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Bull Boxer

It was the late nineties and I was travelling through Europe, on a mission, to find men’s shoes for our stores that had a point of difference. The biggest challenge I had was trying to find men’s shoes that suggested two things about the wearer: taste and character Dutch design, Portuguese craftsmanship.

Then I met these crazy Dutch guys... It has been said that lot of interesting things have come out of the city of Amsterdam (both legal and illegal) and it’s a destination much enjoyed by many. Up there at the top of our favourites list must be our old friends behind Bull Boxer - Bart, Igor and Ben - Dutchmen who live and breathe great shoes and whose love of life is totally infectious.

Every six months we travel the globe, exploring the emerging trends in fashion capitals as diverse as New York, London, Berlin and Paris. This culminates in three hectic days in Milan at the world’s largest footwear exhibition, MICAM. Our journey involves countless meetings with well-loved colleagues and suppliers from all of those amazing places. But it’s our delightfully crazy Dutch friends from Bull Boxer,who I first met all those years ago, that we most look forward to catching up with

Often bleary-eyed and slightly hungover from a strictly compulsory night of pre-fair celebrations, they are never the less a force to be reckoned with – true radicals whose cheerfully rebellious nature is reflected in their adventurous and constantly evolving designs. For them, their products are a very real expression of who they are and they would rather die than have a boring shoe in their range. “Unthinkable!” they say. And they mean it. Spiced with constant jokes and banter, often in several languages, the business discussions take on the feel of a reunion between old friends.

It’s been close to twenty years since our first meeting, and while we’re all a little older and perhaps wiser, I’ve learnt a lot from these very cool guys. The biggest lessons for me - doing business should be fun!

And while I don’t see them dancing on tables at nightclubs any more, just like a fine wine these lads (and their shoes) just get better and better every year

Written by Shane Anselmi

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