My Roadmap to Entrepreneurship?
I had always wanted to be a buyer for a big retailer. I pursued a Bachelor of Art Degree in Fashion Merchandising from Old Dominion University to ensure I had the appropriate skills to become a buyer for a retail chain. Ultimately, my academic background and retail experience has helped me to refine my God given gifts in preparation for becoming a buyer for my own business.
I recall participating in a spiritual gifts class at church approximately seven years ago. The class helped me to realize that God has given me a number of gifts to include: strong administrative skills, strong leadership skills and wisdom. However, at that time I was not ready to make use of my God given gifts. I was the servant who dug a hole and buried his treasure. Matt 25:14. I buried my talents.
There was a time when I yearned to be a District Manager for a retail chain. In time, God blessed me with the opportunity to become a District Manager for a small company. Mission accomplished. I was hired as a District Manager, even though I had no multi management experience. Now, look how God works.
As a District Manager, I began to cultivate my spiritual gifts which were revealed to me during the spiritual gifts class I attended at my church. I used my strong administrative skills to organize some chaotic situations. I used my strong leadership skills to develop and inspire those whom I led. As a result, they began to believe they could achieve whatever goals they set for themselves and ultimately achieved the goals the company set for them ninety percent of the time.
My retail experience includes over 15 years of management and leadership, which led me to step out on faith and work for myself. I can remember a shipment of L.E.I jeans coming off the truck and being delivered to the Juniors department. I reviewed the packing slip and noticed the production cost was $4.99 and so I tagged the jeans for $29.50. I said that I would NEVER pay full price again.
One day I found myself reflecting on my retail experience. In the past fifteen years, I have successfully managed resources for other companies. At one time I was managing thirteen stores with over 60+ employees effortlessly. NOW, if I can do that and be continue to be successful as a District Manager, then I can have my own business one day.
Now the question is, “What will I sell?” I had no clue. I started to reflect on the things that I loved and enjoyed and that is when it hit me. Shoes! I love shoes! I cannot resist a pair of fun, fashionable, and sassy shoes. That was it. I decided to sell shoes online and eliminate the overhead cost associated with retail chains. It was then the research began in which I determined in 2011 that shoe retailers registered sales of $27 billion, according the Annual Trade Survey. The NPD group reported that women spent over $38.5 billion on shoes, in which over 50% were sales for shoes with 3″ heels or greater.
The online world was becoming the way people were purchasing products and services. Women would never stop purchasing shoes and so if I could make just 1% of the $38.5 billion in sales, I could be very successful. I drafted a business plan with the help of a marketing consultant and landed a business loan to purchase my inventory.
It took five months to create a logo and develop my website. On May 26th the website for Sassy Shoe Gallery was launched. By the end of the year, the average individual transaction amount was $80 (US dollars). The average individual transaction was $104 (US dollars).
Months ago, I wrote an article entitled, “Dreamers can be Achievers” and it includes 5 simple steps to start a business or accomplish your goals. I truly believe that you have to have a vision before you can have a plan. Your vision has to connect with your passion or you will get burnt out. Once you’ve connected the mental dots, it is a matter of getting your thoughts on paper. Once you declare your vision on paper, you will have a roadmap to success.
Never stop dreaming but more importantly never stop living