The crafty mum bringing her wacky wellies to Bath for one weekend only
They're perfect for festivals, outdoor weddings and country walks
by Imogen McGuckin Senior Reporter
8 Oct 2022
Phillippa Whitney is selling her stylish Talolo Boot wellies at 15 New Bond Street this weekend
When Phillippa Whitney asked to join my Facebook group, I was intrigued.
Why was a Banbury woman interested in Bath and what were these funky boots she was selling? When I scanned her profile to check she wasn't a scammer, I was sucked into the weird and wonderful world of Talolo welly boots.
Essentially a rubber cowboy boot, they're the next-level shoe we didn't know we needed. I bet you've all had that sinking feeling when you step out of the office and into a great, big puddle in your posh heels.
It's a real bummer - something Phil and her sister, Lucy Stoddart, knew only too well. They were running corporate events all over the world then the idea for Talolo Boots struck them. Phil explained how it all came about.
"We used to organise big, outdoor events and often we would have a meeting with the client in their boardroom. Then we’d go outside to look at the location, which was usually a muddy field, and we would ruin the lovely court shoes we'd been wearing for the meeting. It was a real hassle and yet you can't exactly wear normal wellies to a board meeting.
Phillippa Whitney launched Talolo Boots with her sister Lucy Stoddart, in 2019
‘We thought there has got to be something that is waterproof, that looks the part indoors and outdoors', but we couldn't find anything, so we decided to create it ourselves. The name 'Talolo' comes from the phrase 'tally ho'," the mum-of-three said.
Phil and Lucy launched some designs for their new boots in 2019 and started selling them at festivals. They also went to Brighton Pride, where the colourful wellies went down a treat.
"Our eyes were out on stalks, " Phil, 58, said. "We thought our boots were pretty wacky but they were nothing compared to what we saw there - and everyone loved them! We only go up to a UK size 8.5/9 at the moment but we still had men desperately trying to squeeze their feet into a pair of Talolo boots, because they really liked them."
A pair of Talolo Boots ranges from £72-79
Not long after that roaring success, lockdown hit and Phil and Lucy saw their calendar of events wiped clean. They spent 2020 learning how to sell online and getting up on the footwear trade.
"Lockdown was actually pretty good for sales because people were going on a lot of walks to get their exercise. They were a nice, fun product and you could wear them on a muddy dog walk or to your local park.
"Our customers are a really wide range of people. We have our festival-goers - they love them because they are not a clumpy welly and they can look quite cool while keeping their feet dry. A decent pair of cowboy boots will cost you between £400 and £500. So if you are going to a country music festival, you don’t want to trash your nice suede or leather boots.
"Then we go to sporting events, like polo matches and the Cheltenham Festival and no one realises they are wellies. People still don’t realise, even when I have them standing in water. Then you have got your city fashionistas who love them for going around town, or outdoor weddings, and yummy mummies who go to watch their children playing sports at the weekend.
"It's really, really wide because we have got the subtle ones and then we have got the over-the-top ones," Phil explained. But it hasn't been all plane sailing for the entrepreneurial pair.
"When we were just starting out, we went over to Dublin for the Gifted Fair at the RDS. We had forgotten about Brexit changing export laws and that made it so complicated because we weren't sure how many boots would sell.
Lucy (left) and Phillippa at the Gifted Fair in Dublin (Image: Phillippa Whitney)
"It was coming up to Christmas and the Republic of Ireland was on the verge of going into lockdown because Covid cases were so high, so there was very little publicity about the fair and hardly anyone turned up," she laughed.
Since then, she and Lucy have toured festivals all over the UK with their wacky wellies. If you like the sound of Talolo boots then you're in luck. Phil and Lucy will be selling them at a pop-up shop in Bath this weekend, so this is your chance to grab a pair.
She said: "We're right at the bottom of Milsom Street, where it turns onto New Bond Street and we're sharing with Slouchy - a Bath business that sells big cosy hoodies and dry robes.
"As well as our welly boots, we have our handmade boot jacks and fur-lined welly socks. The jacks are made by an opera singer who lives near my sister in Dorset.
"During the lockdown, he wasn't able to perform and he just so happened to be a woodworker. Now he makes our boot jacks for us and you can get them personalised, which makes a lovely present."
Phil and Lucy will be at the pop-up shop from 10am-8pm today (Saturday, October 8) and 10am-6pm tomorrow (Sunday, October 9). You can also browse the eight designs of Talolo Boots online here or find them in one of the 30 UK shops that stock them.