The footwear industry’s fight against breast cancer continued last month, though once again in a modified format. The QVC Presents “FFANY Shoes on Sale” fundraiser put its black-tie gala on hold for the second year due to health concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. So the organizers focused their efforts on the annual consumer-facing sale held across the QVC platforms, which raises money to fund crucial first-step research into breast cancer.
“QVC has been the pillar that’s kept us afloat and kept us moving forward,” said John Heron, president of the Fashion Footwear Charitable Foundation, the philanthropic arm of FFANY and FDRA that has partnered with QVC for 27 years on Shoes on Sale.
The retail network aired its regular live broadcast on Oct. 12, hosted by Jane Treacy. During the event, 31,000 pairs of shoes were sold consisting of 69 different styles. Because consumers could purchase footwear online throughout October, a complete tally of the money raised is still to come; however, Heron said the broadcast (which generates around 60% of revenue) brought in $1.05 million, exceeding expectations.
“We were very, very pleased,” he said. “That’s going to translate to another gift of around $1 million to our beneficiaries, which include several university research centers and medical facilities.”
Heron noted that despite the challenges that many shoe companies have faced throughout the pandemic, the industry remained steadfast in contributing product to the sale. Some of the largest supporters included Marc Fisher Footwear, Caleres, Camuto Group, H.H. Brown and New York Transit.
“In these times that we’re living in right now, it’s been a very encouraging,” he said. “It kind of makes your heart swell with pride that you’re in an industry that still does this.”
As for the future of FFANY Shoes on Sale, Heron noted the fundraiser has reached a turning point as QVC has opted to reduce its involvement going forward. “We as an industry have got to make a decision about how we iterate, how we evolve and how we keep the legacy continuing,” he said.
And what a legacy: Following the 2021 event, FFANY Shoes on Sale will have donated over $60 million to breast cancer research.
“Outside of a handful of the real huge players — BCRF, Susan G. Komen — we are one of the most significant cancer breast cancer supporter funds in the country.”