With the ever increasing competition, you've really got to hustle your butt off to stand out from the crowd.
By Austin Miller, Content Marketing Manager
This week we sat down with Jess Gavigan AKA "Juice Gee" a London-based "fashionpreneur" who has passion for streetwear and a soft spot for trainers. Her unique online store SFBK (Small Feet Big Kicks) sells only trainer shoes and targets sneakerheads with smaller feet. With the shoe-space being ever dominated by the likes of Amazon and Zappos, we wanted to know how Juice Gee's been able to carve out her own piece of the pie.
Where does your love for shoes come from and how did you get into the kick game?
I got into the kick game through my bf at the time (2007) and now my best friend. He was mad into kicks and had some of the sickest ones i'd ever seen.. so it spurred from there really!
You’ve got a strong following on Instagram and your account has been featured on several websites. Would you say Instagram is your main vehicle for business?
A lot of my work/business started actually through me being known through Small Feet Big Kicks - as I was featured on an IKEA advert a few years back relating to SFBK and how many kicks I had.
Instagram has only become serious for me in the last couple of years, in which time I started a blog with my friend - "The Unisex Mode." So really the blog and the website are my primary means of business, Instagram comes after.
Was IG (instagram) always the goal?
IG was never really my "goal" I never saw it as a business opportunity until about a year ago - I was just obsessed with taking photos of friends and stuff I did. I wouldn't say it's my goal, as IG is a fad - it will come and go, and changes IG makes to the app will make it more difficult for people to use it as a means of business. It's nice to have a strong following - and even more rewarding when I meet people in real life that have followed my journey from Tumblr to Instagram to the blog.
How does your personal IG account tie into your shop “Small Feet Big Kicks”?
I occasionally post images of new kicks we have on SFBK, or any pictures I take of my own kicks as a 'crepcheck' picture i'll occasionally upload to SFBK.
It doesn’t get more niche than smaller shoe sizes, trainers only, and for females only. What are some of the positives and/or challenges of this hyper-niche approach?
The main positive is it makes people feel like they have somewhere they belong and can have something they are a part of, like a club. It's the one stop shop for cool or one off kicks that you can't necessarily find on the high street.
We started off labeling it as something purely for females - but actually through selling at Crepe City for so many years we have many male customers - from boys to smaller footed males.
There are so many shops that cater for males and male sizes, so we wanted to create something different - to ease the hassle for people that find it hard to get decent kicks in small sizes!
It also allows us to be the go to for many women in the sneaker scene - for example we are often called on to sell at trainer events all over Europe to be their only female sneaker seller, which is nice that there is that outreach.
On a personal note - having my name affiliated to SFBK also allows me to be the go to for many sportswear brands as a UK female sneakerhead representative. :)
Who are your fashion icons?
I love the old hip hop unisex styles of Gwen Stefani and TLC etc but when I look at who inspires me on the daily I look to people around me and bloggers that inspire me. Vashtie, Mercedes Benson, Milocuki, Christina Paik - girls who like to dress comfortably and aren't afraid to just wear menswear like me!
What’s your favorite pair of shoes that you own?
I hate this question!! It's too hard! AM97 Valentine, AM95 Redwood Nike Free Woven Inneva
There’s a big problem with counterfeit shoes in the sneaker business. How do you combat this, and how do you assure your customers you’re the real deal?
I only buy from trusted shops or people i've been buying from for years. Having been in the sneaker scene for many years now, I can pretty much tell a fake shoe (or so i hope! haha) - but also as a brand we have been established for 5 years now - and we've never encountered an issue with fake goods! (touch wood!)
How would you advise other "lifestyle brands” to grow their following/influence in the marketplace?
Stick to what you know, and be you. Don't ever try to be someone else. Don't try to preach too much to people - be real!
How do you source your kicks and what makes a "good sneaker” in your opinion?
That would be telling!! Wouldn't want to give away all my good spots! A good sneaker.. nothing too crazy like additional straps or attachments.. good colours.. and premium materials.
How to Keep Up with Juice Gee
Please note that Bookly’s sponsorship of this blog article is not intended to address the specific circumstances of any particular individual or entity and does not constitute an endorsement of any entity or its products or services. This content represents the views of the author, and does not necessarily represent the views or professional advice of Bookly.
We’ve all heard how important it is for small businesses to connect with consumers. Anyone who’s seen a 90’s TV sitcom is familiar with the local café owner who knows the name of every Tom, Dick and Sally that comes through their doors. “Just the usual Bob?” “You betcha Sally.” This type of personal connection is one of the biggest competitive edges local small business owners have against larger competitors. But as you make the transition to digital, you’ll inevitably find yourself getting less and less face time with the consumer. When growing an online presence, you might not always have the chance nor the time to make the quality connections you can in a storefront—there’s content to produce, logistics to map out, inventory to stock, and books to keep (of course, we’d be more than happy to help you with the latter). But as you find yourself figuring out the in’s and out’s of your online storefront, social media will be there to help you recreate that intimate experience you’ve experienced during your personal interactions with customers. Social media is primarily a story telling platform, and it’s a chance for you to tell your story.
How you choose to use social media will influence the emotions consumers feel when purchasing your products. What makes you unique? Are the things you share relevant to your niche? Are you highlighting your creative process? Are you showcasing products without becoming a spambot? And most importantly, is there a human element to the picture your painting? Of course you’ve heard about Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. But are you using Periscope, Snapchat, and RSS Feeds? And if so, are you tailoring unique content to each platform, or are you just shoving the same content through different pipelines?
In today’s world, mastering social media is no longer a luxury, but a necessity. But before you start pumping out content you need to have a plan that includes a self assessment, the development of a brand voice, and a well thought out schedule. If you struggle finding things that make you unique, ask your customers what it is they like most about your business. Once you’ve come up with a plan and you’re ready to take the world by storm, you’ll arrive to what is for many the most difficult part—gaining followers. Social media and Marketing guru Gary Vaynerchuckpoints out that the most important step for a brick and mortar hoping to push foot traffic to the dot-com space, is to tap their in-store base. Using old school methods such as signs, word of mouth, and informative receipts—you can push some of your most loyal and share-friendly customers to your digital outlets. This will be your most plentiful well in terms of immediate followers.
But even with an intelligent plan, creating an online community will take time. For many businesses this will mean 1-2 years of patient and consistent content production before they see a “brand cult” begin to form. Taking into account all of these considerations can be a daunting task. But as you learn what resonates with your new consumer base, you’ll come to realize that content is just as important as product. There is plenty of room in the digital space for the brick and mortar, but for you to succeed it will require a social media plan that brings that old fashion personal touch to new and exciting platforms.
You know they’re out there – new clients who would benefit from the service or products your company offers. But where are they, and how can you meet them? Good news! Social media connects thousands of new clients to companies every day. The question remains: how do you stand out in that endless crowd? Even social media newbies can use LinkedIn to build a bigger client base.
Push your LinkedIn experience to the next level with these ACTIONABLE steps:
Step 1: Milk Your 2nd Degree Connections
2nd degree connections are one small step from your door. Invite them in with a clear, compelling invitation to connect. Don’t rely on the pre-fabricated template LinkedIn offers; use those 300 characters wisely. “I'd like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.” Versus “Hello Barbara, my company helped Jeff Barringer decrease his invoice processing time by 40%, and I know we can help you, too. Let’s connect!” Which is more compelling?
Step 2: Watch your Newsfeed and Act Quickly
Did one of your connections just recommend someone you’d like to meet? Pounce! Ask for an introduction right away before the lead gets cold. Has an existing lead just connected with someone sharing your job title in a company similar to yours? Pounce! Don’t miss pitching to a prospective client right as that other guy steps up to the plate. Adjust your settings from “All Updates” to just “Connections” - this streamlines what and whom you see.
Step 3: Research Past Clients
Your past clients loved your business, right? See what they’re up to now. What LinkedIn groups are they in? Who is in their network? What are their current job titles? Mind their groups, networks and profiles – each kernel of information helps you craft your ideal target client based on what worked in the past with satisfied customers.
Step 4: Use Advanced Search to Focus on the Best Leads
Once know what you’re looking for, advanced search helps you find it. Searches can - and should - go beyond postal code. Use the “Advanced” search (located just to the right of the magnifying glass icon) to dig in deeper. Premium LinkedIn membership gives you better options here, but even a basic membership can add industry criteria, current/past companies, and non-profit interests to improve your hunt.
Step 5: Engage Your Network with Status Updates & Valuable Links
You’ve now built a rich network of leads – now engage them! Craft meaningful status updates a few times each week, keeping your name in front of connections via the newsfeed and weekly updates. Your status updates can highlight recent achievements (Another win for Johnson, Inc. – a recent client just told us our product increased her website traffic by 30% in 2 months!) or start a conversation (Really keen on this new technology [insert link] – could completely change home sound systems). Keep it conversational, and put the social back in LinkedIn’s social media.
Step 6: Communicate with Truth & Vigor
Each time you connect with a lead, make it count. From your invite email to your status updates, from free webinars to your pitch – every communication matters. State facts and results instead of mere promises. Avoid clichés and gimmicks. Be honest, and don’t waste anyone’s time. Adopt a similar style across all social media platforms so your client recognizes you no matter where they see you. LinkedIn is a powerful resource but only for those bold enough to maximize it.