World-famous Kiwi boot polish will not be sold in UK, check why

London, UKEdited By: Heena SharmaUpdated: Jan 02, 2023, 06:11 PM IST
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Despite the fact that the company was never owned by New Zealanders, it was a shoe polish brand that gave the phrase "Kiwi" global fame. Check why Kiwi is packing up and leaving from UK

Although it first sounded like a New Zealand product, Kiwi boot polish was actually an Australian one that was started in a two-room Melbourne factory. According to Te Ara Encyclopedia, the company's founder William Ramsay gave the name Kiwi in honour of his wife Annie, who was born in New Zealand. The shoe polish quickly established itself as a staple in cities all over the world thanks to its distinctive name and Kiwi bird logo. At its height, it was sold in 183 nations selling 250 million tins yearly.

Why Kiwi will not be sold in UK?

Company's current owner SC Johnson concluded it was no longer worthwhile to continue selling its polish in the UK since the practise of British people cleaning their shoes has lost its lustre. According to a Kiwi representative, there has been a decline in Britons cleaning their shoes, which has been accompanied by an increase of casual shoes that don't need to be polished. In nations where formal shoe care "remains relevant," the company would continue to offer the items. Kiwi departure is a sign of the times, reported The New Zealand Herald quoting David James, 62, whose family's shoe repair and cleaning business started in Central London 100 years ago.

“In part, this is because people wear suits and smart shoes much less. Covid accelerated that with more working from home, but a trend was in place before then,” he was quoted as saying. “Also trainers are being worn more and more, even to work. While shoes are dying, trainers are alive. We now renovate sneakers, repair and paint them.”

History of Kiwi boot polish  

After starting in 1906, Kiwi shoe polish was introduced to Europe two years later. Te Ara said that imperial soldiers made extensive use of it while at the battle. Sara Lee Corporation acquired the company in 1984, and then in 2011, it was sold to SC Johnson. Reports state that the present owners intend to concentrate on the company's assortment of other items. Here in New Zealand, big retailers including The Warehouse still carry Kiwi shoe polish.