improved manufacturing and increased production. 60 workers were able to produce 80 pairs of shoes per day in Vitré.
• In 1956, Edouard's son Xavier Noël arrived at the company, bringing with him a new innovative breath of fresh air to restart a business that had been losing ground. He immediately launched into the streets sports market, rolling out the "5 strips" brand with remarkable success. The work was streamlined and mechanised, but expertise and tradition were kept intact. Offering constant technical training, social cohesion, and the sense of belonging to a real "family", the company moved forward; by the mid-1970s, Noël had 1100 employees working for the business in the Vitré basin.
• With the advent of the marketing era in the 1980s, Noël reorganised and segmented its market, with the Sledgers men's town footwear brands and the successful launch of the Line 7 sports shoes. Unfortunately this new segmenting strategy was not enough to stem the tide of the incoming overhaul of the shoe market, with growing competition from low-cost production sites in Southeast Asia and the surge of American sports brands entering the European market. French brands were considerably weakened.
• It was in this tough environment that Patrick Noël, Xavier's son and Augustin's great-grandson, took up the challenge of taking on the family business in 1995. Patrick worked to preserve the independence of a rich heritage passed down through four generations of Noël shoes. In January 2015, the company decided to focus the business exclusively on children's footwear, around the Babybotte, Noël, Easy Peasy, Le Loup Blanc and Minibel brands.
Today, the Noël group has been renamed Noël Babybotte, and combines:
- The Noël brand has become Noël kids. It has reinvented itself while staying true to the values of creativity and innovation, offering "easy going" footwear perfect for everyday life. Its core target is kids from 2 to 6 years old. The brand is the perfect solution for kids on the move, offering products that are both resistant and easy to maintain. The group is justified in its decision to reintroduce into the brand a line of specialist children's sports footwear, as well as an Access line for discerning customers who know high-quality, reasonably priced footwear when they see it. To achieve this, the brand is strengthening its collaboration with an innovative and technical Indonesian manufacturer, its historical partner of over 10 years.
- Easy Peasy, the group's youngest, Eco-friendly brand, offering a large range of bootees, shoes and accessories for mums and kids. This brand is a major focus of development for the company, and has a strong presence on the export market and in the new "concept stores" distribution networks. It will be developing a line of accessories to inject a new dynamic into its collections, as well as a new pre-walking range for toddlers.


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