Step into Hotter History
With over one million happy Hotter customers enjoying our shoes, and with more fans all over the world buying their first pair every day, we wanted to share some of our Hotter highlights, and who better to tell our story than Stewart Houlgrave, Founder of Hotter Comfort Concept. To step into Hotter history simply click the "Start Timeline" button, and then use the arrows to explore our achievements from 1959 to the present day.
I was born in the year my parents opened a slipper making factory, so my desire to design and create shoes as comfortable as slippers was born at an early age. By the early 1990s we reached a significant turning point - the launch of Hotter Comfort Concept.

As founder of this wonderful comfy shoe brand it has been delightful to see our transformation. With innovative thinking, hard work and a passion for perfection I have steered our progression from shoe maker to international shoe business. It is amazing to think that nowadays Hotter shoes are made and sold in our own stores, on the internet and direct to customers across the world through our friendly customer service centre.

With over one million happy Hotter customers enjoying our shoes, I wanted to share some of my favourite memories of Hotter so far...
In 1959 my father Thomas Houlgrave decides to use the experience he'd gained at the Skelmersdale shoe company to invest time, money and energy in setting up his own business to manufacture slippers. With the support of my mother Harriet he sets up Beaconsfield Footwear.
By now I've made shoes, polished shoes, been on the road selling shoes... but my overriding passion is designing shoes. I've travelled thousands of miles each year in my quest to find ways to design and make shoes that are as comfortable as slippers.
My vision is to design and make the ultimate comfort shoes, so when I discover the lightness, comfort and shock absorbing qualities of a material called polyurethane I'm inspired - I convert one of our shoe making machines. I make sure we carefully design lots more comfort features into these shoes to make them look stylish... the Hotter Comfort Concept is born.
Customers tell me that they love comfort and they love colour, so we launch our first ever Hotter Comfort Concept catalogue. We feature our iconic Dew shoe in 13 colours; I decide to place adverts in three magazines and the phone starts ringing, in fact there is so much interest I join the team answering calls!
Alongside comfort and design, quality is crucial so I decide to invest in the 'Rolls Royce' of shoe making machines, we buy the first of our four DESMA machines. Production steps up to meet the demand for comfy shoes that's coming through our brand new 20 seater call centre.
In our 40th year I celebrate with long servers who have worked at Hotter for over 20 years. We start selling shoes in garden centres after I visit one near my home and see the busy Sunday afternoon crowds.
My ethos is that if you work hard you can play hard too... Hotter staff like to have fun so we've dressed down for Jeans for Genes Day every year since 2000.
We love to get out an about with our shoes and we know Hotter fans like to keep active, so we sponsor a number of bowling events and enjoy some great days out meeting the players and fans.
I just don't like to sit still, so I decide to test Hotter shoes on the high street, opening our first store in Southport - the town's hard working ambassadors open the store, so we treat them to some comfort. The Calendar Girls visit our factory to see how their favourite footwear is made - and we persuade them to pose wearing nothing but Hotter Shoes to raise money for Leukaemia Research.
I decide that with Hotter's growing popularity we need to invest in a new factory, so it's a sad goodbye to our first factory. With a £6 million investment, I'm proud to say that ours is the biggest new shoe making factory opened in the UK since the 1970s - the Calendar Girls join me in the opening ceremony.
We like to do things differently at Hotter, so when we officially open our new warehouse I invite a Hotter fan to smash through a wall of Hotter shoe boxes in a forklift truck - she happens to be our local Mayor! We also host our first group of Hotter customers on a factory tour and take our shoes to Southport Garden Festival.
To catch the eye of the crowds at a footwear event we commission living statues - thank goodness they have something comfy for their feet! Word spreads about our factory tours even though we don't advertise them - everyone at HQ gets involved with our fashion shows.
The Hotter family knows how to enjoy itself, this year we take part in a Dragon Boat race for charity; we host a family fun day with a yellow brick road to show children around our factory and we host our second X Factor night with managers serving food and drinks.
Obsessed with detail I work with the company that makes our shoe making machinery to develop new robotic lines to improve our quality and efficiency - the £500,000 investment boosts production to 1.3 million pairs per year and this technology is world leading.
Hundreds of Hotter fans join us with the Calendar Girls in Southport, Chester and Bournemouth to raise over £50,000 for Leukaemia Research.
In a hectic 50th year we celebrate with customers and staff; give www.hotter.com a revamp and we air our first TV advert - phew!
More than one million happy Hotter customers is simply not enough, we now have Hotter stores in York, Bournemouth, Chester, Gretna , Eastbourne, Chichester and Bromley. I know we have a winning product that deserves an international audience so we take our Hotter Comfort Concept to the USA.
I have to admit that I never get tired of walking into a Hotter store and listening to our customers' comments. Our emphasis on quality and customer service sets us apart and by the end of this year we will have 25 stores... and we even had time to create a shoe to celebrate a very special Royal Wedding!
I'm delighted to introduce our new Managing Director Peter Taylor, whose appointment enables me to return to my passion - product design and brand development. I'm thrilled with the Hotter story so far, but am so excited with our plans for the next chapter...
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