What has 2020 taught shoe entrepreneurs?
As a shoe brand founder, it’s easy to put unrealistic pressure on yourself. Do you think you could have done more this year? Perhaps you hoped to finally launch a shoe brand, or to sell more pairs from your fledgling company. Frankly if you have done anything beyond survive this year, I’m impressed.
Now is a great time to have a look at the impact of external and internal factors on your shoe brand plans.
2020 has been packed with challenges
- Factories closed unexpectedly
- Downturn in purchases
- Shop closures
- Mental health challenges
- Childcare issues
What else has created a problem for you and your footwear business? Write everything down. Then next to each of the items on your list, write how you handled each challenge. Read it and feel extremely impressed with yourself.
What have been the advantages of this year?
- It forced you to pivot into an exciting new product area
- More time on your hands meant you reassessed your priorities in life
- Do you know yourself better? Have you worked out why you procrastinate, and how to get on top of your to-do list?
- Increased sense of wellbeing because you stopped rushing around/spent more time with your loved ones/exercised because it was a reason to leave the house!
What other advantages have come out of 2020 for you? Again, write these down. How have you made the most of these positives? Well done you!
What will 2021 be like for shoe brands?
None of us really know the answer to this. However, we can assume that even if a vaccine is rolled out successfully to most of the population, customer spending power will be suppressed by financial concerns.
So how can we make plans when we have no idea what 2021 will hold?
Build flexibility and contingencies into your plans. Think of a flow chart or quiz where if one thing happens, you can act in one way, and if circumstances are different, you will take the other route. For example, if big weddings are allowed in your target market, you will promote your occasionwear and bridal shoes. If they’re not, expand your flats collection…which would be a low-risk option anyway.
Focus on shoe styles which can be worn casually and to events. If your customer were to only buy one pair of shoes next year, what would they be? Now design and develop those!
You’re not alone
My plans for 2021 are to keep supporting entrepreneurs one-to-one, continue offering my popular How to Start a Shoe Brand course, run more masterclasses on specific topics, and – this is the one I’m really excited about – build a community of shoe entrepreneurs!
Sign up to my Shoe Biz Club monthly newsletter to receive more tips for shoe entrepreneurs. I’ll also let you know when the shoe community is ready for you to join 🙂