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February 19

Tales of Retail: Shoe Market

By Ella Miista
Just off Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn hides a little boutique filled with wonderful shoes for him, her and the kids alike. Run by Dana and Erika, it's a one stop haven to get the right pair of kicks whether you're dressing for fashion week or a Manhattan office. Variety is central. What makes things even better is that there's a sale happening there just about now! Between sweet deals and rad shoes, Dana and Erika found a bit of time to tell us what's what. DSC_0008 Job role: Dana: Buyer, merchandiser, boss lady Erika: Buyer, bookkeeper, micro manager Style icon: Dana: Stevie Nicks, Slash, Madonna circa 1983 Erika: A little bit of Janis Joplin mixed with Vivienne Westwood Guilty pleasure: Dana: Real Housewives Erika: PORTLANDIA Favourite blog: Man Repeller Morning coffee: Dana: BQE from Brooklyn Roaster Erika: Mocha from Toby's Estate Song stuck in your head: Dana: Sia's Chandelier Erika: Combo of Obsessed by Mariah and All The Things She Said by t.A.T.u Staple in your wardrobe: Dana: A white blazer Erika: Irish sweaters and turquoise rings from New Mexico You guys have been in business since 1999, first with Mini Mini Market and then later Shoe Market was added to the roster. What was life like before all of this? Before all this we were just dreamy kids trying to figure out what we were going to do. I saw you’re now closing down Mini Mini Market. How come? What does the future hold? We closed Mini Mini Market after a huge rent increase, and made the decision to simplify our business and focus on shoes. The future will hold lots of cute shoes for us. DSC_0027 Starting your own business can be crazy rewarding but also just crazy, full stop. What kind of crash courses have you gone through? Every day is crash course in something, especially in the beginning when we had no idea what we were doing. On the other end, what are the most exhilarating moments you’ve experienced? Getting a trophy from footwear news for best shoe boutique in America 2014. We never got a trophy for anything in our lives. Shoe Market puts all the attention on shoes. Why shoes over everything else? Everyone loves shoes and we love shoes. A great pair of shoes is the easiest way to update your wardrobe and they never make your butt look big. Hiring great staff seems central to your success. How do you find the best people and what makes them stay? It takes a lot of time to find the right employee. We have an extensive interview process. We do 4 interviews before hiring, and we always test interviewees on the sales floor before hiring them. I think they stay because this is a fun place to work. We have an open environment and everyone gets a chance to be involved in different areas of the business. What’s Team Shoe Market like? Is it full on work for you guys or do you play together too – Friday night drinks, Secret Santa’s, any other fun traditions? Christmas karaoke! We have some amazing singers on the team. What kind of brands do you carry at the shop? Who are the bestsellers? We carry well made, affordable, comfortable brands. We love Miista, and some of our other favorites are Jeffery Campbell, Vagabond, Intentionally Blank and Clae. What is the buying process like for you? What is your tell tale sign something is nothing short of perfect for your store? The buying process is a process of elimination. We look at everything, pick our favorites, and then we pick our favorites from our favorites. If we disagree on a shoe it usually gets tossed out, unless one of us is really willing to go to war for it. It is exciting to see a shoe and just KNOW that it is going to be awesome. That doesn't always happen and we have made mistakes but when it does it is the best! More often then not the perfect shoe feels fresh and of the moment while maintaining a simple design, great comfort and a good price. Who is the Shoe Market Woman? What is your customer like? We have many different types of customers. The age range is infant to grandmother and everyone in between. Our customer has a New York sensibility, effortlessly stylish with a functionality that blends work and play and can be on the go from morning till night. What things do you really take into account to make sure you stand out amongst other stores? Our store is quite small, only 500 square feet, so we really try to present the key items of the moment. We have less variety than bigger shoe stores but we aim to represent the best of the best for each season. DSC_0026 DSC_0001 DSC_0023 DSC_0012 Screen Shot 2015-02-19 at 09.44.38
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