What started off as a dream...
Sheepers started in 2015 when I was working as a graphic designer in central London. Whilst I did enjoy my job, I had had enough of the typical 9-5 routine and was bored of doing the same thing; I wanted to do something different. My dad, Stanislaw, brought a pair of traditional Polish Moccasins as a gift for me after one of his many trips to Gdansk Poland, as he knew my well-loved ones were getting a little worse for wear after years of wearing them every day.
Becoming a Reality...
I then came up with the idea of designing my own pair! So many people would comment on how comfy they looked, so I thought- why not make them accessible in the UK? The slippers are made by the Gorale in Poland and this is something we always want to continue.
Normally the Gorale would either work on a farm or hand make items to resell, however this trade was dying out. This was the perfect opportunity to work together to make our slippers, which brought in some stability for them and meant there was a demand for their hard work again.
The role of the Gorale
Sheepers have ensured that Sheepers slippers are made ethically and are used from off-cuts. This means that we do not bulk buy cheap sheepskin or wool. Instead, we use off cuts from other methods of farming.
Not only is the handling of animals very important to us, but also ensuring that the Gorale have a fair wage is crucial.
I began working from my bedroom in my parent’s house in North London where I was born. As I was ordering more and more stock, there were slippers everywhere! Anywhere you looked in my house, there would be boxes of slippers. I couldn’t find anywhere else to store them other than in my house as storage space in London was just too expensive for my little dream. Luckily my family were very patient about the overflowing boxes of fluff.
Sheepers Takes Over!
I began selling the slippers and other accessories at various markets in the UK, as well as on the Sheepers website and through Instragram. A lot of sales came from word of mouth which was so important to me, and still is. It was so exciting to have other people sharing in my enthusiasm and I felt like I was sharing some of my childhood with people. A lot of Polish people found it funny as they are seen as quite old fashioned. This did make me question my decision, but I persevered thinking of the fond memories I have of growing up in Poland and wearing these cosy slippers. I thought everyone needs to experience this comfort.
Sheepers’ First Studio in North London
After spreading the word about Sheepers at various markets, I realised I was running out of space. The business was growing very quickly. I eventually found a small studio in North London and employed a wonderful handful of staff who pack and ship orders and help with the day-to-day running of Sheepers.
We have stockists all over the world including Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters, Not On The High Street and Amazon, as well as independent brands across the world. Have a look at our Stockists.
Our own Sheepers Building!
No-one planned for what was coming (COVID), and this has holted some of our plans, but the demand for Sheepers during the lockdowns was something we could never have predicted.
We realised that our small studio could not keep up with the amount of orders coming in. Alas! An entire building became free across the road from our small studio, and I decided to take it. I had to think about the future of Sheepers, and I realised it was perfect. I could not believe we had our very own building. We even had our own Sheepers kitchen! A bigger building meant we had to hire more staff, at one point during Christmas we had a team of 15 staff members!
A busy year...
Once the lockdown Christmas period had ended, I realised how much more I wanted to put Sheepers out there for people to see. I decided I wanted to attend various events to promote the brand, and see what people thought of it. We spent months planning our design and hand cutting wood for our furniture and shelves, to make sure our stand was exactly what I wanted it to be.
We attended the CIJ Christmas Show and the Spirit of Christmas Show at London Olympia which were both a huge success!
I could not believe the amount of people walking past seeing our stand who knew or had heard amazing things about the brand, it was the best feeling ever.
The decision to move out...
I could never have anticipated the brand would grow as quickly as it has. 6 years have passed, and I decided that in order to make Sheepers the best it can possibly be, it was time to move (all 8 tonnes!) of our stock into a fulfilment warehouse, where they can keep up with the demand of our orders.
It has been a very fun few years, going from building to building with our amazing team of staff, however I know this is the next step for Sheepers, having no processing delays with orders and ensuring everything runs smoothly.
Taking our biggest step yet!
The journey is by no means over, we have done so much in such a short space of time but we have so much more to do and can’t wait to see where this next year takes us.
We are now fully operational in our own warehouse, with a great team of people dispatching all of our orders! It is a huge relief and now I can focus solely on growing Sheepers to be the best it can be, and as big as I know it will be.
We hope you will continue to follow our journey and stay part of our ever-growing Sheepers flock!