Setting up a mobile shoe fitting service - Sam Chetwood, CeCe & Me
Let me introduce myself, my name is Sam, mum of two girls, resident in the wonderful community of Southfields and the founder of CeCe & Me, a mobile children’s shoe fitting service.
I have been on a journey that began about four years ago when I started to ponder what my work life looked like after starting a family. Several months of thinking, planning, researching and talking about it, and I was ready to launch. My inspiration was born from a frustration I had realised was shared by many parents, the stress of taking young children to buy new shoes. I felt the experience should be a much more enjoyable one for all involved!
My mission has remained unwavering from the outset, to offer a more convenient and relaxed alternative to a trip to the shoe shop and to provide a service that gives parents confidence their child is wearing a correctly fitted pair of shoes that will support the healthy development of their feet. How and where this service has been delivered is continually being adapted as I learn what works and what doesn’t. Having absolute conviction in my business idea, while being willing to learn, take advice and adapt based on feedback and data has been crucial to its development.
Starting your own business is a massive learning curve, no matter what you did before. I had no knowledge of the shoe industry and no experience in retail. I didn’t grow up in the digital age and social media seemed like a foreign language. Acronyms like SEO, CRM and GDPR all sound rather impressive but how on earth did they translate to my day-to-day reality? Getting my head around all of this, and more, has been a challenge, but a welcome one. I love that I am learning again and feel much better equipped for whatever the future holds.
My biggest hurdle, however, is always time, I never have enough to achieve all I want to do, for both work and family, and I know I am not alone in this. There are times I feel so overwhelmed I just don’t know where to start! I am a lover of lists and often start my day rewriting my to do list as it helps me to focus and prioritise. I now appreciate that I can not do it all and sometimes the best option is to seek out an expert who will do an excellent job on my behalf, rather than wasting time struggling to figure it out for myself and producing a mediocre result.
I have missed the support of a team, people to bounce ideas around with (someone to fix the printer!) but I have gradually built a network of like-minded people, who motivate, support and inspire me. Working on your own can be in equal parts liberating and restricting, hearing someone else’s perspective on an issue or how they have solved a problem can lead to a lightbulb moment, a recommendation for someone who can help or just give you the opportunity to vent!
I was introduced to Emily and Putney Mumpreneurs about 18 months ago. I was nervous turning up at the first lunch but had no need to worry! It is such a wonderfully friendly and welcoming group bringing together a diverse group of small business owners and provides the opportunity to hear from experts in their field, people who talk from experience, and to share ideas, with the added bonus of a truly scrummy lunch!
Through these conversations, collaborating and supporting each other we can achieve so much more. The digital revolution has created many products and services that make it easier to set up, manage and promote your business and it would be easy to become totally reliant and secluded behind your laptop or phone but, as far as I am concerned, there is no substitute for real life interaction and connections.
My journey has been winding, with no clear destination and many diversions, but I am enjoying the ride, made all the more fulfilling by all the incredible people I have met.