Because of your incredible support of The Shoe Garden over the past six years, I am so happy to share that I’m taking my small business to the next level. I’m reaching for those shiny, twinkling stars!
It’s not what you may think, however.
I won’t be opening another shop elsewhere. From the beginning, I always wanted my small business to stay small … but only in terms of location.
I have always wanted the one shop where I can personally ensure that Shoe Garden customers feel wonderful whenever they visit, either in-store or online. For me, being at the shop each day means each day I learn something about what people are looking for in shoes and each day I get to share in their excitement of finding fabulous long shoes that fit. I have to say, that’s incredibly inspiring and continues to give me a buzz each and every time my shoes find happy homes.
Opening another shop or shops would dilute that experience; it would mean more of my time spent behind the scenes managing spreadsheets and staff and cheering from the sidelines. Uh-uh. I want to be front and centre; that’s where I’m happiest and most effective.
Believe me though, staying small doesn’t mean I don’t want to see gorgeous Shoe Garden shoes on the feet of thousands and thousands of lovely women around Australia and New Zealand; I do. I want my business to be bigger and better and even more fabulous.
So, after much reflection, and realising it was time to shake things up a bit, I decided at the start of the year when I was being shown Summer 2018 ranges, to buy more shoes than I ever have before.
As in, I might have felt nauseous and in need of a lie-down when I saw my final orders and the huge quantities and dollars I had committed to spending.
All these gorgeous shoes will be arriving from this month and each and every month from now on.
You know, as scary as it was, it was also liberating.
I reckon there comes a time when you have to believe in yourself, right? To stand tall and say: “Hey, I’ve got this. I believe in my ability to be the proud owner of The Shoe Garden and I believe in my customers and I believe there’s a growing need out there for the shoes that I sell.’’
I’m shaking up the shoe industry a bit as well.
You see, suppliers like to deliver summer shoes in a three month period from around August and, for winter, in a three month period from around February. For the remaining six months of the year, I typically don’t get any new arrivals.
And that’s just stupid!
So, this time, when I ordered my summer range at the start of the year, I spoke to each supplier about delivery times. Usually I would just get vague estimates and the entire order would probably be delivered at the one time somewhere in that three month period.
Now I have insisted on which month my shoes arrive in to ensure that each and every month moving forward, there will be a great mix of shoes available and something fabulous to catch your eye. Or something sensible that you need for work. Or something glam you need for a night out. Or something casual for lazy weekends. Or something quirky because, well, you just want something different and to stand out from the crowd.
My suppliers have generally been great about this. Puzzled at first, as it’s such a different strategy in what is a very conservative industry, but nevertheless they have accommodated me and allowed me to dictate which shoes arrive when. That means, they may have to store some in their warehouse for me longer than usual, or organise earlier than normal production from their factories, but so be it.
It also means that my cash flow chart has become my new best friend. I can nearly recite it by heart given how often I scrutinise the figures!
I have also spent many, many hours agonising over which shoes to buy and then when I want them to arrive. I’m working so far in advance now that I even have shoes scheduled for Spring 2019!
These days, I stock around 12 brands that I adore, who have proven to me over the years their quality and their value and the people who sell them have my respect and, I like to think, my back.
I am bursting with pride and excitement about the selection of beauties that will be coming soon, my most comprehensive range ever.
And so there you have it. I really wanted to tell you my good news and would love to hear your feedback.
Thank you again for shopping at The Shoe Garden and helping me reach for the stars!
Carol & CCxx