I recently spent a couple of days in Prague, attending Bata Fashion Weekend. Essentially I was there to learn more about this world renowned shoe brand, but also to learn out about the exciting things that are in the pipeline for the Bata Brand Internationally.
Previously, Bata in South Africa was known as the place to go if you were looking for comfortable, every day shoes that are well made and fairly priced.
In Europe, and more specifically, in the brand’s hometown of Czech Republic, Bata is a shoe heaven where fashionistas flock to find the hottest shoe of the season.
Their flagship store in the centre of Prague is jam packed with shoes that will make your heart sing. To put this into perspective, the Bata flagship is a five storey building of shoe singing glory. I got to visit the flagship and trust me when I tell you, you’ve never seen so many beautiful shoes all calling your name!
I almost felt a bit overwhelmed with the sheer amount of shoes – if that’s even possible for me, which made me wonder why Bata in South Africa looked nothing like it’s big sister in Prague.
Well, this is where things get really exciting for us! Because pretty soon, we’ll have more of Bata’s stylish, trendy shoes available to us in South Africa.
During my visit, I got to interview the great grandson of Mr Bata himself, Thomas Archer Bata, who currently heads up the brand’s marketing and product development. During our chat he told me the vision for the Bata Brand internationally, and that was, in a nutshell, to position Bata as an international brand with it’s own identity.
Previously Bata, who have more than 4700 retail stores in over 70 countries, was de-centralized from it’s main brand; giving each country their own free reign on deciding which factories to use and which shoes to sell in their stores.
Ultimately, what you saw in your own Bata store, would most likely not be the same styles of shoes as in other Bata stores around the world.
This is likely the reason that the shoes I saw in Prague, resembled very little of our local offering.
But all that is about to change! With Bata’s new international brand focus, to strategically mesh the Bata brand globally, you can expect to see a lot more of the international, fashionable styles of shoes on the market in South Africa too.
In the last year, the Bata teams have been placing a major focus on the brand’s new image, and moving towards speed of design and design capability. Essentially their goal means getting more (of the same) product into the market and faster.
More product also means, we’ll get a taste of International Bata styles of shoes as our season hits.
While South Africa runs a season behind Europe and the US, this may not necessarily be a bad thing for us. Purely because we’ll get the best of the best of Bata’s top sellers and they will likely, sell like hotcakes.
Of course I had to ask Thomas Archer Bata exactly how many styles we’d get (because I want them all) and he assured me, that South African consumers can look forward to a minimum of four to five international trends per season. This number is a compulsory allowance set out by Bata International for each international market, and if all goes well, we might even get more than we bargained for.
I also asked if we’d get the same quality of Bata shoes as the ones the I had seen in Prague. The answer, “the exact same shoe”. YAY!
After seeing the current offering of shoes on the shelf in Prague, I’m ecstatic! I’m over the moon, I’m excited and I can’t hardly wait to see this new phase of Bata launching in South Africa.
The gorgeous metallic pumps in an array of sparkly colours, the gorgeous ballerina flats and stylish boots left me giddy with excitement and I really do hope these will be part of our offering.
Not to mention the cool and trendy North Star athleasure sneakers.
I’m all for pretty shoes, and I always pick quality over style – so knowing that Bata in SA will include leather options as well as stylish shoes really made my day!
Watch this space, and follow Bata South Africa on Facebook to see the new styles as they hit and stay tuned for more Prague content coming your way.
In the meantime, have you checked out my latest video? Come and take a walk around the centre of Prague, through Old Town Square with me.
Please note: Visuals of the shoes above may not necessarily be the collection coming to SA, however, I really hope that they are 🙂