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AMA: Susannah Davda, founder of The Shoe Consultant

AMA: Susannah Davda, founder of The Shoe Consultant

Table of Contents

Everyone wants to see startups succeed, but that's not always easy in competitive industries like fashion and retail. So Susannah Davda set up a consultancy to help shoe brand founders grow their business and succeed.

Hi Susannah! Tell us a bit about your company.

The Shoe Consultant Ltd helps entrepreneurs to start and grow shoe brands. Shoe brand founders desperately need guidance, expertise from industry professionals, and connections.

We provide them with all of those elements, and the structure to keep them on track. Plus emotional support and a confidence boost when they need it. Our services are available to any English speaker in the world.

Entrepreneurs can access support by joining our membership group The Shoe Community, taking the How to Start a Shoe Brand online course or receiving one-to-one consultancy. 

How did the idea for The Shoe Consultant come about?

The Shoe Consultant started life as a customer-facing blog helping women to find comfortable, beautiful shoes. At that time I was working in product management for a global footwear brand.

I had wanted to turn the blog into a business, but by the time I quit my day job, I realised that I needed another revenue stream. The Shoe Consultant wasn’t just an authoritative title for a blog. The name actually gave me the confidence to launch my B2B consulting business.

After launching the company in 2015, I soon discovered that people who wanted to start shoe brands were struggling to find the support they needed. So I focused on guiding shoe brand founders from concept to launch and beyond, rather than consulting for established businesses.


What is your North Star metric and why is it so important?

Our North Star Metric is: number of shoe brand founders helped. Before my clients find The Shoe Consultant, the footwear industry can feel hard to access. Information is not easily Googled and connections with industry professionals are difficult to make. 

Our services support and connect entrepreneurs. They receive guidance from people who have been on a similar journey to them, and they no longer feel alone and cut off. We give shoe brand founders the best possible chance of success.

What is the biggest mistake you've made as an entrepreneur?

When I launched The Shoe Consultant, I offered several services in addition to consultancy for shoe brand founders. One of these was personal shoe shopping: essentially personal styling just for women’s shoes.

This is a service I still believe a lot of women would benefit from, but because they have never heard of it, they are not searching for it. The mistake I made was spending too long trying to promote this service rather than focusing on the B2B side of my business which was working. 

My advice to other entrepreneurs would be to create a product or service that people are actively looking for. It will make your marketing strategy much easier.

Sound advice. Let's talk teams. How do you keep yours aligned?

Over the years, I have worked with several interns and freelancers. Some were in-house and others were remote workers. Asana has been invaluable for ensuring everyone knows what they are doing, and the deadline for each task.

We also love the cute animations you get when you complete a task. Weekly video calls have been great for raising any issues and also for building a personal connection that you don’t get from emails.

Do you have a share or option scheme in place?

I don’t at the moment, but I would certainly consider it when I take on permanent employees. I think it’s important for people to feel invested in the business they are helping to grow.

Absolutely. What do you look for in a candidate when hiring new people?

Potential employees need to understand what The Shoe Consultant does, be on board with our mission, and have a good eye for detail. They also need to be able to communicate well with me and my contacts and clients from the start. Everything else can be learnt on the job.


Can you share any practical tips or processes to help people work remotely?

I have worked from my home office for over 6 years, so I am very used to it. One thing I have realised recently is that it’s good to mix up working alone and alongside others.

A few months ago I joined a local co-working space, which has helped me to feel energised on the days when I need a motivation boost. It also stops me from getting distracted by piles of washing! 

When I’m at home all day, I make time to prepare a healthy lunch with a variety of fruit and veg, protein and whole grains. I have found that much better for sustaining afternoon energy than a desk sandwich.

Speaking of food, if you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Definitely avocado. Apparently, I have loved it since I was a baby. I’m a real foodie though, so I would miss variety. Planning my next meal is my favourite day-dreaming activity.

And finally, what do you like to get up to outside of work?

I love spending time in the countryside or at the beach with my husband and 5-year-old son, having playdates with our friends, and I also love alone time. Reading an independently published magazine like The Simple Things, or a novel that takes me to another part of the world is my idea of bliss.

That sounds perfect! Thanks so much for your time Susannah, it's been a pleasure.

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