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Today on the podcast I’m speaking to Laura Gillett. Laura is the founder of Stomperz, a children’s shoe brand specialising in wide fitting shoes in fun, affordable styles, which have just launched. 

Laura and I talked about what it takes to come up with an idea, and then implement an idea for a product. The focus is on the early stages of starting up a business, and how Laura managed this alongside her full-time job and young family.

Listen in to hear Laura share:

  • An introduction to herself and her business (01:07)
  • What inspired her to create her own product (01:30)
  • Researching how to to create her own shoes (02:46)
  • Finding a shoe designer (05:59)
  • Finding a manufacturer (07:24)
  • The time frame involved (08:30)
  • The launch range (09:47)
  • Testing the prototypes (13:19)
  • Working with the manufacturer in China (16:50)
  • Building her website (21:56)
  • Getting insurance (24:21)
  • Her launch plans (25:48)
  • Being realistic about her time when also working full time (29:28)
  • Her number one piece of advice for other product creators (30:12)

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Transcript
Speaker:

Welcome to the Bring Your Product Ideas To Life podcast, practical advice,

Speaker:

and inspiration to help you create and sell your own physical products.

Speaker:

Here's your host Vicki Weinberg.

Vicki Weinberg:

Hi, today on the podcast I'm speaking to Laura Gillett.

Vicki Weinberg:

Laura is the founder of Stomperz, a children's shoe brand specializing in wide

Vicki Weinberg:

fitting shoes in fun, affordable styles.

Vicki Weinberg:this podcast in the summer of:Vicki Weinberg:

weren't actually available to sell.

Vicki Weinberg:

They hadn't launched yet.

Vicki Weinberg:

So we have a really great conversation about what it takes

Vicki Weinberg:

to come up with an idea and then implement an idea for a product.

Vicki Weinberg:

So we're talking entirely about the early stages here of starting up a business

Vicki Weinberg:

and I really think that particularly if you are in the early stages, but

Vicki Weinberg:

even if you're not, you're going to find this incredibly interesting,

Vicki Weinberg:

um, eye opening and inspiring.

Vicki Weinberg:

So I would love now to introduce you to Laura.

Vicki Weinberg:

So hi, Laura.

Vicki Weinberg:

Thank you for being here.

Laura Gillett:

Thank you for having me.

Vicki Weinberg:

Oh, you're so welcome.

Vicki Weinberg:

Can we please start with you giving us an introduction to your

Vicki Weinberg:

business and what you sell, please?

Laura Gillett:

Sure.

Laura Gillett:

So my name's Laura and, um, I'm the founder of Stomperz which is a children's

Laura Gillett:

shoe brand that specializes in wide fitting shoes in affordable styles

Laura Gillett:

for, uh, toddlers and preschoolers.

Vicki Weinberg:

Amazing.

Vicki Weinberg:

Thank you.

Vicki Weinberg:

And what inspired you to start doing that?

Vicki Weinberg:

Because I think to me, starting up a brand selling shoes just seems

Vicki Weinberg:

like a huge, huge undertaking.

Vicki Weinberg:

So what was the, first of all, what was your sort of

Vicki Weinberg:

reason for wanting to do that?

Vicki Weinberg:

And then we'll talk through how you did it.

Laura Gillett:

Well, my son Olly, was measured as an H

Laura Gillett:

width shoe, um, very early on.

Laura Gillett:

He was about one.

Laura Gillett:

He was just walking and I discovered that it was extremely difficult

Laura Gillett:

to find anything in his size.

Laura Gillett:

Um, all the sort of lovely canvas trainer type shoes were just in far too narrow.

Laura Gillett:

Um, the only style that I could find were leather, they were heavy

Laura Gillett:

and they were really expensive.

Laura Gillett:

They about 50 pounds.

Laura Gillett:

So there was just very little choice.

Laura Gillett:

Um, and he was just always really obsessed with anything red.

Laura Gillett:

He always loved to colour red, so he would always gravitate towards

Laura Gillett:

red shoes, try and pick them up and I'd have to tell him no.

Laura Gillett:

And then one day he just, he was just crying and I said, right, okay, fine.

Laura Gillett:

I'll just make you some.

Laura Gillett:

Mummy will make you some red shoes.

Laura Gillett:

And so then I thought, well, I have to now.

Laura Gillett:

I have to keep my promise.

Laura Gillett:

So that's how it started.

Vicki Weinberg:

That's amazing.

Vicki Weinberg:

And, um, so problem indicateted, after you told Olly you were going to make

Vicki Weinberg:

his red shoes, what did you do next?

Vicki Weinberg:

How did you get started?

Laura Gillett:

Uh, literally Googled how to make some shoes because I had no

Laura Gillett:

experience in this industry whatsoever.

Laura Gillett:

Um, so I did a lot of research, um, about sort of all different types of

Laura Gillett:

manufacturing processes overseas in the UK, um, who could do what it was

Laura Gillett:

very, very easy to find somebody to make shoes in standard widths, but

Laura Gillett:

it was a lot harder to find somebody that could actually accommodate the

Laura Gillett:

wider width that I wanted to do.

Laura Gillett:

Um, so once I had my sort of initial design prepared, I reached out to a

Laura Gillett:

couple of more specialists agencies.

Laura Gillett:

Um, and got them to sort of go away and have a word with some

Laura Gillett:

factories, see what they could do.

Laura Gillett:

And I actually came up with one agency who could do exactly what we wanted, um, and

Laura Gillett:

to a really high quality that we wanted.

Vicki Weinberg:

That's amazing.

Vicki Weinberg:

And did you know right from the start that you were looking to start a business,

Vicki Weinberg:

and perhaps we talk about a bit about your range a bit later, but we, you

Vicki Weinberg:

know, you just have a range of shoes and, you know, you were going to turn

Vicki Weinberg:

it into a business or was it, I just want to get this one pair of red shoes

Vicki Weinberg:

made, where were you right at the outset?

Laura Gillett:

I think we were just, because we had no experience in

Laura Gillett:

this industry at all, we were just kind of like, let's just get to the

Laura Gillett:

next stage and see how it, yeah.

Laura Gillett:

Initially it did start with just the red ones.

Laura Gillett:

Um, and then when we got a bit more momentum and said, yes, we can do

Laura Gillett:

this, and to this specification, we do these other things.

Laura Gillett:

And then we reigned it back in and said, well, let's no, let's keep it

Laura Gillett:

a little bit simpler to start with.

Vicki Weinberg:

It's hard, isn't it?

Vicki Weinberg:

The outset, because you don't know whether something's even possible,

Vicki Weinberg:

um, that you let alone, how you do it.

Vicki Weinberg:

Sometimes you just don't even know, like you say, I wouldn't know if I, I would

Vicki Weinberg:

have to go do a lot of research, you know, you know, can you get, you know, a certain

Vicki Weinberg:

type of shoe made, for example, you just, you just don't know what you don't know.

Vicki Weinberg:

So I think it was a good approach to sort of take it one step at a time.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, and it also, I think it can be really intimidating as well.

Vicki Weinberg:

I, I, if you had thought, right, we're going to create this range of

Vicki Weinberg:

children's shoes and start a business that's like quite big and scary.

Vicki Weinberg:

Where as if it's just, let's find out if someone can make them and let's

Vicki Weinberg:

find out how you design them, I think breaking it down like that makes

Vicki Weinberg:

it a bit more manageable as well.

Laura Gillett:

Yeah.

Laura Gillett:

It definitely felt like that.

Laura Gillett:

And I think the whole process has taken a long time.

Laura Gillett:

For various world reasons.

Laura Gillett:

The pandemic has not helped.

Laura Gillett:

We've also had a baby ourselves during this time.

Laura Gillett:

So there's been a lot of things that kind of have taken a little bit longer.

Laura Gillett:

So we've really had time to kind of sit and consider every stage,

Laura Gillett:

which has been nice as well.

Vicki Weinberg:

Yeah, I think it's good as well, that there was no rush

Vicki Weinberg:

because the product that you are looking at is something that, you know,

Vicki Weinberg:

there's always going to be a need for.

Vicki Weinberg:

So I guess it wasn't something you had to rush out in three

Vicki Weinberg:

months or six months or whatever.

Vicki Weinberg:

I think it's nice that you've been able to do it around your family.

Vicki Weinberg:

And am I right in thinking that you work alongside this as well?

Laura Gillett:

Yes, I have full time job as well.

Laura Gillett:

Yeah.

Vicki Weinberg:

So yes, you've got a lot on your plate with a

Vicki Weinberg:

new baby and a full time job.

Vicki Weinberg:

So I think it's good that you've been able to make this fit around.

Vicki Weinberg:

So, where did you, um, so you spoke a bit about finding someone

Vicki Weinberg:

to make the shoe, but how about actually designing the shoes?

Vicki Weinberg:

Do you have a design background or did you have to find someone's

Vicki Weinberg:

help with that side of it?

Laura Gillett:

I don't have a design background, but I did have from a sort of

Laura Gillett:

a parent point of view, there were some design features that I knew I wanted to

Laura Gillett:

have just from a practical point of view.

Laura Gillett:

So I knew I wanted to have two velcro straps to give a lot of flexibility in

Laura Gillett:

the fit so that it's, wide feet aren't necessarily just wide at the base.

Laura Gillett:

And we've got high in steps.

Laura Gillett:

I wanted to make sure that they were really adjustable.

Laura Gillett:

Um, I wanted to reinforce takeout because kids just scrape their feet all the time.

Laura Gillett:

So I wanted to make sure that was nice and tough.

Laura Gillett:

Um, and the sole I've made, I've made the sole of the shoe, just

Laura Gillett:

straight lines to say that it's nice and easy to clean the kids.

Laura Gillett:

Kids step in stuff all the time and it's horrible having to try and

Laura Gillett:

scrub out of a complicated pattern.

Laura Gillett:

So I've made it so you can literally just go with a nail

Laura Gillett:

brush and it's more nice and easy.

Laura Gillett:

Um, so there were certain design features that I wanted but no, without

Laura Gillett:

having a design background, I couldn't actually translate that into something.

Laura Gillett:

So I hopped onto Fiver and I got a freelance shoe designer.

Laura Gillett:

Luckily he was fantastic.

Laura Gillett:

And I just did this really rough sketch of like, can you make this into

Laura Gillett:

something a bit more professional?

Laura Gillett:

And he did.

Laura Gillett:

And he was brilliant.

Laura Gillett:

So I definitely had to have some help with that.

Vicki Weinberg:

That's really good though.

Vicki Weinberg:

It was great that you were able to find someone, um, because yeah, we can't

Vicki Weinberg:

always do like all of this ourselves.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, so as well as finding the manufacturer and the designer, because I guess

Vicki Weinberg:

those two go hand in hand really?

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, what happened then?

Laura Gillett:

So after that there was a lot of back and forth with the

Laura Gillett:

supply chain on different samples, different materials, um, making

Laura Gillett:

sure that we got the sizing correct.

Laura Gillett:

And things like that.

Laura Gillett:

Um, and once we'd signed off on the sort the, the materials that they were going to

Laura Gillett:

use, basically we had to get the tooling made to actually make the outsources,

Laura Gillett:

which were wider than the standard ones.

Laura Gillett:

So, um, we got those made and then we had to test those to make sure

Laura Gillett:

that the siding did actually work.

Laura Gillett:

Um, and then once we'd done that, we were able to look at

Laura Gillett:

progressing into final manufacture.

Laura Gillett:

At which point we were able to then start thinking about, well,

Laura Gillett:

what are they going to come in?

Laura Gillett:

What's the box?

Laura Gillett:

What will they look like, and, and things like that.

Vicki Weinberg:

There's so much isn't there?!

Vicki Weinberg:

As you were talking, I was thinking, wow, there's I bet that process that

Vicki Weinberg:

you've explained really succinctly probably took a really long time.

Vicki Weinberg:

Did it, you know, back and forth with looking at the shoes and checking they,

Vicki Weinberg:

as you wanted them, the sizing was right.

Vicki Weinberg:

Because there's there's lot of pieces involved aren't there?

Laura Gillett:

That, that whole process took at 12, 14 months,

Laura Gillett:

something like that, a long time, yeah.

Vicki Weinberg:

But I think it sounds like, like, I think all the time you spend

Vicki Weinberg:

doing that is really worth it because I can tell like, like all these little

Vicki Weinberg:

details you've given and how much thought and care you've put into the shoes.

Vicki Weinberg:

So I think.

Laura Gillett:

Yeah, the whole thing has been very exciting.

Laura Gillett:

So we've loved it.

Laura Gillett:

Like other people might relax and think i'm there looking at fabric,

Laura Gillett:

samples, and I get really excited or like cardboard box samples.

Laura Gillett:

I think it's, it's been a really nice.

Laura Gillett:

I'd, I call it my expensive hobby.

Vicki Weinberg:

Well, yeah, for now maybe, but I think, you know, this,

Vicki Weinberg:

it is a business now, isn't it?

Vicki Weinberg:

It will.

Laura Gillett:

Yes.

Laura Gillett:

The, um, the final manufactures are landing tomorrow.

Laura Gillett:

So we would be.

Laura Gillett:

We will be ready to go.

Vicki Weinberg:

Wow.

Vicki Weinberg:

So I should, I should point out actually that we are recording this in July.

Vicki Weinberg:

So when, when you're listening to this episode, it'll be September or later.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, yeah.

Vicki Weinberg:

You will be able to go and order the shoes.

Laura Gillett:

Yeah, absolutely.

Vicki Weinberg:

Which is amazing.

Vicki Weinberg:

And tell us what, um, say, what does your range look like as of now?

Vicki Weinberg:

Because I know by September it might be different, but what styles,

Vicki Weinberg:

um, shoes are you launching with?

Laura Gillett:

So we are launching with a very basic canvas style

Laura Gillett:

trainer shoe, just like you can get in any other shoe shop, just wider.

Laura Gillett:

Um, we've gone with grey and red initially.

Laura Gillett:

Um, I was quite keen to do away with the whole boy section and girl

Laura Gillett:

section because I think that kids should just be able to wear what

Laura Gillett:

they're happy in and what they like.

Laura Gillett:

Um, so we went for two very sort of neutral unisex colours that

Laura Gillett:

hopefully all kids will be happy with.

Laura Gillett:

Um, and most importantly, they'll, they'll feel comfortable in.

Vicki Weinberg:

And how do you offer a range of sizes at the moment?

Laura Gillett:

Yeah.

Laura Gillett:

So we've started with 6, 7, 8 and 9.

Laura Gillett:

Um, that from my research seems to be about average between

Laura Gillett:

the ages of one and four.

Laura Gillett:

I would like to expand that to include five on the lower end

Laura Gillett:

and 10 and 11 on the other end.

Laura Gillett:

Um, before that kids seem to, they're not walking as much and they shouldn't

Laura Gillett:

really be wearing hard soul shoes until they're sort of established in walking.

Laura Gillett:

So I don't think we need to go any lower.

Laura Gillett:

And then above that the kids feet do start to sort of narrow out

Laura Gillett:

a little bit naturally anyway.

Laura Gillett:

So I think that they're, they're the key sizes, but we're going

Laura Gillett:

to start with the four initially.

Laura Gillett:

We've built this all up ourselves, so we couldn't, we didn't have the capital

Laura Gillett:

to start with everything straight away.

Laura Gillett:

We're going to have to build it up bit by bit and add some more sizes and hopefully

Laura Gillett:

some more colours and patterns later.

Vicki Weinberg:

I think that's a really smart way to do it though, because it's

Vicki Weinberg:

sort a nice way of sort of testing it out.

Vicki Weinberg:

And we'll talk a bit about, more about testing in a minute, because I know you

Vicki Weinberg:

have done a lot of testing, but it's a good way of testing it out without sort

Vicki Weinberg:

of going, once they're going all out, you know, as you say, you might, you

Vicki Weinberg:

might find that there's no demand for the bigger sizes or the smaller sizes.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, and I think it makes sense to go with what, you know, from your research,

Vicki Weinberg:

other sizes that people are buying.

Vicki Weinberg:

And then, you know, I think customers will tell you down the line if they, if

Vicki Weinberg:

they think they need different sizes or if there's a demand for different colours,

Vicki Weinberg:

I think as you know, we get going, that's the sort of feedback that you'll get,

Vicki Weinberg:

and then that will help you aswell.

Laura Gillett:

Yeah, absolutely.

Laura Gillett:

I think, um, it's going to be really interesting.

Laura Gillett:

One of the things that I've included in the box is a little

Laura Gillett:

outline drawing of a shoe.

Laura Gillett:

For kids to colour it in and tag on social media because I thought, well, that'd

Laura Gillett:

be really interesting if I'm getting 50 kids that are all colouring in green

Laura Gillett:

shoes, but maybe that's what they want.

Vicki Weinberg:

That's really clever.

Vicki Weinberg:

And that's also really nice as well.

Vicki Weinberg:

So, so the idea is that they'll colour in this shoe and then the

Vicki Weinberg:

parent will upload it and tag you in?

Laura Gillett:

Yeah.

Laura Gillett:

Yeah.

Laura Gillett:

Yeah.

Laura Gillett:

It's got size thing on one side so they can record when they were last measured.

Laura Gillett:

Because that's something I can never remember with my own

Laura Gillett:

children when I last measured their feet and what size they were.

Laura Gillett:

So it's got a chart on one side to do that.

Laura Gillett:

And then on the other side you can colour your own shoes and I can get a

Laura Gillett:

bit more conversations with clients.

Vicki Weinberg:

And a bit of publicity as well let's face it.

Vicki Weinberg:

If they're going to upload these pictures and tag you, that's

Vicki Weinberg:

really nice as well because that's all content you can use aswell.

Laura Gillett:

Yeah.

Laura Gillett:

Yeah.

Laura Gillett:

Yeah.

Laura Gillett:

So it'd be really interesting to see what happens.

Vicki Weinberg:

Well, if it's really exciting, I feel like this is all

Vicki Weinberg:

really well thought out Laura.

Vicki Weinberg:

I'm really impressed.

Vicki Weinberg:

I feel like you've like thought of every little detail.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um.

Laura Gillett:

Oh, thank you.

Vicki Weinberg:

It's really good.

Vicki Weinberg:

So what, when you had, um, so let's go back to the manufacturing and when

Vicki Weinberg:

you had the shoes, the samples, um, what kind of testing were you doing?

Vicki Weinberg:

So, because I know you mentioned it to me when we spoke previously,

Vicki Weinberg:

you did a bit of testing of them.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, so how did you do that and who were you doing that with?

Laura Gillett:

I did it with, um, my son has actually been across two of the sizes

Laura Gillett:

in the time that we've been doing this.

Laura Gillett:

So he's been wearing for almost a year now he's been wearing our shoes and

Laura Gillett:

there is no better tester than him.

Laura Gillett:

Like he, he's a little bit of a wild child.

Laura Gillett:

If they can withstand him, then , they can withstand those kids.

Laura Gillett:

Um, I've done runs through the washing machine, uh, to make sure, because

Laura Gillett:

that was another big thing for me as a parent, I was like, they need to be

Laura Gillett:

able to be washed and dried and ready to go in in 24 hours again for adventure.

Laura Gillett:

So we've been doing sort of just lots of everyday use.

Laura Gillett:

Obviously sizing was a big, a big thing we wanted to make sure.

Laura Gillett:

And actually when I put on his, it was the first time I'd been able to just

Laura Gillett:

slide a shoe onto his foot and not have to wedge it in, it was really nice.

Laura Gillett:

Um, And then obviously the because what I was having to do before was buy shoes

Laura Gillett:

that were a half size or, or sometimes a full size too long for him just so

Laura Gillett:

they would fit around his feet, he was just constantly tripping over his own

Laura Gillett:

feet because they were like clown shoes.

Laura Gillett:

So it's really nice to see him actually just walking confidently

Laura Gillett:

without sort of tripping over or having to adjust his walk.

Laura Gillett:

Um, and then for the other two sizes I found a couple of children

Laura Gillett:

locally who had the same problem.

Laura Gillett:

So I just gave them a pair and I, I went and I fitted them and we

Laura Gillett:

were happy with how they fitted.

Laura Gillett:

And I said, just go away and use them as you would in the other pair of

Laura Gillett:

shoes, don't be precious about it.

Laura Gillett:

Run, jump, scooter, whatever you want to do and let me know how they get on.

Laura Gillett:

And they had some really good feedback and they all said that

Laura Gillett:

they washed them and they stood up to the test of of time really well.

Laura Gillett:

So we were happy.

Vicki Weinberg:

Wow.

Vicki Weinberg:

That's really good.

Vicki Weinberg:

And Olly has obviously got his red shoes which he must be so overwhelmed about.

Laura Gillett:

We took them out of the box and he said mummy, they're red.

Laura Gillett:

I cried.

Vicki Weinberg:

I think I would've.

Vicki Weinberg:

I think it's, I think it's great that you did all of that testing because I think

Vicki Weinberg:

that's something that, um, people can be.

Vicki Weinberg:

I have seen people be a little bit precious of their samples in terms of

Vicki Weinberg:

like, not wanting to maybe use them in the way they're designed, because they don't

Vicki Weinberg:

want them to get them dirty or, um, yeah.

Vicki Weinberg:

You know what I mean?

Vicki Weinberg:

And I, I can, I can sort of see that, especially if you're thinking, well,

Vicki Weinberg:

maybe I'll use these, take my photos or whatever, but I do think they perhaps

Vicki Weinberg:

you've taken in, just use them as you were to use them and see how they go

Vicki Weinberg:

is the best way, because obviously it hasn't happened, but, um, you know, had

Vicki Weinberg:

they fallen apart in the washing machine, for example, that would've been the

Vicki Weinberg:

sort of thing you need to know before you, you are selling them and customers

Vicki Weinberg:

are returning them for that reason.

Laura Gillett:

Exactly, exactly.

Laura Gillett:

And actually the first, the very first samples that we had.

Laura Gillett:

Um, the material on the toe cap actually started peeling a little bit.

Laura Gillett:

So we were able to go back to the manufacturing and say, can you upgrade

Laura Gillett:

this so that this doesn't happen again?

Laura Gillett:

So it was really important that they didn't just sit on a shelf or

Laura Gillett:

sit in a box, that they were out and about, otherwise we would never

Laura Gillett:

have known that that was going to happen, that we needed to rectify.

Vicki Weinberg:

Yeah.

Vicki Weinberg:

And it's, as I say, it's much better like to know this now than

Vicki Weinberg:

to get this feedback from someone.

Vicki Weinberg:

And is disappointed because something isn't working and it sounds like

Vicki Weinberg:

your manufacturer's been really open to like having that relationship as

Vicki Weinberg:

well and changing things and testing.

Vicki Weinberg:

So that's really good.

Laura Gillett:

They have, yeah, they are absolutely fantastic.

Laura Gillett:

They're actually a company that specializes in, um, Kickstarter brands.

Laura Gillett:

So they work with all sorts of different products and companies,

Laura Gillett:

um, in taking something from concept right the way through to manufacture.

Laura Gillett:

So they're really, really good at, um, making all those little tweaks and

Laura Gillett:

making all those little suggestions.

Laura Gillett:

And they've been really open to, um, listening to my ideas, but also throwing

Laura Gillett:

in a couple of their own, they've got experts that they reach out to.

Laura Gillett:

And they're very good at coming back to me and saying, well, you've said this,

Laura Gillett:

but actually they've suggested that.

Laura Gillett:

Um, and we've, um, and what we've come up with has been a

Laura Gillett:

really, really good product.

Laura Gillett:

I couldn't have done it without their support really.

Vicki Weinberg:

That's amazing.

Vicki Weinberg:

And they are, do you mind me asking, are they UK based?

Laura Gillett:

No, they're based, based in China.

Vicki Weinberg:

Oh, wow.

Vicki Weinberg:

I've, I'm really, I'm, I'm actually really impressed at that service, um,

Vicki Weinberg:

you know, the service side of it and how much they're willing to work with you.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, and did you just find them via Google search or did that come another way?

Laura Gillett:

Now I found them found them on a Google search.

Laura Gillett:

Um, they're based in China, but they're very international.

Laura Gillett:

They've got employees from all over the world.

Laura Gillett:

Um, and then they obviously have a large chain as well.

Laura Gillett:

So because one of the things that I found was trying to speak to the factories side

Laura Gillett:

was a time difference, a language barrier.

Laura Gillett:

There's obviously a culture difference that I didn't necessarily understand.

Laura Gillett:

Um, so to find somebody who could kind of really bridge that barrier

Laura Gillett:

for me has been absolutely invaluable.

Laura Gillett:

Because they've got really, really strong relationships with the factories.

Laura Gillett:

They're able to make sure that, um, what they're asking for is, is they

Laura Gillett:

understood, whereas I couldn't necessarily do that, so they have been amazing.

Vicki Weinberg:

Oh, okay.

Vicki Weinberg:

So this company is like a third party between you and the factory.

Laura Gillett:

Yeah, that's right.

Laura Gillett:

Yeah.

Vicki Weinberg:

Oh, okay.

Vicki Weinberg:

That, yeah, that makes sense.

Vicki Weinberg:

And that's amazing.

Vicki Weinberg:

And you're so right.

Vicki Weinberg:

It's, it's really hard to have these kind of relationships.

Vicki Weinberg:

A long time ago I found a factory that I worked with and I had an

Vicki Weinberg:

idea for a new product and it wasn't a brand new product, it was just

Vicki Weinberg:

something original to my ideas.

Vicki Weinberg:

And, um, I remember I found a manufacturer and it was the Chinese, the factory

Vicki Weinberg:

directly that I got in touch with and I found one who was willing to work with

Vicki Weinberg:

me and make samples and send me pictures.

Vicki Weinberg:

And, um, yeah, when that happens, that like such a good relationship

Vicki Weinberg:

that you really need to hold onto it, because as you said, you also

Vicki Weinberg:

experience, you know, Really slow responses and perhaps miscommunications.

Vicki Weinberg:

People are not kind of understanding your needs or you're not understanding them.

Vicki Weinberg:

So I think it's amazing that you've managed to find, um, a

Vicki Weinberg:

really good manufacturer and that's yes, definitely one to hold onto.

Laura Gillett:

Yeah, they've been amazing.

Laura Gillett:

I've always said that I'm not particularly good at one particular thing.

Laura Gillett:

What I'm good at is finding people that are good at stuff, and they've

Laura Gillett:

been worth their weight in gold.

Vicki Weinberg:

That's really good.

Vicki Weinberg:

Is, I, that's really interesting that you said that that's good

Vicki Weinberg:

to know that that's a skill.

Vicki Weinberg:

So is that kind of, part of your strategy of taking the business forward?

Vicki Weinberg:

That you'll find people that are experts in different areas to help?

Laura Gillett:

Yes, absolutely.

Vicki Weinberg:

I think that's a really smart approach because I think

Vicki Weinberg:

none of us can be good at everything, but sometimes outsourcing or paying

Vicki Weinberg:

someone to help can be a bit scary.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, so I think it's really good that you recognize that now, because I think

Vicki Weinberg:

it's too easy to hold onto things for a long time, just because you kind

Vicki Weinberg:

of want to keep it all, but sort of recognizing that other people might

Vicki Weinberg:

be better at certain things I think is actually a really real strength.

Laura Gillett:

And I think in the long run, it definitely saves me

Laura Gillett:

money because if you're trying something that's not working, you're

Laura Gillett:

spending a lot of your, your own time.

Laura Gillett:

And when doing it, I think it's, you're going to get much quicker

Laura Gillett:

results if you go to somebody who does know what they're doing.

Laura Gillett:

And what I found is that there's a lot of people out there who know about them,

Laura Gillett:

but they also want to work with you.

Laura Gillett:

And they want to teach you, um, So I've picked up a lot of

Laura Gillett:

information just from talking to people like, and things like that.

Laura Gillett:

And it's, it's been really lovely.

Laura Gillett:

I've met one of my favorite things about the whole process is people that I've and

Laura Gillett:

the I've had during it with some really creative and wonderful people out there.

Laura Gillett:

They're always willing to give you a hand.

Laura Gillett:

You ask for it.

Vicki Weinberg:

Yeah, you're right.

Vicki Weinberg:

And that, you know, that's always been my experience as well.

Vicki Weinberg:

That if you kind, if you're open to like making relationships

Vicki Weinberg:

to people, it's like, yeah, the people just come really don't they?

Vicki Weinberg:

Yeah.

Vicki Weinberg:

And I think it's great to have a network.

Vicki Weinberg:

Because I guess you also needed to outsource.

Vicki Weinberg:

I'm assuming, you can tell me if I'm wrong on any of this but, sort of the box design

Vicki Weinberg:

and the website and things like that.

Laura Gillett:

Those I actually did myself.

Vicki Weinberg:

Oh, did you?

Laura Gillett:

Yeah, the website, Shopify is like a, is

Laura Gillett:

just an amateurs dream with me.

Laura Gillett:

It's not particularly complicated to do so I spent some fun evenings, but

Laura Gillett:

again, this is because I don't have any kind of time scales or deadlines.

Laura Gillett:

I was able to just take my time and play around with it.

Laura Gillett:

So nice evenings, just that with a glass of wine, playing around

Laura Gillett:

the, that, um, and then the box.

Laura Gillett:

On a, on a background.

Laura Gillett:

So that wasn't too difficult.

Laura Gillett:

I was able to just send over the logo um, but some of the other designs, so

Laura Gillett:

inside the shoes, I've got footprints, one for the left and one for the

Laura Gillett:

right, so that kids can sort of look and work out which feet goes in

Laura Gillett:

which shoe based on the, the toes.

Laura Gillett:

Um, and then the logo itself, um, that was all done by a really

Laura Gillett:

lovely graphic designer that I met through my hairdresser and she did

Laura Gillett:

the logo design for my hairdresser.

Laura Gillett:

So I, I pinched her and she's done some lovely artwork for me to do that.

Vicki Weinberg:

That's really good.

Vicki Weinberg:

And it is nice that you've been able to sort of do the bits that you are, that

Vicki Weinberg:

you feel comfortable to do, and you want to, and then outsource the others.

Vicki Weinberg:

I'm with you on spot and not Spotify Shopify.

Vicki Weinberg:

I'm a huge fan of Shopify as well.

Vicki Weinberg:

And actually when I first started selling my own products years ago now,

Vicki Weinberg:

I built my own Shopify website because that, that did feel like doable.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, And yeah.

Vicki Weinberg:

And I think, because you can't as much as like I've always been, well,

Vicki Weinberg:

I say always now I'm definitely a fan of outsourcing things that

Vicki Weinberg:

I'm not an expert in back then.

Vicki Weinberg:

Maybe not so much.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, but I think even then I kind of realized, okay, I can, this

Vicki Weinberg:

is something I can actually do.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, and I know money right in the beginning, money can be tight as well.

Vicki Weinberg:

I think in the beginning, the only things like outsource were the design

Vicki Weinberg:

aspects, so design of my products and design of the logo and things like

Vicki Weinberg:

that because I was just like, that's just beyond me, but sort of putting

Vicki Weinberg:

together a Shopify website felt doable.

Laura Gillett:

Yeah, I think, yeah, absolutely.

Laura Gillett:

Right.

Laura Gillett:

And, and it's only a couple of products I've got.

Laura Gillett:

If we expand, then I will definitely have to go to a specialist to link to

Laura Gillett:

social media shops and things like that.

Laura Gillett:

That's where I start getting overwhelmed with, with all the technical details.

Laura Gillett:

Um, but yeah, outsourcing definitely.

Laura Gillett:

And it seems like insurance as well.

Laura Gillett:

I was trying to get insurance and I just got completely lost in what I needed.

Laura Gillett:

So I found a local broker.

Laura Gillett:

I tried to go with other local businesses as, as much as possible.

Laura Gillett:

Um, and they were fantastic.

Laura Gillett:

They did everything.

Laura Gillett:

They came back to me with the information.

Laura Gillett:

They listened to all my stupid questions and never judged me for asking them.

Laura Gillett:

So they've been really good too.

Vicki Weinberg:

I think that's really good cause you are right.

Vicki Weinberg:

It can be really intimidating sometimes to ask the stupid questions.

Vicki Weinberg:

And, and when you talk about insurance, I remember looking for my own

Vicki Weinberg:

insurance online and spending quite a long time, trolling websites and

Vicki Weinberg:

reading small print and trying to work out, okay, is this what I want?

Vicki Weinberg:

Or is this what I want?

Vicki Weinberg:

And, um, it kind of feels productive because you're doing something, but

Vicki Weinberg:

actually in the end it can sort of just be easier to pick up the phone

Vicki Weinberg:

or walk in and see somebody and just get your questions answered.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, I think it can be a bit of a false economy.

Vicki Weinberg:

Can't it?

Vicki Weinberg:

That you think you're, you know, you think you're saving time and

Vicki Weinberg:

money, but you're possibly doing the opposite because especially when

Vicki Weinberg:

you don't have lots of time, how you spend your time is really important.

Laura Gillett:

Absolutely.

Laura Gillett:

I, I always think as an expert.

Vicki Weinberg:

So we are recording this in July.

Vicki Weinberg:

And you said your products are arriving tomorrow.

Vicki Weinberg:

Is that right tomorrow?

Laura Gillett:

Yeah.

Vicki Weinberg:

What happens tomorrow?

Vicki Weinberg:

What what's planned?

Vicki Weinberg:

Do you have any.

Vicki Weinberg:

Anything planned for launch or?

Laura Gillett:

Well, we've still got to keep past things so i'm hoping that the

Laura Gillett:

begining of August is our launch day.

Laura Gillett:

I'm not going to celebrate too hard.

Laura Gillett:

I'm really trying not to because the checking delays

Laura Gillett:

at the moment are incredible.

Laura Gillett:

So we're already too behind schedule.

Laura Gillett:

So I'm really hoping we're not going to get anymore.

Laura Gillett:

Um, but I'm hoping that they're going to be by the end of July, we're going

Laura Gillett:

to have lots of family selfies with boxes in our spare room if they fit in.

Laura Gillett:

That's a big if, um, And then yeah, we're going to really start ramping up.

Laura Gillett:

Um, some of the advertising, some of the PR really starting talking about it

Laura Gillett:

because what I've tried to not do, I've tried to create a bit of interest, but

Laura Gillett:

also, I don't want people to hear about things too soon and then get bored.

Laura Gillett:

If there is a bit of a delay it's kind of trying to time it with sort of raising

Laura Gillett:

the brand awareness, but not too soon.

Vicki Weinberg:

I know what you mean.

Vicki Weinberg:

It's and it's hard as well, because I guess it's also a product where you can't

Vicki Weinberg:

necessarily take pre-orders because kids grow and yeah, you don't want someone

Vicki Weinberg:

ordering a size of shoes now and then in six weeks when they're ready, they say,

Vicki Weinberg:

well, actually now my child's feet have gone up a size or half a size or whatever.

Vicki Weinberg:

That is tricky.

Vicki Weinberg:

I, yeah, I'm with you.

Vicki Weinberg:

I think it's, um, definitely good to be talking about it.

Vicki Weinberg:

And obviously you've got your social media set and things like that, but

Vicki Weinberg:

I think you're right to do the big push people can actually go and buy.

Laura Gillett:

Yes, I think that's fair and they can grow out of it quickly.

Vicki Weinberg:

They really, they really do.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, yeah, I mean, it's near the end of the school year now and I can

Vicki Weinberg:

see one of my children choose to, again, a bit tight and I just think,

Vicki Weinberg:

no, we'll wait until September.

Vicki Weinberg:

Hold on because yeah, they will grow in that time.

Vicki Weinberg:

And, um, Are you, is your plan to sell on your own website straight away?

Vicki Weinberg:

Or do you have anything else that you are considering?

Vicki Weinberg:

I say considering, because I know that this is all a process and can

Vicki Weinberg:

straight away, but is there anything you think doing beyond your website?

Laura Gillett:

Um, starting, definitely going start with website and social media.

Laura Gillett:

Um, one of the things that I'm interested in looking at going forward is, um,

Laura Gillett:

children's shows like the baby and toddler show, or maybe people, I think

Laura Gillett:

with shoes, sometimes people do like to try them on, especially if you've

Laura Gillett:

had issues with fitting and it's, it makes you a bit nervous to try

Laura Gillett:

something new and something unknown.

Laura Gillett:

And so I think having that physical presence in places is

Laura Gillett:

going to be really helpful for parents to just to try and see.

Laura Gillett:

Um, so trade shows is definitely one.

Laura Gillett:

I also read a couple of pop up opportunities local to me that

Laura Gillett:

I'd like to explore as well, but I think I'd like to see how the

Laura Gillett:

summer goes on the website first.

Laura Gillett:

Start building actually to start getting some proper sort

Laura Gillett:

of feedback from customers and then see where we go from there.

Vicki Weinberg:

Yeah, that definitely makes sense.

Vicki Weinberg:

I think doing things slowly is really sensible because, well, one, because

Vicki Weinberg:

we said you only have so much time, but also I think doing everything in stages

Vicki Weinberg:

and doing it well is definitely I think a better approach than trying to just

Vicki Weinberg:

do it all, be everywhere from day one.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, because I think that's exhausting and then also it's really hard to work out

Vicki Weinberg:

well, what is it that's working if you're doing it, you know, if you're spreading

Vicki Weinberg:

yourself quite thin, it's hard to say, okay, well that's working really well.

Laura Gillett:

Yeah, exactly.

Laura Gillett:

And we have to be realistic with our time as well.

Laura Gillett:

I mean, we, my husband and I, we both work full time.

Laura Gillett:

We do have three children and we are doing this as well.

Laura Gillett:

So we can't do everything all at once.

Laura Gillett:

We would just burn out and that's not healthy for the business

Laura Gillett:

or the family or our employees.

Laura Gillett:

So, um, we have got to kind of be realistic with, with how we can

Laura Gillett:

see things going in the future.

Vicki Weinberg:

That's exciting.

Vicki Weinberg:

And as I say, when people are listening to this, now the shoes will be available.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, we'll make sure we link to your website and your social media in

Vicki Weinberg:

the show notes for the episode.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, because hopefully they'll be on sale for at least a month by then.

Vicki Weinberg:

So that's really, um, exciting.

Vicki Weinberg:

I've got one final question before we finish, which is one I ask

Vicki Weinberg:

everybody, which is, what would your number one piece of advice be for

Vicki Weinberg:

any other product creators listening?

Laura Gillett:

So I thought really hard about this question actually, and I kept

Laura Gillett:

changing my mind, but I think my number one piece of advice would be to spend your

Laura Gillett:

time before you spend your money on really doing your research into your market.

Laura Gillett:

So really know your customer, um, making sure that there is

Laura Gillett:

definitely an opportunity out there.

Laura Gillett:

I obviously knew the product well because I was the target market.

Laura Gillett:

I was the parent who couldn't find shoes and I moved back to what a parent

Laura Gillett:

needed, but I had to still do a lot of research into what was available.

Laura Gillett:

How many other parents out there were having that problem before I decided to

Laura Gillett:

invest any of my own money to the project.

Laura Gillett:

Um, because the last thing that you want do is get very excited that you found

Laura Gillett:

this need until you found gap, took loads of money and then realize that actually

Laura Gillett:

there isn't anything out there, or there is something out there that you've missed.

Laura Gillett:

So I definitely think that spending your time before your money is a really,

Laura Gillett:

really important point to take on.

Vicki Weinberg:

Oh, I love that.

Vicki Weinberg:

Thank you.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, you probably heard, I talk about this all the time, completely in

Vicki Weinberg:

agreement and you're right as well.

Vicki Weinberg:

That even if you are your own perfect customer, it's really good to do the

Vicki Weinberg:

research, just to check that this issue isn't unique to you and that as you say,

Vicki Weinberg:

there's, there's enough other people with the same issue because I think in a

Vicki Weinberg:

way when you are creating something that needs a need that you have it's it can

Vicki Weinberg:

be too easy to go down a single track of, well, this is what would suit me.

Vicki Weinberg:

And, um, you see what I mean?

Vicki Weinberg:

And, and so of course I disregard the rest of it.

Vicki Weinberg:

I think that's something I've seen.

Vicki Weinberg:

So I think it's amazing that you still spend so much time doing the research

Vicki Weinberg:

and I really think it pays off.

Vicki Weinberg:

I know that often people are really keen to just get to the

Vicki Weinberg:

fun part, um, because research, let's face it, can feel a bit dark.

Vicki Weinberg:

I like it but I don't know about anyone else, but, um, I think that it's well

Vicki Weinberg:

worth spending that groundwork because as, as people can hear, when you've just

Vicki Weinberg:

spoken to us, your shoes, you thought of like so many little details and you

Vicki Weinberg:

possibly wouldn't have done if you hadn't spent all of that time at the front end

Vicki Weinberg:

of working out what people actually need.

Vicki Weinberg:

So I think you'll have had a better product for it.

Laura Gillett:

I think so.

Laura Gillett:

Yeah.

Laura Gillett:

It's definitely worth taking into consideration what other people

Laura Gillett:

have said as well as your own.

Laura Gillett:

And then, and then just combining that together to get something that

Laura Gillett:

hopefully should suit everybody.

Vicki Weinberg:

Well, thank you so much for sharing that.

Vicki Weinberg:

And, and for all of your time this morning in Laura, because I know

Vicki Weinberg:

you're busy, so I do appreciate you taking the time to talk to me.

Laura Gillett:

Oh, thank you so much for having me.

Laura Gillett:

It's been been lovely.

Vicki Weinberg:

You're welcome.

Vicki Weinberg:

Thank you so much for listening right to the end of this episode, do

Vicki Weinberg:

remember that you can get the full back catalogues and lots of free resources

Vicki Weinberg:

on my website vickiweinberg.com.

Vicki Weinberg:

Please do remember to rate and review this episode if you've enjoyed it

Vicki Weinberg:

and also share it with a friend who you think might find it useful.