FUNNYMAN Stephen Merchant has helped a trendy shoemaker take a big step forward.
Merchant – famed as Ricky Gervais’s comedy sidekick – hailed MES Footwork’s trainers as “tremendous” when both featured on same BBC2 show.
He even asked Something For The Weekend host Tim Lovejoy if they came in his size – a giant 14.
Now business has soared for MES boss Matt Scott, who lives in Washington, since his eye-catching product was highlighted on Sunday.
“It has proved a tremendous boost,” said the 24-year-old businessman.
“Hits on our website have rocketed, and we’ve had far more sales in the first few days of this week than we normally do.
“I guess it proves that our shoes are not just something for the weekend, but all week round.”
Company director Matt dreamt up the publicity coup while thinking of ways to get his firm’s name better known.
He contacted the show’s producers, who agreed to feature his unusual brand on its 10-minute segment highlighting Christmas best buys.
They were struck by MES’s individual concept, which allow customers to customize their shoes with their own photos and designs.
Two pairs of size nines – one showing the programme’s logo – were sent off and then featured on the programme.
When Merchant, 37, who with Gervais wrote hit shows The Office and Extras, was shown them, he said: “That is tremendous”.
He raised a laugh when he then asked: “Can I put my own face on there, and give them to family and friends?”
Matt believes the show, seen each week by about a million viewers, was the perfect platform for his colourful brand.
“It’s a great hangover show. It is individual and lively.
“Tim Lovejoy is really good, and his co-host, Louise Redknapp, is very attractive. It’s great that we got our shoes on there.
“Stephen Merchant was very funny and complimentary about us.”
Matt formed MES four years ago after looking at ways to design shoes for his then girlfriend.He found a way to print artwork on to the canvas of the footwear.
Business took off so fast that he could no longer work from his student flat.
Matt also decided his business marketing and management course at Newcastle University was not for him – and left.
Two-and-a-half years ago, he moved into his current base at Tedco Business Works, South Shields.
The company employs five staff, and is considering opening a London office next year.