Saskatchewan

This + That

Three, three, three!

Oh hello there lovelies!

I see that it has been awhile since I sat down and wrote a blog post. One year to be exact…oops!

Today I am celebrating Pretty Little Shoes’ third birthday! Say whaaat?! How has it been three years already?! Three years ago I had NO IDEA what I had gotten myself into and was a little, ok, a lot, over my head but with patience and perseverance, here I am three years later, running a successful ladies and little girls home and online based shoe company.

It has become a tradition for me to write a blog post on our birthday so this year I am going to be telling you the story of how exactly Pretty Little Shoes came to be.

All the way back in 2011, I was at a ladies night with my mom. To my surprise there was a lady there selling shoes. After further discussion I learned that her name was Kim Moss and her company name was Head Over Heels. That night I was like an annoying little fly that wouldn’t leave the table. I’m sure I tried on every single pair of shoes Kim had there. I fell in love with a pair of heels - they were zebra patterned but most importantly, they were PINK! Drool, right?! My mom ended up buying them for me as a Christmas gift. Thanks mom!

IMG_2487.JPG

That night, Kim had mentioned that she does shoe parties and much like many lady’s reactions I thought, “A shoe party is a thing?! Sign me up!”.

May 17th, 2012 was the date of my first shoe party. I just about had to cancel my party because I was so sick with pneumonia. I remember that night just feeling like garbage, watching all my friends shop while I stood back and just watched. I felt so bad! But my party was a success and I remember getting lots of fabulous shoes for free and 1/2 off!

My haul from my very first shoe party. Can you tell I had a thing for heels?! Are they all just gorgeous?!

My haul from my very first shoe party. Can you tell I had a thing for heels?! Are they all just gorgeous?!

That fall I decided to host another party, a boot party this time. Because it was November 1st, the weather was super crappy. It was snowing and freezing rain - such a terrible combination. That party wasn’t as big as success as my party six months prior but it was still fun and I still got some beautiful boots that are still in mint condition that I wear often!

IMG_2488.jpg

Between 2011 and 2016, I purchased most of my shoes from Kim whether it be shopping with her online or at other events and parties. I was hooked on supporting this wonderful company.

In January of 2016 Kim had posted on Facebook that Head Over Heels would be closing down but talked about a business opportunity that she was making available. I won’t go into the specifics but this opportunity intrigued me. At that time in my life I was studying from home and had been looking for an opportunity to make some extra money while studying. I tried traditional direct sales businesses but they just weren’t for me. So after corresponding with Kim for a few days, yes, only a few days, I decided that opening my own shoe company was something that I was wanting to move forward with and accepted the opportunity.

The days and weeks that followed were such a whirlwind. I had to get business licenses, get tax and legal stuff figured out, inventory my stock, book parties, build a website, and other things that make my head spin just reflecting on them. Those first months are still so fresh in my mind. I probably started getting on Kim’s nerves messaging her what seemed like daily with questions.

Screen Shot 2019-01-08 at 1.56.43 PM.png

Three years later, it is so fun to reflect and look back on how much things have changed from the early Pretty Little Shoes days to now. Back then, I was simply just a ladies shoe company that did shoe parties and shopping appointments. Now, we’re so much more! We sell other products on top of shoes; we not only sell ladies footwear but also sell little girl shoes; we have a wonderful rep Mandalyn; we sell on Amazon; and we travel out of province for events!

To those who have had a piece in Pretty Little Shoes’ first three years, whether it be big like hosting a party or small like ‘liking’ one of our Instagram or Facebook posts, please know what I wouldn’t be where I am today without your support. From the bottom of my heart, THANK-YOU!

To show my appreciation for your support and to celebrate three years in business, all ladies footwear is 25% off using discount code THREEYEARS at checkout. Sale ends January 15th. <3

Here’s to another year of Pretty Little Shoes!

xo Baillie

Follow

This + That

Two Years & Counting

They say time flies when you're having fun. That must be true because I cannot believe it's Pretty Little Shoes's second birthday! Happy Birthday to us!!! 

IMG_5575.JPG

Last year on our one year anniversary, I penned a letter of gratitude for your support with my business. And while I am forever grateful for the continued support, this year I thought I would share the top 11 things I have learned over this past year of business.

1| There never is enough hours in a day. There is always another email to respond to, social media post to put up, and more shoes to buy. But knowing myself, I get burned out trying to keep up so knowing my limits has been an asset to running my business.

2| It's ok to be who you are. I struggled with not wanting to overshare about my life on social media and on my website but I learned that people want to know who is behind the business. Sharing more has helped me become more personable and helped me grow my relationships with my customers and business connections.

3| There are going to be days when you want to quit. I have these days...often. I have learned though that I need to trust where God has me and be obedient to Him. Sometimes it takes a few days of being patient and still. But for every reason I want to quit, there are 10 reasons why I shouldn't.

4| Don't underestimate the power of friends who are business owners. These women are your tribe - they understand the ebbs and flows of business and life as a business owner. They are likely the first to support your small business because they understand the value in supporting small and are always there to offer advice and a listening ear when needed.

5| A little competition never hurt anyone. Of course it would be great to have the entire ladies home shoe party market to myself but that is not realistic. Different companies offer different products and each company is run differently. Competition allows me to stay innovative and authentic which is important in business.

6| Imitation is the highest form of flattery. Although competition is healthy, imitation is not. I've had companies copy and paste things from my website, take my hostess program, bring in identical products, and mimic my social media posts. This is not cool and is just downright hurtful. But when another company imitates, it doesn't make me look bad, it makes the other business owner look bad.

7| You don't have to say yes to every opportunity. Every opportunity may lead to more sales and more bookings but sometimes those opportunities are not what's best for you or your business. I have a strong intuition and go with my gut. If something just doesn't feel right, I know to decline the opportunity or even cancel.

8| There is nothing shameful in asking for help. As a relatively independent lady, asking for help is a struggle. However, having an extra set of hands is sometimes needed. I'm so thankful for the helpful hands of my parents, brother, sister, cousin, friends, and boyfriend. All have helped me SO much throughout the year in various ways and have helped me learn that it's ok not to do everything myself.

9| Cancelling an event is not the end of the world. This year I had to cancel one party because my vehicle broke down on the highway while driving to the party. Another party, my hostess orchestrated her own party because I had to go to the emergency room. Neither were ideal scenarios but life happens.

10| Taking time for yourself is essential. This was a mistake I made my first year of business - working up to nine events a week just because I couldn't say no. But by the end of the year I was so burned out I didn't even want to look at another pair of shoes. I never took time for myself; I never saw my friends and I was miserable. At the beginning of the year I decided that I would commit to only doing 4-5 events per week so I could take the time to do things I enjoyed and pay more attention to my relationships. This made a huge difference in my overall happiness.

11| At the end of the day, it's just shoes. Yes, it can be frustrating as a customer when there is a hiccup, but in reality no one is going to die if they have to wait an extra week to receive their order, if there is a quality issue, or if there is an inventory error on our site. I am only human - I make mistakes. No one is perfect and it is unfair for people to assume that we are. We all have lots going on in our lives and sometimes things slip through the cracks. Yes, we feel horrible when they do, but it’s not the end of the world. We just ask for forgiveness, learn from our mistakes and hope we can do better next time.

Friends, thank-you very much for making year two of Pretty Little Shoes a success. Whether you hosted a party, shopped with us, or follow us on social media, I am forever grateful for the impact you have had on my business. I wouldn't be where I am without you. 

And of course, thank-you to my family. Man alive - the support I get from them is out of this world.

Enjoy these never-before-seen photos from the last year! Cheers to another fabulous year. <3

xo Baillie

Me + my mama sitting in the tow truck after my vehicle broke down. :(

Fashion show fun with my good friend Jess from Covered & Co.

Women supporting women. My friends, Dani from Dani's Vintage Designs and Kaitlyn from Spruce Homes coming shopping at Woman's World.

Deciding on our spring stock. One of the most difficult parts of my job. Seriously.

Two of my happy helpers - my brother Ryan + cousin Noah.

My not-so-happy helper. Love you Noah! ;)

Follow

This + That

Our Commitment to Charity

If I'm being honest, shoes are superficial. They aren't a need; they are a want. They make us feel pretty, but we could survive without them. For this reason I wanted Pretty Little Shoes to be much more than just a shoe company. Regardless if you're purchasing a pair of shoes or one of our fabulous accessories, please know that your purchase is making a positive impact in the world.

When you purchase a pair of shoes...

For every 150 pairs of shoes sold from Pretty Little Shoes, we will donate 1 pair of new shoes to The Princess Shop. The Princess Shop is a Saskatoon based organization which gives girls in need a special graduation experience as well as tools and mentorship to succeed after graduation. 

Last year, Pretty Little Shoes donated $1100 worth of shoes to The Princess Shop! How amazing is that?! To read more about our collaboration, click here

Me and Karen, the director of The Princess Shop

Me and Karen, the director of The Princess Shop

When you purchase a MudLOVE bracelet...

MudLOVE has a heart for charity and that's why they have partnered with Water for Good - a non-profit organization that drills water wells, and provides clean drinking water in the Central African Republic, a country that is desperate for the basic necessities of life. Every MudLOVE product you purchase provides 1 week of clean water to someone in need. So when you purchase a bracelet, you're not only going to look great but you will also be supporting a great cause!

When you purchase Grace & Lace boot socks/ boot cuffs...

What I love most about Grace & Lace, much like our collaboration with MudLOVE, is their commitment to charity. For every Grace & Lace purchase, a portion of the sales is donated to Angel House, an organization that builds homes for orphans in India. Once in an orphanage, the kids receive proper water, healthcare, and education that they otherwise wouldn't receive. In addition to building orphanages, Grace & Lace has funded safe houses for women to escape sex-trafficking.

Thank-you so much for supporting Pretty Little Shoes and subsequently these incredible charities. With your purchase, you are making the world a better place. <3

Follow

This + That

Shoe Life Hacks You Must Know!

Happy Wednesday friends! The sun is shining, the weather is great, prepping for a business trip to Edmonton/ Red Deer...life is good!  

This week I'm sharing some life hacks related to shoes. What is a life hack? A life hack is a trick that makes your life easier or more efficient. Many life hacks will have you thinking, "That's so obvious - why haven't I been doing that?!"

1| Pool noodles in the shaft of a boot

If you're like me, you hate having the boots go all flip floppy. The purpose of this hack is to keep the boot standing straight up when you're not wearing them.  I get my noodles from Dollarama for $1.25 each and depending of the length of the boot, I can usually get 2 pairs covered with one noodle. Another bonus with this hack: when the boots are standing straight up with a noodle, you are saving on space compared to the boots being flip floppy and taking more space.

2| Silica packs to dry out your phone

We've all heard that rice dries out your phone if it gets wet, but have you ever tried using the silica packs that come in your boxes of shoes? 

3| Rough up the soles of your shoes

If your shoes are too slippery, find some concrete and scuff up the soles by dragging your foot on the ground. You could also use sandpaper instead of concrete. Joey could've used this hack at Chandler and Monica's wedding! ;)

4| Heel too high? No problem!

Most shoe repair shops can shorten the height of heels depending on the height of the heel and the platform. 

5| Cleaning the rubber sole

If you need to clean a rubber sole or sneaker, use either rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover. Your shoes will look good as new!

6| Stuff stuff in your shoes when travelling

We could always use more space in our suitcase when traveling, and if you're anything like me about 1/2 the suitcase is full of shoes. To recover some space, put items in your shoes! If you're transporting breakables, put those in the shaft of boots (wrapped up of course!); if you're taking flats, put socks inside; if you're taking running shoes, put jewelry and sunglasses inside; if you're only taking sandals, stuff one sandal in the other.

7| Stretch your shoes

If you're shoes are a tad bit tight, put on some thick socks along with the shoes and use a blow dryer to stretch them.

8| Hairspray your feet

If you're feet pop out of your fave pair of heels or flats, put some hairspray on your feet, then put your shoes on. The hairspray acts as an adhesive so your feet won't go anywhere!

9| Sore feet?

After being on your feet all day they are sure to be tired and sore. Grab a tennis ball and roll it under your foot to release those tight muscles and give your foot a good, deep, massage.

10| Cold feet?

If your feet have a tendency to get cold, put a layer of wool in your shoe. 

11| Teeny tiny calves in oversized boots

If you have small calves and have trouble finding boots that don't make it look like you're swimming, get a pair of our cute boot cuffs or socks and roll them over the opening of the boot at the top of the shaft. The fabric will make the boot tighter fitting and less sloppy.

Have you ever tried any of these life hacks before? Maybe you have another one to share. Share your life hacks in the comments below.

Follow

This + That

What's In a Name

One common question I get asked is how did I come up with the name Pretty Little Shoes for my business. I'd like to say it was an easy decision but boy oh boy, it was not! 

One of the first things you have to do when starting up a business is to create a name. Not only because it is the basis of your brand but in order to complete any paperwork that progresses the legal process of setting up your business, a name needs to be listed.

I felt a lot of pressure to have a really great business name but only had three days to think of one. Three very short days. Those days my family's supper conversation consisted of them throwing names at me. Either I thought it was decent and jot it down or I tossed it right out the window. We came up with SO many ideas, but nothing seemed just right. 

During this period in my life I had a slight obsession with the television show Pretty Little Liars. It was the first show that I actually binge watched so I'm sure you can understand my deep emotional connection to it. :) Anyways, on that third day I was flipping through my Instagram feed hoping to gain some inspiration when I came across a post on Pretty Little Liars page. As you can see, it's not an incredible, inspirational, or motivating post, but as soon as I saw the name Pretty Little Liars, the name Pretty Little Shoes just popped into my mind and it stuck.

I didn't want a name that was similar to another business, that people would forget, or may get confused about what our product was. It had to be clear and concise. Likeable and memorable. Cute and feminine. I think Pretty Little Shoes encompasses all those qualities.

So there you go! That's how Pretty Little Shoes came to be. Next week I'll be giving you tips and tricks on how to walk in heels. Stay tuned for that!

Follow

This + That

I've got blogging on the brain!

I've been doing a lot of thinking of how we can serve you better (maybe entertain you at the same time!) and through my research, it always came back to one common denominator - BLOGGING! Our blog has always been a feature on our website but consistent blogging and relevant topics was something that I have always struggled with. I've watched webinars, listened to podcasts, and done my research so now I'm ready to rock this blogging business!

Check back each Wednesday where I will cover a new topic. If you have a topic you'd like me to cover or have a question you'd like answered, share it in the comments section below! I'd really love to hear from you!

In the meantime, follow us on Bloglovin'! There, you'll be able to see each time we post a new blog, plus you'll be able to discover other awesome blogs.

See you next Tuesday!

xo Baillie

Follow

This + That

Mirror Mirror YXE

Let’s be honest - being a girl is no walk in the park. Being a teenage girl - that’s just plain tough. When I was a pre-teen/ teenager, I remember constantly being worried about what people thought of me; I always felt like I was being judged and talked about. I was worried about school and the pressures of getting good grades. I never felt pretty enough, good enough, or valued.

Unfortunately this is a reality for so many young girls. There are daily pressures to succeed and be the “norm”. We’re told if we don’t look a certain way, act a certain way, play a certain sport, or be in a certain clique, we have no worth and have every right to be bullied.

Shattered confidence, destroyed self-worth, low self-esteem, lack of hope and faith is the result of the ridicule we endure. And it’s not right; no one deserves to feel like this.

But there is hope. 

I have become involved with a new initiative to Saskatoon, Mirror Mirror YXE, that will change lives. The goal of Mirror Mirror YXE is promote mental health and wellness by providing education and tools to young girls so they can gain freedom, resilience, and confidence. We hope to combat low self-esteem before the girls become involved with negative behaviours associated with it, such as anxiety and depression.

The Mirror Mirror project is based on Australian model and speaker, Dianne Wilson’s book Mirror Mirror, that offers stories of inspiration, keys to freedom, and most importantly HOPE.

Mirror Mirror YXE is hosting a free community event on March 2nd at Elim Church and YOU ARE INVITED! This event is geared towards girls aged 10-18 but any woman is welcome to attend! Invite your daughters, sisters, nieces, granddaughters, neighbours, and friends! The event will feature spoken word and musical performances, as well as multimedia presentations - it's going to be amazing! 

Girls aged 10-18 who register for the community event will be gifted Dianne Wilson’s Mirror Mirror book and have the opportunity to sign up for a six week follow up course. Some of the topics that will be covered in the followup course include celebrating uniqueness, freedom from envy and jealousy, body discontentment, and so much more! It's going to be incredible ladies!

Us girls need to be reminded of truths - we are UNIQUE; we are WORTHY; we are LOVED; we are BEAUTIFUL. We need to be comfortable with being our true, authentic selves, just like we were created to be.

I invite you to share this event with the girls and women in your life. I am so excited for it and really believe God is going to do great things and touch the hearts of many girls and women. 

For more information on Mirror Mirror YXE and to register for the community event, please visit www.mirrormirroryxe.com. Be sure to 'like' Mirror Mirror YXE on Facebook and 'follow' on Instagram. <3

Follow

This + That

Our First Year

It’s hard to believe that Pretty Little Shoes came into existence one short year ago today. Owning my own company was something I knew I had wanted but also thought it was a far and distant dream; and never did I think I would own a shoe company. But God works in mysterious ways and I'm so glad He brought this opportunity into my life.

During my first year in business has proved to have many highs and lows, learning curves, challenges, blessings, and growth. I met hundreds of customers, new friends, and business people; sold thousands of pairs of shoes; increased our social media following (be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram); had tens of thousands of website visitors; expanded our product line; and partnered with local and international charities to help spread a little bit of love and hope in this world.

It’s very heartwarming to see how far we have come in the last year. It’s even more heartwarming to reflect on how Pretty Little Shoes has impacted our customers, friends, and even the world! One of the most humbling things to reflect on from this past year was having customers who were amputees, have physical disabilities and hearing/ visual impairments, and even a sweet little girl who is currently battling cancer. These beauties have so much joy within them and it was such an encouragement meeting them.

On paper, Pretty Little Shoes is technically a one-woman-show. But it would be wrong of me to take all the credit. I owe a huge amount of thanks and gratitude to my family. My sister Brianne is my photography and photoshop extraordinaire. She puts up with my constant questions, takes photos for me, and edits them for free out of the goodness of her heart. My brother Ryan loaned his muscles when I got my very first {yet incredibly large} stock order. My dad - he has loaned me his muscles, his truck, trailer, and heart over the last year. Sometimes his willingness drives me crazy but he’s just being my dad. My mom has been my shoulder to cry on, my idea-bouncer-offer, and my right hand woman. I can’t thank her enough for all she has done for me. To my aunts, cousins, and friends who have helped me out throughout the year, asked how business was, helped me out at events, or offered encouragement - I love you all so much and am so grateful for you!

I also owe a huge amount of gratitude to Kim Moss. Many of you have had the pleasure of meeting Kim - she was the owner of Head Over Heels Shoe Company, which I took over for. A year has past and I still text, email, and meet up with her to answer questions. Over the last year, she has also become a sweet friend and mentor and I am so glad I have her in my life.

Lastly, I have YOU to thank! Whether you are a follower, friend, customer, hostess, or just stumbled across our website, I appreciate you taking the time to support my small, local business. If it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t have had an incredible first year in business. Loyalty from customers and hostesses is something that I thrive on so thank-you for coming back, whether you were a Head Over Heels customer/ hostess or a customer/ hostess I have had the pleasure of meeting throughout the year.

Oh friends! I’m so looking forward to 2017. This coming year is going to be full of growth and expansion (hint, hint!). My commitment to you is continue to provide the best shoe shopping experience possible - a positive place where you can come purchase shoes, host parties, and receive top notch customer service. I ask that you please continue to refer your friends and family to Pretty Little Shoes - referrals are the greatest compliment I can receive.

Thank-you again for an incredible year! Here's to an even better year ahead. :)

Enjoy these never-before-seen, behind-the-scenes photos from the past year. <3

Just after I picked up my first order (I had no idea what I got myself into!) // My brother playing with all the boxes // Our front room was FULL

My sister taking stock photos // My favourite little helper giving me a hand with choosing stock // My friend Jenn & I goofing off at 'The Man Show Meets Women's World'

Follow