How did the crisis affect foreign stores? What does a good seller-buyer relationship turn into? Where does the money to start a business come from? In which segment did sales increase by 350%? All this in a story about the niche shoe store Kathryn Kerrigan.
Carrie Bradshaw was very fond of shoes. Katherine Carrigan too. But she had to engage in design, and then sales, because of hopelessness. In 2007, she received the prize as the youngest and most successful entrepreneur.
Diana Vanover never thought she would be proud of her size 11 shoe. “I've always worn men's shoes,” she says, “and one of my worst memories is from eighth grade, when I had the same shoes as my teacher.” She only calmed down last year when she found a large store for herself opened by Kathryn Kerrigan in Libertyville, Illinois, USA.
The hostess herself is far from an inch-long woman and well understands the needs of her customers. The retail price of shoes in a store starts at 150 dollars. All models are designed specifically for the big foot, so the heel is specially reinforced to support more weight, the sole is thought out so that the weight is evenly distributed over the entire surface.
Diana Vanover, who had previously bought either very cheap or poorly fitting shoes, was surprised to find that large shoes can be of high quality and beautiful. Carrigan, who combines the positions of a store owner and a designer, places orders for production in small factories in Spain and Italy, where she is provided with quality and manual work.
Katherine Xnumx Years. She opened her business four years ago and says it was a pure gamble. She took up shoes because she and her Loyola University basketball team colleagues simply had nothing to wear. So the site Kathryn Kerrigan.com appeared. “I understood very well that while women wear the 29 and 7 shoes, retailers will not spend time and money buying 9 and 10 shoes,” says Katherine. - And until the sellers begin to order them, manufacturers will not sew them. It's a vicious circle".
In her research, Catherine found that more than 35% of American women in the US wear size 9 or larger shoes. After interviewing 400 women of large sizes, she realized that there is a free niche for trade. Then Katherine developed a business plan and received a $ 30 thousand loan from Libertyville Bank & Trust in December 2005.
Katherine's mom, Inna, who wears 9-sized shoes, has become the co-owner of the business, managing finances and accounting. Daughter focused on design and sales.
The online store began to receive orders from the USA and Australia, London and Dubai. Her gamble eventually led her to be included in the rating of the Inc. magazine "The coolest women entrepreneurs to 30 years" in 2007 year. And her site’s traffic increased from 2000 people a day to 100 000.
Soon, she decided to open a regular stationary store. If shoes of 6-9 size are sold in ordinary stores, then in her store the line is expanded to 14 size, and some ballet shoes are also ordered in 16 size. In our coordinate system, this corresponds to a range from 39 to 46.
Katherine uses a variety of web services to grow her business. She has a “live chat” on her site in which customers can check the stage of order execution and ask any questions about shoes in real time. Attendance is stimulated by the fact that each user of the chat is then sent an e-mail code to receive a discount of $ 10 - for the following purchases, both online and offline.
In February, she launched a free newsletter of helpful tips for iPhone owners. The application is interactive, owners of communicators can not only receive information, but also send Katherine messages about their preferences for the colors, styles and price of shoes.
She regularly holds webinars (as online seminars are now called), talking about businesses whose students receive promotional discounts.
The brand is advancing offline - back in 2007, Carrigan began to participate in the WSA Show, offering already wholesale orders. Wholesale is purely symbolic: the minimum margin is 8 pairs. In February 2009, she made her debut at New York Fashion Week.
To promote the site, Katherine used Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, Twitter and LinkedIn. The economic crisis did not stop the development of the business. Online sales increased by 350% in the first half of the 2009 year, to $ 1,75 million (from $ 500 thousand a year earlier). In addition, she opened five stores in neighboring Canada. Plans to open stores in Chicago, Los Angeles and New York. In addition to business, she also became a teacher - in the evenings she shares her experience with students of the Loyola University business school. In addition to business and teaching, she manages to engage in charity.
“I admire her ability to give,” Vanover remarks, speaking of Carrigan's charity and her OneShoe project. “The project was created specifically to help women who cannot buy shoes but really need them.”
Vanover regularly visits Carrigan’s store, already has 14 pairs of her shoes in her wardrobe and a whole line of shoes on the store shelves, named after her Diana.
Bob Fibs, CEO of Retail Doctor, a consulting company, says Catherine’s business success is based on three key points: risk taking, enthusiasm, and good knowledge of the needs of his customers.
For your information:
The economic crisis did not stop the development of the business. Online sales increased by 350% in the first half of the 2009 year, to $ 1,75 million (from $ 500 thousand a year earlier). In addition, she opened five stores in neighboring Canada. Bob Fibs, CEO of Retail Doctor, a consulting company, says Catherine Carrigan’s business success is based on three key points: risk-taking, enthusiasm, and good knowledge of the needs of her customers
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