Duke & Dexter

Archie Hewlett, Founder, Duke & Dexter, Brand of Tomorrow 2017

Duke & Dexter is a British-born footwear brand specialising in men’s loafers. All their shoes are designed in London and handmade in Sheffield, England. They seek to revitalise historical English craftsmanship and innovate the conventional through their designs whilst drawing on traditional British heritage as well as global inspiration. Duke & Dexter is an internationally recognised brand, selling to over 100 countries online and with stockists in all five continents.

“Being an entrepreneur in such a competitive, fast-paced and challenging field is extremely difficult – especially when you go against the grain. It’s simultaneously the most exciting and daunting experience. But, it’s the unexpected wins when you can take a step back and realise you’re on the road to visibly building something great that make it all worth while. 

Although I always wanted to create a globally commercial product when developing Duke & Dexter, I also wanted to build a brand I believed in, rather than just following the latest seasonal fashion. I wanted to create a label where people would trust D&D’s own opinion and style; in-turn building organic loyalty with clients who support our values and designing for those who are comfortable in creating their own look. This is undoubtedly a much longer, challenging process but a more rewarding one now that the company has come into fruition.”

In order to be a successful luxury entrepreneur what pieces of advice you would give?

Prepare to work 7 days a week. Accept you will always make mistakes, a lot.

What are the most important lessons you have learned along your journey?

No matter how successfully or badly it’s all going, the workload never stops – it really is relentless and you have to keep aiming higher.

What are the watch outs along the way?

Customers, they are always right and by far your biggest and best form of advertising, over any paid campaign. Word of mouth is vital.

When you were started out who was your biggest inspiration? And what did they tell you that helped make you a success?

For me it was my parents, I don’t come from a fashion or design background, so instead of having a role model in the industry, it was my parents who I learnt most from – they have always made it very clear that there’s no shortcut: success is the result of preparation, hard work and constantly learning from failure.