Why My Heel Protectors Business Folded
It was in the summer of 2019 that I got an “aha moment” to start buying and selling HeelProtectors. It was an exciting idea to conceive and manifest, but in spite of the effort, planning and investment I put into it, that dream didn’t last- and I’ll tell you why. Before I get to that, I’ll need to explain why the dream was birthed in the first place.
A friend gifted me about a hundred heel protectors to be used at our wedding game night; an event intended to be a wedding “after party” of sorts. [My husband and I boycotted that event because our vendors had other plans for the event than we did; but that’s a story for another time]. The heel protectors went unused for the event, so I had them stashed away, seeing as I had no use for them.
About a year later on 1st June, I attended Ashesi University’s 2019 Commencement ceremony. It was organised on the soccer field and I noticed how some of the graduates shuffled on the grass to get their certificate for some, it was an obvious struggle; for others, they managed it somewhat gracefully. A thought came to me and I thought, “oh I should have brought some of the heel protectors to share.” Then I asked myself – “To share? why share? I could sell them!” Immediately, my mind got to work- how do I sell them? Where do I get them from? Is there really a market for it?
This moment was an answered prayer, because I had been asking God for an alternative stream of income for about two months. My husband was led to resign from his day job. It was a case similar to when God asked Abraham to leave his home to “go to a place I will show you” (This will have its own blog post, stay tuned!) We didn’t know why or how we’ll manage, but we knew it was time – so we took the step of obedience in faith, believing God to come through. And boy, did He come through!
This business idea was a hit from July 2019 until January 2021, when I stopped selling them. I wasn’t passionate about shoes, high heels, or their maintenance; fashion is one area I have little to no knowledge, expertise or interest in. This was solely about a means of revenue – a need that needed to be met and I used the things around me to meet it.
I needed to figure out who my target market was, how much it will cost me to acquire the product, how much my target will be willing to pay for the product, how I will reach my target audience, what the sale process will be like, etc. Mind you, the first batch of heel protectors were gifted to me, so I didn’t know how for certain where I could get them from or how much they would cost me.
While I conducted the research, I managed to feel around my sister’s friends, colleagues, etc how much they would be interested in purchasing the heel protectors. I had to find a “reason to buy” and sell that to the target market. Now, if my target market was anything like me, they wouldn’t be bothered about destroying a good pair of heels, the entire heel wearing ordeal is a struggle, anyway. So no, I was not my ideal customer; but I had enough examples of my ideal customer around me.
By the time I got the answers, I had created an Instagram and Facebook page, I registered an MTN number for mobile money, and I had created enough content to start selling the products. I used my mother’s old shoes and my smart phone to take pictures, videos, and created a price list and size list, etc.
Eventually, as time went on, I created more content, took more pictures, shot and edited videos, and uploaded them onto the Instagram page. I had wanted to create a logo and all, but there was no need to, and no time to think deeply into a concept. I just started sharing images of heel protectors on heels, and encouraging friends and family to forward to others.
The heel protectors came in little pouches like these:
So initially, as and when anyone bought one, I would just send it as it is. As more shoe enthusiasts got to know about the product, clients started purchasing more than one - this became problematic because I didn’t have a presentable means of packaging them. I tried to get already made brown paper bags, but they were too expensive for the little change the heel protectors brought. I created brown paper bags myself, using regular brown paper from a stationary shop, paper glue, and the guidance of the shortest YouTube video I could find:
I needed labels and something to seal the brown paper bags, so I designed label stickers and “thank you” stickers and had them printed with “Stickergh”. They didn’t turn out bad, if I do say so myself!
In retrospect, I was not willing to make a huge investment because I didn’t know how long I would be selling them for, or whether it would make high returns and pay off. Instead, I chose to stay safe, and make minimal expenses that would not cause too much damage if things went south. Besides, I needed the money for everyday expenses, more than I cared about the future of the business.
In the earlier stages, whenever I made sales, the proceeds were all used to support expenses in our one-income household. So much so, that I wasn’t even mindful of ploughing back the money to restock. I learnt it the practical way, when it was time for the first restock and I had used up the plough-back money for provisions for the house. I learnt from that quickly and bought and restocked over a dozen times. As a business, we were having a good run. Even when COVID hit, we still made sales; not in March 2020, when there was a nationwide lockdown, but when working from home started. Delivery was from home to customers instead of from my office to customers, and that worked pretty well.
As someone who's always getting new ideas, I have a number of business ideas written down, waiting for the right time to execute, given the seasons, resources and abilities God makes available to me. From the time I started selling heel protectors, I had attempted three other businesses. This was one of the unsuccessful ones:
The second kicked off pretty well in October 2020; Oasis Studios. While you're here, support our hustle and follow our Instagram, Twitter and Facebook pages. (Thank you so much!) This idea, thanks to my anointed and seriously innovative husband, is still a going concern.
It is something that takes a lot of our time and energy, so there wasn't much of my energy and love left to think of a future for Heel Protectors Gh. Though it seemed a small business, selling just one product, I believe it could have grown to be so much more!
Fast-forward to January 2021, I decided to shut down Heel Protectors Gh indefinitely. I had gotten COVID-19, and was self-isolating at home. That disease had caused so many deaths globally and as I sat on my bed, I wondered if those were my last days on earth. The disease could well have been eating at my insides and killing me softly and I had very little to say for my purpose and my life. It was saddening. I looked at everything I spent my energy on, and felt overwhelmingly unfulfilled. I thought: “Life is short- I shouldn’t spend so much time and energy on things that don’t matter that much to me”. I decided to live a more purpose focused life. I wanted to write more, do more that made me laugh, and ultimately, LIVE.
I didn’t do much of that last year, but that’s a long story for another blog post.
So, my Heel Protectors business folded because its season had expired. I started Oasis Studios; a photography and videography studio with my husband in October 2020, and gained momentum in January 2021. I was no longer in the position to handle the demands of that business.
I often ask myself if I will ever go back to selling them, and I don’t really know – on one hand, there’s no such thing as too much extra income. On the other hand, am I willing to put in so much energy for so little? Well, time will tell on this one.
Thank you for staying to the end!
This should be a good answer to everyone who's been asking if i still sell Heel Protectors and why I stopped. If you never wondered, I hope you learnt a thing or two from this business experience.