When Carol Haffke opened her own longer sized, women’s shoe shop in April 2012, she had no idea what she was doing. None. She walked away from more than two decades working in journalism, public relations and fundraising, and within a few months opened the doors of her beloved shop, The Shoe Garden, in Brisbane, Australia.
With no experience in running a business; let alone in selling shoes; Carol developed her own way of doing things. Carol is relentlessly honest in this book. She doesn’t flinch from describing the lows that she experienced in her first four years as a Proud Shoe Shop Owner, as she adjusted from a successful career to being self-employed, working solo and coping with slumps in sales. But ‘In My Shoes’ tells of the many joyous times, too; like seeing first-time customers burst into tears of happiness at finding fabulous shoes that fit.
This is a book about creating your own brand in your own way. It is about taking a chance, learning on the job, becoming tough and daring to be different. It’s about making a commitment to create a not-just-for-profit business that cares. Above all, it is a book about believing in yourself. If you are thinking about small business, buy this book. If you are interested in how small business can give back to others, read this book.
Owning your own business is unbelievably liberating, amazingly exciting, damn challenging, always exhilarating, constantly evolving and impossibly scary, but you have this incredible opportunity to create an entity that represents you at your very best.
I like to think I’ve moved beyond the theory and have dived deep into the everyday, grassroots reality of owning and running a business, sharing with you everything that I have learned these past four years: all the mistakes I have made and the things I have got right, too, even if sometimes by accident!
This is not your typical book about business. I’m not telling you what to do; just sharing what I did and hopefully giving an entertaining insight into what it has been like. It’s very honest.
I want to explain the emotional journey of taking a giant leap into the unknown from the relative safety of being an employee to the rollercoaster of being self-employed.
About the author
While she has written many thousands of words as a newspaper journalist and while working in PR and in fundraising, this is Carol’s first book. Writing it was almost as scary as opening her first business —a women’s shoe shop that specializes in longer sizes. She had no experience in business or in shoes, so basically made it all up! Born in Perth, Australia, and having lived and worked in Canada, Namibia, Portugal and Vietnam, Carol loves to travel and to read, as both allow her to see and visualise new and fascinating places and to learn more about the world.
Why LoA loves it….
This is a great example of how one woman began to live her dream, making the transition from employee to entrepreneur. Carol Haffke and her business, The Shoe Garden, are proof positive that business can be operated with warmth, integrity, kindness, sensitivity and generosity, as well as making a profit. What is also wonderful is her commitment to empowering other women in Africa to become entrepreneurs. A part of every sale made at The Shoe Garden, online or in-store, is donated to an amazing charity that provides small loans to women in Malawi to assist them in starting or growing their businesses. --- Melanie Hawken, founder and editor-in-chief of Lionesses of Africa