Two years ago, a very lovely message filtered into my Dm’s asking to send Hamish a pair of shoes.
Those shoes he recieved lasted for many adventures and are one of the most comfortable his little feet have owned.
Today I want to introduce you to Lara, the kind hearted owner behind the quality brand Footsies and Tootsies.
Tell us a bit about your brand
We sell quality first walking shoes for babies/toddlers.
All our shoes have been designed and selected with the health of the foot in mind. They are all fully flexible, have a non-slip grip, radian heel design to keep the shoe on the foot, easy to use closures (no laces), plenty of toe room, lightweight, comfortable, stylish and durable.
What was your inspiration to start your business?
My son started walking at 10 months old and it was such a battle to find him decent walking shoes.
We ended up with a huge pile of shoes that wouldn’t stay on his foot or were so slippery he kept falling and hitting his head.
I started my search to find him quality shoes that ticked all the boxes and it just grew from there.
What is your vision/mission with your brand?
When a baby takes his/her first steps it is such an exciting time. Our mission is to make sure we supply quality shoes that are healthy and promote correct foot development.
At the same time we strive to form a lasting relationship with our little customers, and their parents of course, and keep them coming back for more.
What is your favourite product in your range and why?
My favourite product would have to be our denim hightop.
Denim just goes with everything and is unisex too.
The denim hightop also comes in two stages. Stage one (size 3 & 4) has a thinner sole which suits a new walker and stage two (size 5 upwards) has a thicker sole but is still fully flexible and suits a more confident walker.
Tell us a bit about yourself – the person behind the brand.
I am a wife and mom to two beautiful children, Liam (nearly 4) and Sofiya (nearly 15 months old).
I am a qualified high school teacher and met my husband a few months after starting my first teaching job. This year we have been married for 11 years and he is truly my biggest supporter.
We have left the country a few times but we keep coming back to South Africa where we feel most at home.
My whole family, except my sister, live overseas which can be really tough at times especially as they are not all in one place. I am very priviledged to have my sister close by who shares my excitement of the Footsies & Tootsies brand. It is our hope that we will be able to run it together some day.
What is your favourite quote?
“Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will” Suzy Kaseem
I love this quote and have to keep reminding myself that all we can do in life is to try our best and keep moving forward.
What message would you give a brand that is just starting out?
I think the most important thing is to love what you do and the product you sell.
I believe so strongly in our amazing product that it has made the sacrifices all worthwhile.
The other thing that I have learnt is that there are real people behind the purchases and that nurturing your relationship with them will help a great deal in growing your business, never underestimate the power of ‘by word of mouth’.