Shoe Money Makes Fun Fashion Cents

Over the past few years, Lori Riley, has taken her brand, Shoe Money, from a cottage industry working on a shoestring budget, to a shoe-in as one of the most “ahh”-inspiring collections of infant and children’s apparel and accessories on the market! Lori named her company “Shoe Money” after the ‘50’s housewives’ dollar-stretching expression, which referred to tucking away a few dollars to buy “I-want” items. In Lori’s case, she literally loved to buy shoes! When Lori left her teaching career to focus on being a mom, she quickly realized that she would need to get creative to make ends meet. Here, Lori shares her Behind The Brand tale of the trials and triumphs that gave her more than pocket change to keep herself well-heeled.

*When was your brand born, and what was the initial inspiration?

Shoe Money began March of 2007. I am an avid scrapbooker and wanted fabric covered scrapbooks. For fun, I made a few bibs and my mommy friends LOVED them and asked for more.

What was the biggest challenge you faced when starting?

At the beginning it was hard for me to have money on hand to put towards fabric and other supplies. Also, my husband viewed it as a hobby and didn’t realize I had big plans for my business. Looking back, I would not have branched out into making purses as well. They were not “baby” enough to make sense with my other items and they did not sell well.

What do you feel are the three biggest keys to your success?

  1. I think the reason my business is growing is I always listen to my customer.
  2. I provide consistent service to my customers. I always try to please them.
  3. I work hard to keep my line unique and fresh.

Describe a typical new product development cycle for your business?

I am always thinking up new designs. At any given time there are designs in my head waiting to be made! After I sketch one, cut it out, and sew it, I try it out on my best customers to get their feedback.

Do “green” or eco-friendly concerns influence your business decisions?

I subscribe to the reuse approach. My way of being “green” is using everything. I throw nothing away. A scrap of fabric may be on a one-piece outfit later on!

What is one new trend you’re seeing in the marketplace?

Animal print seems big in the marketplace. I am glad because it is always a favorite of mine.

How does your business make use of the Internet?

My Web site has majorly changed three times. It is a great way for buyers to see what I have. In addition, I use the Internet to order almost all of my supplies. I also am a sponsor with The Giggle Guide.

What is the biggest challenge your business faces today?

A challenge (and a blessing) for me is growth. As the business grows I need more resources and labor and I have to wait until I already need them to afford them!

What is one change/addition that’s had a positive impact for your business in the last year?

One change I have made this year that has made a very positive impact on my company is the addition of sales reps. Sales reps have helped me get my line out to places I cannot go. That has helped me a lot.

If you had one piece of advice for someone entering the children’s market, what would it be?

Know your customer and what their needs are! Understand who you are targeting and how their business will benefit from your business.

About Shoe Money

Shoe Money offers gifts and apparel for babies and children in nostalgic, vibrant prints that are reminiscent of days gone by, with plenty of colorful monkeys, apples, butterflies, and peace signs. The whimsical collection includes bibs, burpies, one-pieces, shopping cart covers, dresses, pants, diaper covers, tutu panties, aprons and hats…but NO shoes! Shoe Money has developed a well-deserved reputation for it’s spirited monkey business. Sock monkeys shine on a variety of items, and continue to inspire the line’s creativity. Lori says, “Monkeys are so silly, quirky and fun that I think they wil be a part of the Shoe Money collection through many seasons.”

Shoe Money has sales representation at The Treehouse Showroom in Los Angeles and Katwalk in Dallas.

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