LDC Top 50 2020
Galahad Clark is a seventh-generation cobbler. His ancestors founded Clarks shoes, and he is now the driving force behind Vivobarefoot, which makes shoes that allow the wearer to enjoy the same range or movement and sensation as if they were barefoot.
Galahad is on a mission to battle the industry’s super brands through sustainable innovations like shoes made from algae, 3D-printed bespoke shoes made for feet and recommerce models like ReVivo. Vivobarefoot puts health and sustainability at the heart of its strategy. “My forefathers created the original social enterprises,” he says. “I want to be part of the blueprint for business as a force for good in the 21st century.”
What does ambition mean to you?
I come from a long line of cobblers. My forefathers started Clarks the shoe brand. When I was young, I had no intention of joining the shoe business but then I got the bug. I was running shoe company Terra Plana, and United Nude, the architectural shoe brand but I was becoming disillusioned with the industry. It was only when I started looking at barefoot shoes, and learning about biomechanics and the science of feet and foot function that I found my mission / ambition.
What problem are you trying to address?
Our sedentary cushioned lives are making us and our planet sick. I genuinely believe that the world would be a better place if people stopped wearing ‘normal’ padded shoes. Our footwear literally brings you closer to nature, you can feel the ground as you walk. There are hundreds of thousands of nerve endings in your feet; they are designed to feel. When you take that away, you end up with bad movement habits and health problems. Let alone the environmental destruction caused by the shoe industry – which is its own long story!
Where will the business be in five years’ time?
We’ll hit £38m in turnover this year – a growth of 35pc – despite COVID-19 and our plan is to more than double in the next 3 years. We’re growing well in markets across Europe and America where people are interested in natural health. Growth will come from doing everything a bit better and some really exciting innovations in the pipeline like 3D-printed bespoke shoes, which means they fit like a second skin, and a new subscription service for kids shoes.
I want to be part of the blueprint for business as a force for good in the 21st century.”Galahad Clark