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Calla Shoes

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Calla Shoes was founded to change the lives of the 320 million people globally who suffer from foot problems, such as bunions, by giving them beautiful footwear that fit their feet comfortably. To date, we have almost 7,000 customers in countries via our website,

  • 30/09/2021
    Closing date
  • £10,000.00
    Min. investment
  • Generalist
  • EIS
    Investment type

The ladies footwear business, Calla, was founded in 2016 by Jennifer Bailey, a long-term sufferer of a foot condition called bunions. The business was founded out of the frustration of not being able to find pretty shoes to fit her feet comfortably.

There were many orthopedic options available at the time and some 'wide-fit' shoes options but Calla meets the specific needs of women who need comfort, as well as style, for bunions.

The shoes are designed in conjunction with specialists and a panel of sufferers who test every pair.


  • The range started with just four styles and we now have a full range of flats, sandals, boots, heels and trainers.
  • Almost 7,000 customers from 60 countries around the world.
  • Growth of 22% in 2020 despite a national decline of 50% in the footwear industry.
  • April 2021 turnover was double April 2020.
  • Nearly a third of Calla customers buy again and nearly 70% of customers rate us 'more comfortable' than competitor brands.
  • Over 30k followers across all social media and two viral TikTok posts with over one million views each.
  • Shortlisted for a Drapers Footwear Award 2021.
  • To date, already have 30% increased turnover in the USA purely from organic growth.

Investment strategy

Investment in design and differentiation

Innovate and differentiate by design, functionality and materials. Already partnered with a local university to test footbed materials.

Design new products to meet other common foot conditions such as wide feet, hammer toes, flat feet and arthritis.


Investment in digital advertising, influencers, ambassador programme, PR, events and direct mail to grow B2C revenue.

Foot professionals

Developing relationships with foot professionals and roll out a referral programme. In 2020 there were approx. 10,000 podiatrists in the UK.

Develop new sales channels:

Capitilise on USA growth and grow other international markets Advertising and influencer marketing to grow B2C sales in these markets.

Zalando partnership and other marketplace selling Gateway to grow European sales - invest in marketing and resources.

UK and International B2B Hire sales agents to grow wholesale strategy internationally.


Hire senior operational, sales, marketing and product development staff to support the post-investment activity.

Key team

Jennifer Bailey - Founder and CEO


Before founding Calla, Jennifer was Head of Marketing at a large university and has over 20 years marketing and branding experience in various sectors. 

Jennifer’s passion is solving problems and delivering high levels of customer service. As the person who suffers from the pain point that Calla is solving, she is perfectly positioned to build credibility and trust with her customers.

Jennifer is multi-award winning and is a highly regarded female entrepreneur.

Marc Kremer - Director/Board Member


Marc Kremer is a strategic and progressive marketing professional with over 25 years' experience leading high-performance, multi-disciplinary teams to generate key marketing insights and data-driven recommendations. 

Kremer has held senior management positions at Ogilvy, McCann Worldgroup, and other renowned global marketing agencies across several markets including Japan, Singapore, and the United Kingdom. 

Currently serving as a board director and advisor to several startups in the health and wellness space, he helps executive teams get the most out of their marketing investments and optimize their operational strategy. 

Ian Cartwright - NED and Board Advisor


Ian has over 20 yrs experience in the footwear industry, having led iconic wholesale & retail shoe brands Base London and Hudson Shoes as Managing Director. 

He has managed the supply chain, operations, warehousing & distribution of very fast growth (£0-23m in 3.5yrs), been Managing Director of £5-15m brands in transformation and 4yrs ago built his own DTC e-commerce premium brand from scratch. He is currently Managing Director at Royal Albatross.

This has given him a wide breadth of experience from building & leading teams, P&L/cashflow management and modelling, sourcing worldwide, managing factories, stock buying  and SKU control, supply chain & operations, customer service, e-comm funnel management, to flipping brands from wholesale to e-comm and UK to International (USA/N. Europe).

His Linked In profile is here 

Exit strategy

Calla aims to follow the likes of niche businesses such as Bobux and FitFlops who have grown businesses with revenues over £50M based on simple shoe concepts.

We anticipate a trade sale in 4-7 years. Footwear multiples are in the region of 10-18 x EBITDA.

Potential buyers could include the Pentland Group (parent company for Hunters, Kickers and Butterfly Twists), The Hut Group (owners of AllSole) or Caleres (owners of Dr Scholls and Vionic).

Fee summary

Performance Fee:

In order to align interests between the Company Mentor and investors, no performance incentive is payable on any investment until investors receive cash proceeds equal to £1.05 for every £1.00 invested. The performance fee will then be payable to the Company Mentor or related parties as follows:

- On any increase in value on an individual investment up to £5 above a hurdle rate of £1.05 (for every £1 invested) a performance fee will be charged of 20% on the amount of the increase over and above £1.05 up to £5, and

- On any increase in value on an individual investment over £5 (for every £1 invested) a performance fee will be charged of 25% on the amount of the increase over and above £5.

- It is noted that no performance fee will be charged on any amounts below the hurdle rate of £1.05 for every £1 invested.


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The content above has been provided by British Design Fund, an Investment Adviser to Sapphire Capital Partners LLP who are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority under firm registration number 565716.