The author of the blog for entrepreneurs, “Modelbank—Business” Irina Usichenko talked to the founder of The Penny Shoe shop Yard Dmitry Klochkov about the difficulties of business creation by yet non-existent market. Edition vc.ru published an interview with the authors permission. Know that you engaged in the Shoe business, when the neighbors you flooded, and your shoes were ruined.
How is it that such a simple household situation forced to open a business. I used to love high-quality shoes. First, just bought a beautiful formal shoes, then caught himself on a strange lesson.
Go around the city, look at the shoes of other people and wondering, what brand, where bought, what skin, how old they are. I realized what you said. A big part of my Shoe was ruined. At first I wanted to kick her, but then decided to put in order.
And then I made a decision I do not regret — I went to look for a repair shop. Who knows, if not for that, I opened my own firm. I found one shop in Moscow that took over my shoes.
But made her shameless. Shoes were look even worse. “Well, in the end man should be able to care for your shoes” — decided that I would do it myself.
I already established contacts in the Shoe industry, but came to be seriously called on foreign Shoe factory, described the situation and asked for advice on how to spice up shoes. Even in London called Crockett & Jones, and Im not denied. Specialists told about the production of leather, painting and finishing is the last stage of production of shoes with painted soles and top polishing. Of course, googled her, and that was enough to allow the shoes in order. Still walk in them.
But to care for your shoes and make it a business are two different things. How did the care for shoes has turned into a work. Then I worked in international consulting company.
Worked for a long time, everything worked, but decided to take a break. And after the boots began to wonder if someone has the same problem. The information was in my head a lot, so when I left the company, started a blog and began writing about caring for shoes and Shoe the world at large. Fortunately, the money saved up, could relax and think.
A month later, I began to write the first customers and ask how to repair shoes. The workshop was not there, but the thought of her never left. I began to ask friends. It turned out, they had the same problem. Repair nowhere, in the workshops instead of the stacked heel put rubber slap.
If the shoes soiled, the cleaning no one. And if you take a thousand rubles shamelessly spoil the shoes. I have listened to and understood, that should solve the problem people care for shoes. They bring swollen from the salt and moisture in the shoes, and we give them shiny and new in appearance.
That business is not bankrupt, the master should not sit without work. With these thoughts I opened a workshop. How did you find your first customers?.
We did service for top-managers of banks, hotels and everyone who wears formal shoes, which does not change with age. Oxford, monk, Derby. We offered them a package solution. Top collects shoes in a bag, brings to the job and pays to the Secretary. He calls us and we pick up, clean, repair shoes and bring back. Signed contracts with several commercial and state banks.
I agreed to cooperate with the company, making suits, tailors, Shoe stores. Some recommend us directly, others offer services on its behalf, and then send to us. Recently launched a partnership with the dry cleaning for sneakers — Sole Fresh. If it comes to people with formal shoes, they send it to us.
If we come up with sneakers that are sent to them. We are the official repairers Loake.ru in Russia. Customers of the store after buying shoes go to us to make the protection of a sock or install metal taps.
Many bought the Polish, the shoes Shine. They want to develop a Association of people. “Buy expensive shoes, you go to Penny Yard”.
I raised the project in silence. Little was told about him, did not allow direct advertising, all the forces directed to upgrade skills and improve processes. It helped me to expand its client base and to reach the level of twenty orders a day. When a business breaks through, it breaks through thoroughly, then you take orders and work very hard. So we went out.
What shoes work. Im only interested in formal shoes, not fashion brands, like Gucci and Louis Vuitton.
Fashion house more likely will make the shoes from cheap materials, but will hang a huge price. It is unprofitable to shoes worn ten or twenty years, because trends change every year. Formal shoes main thing — quality and durable, so wear it for 10-15 years.
Our firm works for those who understand that a good and properly stitched pair of shoes — the investment of money in a Swiss watch. The clock should be cared for, to do the calibration and polishing. No one will throw away a Swiss watch, if they are slightly scratched or loose an arrow, taking it in for repair. As with quality formal shoes.
These shoes are sewn by the canons. It is important in all. Design, method of attachment of the sole. It is important what technology stitched shoes. Is technology “cemented” when the soles are glued, and sometimes rantovoy when the sole is stitched with the top of the Shoe rant.
This design “Goodyear”. In the design of the “Blake,” on protracted outsole the insole, without a Welt, is sewn to the top of the Shoe. We learned the whole production process of the Shoe and repeat all the steps that make well-known Shoe factories.
However, for many people, wearing one pair of shoes for dozens of years — a sign of misery or poverty. But business people have long understood that it is better to buy a few pairs of good shoes and care for her. You say that you are working with expensive shoes. Expensive is how much.
It all depends on how the footwear was sewn. Shoes bench-made is done on machines. Its not the pipeline that all people do, but with the help of machines.
In hand-grade involved machines, but manual labor there is more. The more hand work the better and more expensive out shoes. Shoes hand-greyd is 550 — 900 pounds, the shoes are bench-made — 350 — 480 pounds.
When the pound was worth 50 rubles, a pair of good shoes that will last you 20 years, it was worth 20 thousand rubles. People have complained that it is expensive. Now this pair is 36 thousand rubles, and again everyone complains. Quite often I meet people with shoes Crockett & Jones, Edward Green, Carmina, Loake, Alden, Santoni.
But if a customer brings shoes that you dont know. What to do with such clients.
The inexperience we took boots of leather, which did not know how to work. It was bad, or the skin changed color. So there was a rule. “Take in only those shoes, the origin of the skin where you know”. If you are not sure, just be warned that the skin may change color or it will have to be repainted.
Happens, bring the shoes of light shades with patches and abrasions. Bring these spots hard, so we can offer repainting in a different, darker color. A typical workshop — the kiosk, where sits a cobbler with dirty hands, on the table scattered tools, the smell of Shoe Polish.
Shoes is on the shelf, to the bottom of the glued sheets with the order number. And as you have in the workshop. I have three workshops.
One finish and two technical. The finisher we do in the workshop, where the client and work area are connected, there are three masters. When a client comes to the Studio, he sees the boys Polish the shoes, put the cream or corrective color. I wanted to show that it is a living process.
In the technical workshop we make basic repairs. Set or change the prevention of the leather sole, raise heels, fixed or replaceable heels, tie shoes, paint and replaceable insoles. In this workshop noisy working press and tufting machine, the smell of materials, so this area we have separated. We have one technical workshop, two masters are doing fine work, for example, change the sole.
The customer brought in shoes what happens next. The first customers didnt find the right words to say what they need.
So I divided the concepts of care and repair, and they created a matrix of services. I was telling my clients about the process, with shoes for every kind of skin, how we care for shoes, how we select funds for different skin. Over time, they learned to understand the term and now just say what care you want to.
We have basic care and complete care for different skin types. Suede, nubuck, calfskin, Cordovan, alligator. Do polishing and repainting. Complete care — restoration of the shape of shoes, deep cleaning in several steps, the adjustment of color and polishing. First, clean the shoes, after cleaning, it dries 8-12 hours, then impregnate her, take out and adjust the original color, do the finishing, polished.
The whole process takes 4-5 days. Is that the salt comes out at a time, it is necessary to repeat the cleaning. We call the client and talk. “We have a problem during cleaning.
We want to work with a pair to match their quality criteria”. In the end, the shoes with mounds of salt turns into a smooth and glossy couple. If the work we dont like we call the client and say that your account will do what you need. The client pays nothing.
Complete withdrawal lasts for 2-3 months. Of course, depends on where the client goes. If splashed through the puddles or walk around the snow — less. In muddy, wet weather we suggest to use two brushes. Soft and hard.
Hard — to remove dried mud, soft — polishing to return the Shine. For regular customers we develop an annual plan to maintain and repair. Imagine, they have ten to fifteen pairs of shoes, for they will not follow. We put in the calendar when you need to spend care, and then call the client or helmet SMS reminder.
To us, this service was not. People with a pair of Crockett & Jones didnt know where to go. My shoes are also cared for in the workshop. Most often I wear English shoes Crockett & Jones calfskin from Alden Cordovan or Foster & Son.
Complete care is usually enough for two months, but I dont wear one pair more than twice a week. So I repeat the leaving in 3-4 months. Winter shoes give care twice.
Tell us about your team. Who works for you as you hired the first masters. At first I thought that it is necessary to find people from your market, but quickly realized it was a bad idea.
And where to find them. Most workshops is a kiosk or a terrible home life on the edge. Shoemakers know what prevention can nail the heel cap, and thats all. About any Goodyear, they are not heard. Even if you take such a person to begin to teach him, he will not be able to work.
Hes already burned out, used to work for a thousand rubles, he had emptiness in his eyes. I dont want them. People from the market who want to go to our state — in fact handymen. They were able to collect the sofas at the factory, then worked in the houses of life, repaired cheap shoes. I did not take these, for me they are “passengers”.
They only have to repay the loan, to be interrupted until there is no work. They will work a couple of months and go away, and I collapse processes. I always call the master and ask him about the job. I asked a few questions, after which everything is clear:
? You have 40 years working in the Shoe shop. What can you do?. ? All. ? Well. Heel know how to score.
The heel cap of leather and rubber heels English gather?. ? What. Why?. ? We work with bead heels, there is a special printed cloth dove tail, half, quarter. ? No, you cant.
? What else can you do?. ? Yes, I know. ? OK, metal taps Lulu in the nose punch can do?. ? What taps?. ?Clear.
Midsole change. Rentowy method familiar?. ? No, but I know how to do prevention. Generally with the shoes work 30-40 years. ? Prevention, we also know how to do, thank you.
People thought that can do everything, and he did an ordinary job. Stuffed printed cloth, pull heels. He knows nothing about the designs of Goodyear, Blake, and does not want to know.
After my questions, people are going nuts, think Im a prick, hang up. So we take the job of trained people, it is very important. I grow masters from the journeymen. Once a month I take a new person and start to teach.
After six months, he will be able to take care of any shoes to make separate processes for repair. It is important for me to recruit a team of people in the constancy and loyalty that Im sure. Tomorrow he will not leave, and I will not sit by himself to repair shoes. The first master was my buddy.
He left one job and are still undecided where to go next. I offer him a gamble. Establish a process for the dyeing of shoes. He agreed to try and got used to it, he liked. First painted the shoes under my supervision, and in six months everything could do myself.
When it comes to us the apprentice, the first thing he teaches internal professional language, production terms and types of leather. Then examines the underlying routing and the most simple kinds of work. Each master has skills, everyone does their area. Sometimes people come to me students part time. The first three months they work for free while you learn.
Then work for money. Doing the job that we dont have enough hands. They are happy when the weekend turns out to earn a few thousand and learn something new. The work itself inspires. Sometimes, coming to us killed a couple, a few days later, master puts it on the shelf as new.
He has the pride in the eyes. “Look, I did it”. His other praise, and he is glad that he was able to release from the hands of another great result. And the staff us friendly, no heat, and stress. Guys independent, if Im not there, decide all questions.
Wizards are very sensitive to each pair. They understand that their skill depends on salary. If the customer is dissatisfied, he will not return, there will be less orders. And this means they will not get paid.
You have a lot of regular customers, the wizard probably already all know. What are you doing to the master could not steal its customer base and open his own workshop.
Masters can open their workshops, and to lead customers — no. Client base they are not directly accessible. Communicate with clients directly only I or an administrator, and the wizard — no. The worst that can happen — they will carry the routing. But every master to sign a NDA, so Ill sue you.
Imagine that the master has stolen the card and began to work on them. On the one hand is a blow for the business — well see. To implement the process, as we do, not so easy. You need the correctly selected tools, equipment, and team.
Most give up and will do, as used on the knee. And if you do on the knee, the result will be much worse. Polishing will fall apart in a week, not in two or three months. Sometimes our clients go to competitors and even honestly talk about it.
To be offended does not make sense, let them try. There prices are lower or is better, but the technological part is not worked. Polishing will crack, because the workshop did not know the features of the Shoe. The customer returns because he wants to wear polished shoes 2-3 months.
We understand that we do. Know where to put more layers of Shoe Polish, less. We recruit the heels themselves punching their nails on the original drawing. We do not just put the rubber, and do, as it was at the factory.
What market Shoe repair. Three years ago, when I started, no market. Were masters at kiosks, home life and all.
I changed the whole process of repair of boots, shoes, and for that we shoveled a lot of information. I built a business as the manufacture. Developed routings, chose the equipment, system of work orders and tools for working with the shoes, tested together and launched. I mentioned on the technological cards — description of the process for each skin type and finishing.
The wizard is not able to deviate from the procedure, and clients know how we work with his shoes. Customers got used to it and now understand how our work. They trust. In routing I sewed the secrets that I told the foreign Shoe company.
Imagine factory workers Crockett & Jones and Edward Green have shared features of finisher. I called and asked specific questions. “These are boots, how to care for them, what tools will help bring salt, how to clean your skin?”. No one refused to help. Still calling, if there are questions, though very rarely.
Other workshops we now copy and even called the service, as we have. When you create a market, you as a target. Post pictures of your work to social networks, and you immediately start to copy.
On the market slowly grow new players, especially in this business can enter by anyone who has half a million rubles. The business has paid off.
Yes, in a few months. I started gradually and not immediately buying expensive equipment. Initially was engaged only in the finishing and polishing. Then bought the equipment, has introduced new services and began to serve twenty orders per day. We have two main services for the care.
Basic care — 1,5 thousand roubles, 2.5 thousand rubles. Often take a full, polished. On the day processed 20 orders, six days. If a blockage, the wizard will connect in weekends to make time.
In what city plan to expand. The extension is only in plans. I cant napredovati franchises, I am not sure the business will survive.
Dont want my logo was hanging on the decaying kiosk or home life. Its like restaurants. You open a nice restaurant, then another, then two more. All restaurants good. But then open a new point and no longer can control them, they become catering.
I dont want. First open several large workshops in Moscow, then think about other cities. My business apart from extensions, there are other points of growth. Im interested in the trade. Already opened a shop where we sew shoes, but so far this is a test project.
People have interest in clothes and shoes made to measure. Will see what happens.