Tag Archives: Fashion

Store of the Month: August

7 Aug

Freewebstore’s Store of the month for August is the very glamorous Madame Sole Protectors. Our team got in touch with Sophie, the store owner, to talk all things business (oh, and which superpower she’d choose, of course!)

soleprotectors-blue-new

1. Please tell us a bit about yourself your business and where it all started.

It all started when I was living in Mumbai and I took a pair of new Louboutins out for a spin and when I returned home the beautiful, delicate not to mention expensive red soles had been scratched to smithereens. I’m not going to lie I was mortified so searched the internet for something that could potentially protect my soles and maybe cover the existing damage.

I couldn’t find anything suitable and although I could get them re-soled I wasn’t going to leave my precious Louboutins at a cobbler so just lived with the fact that this was the price I had to pay for gorgeous shoes.

Fast forward a couple of years I found myself living in Shanghai and was gifted a new pair of Louboutins, I was not going to make the same mistake this time, oh no, I was in the manufacturing capital of the world, if I couldn’t find the product I required I was jolly well going to find someone who could make it for me. After scouring Chinese manufacturing websites and with a little help from a translator I found a factory who produced all items associated with shoes and it went from there. The lady I was in touch with spoke ok English and we managed to develop the product I desired together!

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My first order was for 500 pairs as that was the minimum but I didn’t sell any until I moved back to the UK a few years later, I just used them to protect my growing personal Louboutin collection.

2. What made you get into this line of work?

Since I was young I’d always had ideas for products and, although I never pursued it, it was in me!

I had been a trailing spouse for a number of years working to meet people in various companies, then I fell pregnant for a couple of years. Unfortunately, my husband and I split up and all of a sudden I was a single mother of a 6-month-old and 2-year-old living back in England thinking ‘what the hell am I going to do?!’

I didn’t feel I could do a 9-5 as I had two babies and couldn’t afford full-time nursery fees and remembered I had the 500 or so Sole Protectors upstairs & thought maybe I could sell them. So I did!

 

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Sophie and her family!

I started on an auction site and sold them all very quickly but this site was very expensive, so that plus the PayPal fees and it had so many rules on how you could market the product. I really wanted to make my own website and cut out that ‘middle man’ but I didn’t want to pay someone to do my website. I found freewebstore and it actually was completely free to set up the website using their existing templates and start selling!

I ditched the auction site and now only sell on my own website www.soleprotectors.co.uk

3. How do you market your product?

I mainly market my products on Facebook, I’ve got involved in many shoe appreciation groups and feel they love my product as much as I do and they love how the sole protectors can protect their beautiful soles from damage. We have great feedback using the rating feature on our freewebstore which I feel fills other customers with confidence when buying our product.  We now do clear sole Protectors as well as red sole protectors so are suitable for all types of designer shoes including jimmy choo, Valentino, and Irregular Choice as well as your everyday shoes for a little extra grip!

4. If you could have ANYONE to come and work for you, who would it be and why?

 

Michelle Mone

Baroness Michelle Mone would be Sophies ideal work partner

For sure it would be Michelle Mone of Ultimo! I heard her talk at a conference when I was 18 and I was in ore of what she had achieved; I really felt inspired.  She broke down doors to get to where she is today and I feel that someone like her would really help me get to where I would want to be in the future. She’s also fabulous so she’d fit in great. I just love her.

 

5. Do you have any advice for new store owners?

Advice to new store owners would be to ask for support from the freewebstore help desk if you need it, they are so knowledgeable and can save you so much time than trying to figure it out yourself. As they say ‘time is money’

6. If you could choose one magic power, what would you go for?

My magic power would be to click my fingers and everything be tidy and clean or done for you. Example .. ‘Click, the toys are tidied away, ‘ click, the dinners made ‘ Click! The washing up’s done’ ‘click, my sole protector orders are packed’ Think Disneys Mary Poppins, a spoon full of sugar! (Haha, great!)

7. Why is eCommerce important for your business?

Although we do supply a few boutique stores the large majority of our business comes from our eCommerce store. It is so important as it allows Madame Sole Protectors to reach a much wider customer base, not only in the U.K but abroad too. My web store is my showroom and I can add and delete products and information at any time. When people are looking for a product these days the first place they look is the internet and my store gives my business the opportunity to be found and noticed. I am very grateful for this.

I work from home and live in a little village, in a bid to support my local community and keep our local post office open, instead of having a franking machine I send all my items Royal Mail through the local Post office.

8. And finally, do you have any celebrity customers?

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Sophie presented with her ‘best new product’ award by Caprice at the mumtrepreneur award ceremony.

Well I can’t imagine the likes of Beyoncé and Kim Kardashian scouring the internet for sole protectors personally, they have people for that, however we are well informed that our sole protectors have been used in fashion catwalk shows and on the soles of pop stars in concerts to help prevent them slipping over in their designer heels during their performances.  Not to mention the one and only Caprice who awarded us with the Mumtrepreneur award for best new product last year. (congrats!!)

If you would like to learn more about Sophie’s fantastic business or to purchase some sole protectors then visit her website at soleprotectors.co.uk.

If you feel like you deserve to be Store of the Month, contact us at info@freewebstore.com with the subject ‘Store of the Month’ or visit us at freewebstore.com.