A YEAR IN AND STOKED
Lifestyle Footwear owner reflects on 12 months in the shoe industry
STEPPING into shoe sales wasn’t what Julianne
O’Brien expected to do but after one year at Lifestyle Footwear she knows she’s on the right path.
Since opening, the business has expanded in product range and brands stocked, but Mrs O’Brien is always looking to grow.
“We’re open to people’s suggestions, if they want us to stock different stock they can always ask and we can look into it,”
“It’s been a big 12 months. it’s been challenging, we’ve learned heaps.”
Owning her own business means Mrs O’Brien is able to stock products not found easily elsewhere.
“We’ve got a couple of out-of-town customers who come here purely to shop shoes because we’ve got shoes that are individual.
“You don’t just walk into a shopping centre and see the same thing. Each shop you go to each shopping centre its the same shoes, the same colours.
“Here we’re able to stock what we pick which makes us more individual.”
Mrs O’Brien always wanted to run a business so when the opportunity arose she couldn’t say no.
“The timing was right, everything fell into place. I found it with my sister in-law Alfina and I’m very pleased to have done it.
“I always worked in jewellery, I worked in retail my whole life, I didn’t think the shoe thing would be where I’d end up.”
The store stocks something for everyone, ranging from kids school shoes, ladies dress shoes, men’s work boots and everything in between.
“The biggest challenge was learning about orthotic shoes and how they worked and how to fit them properly,” Mrs O’Brien said.
“Secondly was stock, how much to buy, how much we needed and what to buy.
“I’m sure that will be still a challenge down the track because I think that’s just a growing thing. I’m sure we’ll make mistakes but we’ll learn from them.”
Even with challenges there have been plenty of highlights. Mrs O’Brien said events were the most fun.
“Race day, deb balls, school’s always massive. Which is kind of fun cause we get to pick the stock for all those things and we have introduced a bit different, bit younger, trying to attract the younger market.
“It’s good when you see stock you’ve picked that actually works.”
Ladies fashion brands include Django and Juliette, Zeta, Sala, Frankie4, Arcopedico, Companero, Vera May handbags and Cellini handbags.
One surprising big seller has been white Hollister sneakers with glitter on the toe and heel.
“The girls are wearing their summer dresses, putting their little sneakers on and off they go.
“It’s funny cause you never would have thought of putting sneakers with a dress at all but it works.”
Now with 12 months in the bag, Mrs O’Brien feels more informed with what products to buy.
“We know our customer base, we know what people want, we know how shoes fit.
“If you get something in and you’re selling in the first day or two or you don’t even get it out you know you’ve made the right choice.”
She hopes in the next year their business will continue to grow.
“I’m just having fun with it, its been a good 12 months.
“I just want to be here for a long time. Hopefully we do the right thing by everyone.”
STRUT: Julianne O'Brien and Natalie Vedelago at Lifestyle Footwear.