The founder and creator Percy Stride, Danielle Wathes shares her journey of ups, downs and everything in between over the first 12 months in business.
Starting up a business from scratch requires a level of courage, knowledge, luck and sheer determination. Especially when four in ten small businesses shut down in the first five years.
However, it’s safe to say that the founder and creator of Percy Stride, Danielle Wathes, has all of these attributes in abundance.
As Percy Stride enjoys its one year anniversary, we thought we’d take a moment with her to reflect on what has been an epic journey from dream to reality in the space of 12 months.
It may just help inspire you to start a business of your own or try something new today.
Are you pleased with your first year in business?
In short yes. What we’ve achieved in our first year is more than I could have hoped for. As time has gone on I feel like my team and I have gone from strength to strength and really nailed down what is going to propel the business forward in the years to come.
Starting off the year by winning an accolade at the Footwear Friends Awards with assistance from the British Footwear Association was a real highlight and set the tone going forward.
Since then, we’ve been lucky enough to work with some fantastic models and bloggers who share the same passion for the brand such as Nick Pearce, Gary Norton and Jonny Labey.
I’ve also personally attended many events to introduce the brand to new audiences and clients such as Cordwainers Student of the Year Awards, Best of Britannia, Spirit of Summer, Salon Prive at Blenheim Palace and most recently Goodwood Revival.
And with many more events lined up towards the end of the year and 2019 nearly upon us, I’m incredibly excited and proud of what we’ve achieved in such a small space of time.
What's been your biggest challenge over the past year?
I think the whole idea of setting up a business is a challenge in itself. Being faced with the responsibility that comes along with it and areas of business which I haven’t ever experienced in real life.
You soon realise that time is money and you need to learn very quickly. Everything in business is trial and error at times and I think one of the biggest challenges is knowing who is going to support you.
People need people to succeed and so many times you hear “It’s not what you know its who you know”. Being prepared to go out there and source those people who have the same passion as you and what you are doing is key.
I’ve learnt that it is very important to be true to who you are and make sure my clients know that. Building trust with customers in a new business is the hardest thing to achieve and maintaining that trust is even more difficult. However, by simply being myself and adopting this tone in our social posts and content creation, it’s made Percy Stride more approachable as a brand.
What's been your biggest highlight so far?
One of my personal highlights was being invited to attend the Drapers Footwear Awards where I met some inspiring brands and retailers such as Adam Di Mambro of WALK London, Robert Perkins of Hotter Shoes, my longtime friends at the Tower of London and my supportive previous employer Rink Bindra. It was also nice to meet Joel Dommett too!
All in all, this evening really inspired me to continue striving and see Percy Stride featured there in the line up in years to come.
What does the future hold for Percy Stride?
Moving forward, I’m in the process of putting together some new designs and releasing the second stage of the Timeless range. That in itself is a massive step, considering we’ve only been going since October 2017.
But more importantly, I’ll be looking to expand the Percy Stride range in ways which help support customers who have unique footwear requirements. I think this is an area which a lot of bigger brands don’t always consider. But as a personal and approachable brand, I’m always open to suggestions and make our footwear accessible to everyone.
To see our full range of men’s Oxford shoes, visit our shop here.