An Autumn Trip to the Factory

Rachel Simpson

Posted on December 03 2019

An Autumn Trip to the Factory


As you quite probably know by now, all our shoes and bags are made in Alicante, on the southeastern coast of Spain. We work with two incredible factories (one for shoes, one for bags), and we try and get over there to visit as often as we can. Sometimes it will be to put new styles into work, sometimes to take a look at production and sometimes it’s to source the perfect materials for a new season. Then of course sometimes it’s for all three- there’s always plenty to do!

Last week myself and our designer, Heather headed over to Alicante for a couple of days so I thought I’d tell you a little bit about what we got up to. You may’ve caught up with us on Instagram, as we do like to try and take you with us!

Day One

It’s usually an early start for factory trips and this time the day started at 4.30am to drive up to Birmingham airport for the early flight. After meeting Heather at the airport we stopped for a much needed coffee before boarding the flight (and promptly going back to sleep for some catch up zzz’s! We’re met at the airport by our agent, Richie, before going straight for lunch! It’s not always that relaxed, but the factories close between 1pm and 3pm for lunch/ siesta so if we arrive then we may as well do the same! ;)

 Rachel Simpson shoes

After lunch we went to our much-loved shoe factory where we caught up with owner Antonio, and his son Pablo who runs most of the production. There were a couple of prototypes to approve for the Spring Summer collection which we’d amended slightly from the first samples. We do that a lot to ensure every new style fits perfectly, and it can sometimes take even three or four samples until we’re 100% happy! Luckily this time the second samples were perfect, so it was good to get those signed off and into production in time for the February launch.

 Rachel Simpson shoes

Next up we had some new styles to put into work. We can’t tell you too much about them just yet but trust us, it’s exciting. As if launching the new Spring Summer collection on 3rd February wasn’t excitement enough, in April next year we’re launching a small high summer capsule collection which brings something very new to the RS family. We’ll be getting first samples before Christmas which will be a rather fabulous early Christmas present that’s for sure!

There's usually a couple of general things to sort out and this time it was approving our new, bio-degradable tape for all our distribution which we'll be using instead of the traditional stuff (yay!), as well as confirming the removal of all plastic from our packaging (double yay!). 

Rachel Simpson shoes sustainable packaging

It’s always nice to pop into the factory when we’re there and say hello to the team. You can take a look inside the factory and meet the people who make your shoes in our little film- click here if you missed it earlier in the year.

Rachel Simpson shoes Spain shoe factory

After a busy day and a productive afternoon at the factory we headed out into the old town for some food- it’s a gorgeous city and well worth an explore.

Day Two

The second day of our trip started with to visit our bag factory, which is in a different part of Alicante called Elda. They make bags for a number of high end, well known brands so we’re always a bit like kids in a sweet shop looking around their showroom! It also means our bags are the same super high quality so we’re rather happy to make the collection there.

 Rachel Simpson shoes

We’re in the middle of working on our new bag collection for Autumn Winter 2020 so our meeting was an opportunity for us to take a look at new shapes and discuss new ideas. It was actually Heather’s first visit too so we also had a tour of the factory, which I always enjoy :)

 Rachel Simpson shoes

Next up were visits to our various material suppliers to source new colours and fabrics for Autumn Winter 2020, which is one of a designer’s favourite ways to spend a day, trust me! The suppliers now have all their new AW collections in stock, so we go around selecting the swatches and palettes we want to use next year. We put our initial ideas together before we go so we don’t get totally side tracked, and it’s always nice when these come together with what’s coming through. We also found some very exciting textures for next year that we can’t wait to incorporate into the collection.

 Rachel Simpson shoes

After lunch it was back to our hotel where we spent a (very) happy afternoon designing, surrounded by the new swatches, shapes and with new ideas fresh in our minds. Sometimes it’s nice to design on the spot whilst the inspiration is flowing!

So that’s it, a quick insight into a typical trip to Alicante. We’re now busy finalising the new AW designs so feel free to comment if there’s anything you’d like to see us introduce to the collection. 


 Rachel x

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