[quote style=”boxed”]Network. Connect. Help others. This has led me to become good friends with a number of people I met online; they have become real-life friends and have been so supportive of what I am about and trying to achieve. Their advice and support is invaluable.[/quote]
Claire is the owner and buyer at Little Stomper, a place for funky footwear for cool kids.
Claire’s background is all about design; she’s a qualified project manager and has managed prestige interior fit-outs throughout the United Kingdom. Her skills and knowledge were gained during 10 years in a projects role in local government. She was then approached by a company who wanted her to move out of ICT and education projects into the world of design and fit-out. Eager to have a change in her career path and more of a challenge, Claire eventually accepted the new role–though it took a year of persuasion and discussion–and quickly developed knowledge and understanding of furniture design, big build fit-out and space planning.
Alongside all of this, Claire launched a virtual PA company, developing PA roles and website creation for a number of small businesses and voluntary organizations with a friend. At this point Claire embraced social media and began to immerse herself in the developments of this field, including blogging. Claire was approached by Cybher founder Sian To and started supporting projects to support bloggers and brands.
Claire’s love of design took a new direction after the birth of her daughter in 2009, when she started looking at the children’s market while being disaffected with the plethora of pink and blue on the high street. After finding lots of online stores that sold beautiful children’s clothing, she noticed there was a distinct lack of shoe shops for children that promoted healthy feet and were also stocking cool shoes–the kind that she would buy to put on her child’s feet.
Fast-forward a year, and Claire decided that it was time to make a life change, because of the need to spend more time with her daughter, and launched Little Stomper.
What are you working on right now?
Little Stomper is going strong, but I need to strengthen its position in the marketplace, so am working on enhancing online engagement, as well as the store’s SEO.
Where did the idea for Little Stomper come from?
It came from a distinct lack in the marketplace of shoes that I would want my child wearing.
What does your typical day look like?
I awake at 7:30 a.m., quickly check of emails, make breakfast for the little one, pack up overnight orders, and do a post office run. Afternoons are usually about being out and about with my daughter, followed by a late post office run. Evenings are all about working on other projects I am involved with, such a Cybher, The Bump Wear Project, Bambino Goodies, and SEO and promotion for Little Stomper. I am a night owl and get by with minimal sleep. I have always been this way, so the bulk of my development work happens after-hours.
How do you bring ideas to life?
When I have an idea, I like to get to it straight away. I buzz when I am excited about something, so that spurs me on. I also have a couple of people I run things by; they are very good at reigning me back in.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
The fact that we can all do it ourselves. The internet and blogging platforms have allowed us to launch ourselves. It’s hard work, but it can be done.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
I learned from one job that money doesn’t equate to happiness, and that a work/ life balance is far more valuable.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
I would slow down, take a breath and spend a little more time on the financials.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Network. Connect. Help others. This has led me to become good friends with a number of people I met online; they have become real-life friends and have been so supportive of what I am about and trying to achieve. Their advice and support is invaluable.
What is one problem you encountered as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Burnout. Take time off. Force yourself if that doesn’t come easy. A break is as good, and you come back focused and stronger.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
eBooks. I have a wise friend who advised me on this. I am now waiting for the content idea to come to me.
If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be and how would you go about it?
I have been deeply moved by what I have read in Half The Sky. I don’t know what one thing I would change, but I urge you all to read the book.
Tell us a secret.
I am obsessed with chairs.
What are your three favorite online tools or resources and what do you love about them?
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
This is hard. I am currently reading Getting Things Done, as suggested by one of your previous interviewees and friend of mine, Natalie Lue. I am liking it.
Three people we should follow on Twitter and why?
- @mashable because they know things you need to know and it’s a blog with a page rank of eight. That’s amazing.
- @Charles_HRH for the laughs.
- @ikeahacks for the inspiration.
When was the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?
I laugh out loud daily, thanks to my friends.
What is Little Stomper in 100 words?
Little Stomper is an online kids footwear store focusing on funky footwear for your children’s feet. We’re all about great brands that offer quality products that are comfy and cool! We believe you don’t have to compromise style or quality, and we stock funky and functional footwear. It’s important for your little stomper to have proper shoes, but that doesn’t mean they can’t stomp in style!
Was it worth giving up the 9 to 5?
Yes, without a doubt. The only thing I miss is the regular income, but over the last six months I have picked up work managing social media and working on projects, which means I have the best of both worlds and the work/life balance I was craving.
Claire Archbold on LinkedIn: http://uk.linkedin.com/in/clairearchie
Claire Archbold on Twitter: @bumpwearclaire
Little Stomper on Twitter: @little_stomper
Little Stomper Facebook: http://facebook.com/littlestomper
Little Stomper’s website: http://littlestomper.co.uk
Claire Archbold’s blog: http://bad-fiction.com