Who are you and what business did you start?
I'm Susannah Davda and I launched my company The Shoe Advisor in 2015. I help individuals to begin shoe brands which delight their clients.
Before I launched The Shoe Advisor, individuals who wanted to begin shoe firms fought to gain access to this quite closed sector. Footwear company professionals didn't see the point of nurturing those with no preceding shoe encounter. I didn't believe this was fair, so for the last five and a half years, I've helped dozens of entrepreneurs to go into the fantastic world of shoes.
What is your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?
Except for a newspaper round and a brief stint in a dreadful bag store, I have only ever worked in sneakers. In age sixteen, I started working at a shoe shop. Although the product was fairly average, I adored it when new fashions have been delivered. I didn't even mind the monotony of"working inventory" - climbing up and down ladders shifting thick shoe boxes from one set of shelves to another.
When I was searching for fashion design degree courses in the great big manual of college alternatives, I stumbled across the tiny Footwear Layout section. There were two footwear design degree courses and also an HND in the united kingdom. I applied for those three!
I had experience in retail, wholesale, and branded footwear, and I knew I needed to utilize my knowledge to help people.
I was intending to leave my corporate worldwide shoe manufacturer role for some time and has been saving like mad. I'd walk part of my commute to save money on transportation, buy the cheapest lunch, and also know that those tiny sacrifices would be worth it in the long run. I had a site called The Shoe Advisor that I had been writing for a couple of years before I abandoned my job. Though it was consumer-facing, the name inspired me to establish a real consultancy business.
I handed in my notice the first day back in the office after Christmas, with no more than a vague idea about the type of shoe brands I would help.
Take us through the process of designing, prototyping, and manufacturing your first product
I registered my company as a Limited Company in April 2015 and began adding solutions to my site. These weren't well-researched offerings that clients were awaiting. They were just what I knew I could do well given my experience.
I offered consultancy for shoe brands, talking, and writing - all of which can be still earnings streams for my company - and private shoe shopping for people - which is not!
I attended a lot of Enterprise Nation workshops and networking events in the first couple of months of business. Enhancing my skills in advertising and social media, as well as fulfilling other entrepreneurs.
At one of these networking events, I met my first consultancy customer: someone who had been trying to begin a shoe manufacturer but struggling. Start-up footwear business clients like her finally became the most important focus of my organization. However, it took me a while to realize that the personal shoe shopping side of my business wasn't viable.
A business coach helped me to recognize I needed to bundle up my solutions and operate remotely to make a profit.
I still work one-to-one with clients but over Zoom or Skype. Back in June 2020 I launched my How to Start a Shoe Brand online course which was a year in the making. It currently represents a significant passive income flow for the business.
Simplifies the process of starting the company
I launched my business fairly quietly, with no huge party or fanfare from the press. Since I provide services instead of products, I did not have to commit a lot of money to be up and running. I opted to take my time exploring how my knowledge could both benefit other individuals, and give me an income.
I built my own website utilizing a WordPress template and only had to cover hosting and registering my domains.
I worked with only a couple of clients in the second and first years of business. Launching coincided with me getting pregnant, so it was a busy time for me personally. However, I did enjoy the flexibility that working for myself offered. I seem at January 2017 if my son started attending nursery part-time as if the company actually got started.
My business journey has been an unconventional one, but it served me well to offer a lot of services at first. This allowed me to work out where the earnings opportunities were with no financial risk.
Since launching, what has worked to attract and keep clients?
When I relaunched my site - professionally designed this time - that the SEO improved dramatically. My clients now find me on Google, Instagram, LinkedIn, on line media , and podcasts.
I have discovered the client testimonials to be unbelievably powerful. I share them on social media in addition to about the testimonials page of my site.
Instagram takes a little time and persistence to decode. I discovered that when I started posting relevant content frequently and comprised Stories in the mix; my followers watched more of my articles. Reels are now an important element in posts being prioritized by the algorithm.
I keep clients by providing excellent support. Since I launched the business in 2015 I have learned a great deal about what shoe startups want. All of my products and services help to make the journey to shoe manufacturer achievement simpler for them.
How do you do today and what does the future look like?
What I do is quite market, which restricts revenue potential, but makes it a lot easier to attract customers than more mass-market kinds of businesses.
I am currently forging partnerships with shoe business professionals throughout the world to increase awareness of my solutions in their countries. There's also been diversification in how I deliver my knowledge to new footwear manufacturers. From one-to-one only to the online course, and today I'm offering online masterclasses on particular subjects. The past 12 months has been a strong growth period for Your Shoe Consultant.
Plans include building a membership website and hosting a pop-up shoe shop.
Through beginning the company, have you heard anything particularly valuable or advantageous?
I certainly attempted to persist with the private shoe shopping service for too long. If I had just focused on assisting startup shoe brands early on, I think I could have grown my business more quickly. I knew that B2C wasn't a real opportunity fairly soon after beginning to market this ceremony, but I awakened, thinking something will work. It was other people who encouraged me to keep going. My advice to other entrepreneurs is to follow your instinct. If one facet of your company isn't functioning, focus on the area which is.
Another big change I made in my company was supposed to charge up-front for most of the services I provide. This means I spend a lot less time chasing payments, and more time on the components of the business I love.
Launching an internet course in the middle of lockdown was not something I could have planned for, but we happened to be close to completing it when COVID-19 spread globally. My intern and I worked intensively on the course, so we can launch it when everybody was still stuck at home. I think that the early success of the class was due in part to the remarkable change in people's lives.
What platform/tools do you use for your business?
For social media scheduling and content creation, we use Preview, Hootsuite, and Canva. For keeping track of clients and leads, we enjoy Capsule CRM. Asana is a fantastic job management tool, with entertaining animations when you tick off tasks. It has truly helped with remote functioning.
Zoom and skype are fantastic for client calls. QuickBooks for bookkeeping, MailChimp for email marketing, and Evernote for searchable notes.
What are the most influential podcasts, books, or other sources?
Launch by Jeff Walker was a significant read before launch my online course. It goes into the psychology behind launch techniques and provides practical guides.
Grow With Soul by Kayte Ferris is a gentle and inspiring podcast: it feels like the way I want to do business.
Advice for different entrepreneurs who wish to begin or are only beginning?
The information I provide my clients is:
- Work out who your customer is and what pushes them prior to developing a product for them.
- Build an audience before you've got anything to market
- Always reference your customer when you make any choice about your brand, advertising, product, or pricing
It's easy to skip those things and go directly to creating your product, but you risk the item not being appropriate for the client and nobody is currently waiting to buy it.