1200 Town Centre Blvd #1142
Provo, UT 84601
Laura started out working in Claire’s Boutique as a retail manager. She enjoyed her position, but wanted to go to law school. Once she stopped working retail she realized how much she missed it. She knew what she really wanted was her own retail store. Laura had married into an entrepreneurial family and she and her husband dreamed about opening their own retail place. One day, while driving around, they decided that it was time to stop talking about their dream and start living it. They started researching the Provo Towne Centre to see what was missing from the mall. They decided that there really was not enough reasonably priced shoe stores. The only competition around was Famous Footwear.
Laura dove into research and decided she wanted to stay within a moderate price of $17-$24 per shoe pair. She looked into chic companies such as SODA, Cupid and Wild Diva. Laura scoped out the competition, camping out in front of other small retailers, finding out just what were the desirable and less desirable traits of each place. She decided she wanted to own a place that was shopper friendly with great customer service. She wanted to have well trained and helpful employees but also make it easy for customers to help themselves.
It wasn’t always easy for Laura to be successful. She came to Ken Fakler needing help to get a business loan. With the way the economy was heading, no bank was willing to finance a 22-year-old wanting to open a shoe store. Ken pointed Laura in the direction of Zion’s Bank as well as private investors and he helped her get a business plan together that won over both bank and investors.
Laura’s next hurdle was the Mall lease. The bank and mall could not come to an agreement about a lease plan. The Mall’s rules were that they can kick out anyone the first 90 days if you do not meet your goals. Once an agreement was finally reached and the Mall saw what a success Laura’s store was, she received invitations to franchise and spread throughout the Ggp (a mall organization that is in charge of 669 malls nationwide).
Before Laura opened her store she hired a designer to help with the store layout. She decided to keep everything at eye level, with deep enough shelves that all the sizes were available on the floor. She went with long mirrors on the walls that made the space look bigger. Laura chose furniture from IKEA, so that it looked modern and yet very inviting. She also spent hours making her window displays unique and eye catching. The result was the Sole Envy of the mall.
Even with the current economic downturn, Laura’s store has been recession proof. Within her first four months of business she was able to reach 62% above her projected sales. The sales were thousands of dollars above her projected monthly goals. Part of what makes Sole Envy such a success is that people always need shoes, and this is a lower priced, yet chic option. Another success maker for Laura is that she puts her employees first. She makes sure that her employees are very well trained and customer oriented. In return for their excellent service she is willing to help them out with their college education. Laura has been able to accomplish all of this at the young age of 22 and as a new mom, thanks to her dedication, the strong support of her family and the SBDC.