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Unique businesses: the small-size shoe shop

shoes 2

Rebecca Little’s passion for shoes instigated her want for a retail business, while her own experience in finding ones that fit allowed her to delve into a niche: smaller-sized shoes.

‘I’m size 2.5/3 and my sister a size 2 and we can never find shoes that fit us’, she tells BusinessesForSale.com. ‘We always had to put a strap at the back of our shoes to hold our ankles.’

So when Rebecca finished university and wanted to set up a business, she knew that she wanted it to be about offering affordable shoes for smaller sizes. Her want for independence and a challenge pushed her to start the business in 2013: ‘I wanted to be my own boss.’

Despite the fact that there are other small-sized shoes specialists, Rebecca says that her business caters to a different target market.

‘My competitor is based on quite expensive shoes’, she says, ‘and that’s kind of what I wanted to avoid. I didn’t want to be the top end – I wanted my shoes to be good quality but at an affordable price.’

Running a website-based business

Rebecca had no prior experience of working in retail, but doesn’t feel as though it has held her back. As an internet-based business her focus was on the advertising, branding, blogging and making sure that the site functioned well. In order to set it up, she used a variety of programs:

‘Yeah, at first I used to use Weebly – a program which is really easy to use because they have a template there and you can follow them. Then I moved onto Wordpress, but again it was really simple for anyone who’s not quite confident in doing it from scratch. So, from my point of view, using that with the program was really helpful.’

Funding

In order to fund her business, she considered a number of options including a government loan and a bursary from the council.

‘To actually go about setting up the business I applied for the 18-25 start-up loans from the government’ she says.

‘I wrote a business plan and sent that off and I received a £6,000 loan from them over two years… Another thing that I did was apply for a bursary from my local council who offer local businesses some start-up funds to help them up and running. So applied and did a pitch to my manager of the local council and I received a £3,000 bursary from them.’

Location?

Unsurprisingly, due to the online nature of the business, location wasn’t a major factor for Rebecca when she was looking to take on the business. However the supply chain was, and we spoke to her about where the shoes are sourced from and how she found them.

‘I found a family-run factory in Spain through an online search and went and visited them’, she tells BusinessesForSale.com. ‘They do sell the products in Spain, but I bought a batch of them for my own stock. So I don’t design them, so the design’s already there – because they’re basically like a wholesalers.’

Selling up

Rebecca is choosing to hand over the reins of her business after wanting a change in career. She also feels that someone could make the business a bigger success than it currently is:

‘I’m still quite young and I don’t think I really have the skillset to make a really big thing of it. It could be a really good business because I have a good database, but I don’t think that I have the skillset to really run with it. It would be nice to see it grow further, like I know it can do.

‘I’ve also just finished my PGCE (I’m doing a PGCE on top of that) because I want to go into teaching as well, so that’s what I’m going to do.

‘I want to just give it to someone to just let it grow.’

What she enjoyed most about running the business

‘I just loved the emails that I get as well, because I can really relate to the customers. And when I have an email from women who say, ‘oh thank you, it’s so nice to finally find a shoe that fits’ it’s just really nice that I am helping someone.’

Advice for anyone looking to buy the business

Ideally, Rebecca would like someone to take on the business who can either relate to it and / or has a real passion for shoes. Her main advice for someone looking to run it is to make the most of networking on social media to get further involved in the fashion world industry.

‘You need to be someone who’s prepared to spend a lot of time online and on social media blogs, as well as on general advertising.

‘It’s a really nice little business – it could be whatever the person makes of it. If you don’t put in the effort it’s not going to go anywhere, but I really do feel that it can do.

‘It’s got the foundations, and someone with the correct skillset who’s willing to build on that could make it into a fantastic business.’

Rebecca is selling the business here for £5,500, which includes £2,000 worth of shoe stock, a booming mail list, well-developed brand design and business website. 

 

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