How The Problem Of Sore Feet Gave An Opportunity to Expand A Boot Business image
S1 E16 · Beyond The Green Line
How The Problem Of Sore Feet Gave An Opportunity to Expand A Boot Business
12 Plays
1 year ago

On today’s episode of Beyond the Green Line, Shonelle interviews former podiatrist turned work boot designer Penny Crawford. 

Penny is a country girl from Gunnedah, a small town in the Liverpool planes of NSW that’s made up of farmland, mines, the Namoi river, and copious Koalas. 

Many miners visited her practice complaining of sore feet from their work, and her care for her patients has propelled her to create her company, Crawford Boots. Her incredibly helpful invention - a waterproof safety work book that actually fits correctly - withstood rigorous on-site survey research and gained raving reviews from grateful miners.

Penny shares that most of her patients’ foot issues were caused by ill-fitting footwear, and her desire to see the problem solved at the source let her to design and manufacture unique work boots that utilized two factories: one that specialized in the outer casing of the water proof boot, and one that designed superior in-soles. 

We hear all about her boot company’s big wins, supply chain challenges, and new partnership with the University of New South Wales’ Sustainable Research and Technology Center in a circular economy-inspired rubber recycling project, using her brand’s boots.

From the get-go, Penny desired to use sustainable materials (like rubber instead of PVC), and had in mind the end goal of creating a product that could be part of the circular economy. Then, the additional supply chain strain of Covid added another incentive to move the manufacturing process to a more local scenario. 

Penny joined the AMGC (the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre), who assisted her in getting the boots tested to see if she could begin to replace the rubber she was using with recycled or repurposed material. 

In addition, her boots’ end-of-life will now include repurposing into the steel-making industry by being combined with coal as the energy source at specific steel-making plants. Partnering with specific mining sites to provide receptacles for finished boots will ensure they collected for repurposing.

Penny won Business New South Wales’ Outstanding Business Leader, and Business of the Year 2021 for her entrepreneurship and innovative work on her boot product. We’re inspired by her work ethic and on-going commitment to responsible and sustainable business.

Take a moment to check out Dr. Penny Crawfords durable work boots: