A two-year old footwear brand, founded by Birmingham businesswoman Shaherazad Umbreen, has been named Exporter of the Year at the National Best New Business Awards in London this week.
Shoes by Shaherazad, which makes its shoes in Birmingham and Norwich, specialises in heels that are comfortable to wear – the shoes are dubbed the 18 Hour Heels – and also donates a proportion of its profits to help women and girls living in poverty through a partnership with GlobalGiving UK. So far, the shoes have helped more than 3,000 women across the world to gain an education.
Founder Umbreen said that the fall in the value of Sterling following the Brexit vote had boosted the brand’s exporting success. “The uncertainty caused by Brexit hasn’t dampened the world’s appetite for British made product,” Umbreen said.
“I had a dream of empowering women by providing heels that not only looked good but were also good for their feet and comfortable to wear. Many business women are now working longer hours and we want to look good without having to suffer for it. I’m exporting my shoes to countries all over the world, including Germany, Australia, Saudi Arabia, Canada, the USA and Singapore,” she added.
Judges for the competition praised the business for its exporting success and also for its UK-made approach: “Not only are the winners product being exported all over the world but are also ensuring they are sustainably made in the UK, indisputably comfortable, and that 100% of profits are donated to good causes,” they said.
Umbreen returned from an export trip to collect her award this week and is off on another export trip to Portugal later in the month.