Marcus Fairfax Fountaine
Co-founder of Fairfax & Favor
I have had horses at home my whole life. My mother started off my love, as she has been riding her whole life. I have been riding since I was 10 and loved going to Pony Club Camp. The Fairfax & Favor head office is based in a 19th century stable. Due to the location of the head office and my upbringing, it was only natural that the countryside was going to inspire pieces. We identified that there is not a great choice of flattering outdoor/country shoes available, other than wellies or loafers, the latter which wouldn’t last long with wear and tear, so we solved the problem and created the Fairfax & Favor collection.
When did you start your company and what gave you the idea?
My childhood best friend, Felix Favor Parker, and I decided at the age of 15 that we would go into business together, and it was then that, using our middle names, the Fairfax & Favor brand was born.
Our first venture was to launch a bouncy castle company. Needless to say, this didn’t turn out to be as lucrative as we had hoped, so we decided to better our business acumen and went on to further our study. I went to Manchester University and Felix to the Royal Agricultural University at Cirencester.
Upon graduation, we were reunited and together worked as wholesale sales managers for Abarka Ltd, which allowed us to cut our teeth in the footwear industry. It wasn’t long before we decided to go it alone, and in 2013 felt the time was right to give the Fairfax & Favor brand another chance, this time leaving behind bouncy castles for a line of hand-crafted leather boots.
With our final wage packet, we booked two flights to Spain to visit a footwear factory where I begged the proprietor to make 400 pairs of beautifully hand-made boots. With the stock due to arrive in six weeks, Felix booked our first show, the local Holkham Country Fair. The event was a success, which saw us sell enough to pay for the next show, which in turn paid for the next and so on.
Nine years later, Fairfax & Favor is now a sought-after British lifestyle brand with a multi-million-pound turnover—quite an achievement for us—we have only just turned 30!
What part does your company play in the horse world?
Fairfax & Favor has become a leading equestrian-inspired footwear label in Britain. Our timeless designs are adored and worn by members of the British Royal Family, celebrities and the very best of Team Great Britain’s riders. We are also proudly the footwear partner of British Eventing.
Our famous Regina style boot is a signature within the collection and has been worn by everyone from six-time Olympic gold medallist Charlotte Dujardin, the Queen’s granddaughter Zara Phillips, and Burghley and Badminton winner Pippa Funnell. This country boot has been the brand’s hero product since it first launched over seven years ago, and has been adapted to suit different needs and purpose of use in recent collections. The quintessentially British design was adapted from the Spanish riding bota and has fast become an instantly recognizable Fairfax & Favor product. Available in different heel heights, calf widths, colors and materials—leather or suede—the boot can be personalized with interchangeable tassels in a range of over 30 colors.
We also attend all major UK horse shows including Burghley, Badminton and Horse Of The Year, and are the headline sponsor to the Fairfax & Favor Rockingham International Horse Trials, which is a huge success for us! This year we made our first-ever U.S. appearance at the Kentucky Land Rover Three-Day Event—watch out for our boots in a trot-up near you!
For more information, visit www.fairfaxandfavor.com
Photos by Melissa Fuller, msfullerphotography.com