In the fall of 1998 I closed my marketing consulting business and moved to tiny Salt Spring Island. I wanted to do something more creative with my life and having no idea what that would be, I needed to move somewhere that my cost of living would be significantly less.
I’ve always believed life is the adventure we make it, and the year I spent in Salt Spring was quite the adventure, made all the more so because I was completely outside my comfort zone on every level.
While living there, I discovered Robeez shoes (pictured here). They were invented by a local Mom, Sandra Wilson, and at that point she had just moved her fledgeling business out of her basement.
She got her start as an entrepreneur after being downsized from her job in the airline industry. At home with more time on her hands, she tried making comfortable shoes for her toddler to learn to walk in, making her first “Robeez” out of old leather purses that she cut up.
Fast forward less than 10 years and Sandra’s shoes and booties have become one of the best known brands of baby footwear, sold at thousands of boutiques and high-end retailers like Nordstrom, Saks, Bloomingdales’ and Neiman Marcus.
I was especially delighted to read this week that Sandra sold her private B.C. company, Robeez Footwear, to U.S.-based Stride Rite Corp. for $30.5 million! Wow!!
If you’re tempted to think being widely successful is only for “other people”, stop right there! I’m sure if someone told Sandra when she was sitting at home cutting up old purses in her basement to make shoes for her son that in a decade she’d be a multi-millionaire she would have thought they were nuts.
And, I’m willing to bet that along the way she’s had many moments of self doubt and sheer panic. Every entrepreneur does. The trick is realizing these are moments to keep going, not to retreat into the “safety of the familiar.”
My mission is to inspire my clients and students with new possibilities for how they live. Whether it’s a staging client discovering new opportunities because they suddenly have an extra $50,000 after I staged their house, or it’s helping one of my students leave behind a soul-sucking career or unhappy marriage because now they have a way to be financially independent.
I find stories like Sandra Wilson’s inspiring because it shows us that with courage we can accomplish big things. Not all of us are going to grow $30 million companies and that’s OK! Her success does not diminish ours.
Debra Gould, The Staging Diva
President, Six Elements Inc.
Home staging expert Debra Gould, also known as The Staging Diva is president of home staging firm Six Elements Inc. and has been featured on HGTV, GlobalTV, CityTV, CNNMoney, MoneySense, Entrepreneur Magazine, Reader’s Digest, Woman’s Day and more. She has staged hundreds of homes in the $190,000 to $1.5 million price range and taught close to 300 women all over the US, Canada, and in Wales, Australia and South Africa to start and grow their own home staging businesses.