My Week: Glenys Berd of

The healthy shoes entrepreneur on dealing with massive orders and planning for 2011...

Last Updated: 06 Nov 2012

They say there's no rest for the wicked.... I just wish I could remember when I must have been so wicked, so I could at least have enjoyed it!
I started Love Those Shoes in 2003 when the internet was young and naive, and so was I! They said 'you can't sell shoes on the internet' and I said 'of course you can’!! Well, thank goodness, at least I was right about that - but I certainly didn't anticipate how incredibly difficult it would be to forge a new business, in a new medium, creating a market that didn't exist before, selling products that were so new fangled that people didn't believe their eyes.   Ah well - I can't say it wasn't fun (in retrospect rather than at the time!)
The shoes we sell are all healthy shoes, packed with technology that benefits the health and wellbeing of the wearer.  Nothing like this existed in the world before we brought the first ones to market.  We were lucky - a far sighted journalist wrote about them in a Sunday paper and the world turned over!  At first we thought some mad spammer had attacked the site and was placing order after order, until I emailed one of the order customers and asked where she'd seen us.  About 5 minutes later I was at the local newsagent picking up a copy.  Talk about living in exciting times.  It was great to have orders for thousands of pairs.... except we only had 200 pairs in stock.  In fact there weren't any more.  Anywhere. 

Frantic calls to the factory across the world secured some production with a lead time of 3 months.  This was September.  I spent 3 months emailing and writing a daily online diary to keep customers up to date with progress.  Some were happy to wait; some were rather impatient and vented their anger at not having 'cellulite busting shoes' on their feet NOW!   Christmas loomed and the stress levels did too.  Finally we took the decision to fly in the stock, eating up all the profit in the process, and 5000 pairs arrived on 16th December.  No one slept that night or weekend - by 3 days before Christmas, a team of 10 of us picked and packed and shipped all the orders!  
Time travel forward 7 years.  It's February 2010 and surely things have calmed down?   Well... Monday saw me with one of my other hats, director of the management company on our business park, at a meeting with a new security company pitching for the business on the site.
Tuesday saw me with hat number three - I'm a partner in a property development company and the morning saw me meeting with a new agent about marketing a property recently surrendered to us by a wine company who had fallen into administration.  The afternoon back in the office was a meeting to discuss next winter's range of our new Beech Sandal collection.  My regular Tuesday newsletter took me 2 hours to write, and launched the new collection of Earth footwear.
My Wednesday meeting was with agent No. 2 and our architect re. Marketing said newly acquired shop and office property.  Staff meetings to discuss the Spring catalogue and a merchandising meeting to select styles for a winter order for another range filled the rest of the day.
Thursday - phew !  Shopping, washing, cooking and squeezing other aspects of 'real life' into a day.  Naturally my laptop is on all day at home, and I'm answering emails and processing orders.  Like I said, still no rest for the wicked.
Friday and my buying team and I go to Skechers showroom for a buying meeting for next winter.  Not even had a summer yet, and we're deep in boots and shoes for NEXT year.   From there, it's onto ex wine shop to meet agent No. 3.   Freezing cold, pouring down, nowhere to park, and a nice traffic warden to sweet talk when I arrived back at my yellow line parked car.  My Friday newsletter, written when I got back to the office, launched an amazing range of shoes we discovered last year in USA called Alegria and which are set to be our next (I hope!!!) success story.
So the next time someone says to me.... it must be great being an entrepreneur, being your own boss and just working when you want... can I point them to this diary?

Glenys Berd is MD of, which sells Health and Wellness Footwear.

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