Ara Ashdjian ran a successful shoe manufacturing business in the UK for the best part of 30 years before identifying a growing trend in the industry to outsource production to places such as China. “I realised that manufacturing shoes in Britain was no longer a good idea, so I shut the business down in 2001 and started importing shoes instead,” he says. “We focused on ladies’ fashion shoes, and I founded the new business with Tim Cooper, who ran Marks & Spencer’s largest shoe supplier. Today, OPS shoes are all over the high street, and the business has raced to an £18m turnover, with £25m expected this financial year. So what sets it apart from the competition? “Quality and efficiency. I run a quality business and I never want my customers to tell me the product is no good. We set realistic delivery dates and stick to them and our young designers are the best in the business.” Not a bad combination, that.
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