Twenty-six years ago, the footwear industry came together for the very first “QVC® Presents FFANY Shoes on Sale” event: A fundraiser for breast cancer research which would soon become a staple of the fashion calendar. Since its inception, Shoes on Sale has raised millions of dollars for charity through the hosting of a beloved gala and an accompanying shoe sale on QVC, uniting footwear brands, QVC and shoppers all around the country.
In 2020, the 27th annual “Shoes on Sale” event was set to go ahead – and then the pandemic struck. As the footwear industry battled against unfamiliar challenges and a new retail landscape, the Fashion Footwear Charitable Foundation (FFCF) had to reassess what a Shoes on Sale fundraiser might look like. One thing was clear: The importance of rallying together as a community and giving back to our most vulnerable had never been greater.
“While the pandemic has interrupted the normalcy of everyday life for many, the world did not stop for those battling breast cancer today,” said Ron Fromm, chairman of FFCF. “Patients, physicians, and researchers don’t get to work from home, they remain on the front lines of this very personal battle. I was reminded why FFANY Shoes on Sale was founded and why, 27 years later, its mission continues.”
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With a reaffirmed commitment to going ahead, FFCF turned to its partners across the industry and began figuring out what a new incarnation of Shoes on Sale would mean. The gala portion has unfortunately been cancelled but the QVC live broadcast and corresponding sale would go on.
Beginning on October 1 and continuing through the rest of the year, with a special live broadcast on QVC at 5pm ET on October 19, the 27th Annual edition of QVC® Presents “FFANY Shoes on Sale” will continue its legacy and build on the $58.5 million raised for breast cancer research and education since 1994.
Reinventing the Show for 2020
“When we reimagined the event, we wanted to focus our energies on raising the awareness of both the progress in fighting the disease, as well as the need to find a cure,” said Fromm. “While we will miss some of the glitz and glamor and celebrities of the gala, we intend to highlight the tremendous courage of those who fight the fight, to recognize those whose is generosity of shoes makes it all happen, as well as recognize the research scientists and hospitals who hold the hope for the future.”
By centering the event around the sale itself, there is an unparalleled opportunity to shine a spotlight on the beneficiary of the fundraising. The sale itself began early, extending the period of time that consumers can engage with the charitable initiative; this year’s event also includes the option for shoppers to make an additional personal donation at the checkout. For the beneficiaries of the donations, this year’s event is particularly meaningful as regular research and programming has been challenged by the coronavirus.
“Despite the pandemic, cancer is relentless and continues to affect untold numbers of patients and their caregivers,” said Dr. N. Lynn Henry, breast cancer disease lead at Rogel Cancer Center. “The fact that we are able to continue to partner closely with ‘QVC Presents FFANY Shoes on Sale’ allows us to maintain a sense of normalcy, so we can focus on continuing our progress against breast cancer.”
For QVC, the cause at the heart of the event – breast cancer research – holds a special meaning. With a strong emphasis on corporate responsibility, the network has a particular respect and interest in women’s empowerment and therefore its role in the annual Shoes on Sale event has been a critical way to embody that mission. While previous years would see QVC host a broadcast for the gala, this year the focus is entirely on the shoe sale itself. Helming the show will be Jane Treacy, QVC’s program host who has been supporting the Shoes on Sale live show for the better part of 25 years.
“To us, it’s more than just a fundraiser,” said Leslie Ferraro, president of QVC and HSN. “It’s an event that allows us to leverage the inherent strengths of our vendor relationships, our global platforms, and our passionate team members to address a health issue that affects – and can hold back – women worldwide, many of whom are in our very own QVC family. I am incredibly proud of the impact and contributions we have made in breast cancer research and education.”
The Community Comes Together
The footwear industry is known for its tightknit community, but this year has presented challenges that no one could have seen foreseen. As a result, brands and retailers across the footwear category could have decided that they were too overwhelmed with supporting their own businesses and employees, to partner on such a large scale event. But they didn’t.
“It is no secret that the retail industry is facing incredible headwinds this year, and while we were initially very reluctant to ask for support, we have been overwhelmed with the response to our campaign,” said John Heron, president of FFCF. “Almost all donating companies re-committed to efforts in 2020 without hesitation, with some even increasing their level of support. We cannot thank them enough. We are thrilled with our product assortment and look forward to a great broadcast and selling event with QVC.”
The generosity of brands this year has resulted in over 50,000 pairs of shoes being donated wholesale for consumer purchase. All shoes sold through “Shoes on Sale” will be listed at sale prices of at least half off the MSRP or comparable retail value; a minimum of 80% of the purchase proceeds will be donated. This year’s event also includes a new feature: For the first time, all shoes will be priced under $100.
For many brands, Shoes on Sale has a special place on their own calendar. At Marc Fisher, there is the dedicated “Move for Pink” Collection for breast cancer research. This year sees an expansion of that collection to include the Traveltime Mule, along with last year’s sell-out style, the Romy Walking Shoe.
“Since our first event in the early ‘90s in Central Park, raising money to help eradicate breast cancer has been a cause that has been near and dear to my family,” said Marc Fisher, founder of Marc Fisher Footwear. “My father and sister started Shoes on Sale 27 years ago. We are extremely proud of this supportive footwear community and their efforts in raising money and awareness in the fight against breast cancer year after year.”
Earth Shoes announced an increased commitment to the 2020 event, citing how Shoes on Sale is a cause bigger than just their brand. Another participating company, Global Brands Group, highlighted how much of an honor it is to be able to contribute to this cause.
“The spirit of giving back is core to GBG’s culture and a driver of our company’s purpose to ‘impact the world with brands people love,” said Ron Ventricelli, North American president of Global Brands Group. “We continue to be inspired by the work of FFANY and QVC Shoes on Sale, which has raised over $58 million dollars for this critical cause that continues to impact those near and dear to our hearts. Here’s to another successful year—the world needs it now more than ever.”
The 27th annual “QVC presents FFANY Shoes on Sale” is live now and will run until December 31.