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Building business resilience: Calla Shoes

As part of the launch of our Guide to Business Resilience, we reached out to a number of smaller business owers to find out what business resilience meant to them.

In this interview, we speak to Jennifer Bailey, CEO of Calla Shoes, about how she's embedding business resilience into her daily activities.

 

What does business resilience mean to you?

Dealing with the emotions and outcomes of the ups and downs of running a business, whether they be major or minor, learning from them and adapting accordingly so that you are a stronger business afterwards.

 

What kinds of changes have you made to reduce overheads in the current climate (if any)?

Staying as lean as possible by keeping staff costs tight and flexing using freelancers.

 

How has the energy crisis impacted your business?

All of our production costs have increased as the factories we work with have had to increase their costs to meet the rising energy prices.  This has therefore meant we have had to increase our Recomend Retail Prices in order to maintain a margin that means we can stay in business.

 

What is your approach to debt and finance?

My ambitions for the business are big so taking on debt through loans is part of that growth journey. We have also taken equity investment and will continue to do so as long as we are growing fast.

 

How do you nurture your customer relationships?

Excellent customer service is at the heart of everything we do and we aim to respond to all customer enquiries within a few hours during working hours. We personalise our customer communications asking for specific feedback on how we have performed and what they think of our products.  We also offer a loyalty scheme where they earn points for purchases which can be redeemed for free product.  We also engage with our customers on a Facebook page where we ask for feedback on new styles we are thinking of producing.

 

What measures have you taken to attract and retain talent in a tough climate?

I have signed up to an EMI scheme and am offering share options to my members of staff.

 

How important is innovation and technology in future proofing your business and give an example of where you've invested in it?

Innovation is what started our business - looking at the technology available and how we could leverage this to produce our shoes in a completely different way to the way they had been made before and we continue to invest in how to make our shoes even more comfortable.

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Jennifer Bailey - CEO - Calla Shoes

Jennifer founder, at Calla, creating stylish shoes to change the lives of women with problem feet.

Calla shoes was born out of Jennifer’s frustrations at not being able to find suitable shoes that met her lifestyle needs, due to a foot condition she suffered from called bunions.

Calla shoes blur the lines between style and comfort for any woman who is not willing to make compromises on either.

Since Calla's launch in 2016 we have sold shoes to women in over 60 countries across the world via our websites, doubling growth twice in the last two years.

Jennifer Bailey - CEO - Calla Shoes

Securing funds and controlling debt

Funding can be critical to keeping a business afloat and positioning it for long-term success, especially in uncertain financial times.

But, knowing the right place to turn to for guidance can be a challenge.

With tips on everything from debt and equity financing to accessing Community Development Finance Institutions, our Guide to Building Business Resilience could help your business prepare for the future.

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Reference to any organisation, business and event on this page does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation from the British Business Bank or its subsidiaries the UK Government. Whilst we make reasonable efforts to keep the information on this page up to date, we do not guarantee or warrant (implied or otherwise) that it is current, accurate or complete. The information is intended for general information purposes only and does not take into account your personal situation, nor does it constitute legal, financial, tax or other professional advice. You should always consider whether the information is applicable to your particular circumstances and, where appropriate, seek professional or specialist advice or support.