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  • A little about me

     There are two questions I get asked a lot. They both have similar answers and relate to each other.
      1)  How did you get in to this?  2) What made you want to start The Shoe Attic?

     

          I am always thrown off guard when people ask me either of these questions. Honestly I did not grow up pining for a job in fashion, I had no desire to open a store, I never even worked in retail! I always thought I would work as a performer, or with animals. I have a love and fascination for animals that most people just don't understand, and I worked at a Kennel and Veterinary center for a very long time.  Then performing was second nature to me, I started dancing as a toddler, sang in choir, and did theater.

     

    So how did I get here?

      Long story short, I got sick, I had to move in with my parents, I never knew if I would have a "real" job ever again. I tried working in a coffee shop and book store and could never hold a job because I would have to call in sick constantly.

     

      While I was sick I buried myself in websites, constantly finding latest fashion trends, checking out blogs and tumblr. I had a deep and passionate love of shoes. Really it  started out harmless, ordering $20 shoes from gojane.com. Then it grew with my first true love, Steve Madden. I still have this pair of Steve Maddens that my mom bought me while I was in the hospital in 2010. Totally impractical for a girl with a feeding tube to have 5 inch beautiful cobalt blue satin pumps, but I did, and they made me unbelievably happy. Then things started getting a bit more serious. I would come home from hospital visits and have multiple packages of shoes! I didn't even remember ordering them! I knew all the medium to high end fashion brands. I remember the first pair of Jeffrey Campbell shoes I pined for. They were the Backstage Oxford Wedge, it was on Urban Outfitters, and I wanted them so bad. At the time, with no job, I couldn't justify the $150 on shoes. I hadn't taken the plunge yet, little did I know when I did it would be a fast and steep slope too addiction!

     

    On Janruary 25th 2010 things changed forever!!! My Mother bought me my first two pairs of Jeffrey Campbell Shoes! The Glen wedge in leopard print, and the Christie black bootie with wood heel.  I still have both pairs, and swear I will keep them till the day I die. They came from a local boutique which I actually started working for. When I started I actually worked for shoes, so you can imagine how fast my collection was growing. I loved working there, it was only for a year, but it was heaven to me. I got to wake up dress in my crazy clothes and wear my beautiful Jeffrey Campbell shoes.  The owner was lovely and very understanding of my health condition.  My days were filled with researching shoes, trying them on, falling in love over and over again. I could tell you any Jeffrey Campbell shoe description, name and price. Seriously, I would spend about 6 hours a day going from website to website just studying Jeffrey Campbell shoes. I could even tell you which site had them on sale, and had a secret for finding sites that weren't main stream. I started ordering two pairs of shoes a week. At this time I was still living with my parents and had a walk in closet that should have been acceptable for anyone, but for me the collection was taking over. My dad actually turned my attic into a shoe closet.. hint hint. 

     

    A quick side note: the owner of this business even took me to a shoe show! I met Jeffrey at the time, and his brother Dean. I was in utter bliss! Dean even had a shoe that had no name, they named it the Brittany. Jeffrey Campbell and his team may not even remember that! I own two pairs though and they can still be found on NastyGal... ok back to the story ;)

     

    After a short year the boutique I worked for closed, I was devastated. Where was I going to work? I was 27 with a health condition and a vast knowledge of shoes, who needs that? I loved communicating with customers, I truly loved sharing my excitement of designs and colors, I loved making people try something out of their comfort zone and them liking it.

     

    A friend planted the seed in  my head that I should open a store. I knew that if I did I would be working 24/7, I would be responsible for everything, I would have to make it my life or it would never work. I contemplated it for a while,  I didn't know if I could handle the responsibility. So I contacted some of my shoe connections. A few people with different vendors and decided to go to the show to make my decision. My mother and I went to New York to attend the shoe show, as soon as I walked in I was taken. Shoes speak to me, my excitement was too much! The styles were gorgeous and I knew then I was doing this, I was opening a store.


      On August 5th of 2012 I had a meeting with my mom and dad, we talked about what could happen, my dad wrote an extensive business plan, the practical one in the family, they were behind me a 100% and still are to this day. In a short 4 months The Shoe Attic (remember) was open. I took a corner spot in Colonial Williamsburg and my parents helped me fix it up beautifully. When the first shipments started coming in I would post to my IG constantly, praying someone might find my little IG account and love the shoes just as much as me.

    Did I mention I broke my leg the same day I decided to open a store? Really, I had to have surgery, and have a plate and three screws put in. I still have a nasty scar, which if you follow the stores social media I am sure you see in pictures.  I was in a wheel chair the whole time we were getting the store set up, and in one or on crutches for the first year of my business. Fun Times. Maybe pain medicine had a lot of influence on my decision making, but hey it worked ;)

     

    There is so much more I could share, but I feel if you have already read this much you are a saint.  I will never be a big corporation, I will never be a NastyGal or Dollskill, I will never have multiple stores all over the US. I admire those websites, and the people who have built businesses like those. I won't lie, it is hard, draining, and constantly stressing me out. I worry about it constantly and I pray every night I get to stay open for the remainder of my life.

     

    I am a small store with a tiny website for girls who want to buy things they won't see every where else. I love my store. I love my customers. I love the excitement of finding someone their perfect pair of shoes. I want my store to be personal. I want you to come in and feel at home. When you leave the store, I want you to already be planning your next visit. At the end of a bad day, I want to be the place my girls come to.   I want my IG followers to post a picture of themselves loving the new things they have bought and share with me, because I can't do it with them personally in my store. I am so grateful I have the chance to do this, to work everyday on something I love.  I am very lucky and tell myself constantly. I am most lucky to have loyal customers who are lovely enough to shop small and support a girl just doing what she loves.

     

     

    My Blue Satin Steve Maddens

     

     

    Jeffrey Campbell Backstage
    Jeffrey Campbell Glen Wedge
    Jeffrey Campbell Christie
    and of course!!
    Jeffrey Campbell Brittany

     

     

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  • Comments on this post (3 comments)

    • Tabitha says...

      I LOVE your story Brittany!

      On March 26, 2015

    • Janice says...

      I’m from Maryland and I enjoy my annual visits to Williamsburg, in part, because of my stops at The Shoe Attic. I was pining for a pair of Jeffrey Campbell black suede tall boots last year, but unfortunately I passed them up. I did get a pair of Irregular Choice and a pair of Dolce Vita shoes instead and was very happy. I love the store and the selection of unique shoes and accessories. I am a shoe junkie too, so I totally get your obsession. I hope to visit again soon!

      On September 09, 2014

    • Abigail says...

      I love all of these shoes! I can totally see why the Steve Madden’s were your gateway drug and those Jeffrey Campbell Backstage’s are GORGEOUS. You didn’t say, did you ever end up getting them? Love the Shoe Attic!

      On June 15, 2014

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